Friday, 17 July 2020

Recollections of My Non-Existence by Rebecca Solnit          $40
How does a young writer find her voice in a society that would prefer women to be silent? Solnit's memoir is an electric account of the pauses and gains of feminism in the past forty years.
"There's a new feminist revolution — open to people of all genders — and Rebecca Solnit is one of its most powerful voices." —Barbara Ehrenreich
Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin            $33
If an individual could be virtually inserted into the life of a random stranger, anywhere in the world, what effects would that have on them both? The characters in Schweblin's nove reveal the beauty of technological connection between far-flung persons — but they also expose the ugly truth of our increasingly linked world. Trusting strangers can lead to love, playful encounters and adventures, but what if it can also pave the way for unimaginable terror?
"Schweblin unveils the hidden horror of our own imaginations and our private spaces deftly and chillingly. Little Eyes is a brilliant, anxiety-provoking novel in a time where our anxiety, personally and societally, is at an all-time high. It is perhaps the novel we both need and deserve, and though it may take courage to pick it up, it is important we do so." —Tor
“Her most unsettling work yet — and her most realistic.” —New York Times
>>Read Thomas's review of Fever Dream
The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay         $37
Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Jean is not good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in a wildlife park. As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu — its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals — first mammals, then birds and insects, too.
Sex and Lies by Leïla Slimani          $30
Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two approved options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. 
Aegean: Recipes from the mountains to the sea by Marianna Leivaditaki         $50
Growing up in a taverna in Chania, the relaxed, delicious and achievable food of Crete  and the wider Mediterranean is second nature to Leivaditaki. Very well presented. 
>>The journal of a fisherman's daughter. 
Mazel Tov by J.S. Margot            $30
Unemployed 20-year-old Margot takes up a tutoring job with the Schneiders, an Orthodox Jewish family. Indignant about the insularity and conservatism of their religious life, she dismisses her employers as socially backward, out of step with the modern world. With the Gulf War and the Intifada looming in the background, Margot finds herself caught between clashing cultures: her relationship with her Iranian boyfriend Nima is met with prejudice, while the Schneiders' devotion to Israel provokes similar discontent in him. Through impassioned debates over religion, belonging and cultural heritage, Margot and the Schneider family begin to move past conflict and towards mutual understanding and appreciation.
Designing Disorder: Experiments and disruptions in the city by Richard Sennett and Pablo Sendera         $35
 In 1970 Richard Sennett published the ground-breaking The Uses of Disorder, that the ideal of a planned and ordered city was flawed, likely to produce a fragile, restrictive urban environment. Fifty years later, Sennett returns to these still fertile ideas and alongside campaigner and architect, Pablo Sendra, sets out an agenda for the design and ethics of the Open City. The public spaces of our cities are under siege from planners, privatisation and increased surveillance. Our streets are becoming ever more lifeless and ordered. What is to be done? Can disorder be designed? Is it possible to maintain the public realm as a flexible space that adapts over time? In this provocative essay Sendra and Sennett propose a reorganisation of how we think and plan the social life of our cities. What the authors call 'Infrastructures of disorder' combine architecture, politics, urban planning and activism in order to develop places that nurture rather than stifle, bring together rather than divide up, remain open to change rather than closed off. The book proves that ideas of disorder are still some of the most radical and transformative in debates on 21st century cities.
Orwell: A man of our time by Richard Bradford          $43
Despite the commonplace view that Animal Farm was aimed exclusively at Stalinist Russia, it was far more broadly focused and the similarities between aspects of the novel and Trump's America are obvious. Not only the parallels with the current President, but also by those who feel that his cult of personality is a mandate for collective nastiness. "Doublethink" features in Nineteen Eighty Four and it is the forerunner to "Fake News."

Thinking Again by Jan Morris        $37
In this second volume of her diaries, following In My Mind's EyeMorris casts her eye over modern life in all its stupidity and glory. From her daily thousand paces to the ongoing troubles of Brexit, from her enduring love for America to the wonders of the natural world, and from the vagaries and ailments of old age to the beauty of youth, she displays her determined belief in embracing life and creativity.
Instructions for a Funeral by David Means          $23
Means writes with compassionate precision about fatherhood, marriage, a homeless brother, the nature of addiction, and the death of a friend at the hands of a serial killer nurse. He transmutes a fistfight in Sacramento into a tender, life-long love story; two FBI agents on a stakeout in the 1920s into a tale of predator and prey; a man's funeral instructions into a chronicle of organized crime, real estate ventures, and the destructive force of paranoia. 
"One of the most talented writers of short fiction in America." —James Wood, New Yorker
The Eighth: Mahler and the world in 1910 by Stephen Johnson       $40
The world premiere of Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony in Munich in 1910 was the artistic breakthrough for which the composer had yearned all his adult life, filling Munich's huge Neue Musik-Festhalle on two successive evenings, to tumultuous applause. Stephen Johnson recounts its far-reaching effect on composers, conductors and writers of the time — Berg and Schoenberg, Korngold, Bruno Walter and Klemperer, and the writers Zweig and Mann

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun          $33
Yona has been stuck behind a desk for years working as a programming coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specialising in package holidays to destinations ravaged by disaster. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately she tries to complain, and in an attempt to bury her allegations, the company make her an attractive proposition: a free ticket for one of their most sought-after trips, to the desert island of Mui. She accepts the offer and travels the remote island, where the major attraction is a supposedly dramatic sinkhole. When the customers who've paid a premium for the trip begin to get frustrated, Yona realises that the company has dangerous plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe to make the trip more interesting, but when she tries to raise the alarm, she discovers she has put her own life in danger.
Home Stories: 100 years, 20 visionary interiors by Jasper Morrison, Mateo Kries and Jochen Eisenbrand       $155
Our homes are an expression of how we want to live; they shape our everyday routines and fundamentally affect our well-being. Interior design for the home sustains a giant global industry and feeds an entire branch of the media. However, the question of dwelling, or how to live, is found increasingly to be lacking in serious discourse. This book sets out to review the interior design of our homes. It discusses 20 iconic residential interiors from the present back to the 1920s, by architects, artists and designers such as Assemble, Cecil Beaton, Lina Bo Bardi, Arno Brandlhuber, Elsie de Wolfe, Elii, Josef Frank, Andrew Geller, IKEA, Finn Juhl, Michael Graves, Kisho Kurokawa, Adolf Loos, Claude Parent, Bernard Rudofsky, Margarete Sch tte-Lihotzky, Alison and Peter Smithson, Jacques Tati, Mies van der Rohe and Andy Warhol. Including historic and recent photographs, drawings and plans, the book explores these case studies as key moments in the history of the modern interior. 
Coffee by Danny Lenney        $22
Coffee—it's the thing that gets us through, and over, and around. The thing—the beverage, the break, the ritual—we choose to slow ourselves down or speed ourselves up. The excuse to pause; the reason to meet; the charge we who drink it allow ourselves in lieu of something stronger or scarier. Coffee goes to lifestyle, and character, and sensibility—where do we buy it, how do we brew it, how strong can we take it, how often, how hot, how cold? How does coffee remind us, stir us, comfort us?

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