Friday 21 August 2020


Mihi by Gavin Bishop         $18
This beautiful te Reo board book introduces ideas of me and my place in the world in the shape of a simple mihi: introducing yourself and making connections to other people and places. Essential. 

Marti Friedlander: Portraits of the Artists by Leonard Bell         $75
Friedlander's incisive photographs chronicled the country's social and cultural life from the 1960s into the twenty-first century. From painters to potters, film makers to novelists, actors to musicians, Marti Friedlander was always deeply engaged with New Zealand's creative talent. This thoughtfully assembled book shows us new sides of both well-known and forgotten artists and writers. 

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen by Camille Laurens         $38
She is famous throughout the world, but how many know her name? You can admire her figure in Washington, Paris, London, New York, Dresden or Copenhagen but where is her grave? She danced as a 'petit rat' at the Paris Opera. She was also a model, she posed for painters and sculptors - among them Edgar Degas. Taking us through the underbelly of the Belle Epoque, Laurens casts a light on those who have traditionally been overlooked in the study of art, and opens a space for essential questions. She paints a compelling portrait of Marie van Goethem and the world she inhabited, in the 1880s; a time when art unsettled the hypocrisy of society.
"It’s a wonderful book, a little jewel, the way the author tries––discreetly, with respect and even a bit of shyness––to approach the dancer and through her the vices of representation, the injustice of the transformation of an individual into a figure, is quite beautiful, and touches on what for me is one of the most significant problems for fiction: how we try to understand someone else while honoring that inner secrecy they will always possess and we never will be able to grasp––the paradox, you know, of how we never understand and yet are condemned to understanding, however far our way of understanding is from approximating the real inner nature of the people we contemplate.’ — Adrian Nathan West

Who Sleeps with Katz by Todd McEwen           $36
The doctor delivers bad news. What's a man to do, with the life he has left to live? He can cry, he can wonder which particular cigarette did it - the 564,119th or the 976,835th - or which brand. Or (and as well) he can call the friend he loves in the city he loves and then set out down the avenues and streets of New York to meet him. Every corner, every block has a memory: women, food, drink, friendship, the comedy of office life and of sexual success and failure. It's as though the towers of Manhattan have become a shelf of books, each to be opened and regretfully read for the last time. A journey, truly, of a lifetime.
"Ferocious wit, a stream of magnificent sentences, something to savour on every page, and a blissful knowledge of what really matters in life." – Guardian
"One of the great American novels. Overwhelming – as great and sad a love song as New York has ever inspired." – Salon

A Respectable Occupation by Julia Kerninon           $28
"The best early training for a writer is an unhappy childhood," Hemingway famously said. Julia Kerninon, one of France's most acclaimed young novelists, tells an altogether different story in a poetic account of her pursuit. Her ode to reading, and to writing as a space for discovery (as well as a 'respectable occupation') entwines the French and Anglo-Saxon literary traditions as she journeys through her formative years.
"The greatest writers are also the greatest readers. Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes, Jeanette Winterson - they all read, as Woolf put it, 'to refresh and exercise their own creative powers.' They can't stop themselves from writing about reading. They have origin stories of how reading and writing became as necessary as breathing. Julia Kerninon's A Respectable Occupation joins the shelf of these biblioautobiographies; books on how writers crave books, how books beget books, how tricky it is to move from the position of the reader to that of the writer, and stand there feeling you've earned the right to call yourself, finally, a writer." —Lauren Elkin

Rave by Rainald Goetz          $38
Rave is the fruit of Goetz's intense collaboration with major figures from the early electronic music scene, among them Sven Vath and DJ Westbam. An unapologetic embrace of the nightlife under the motto `Meet girls. Take drugs. Listen to music', this fragmentary novel attempts to capture the feel of debauchery from within while at the same time critiquing the media structures that contribute to the 'epochality' of pop culture phenomena. Throughout the four decades of his career, Goetz has sought to dissolve the critical distance between writer and object which, in the quest for distance, actually distorts its object; in Rave he dives fully into dissolution, celebrating what is neither counter-culture nor `mass culture' in Adorno's disparaging sense, but a new way of experiencing mental processes and intimacy. 
"Rainald Goetz is the most important trendsetter in German literature." —Suddeutsche Zeitung
>>Read Thomas's review of Insane.
>>Goetz cuts his head open for the 1983 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (a sort of Germany's Got Talent).

A Silent Fury: The El Bordo Mine Fire by Yuri Herrera           $35
On March 10, 1920, in Pachuca, Mexico, the Compañía de Santa Gertrudisth—thelargest employer in the region, and a subsidiary of the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company—may have committed murder. The alert was first raised at six in the morning: a fire was tearing through the El Bordo mine. After a brief evacuation, the mouths of the shafts were sealed. Company representatives hastened to assert that "no more than ten" men remained inside the mineshafts, and that all ten were most certainly dead. Yet when the mine was opened six days later, the death toll was not ten, but eighty-seven. And there were seven survivors. A century later, acclaimed novelist Yuri Herrera has reconstructed a workers' tragedy at once globally resonant and deeply personal: Pachuca is his hometown. His work is an act of restitution for the victims and their families, bringing his full force of evocation to bear on the injustices that suffocated this horrific event into silence. Harrera's book has the penetrative effect of a novel. 
"Searing, painful, poetic, simple, extraordinary." —Philippe Sands
>>Yuri Herrera talks with Fernanda Melchor.
>>Other books by Yuri Herrera

Handmade in Japan: The pursuit of perfection in traditional crafts by Irwin Wong           $135
A beautifully presented record of the care, skill and aesthetic sensibilities of practitioners of traditional Japanese crafts. 

Mā Wai e Hautū? by Leo Timmers (translated by Karena Kelly)           $19
A new play on the fable of the tortoise and the hare. This is a picture book for drivers of all ages, now available in te reo Māori.

Sisters by Daisy Johnson           $37
Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September. Desperate for a fresh start, their mother Sheela moves them across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls. Lights flicker of their own accord. Sleep feels impossible, dreams are endless. In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she's always had with September is beginning to change in ways she cannot understand. From the author of the Booker-shortlisted Everything Under.
"A short sharp explosion of a gothic thriller whose tension ratchets up and up to an ending of extraordinary lyricism and virtuosity." —Observer
>>"It's not an easy time to be looking at yourself or other people."

Stalin's Wine Cellar by John Baker and Nick Place        $40
Stolen from the Csar, hidden from the Nazis, and found by a Sydney wine merchant. 
>>Is this the secret cellar? 

Book of Wonders: How Euclid's Elements built the world by Benjamin Wardhaugh         $40
Wardhaugh traces how an ancient Greek text on mathematics – often hailed as the world's first textbook – shaped two thousand years of art, philosophy and literature, as well as science and maths. Writing in 300 BC, Euclid could not have known his logic would go unsurpassed until the nineteenth century, or that his writings were laying down the very foundations of human knowledge.
>>Byrne's edition of Euclid

The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager       $37
After spending her career peering into the stars in search of Earth-like planets, Seager found her connections with an Earth-like planet much closer to home following the death of her husband and the realisation that her Asperger's affects how she relates to every part of the universe. 

One, Two, Three, Four: The Beatles in time by Craig Brown         $37
Deals with the minutiae of the Beatles metamorphoses in a lively way, but looks at their interactions with, and effects upon, the wider world.
>>All Together Now.

From a Dark Cave to New Zealand by Mustafa Darbandi       $30
The remarkable story of a refugee's flight from Iraq to Turkey to Iran to Pakistan to Afghanistan and finally to New Zealand, his life always in danger, first because he belonged to a banned Kurdish political organisation, and then because of security forces, mercenaries, police, helicopters, landmines, wild wolves and even UNHCR indifference. 

Do You Read Me? Bookshops around the world by Marianne Julia Strauss     $120
You want this book. 

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