Saturday 28 November 2020


We recommend these books as seasonal gifts and for summer reading. Click through to our website to reserve or purchase your copies—we will have them delivered anywhere or aside for collection. Let us know if you would like them gift-wrapped. 
If you don't find what you're looking for here, browse our website, e-mail us, or come and talk to us: we have many other interesting books on our shelves.

Down South by Bruce Ansley           $50
From Curio Bay to Golden Bay, who could be a better companion on a road trip of the South Island than Bruce Ansley? 

Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish fishing village by Lamorna Ash          $35
There is the Cornwall Lamorna Ash knew as a child — the idyllic, folklore-rich place where she spent her summer holidays. Then there is the Cornwall she discovers when, feeling increasingly dislocated in London, she moves to Newlyn, a fishing town near Land's End. This Cornwall is messier and harder; it doesn't seem like a place that would welcome strangers. Before long, however, Lamorna finds herself on a week-long trawler trip with a crew of local fishermen, afforded a rare glimpse into their world, their warmth and their humour. Out on the water, miles from the coast, she learns how fishing requires you to confront who you are and what it is that tethers you to the land. But she also realises that this proud and compassionate community, sustained and defined by the sea for centuries, is under threat.
"Marks the birth of a new star of non-fiction." —William Dalrymple

Life, A user's manual: Philosophy for (almost) any eventuality by Julian Baggini and Antonia Macaro          $40
There are no easy answers to the big questions, but at least we have the questions. 

Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and me by Deirdre Bair        $33
Becket and Beauvoir lived on essentially the same street, and, apparently, despised each other. Bair wrote incisive biographies of each. How did she juggle these personalities, and the different approaches she needed to take with each of them? 

In the Time of the Manaroans by Miro Bilbrough       $40
In 1978, when Miro Bilbrough was fourteen she was sent to live with her father living by "alternative lifestyle" back-to-the-land principles (and poverty) near Canvastown. Their house is a stopping point for the Manaroans travelling to and from their remote Marlborough commune. 
"A lost world of hippies and drifters breaks into gleaming life. Miro Bilbrough trains a poet's tender, unsparing gaze on growing up female in the anything-goes 1970s. In the Time of the Manaroans lucidly portrays the visions and limits of the counter-culture, as well as all the fearful ecstasy of being young." —Michelle de Kretser

Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? by Jenny Diski       $39
Jenny Diski was a fearless writer, for whom no subject was too difficult, even her own cancer diagnosis. Her columns in the London Review of Books—selected here by her editor and friend Mary-Kay Wilmers, on subjects as various as death, motherhood, sexual politics and the joys of solitude—have been described as "virtuoso performances," and "small masterpieces." From Highgate Cemetery to the interior of a psychiatric hospital, from Tottenham Court Road to the icebergs of Antarctica, Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? is a collective interrogation of the universal experience from a very particular psyche: original, opinionated—and mordantly funny.
"She expanded notions about what nonfiction, as an art form, could do and could be." —New Yorker

Not a Novel: A memoir in pieces by Jenny Erpenbeck         $36
Following astonishing, insightful, and pellucidly written novels, including Visitation and Go, Went, Gone, Erpenbeck turns her pen on herself and reveals aspects of her life, her literary and musical influences and preoccupations, and thoughts on society. Her essays are as astonishing, insightful and pellucidly written as her fiction. 
"Wonderful, elegant, and exhilarating. Ferocious as well as virtuosic." —Deborah Eisenberg
"Her restrained, unvarished prose is overwhelming." —Nicole Krauss
"Erpenbeck's writing writing is a lure that leads us — off-centre as into a vortex — into the most haunted and haunting territory." —Anne Michaels

Signs of Life: To the ends of the earth with a doctor by Stephen Fabes        $45
When Stephen Fabes left his job as a junior doctor and set out to cycle around the world, frontline medicine quickly faded from his mind. Of more pressing concern were the daily challenges of life as an unfit rider on an overloaded bike, helplessly in thrall to pastries. But leaving medicine behind is not as easy as it seems. As he roves continents, he finds people whose health has suffered through exile, stigma or circumstance, and others, whose lives have been saved through kindness and community. After encountering a frozen body of a monk in the Himalayas, he is drawn ever more to healthcare at the margins of the world, to crumbling sanitoriums and refugee camps, to city dumps and war-torn hospital wards.

Hundred: What you learn in a lifetime by  Heike Faller and Valerio Vidali        $48
How does our perception of the world change in the course of a lifetime? When Heike Faller's niece was born she began to wonder what we learn in life, and how we can talk about what we have learnt with those we love. And so she began to ask everyone she met, what did you learn in life? Out of the answers of children's writers and refugees, teenagers and artists, mothers and friends, came 99 'lessons' — each here delightfully illustrated by Valerio Vidali. 

Know Your Place by Golriz Ghahraman        $40
When she was nine, Golriz Ghahraman and her parents were forced to flee their home in Iran. After a terrifying and uncertain journey, they landed in Auckland where they were able to seek asylum and create a new life. Ghahraman talks about making a home in Aotearoa New Zealand, her work as a human rights lawyer, her United Nations missions, and how she became the first refugee to be elected to the New Zealand Parliament.

Feline Philosophy: Cats and the meaning of life by John Gray           $45

The history of philosophy has been a predictably tragic or comical succession of palliatives for human disquiet. Thinkers from Spinoza to Berdyaev have pursued the perennial questions of how to be happy, how to be good, how to be loved, and how to live in a world of change and loss. But perhaps we can learn more from cats—the animal that has most captured our imagination—than from the great thinkers of the world.

Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg           $48
A beautifully drawn and thoughtful graphic novel about the imaginary world invented by the four Brontë siblings when they were children — and what happened to that world when its creators grew up and abandoned it. From the author of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth and The One Hundred Nights of Hero

Specimen by Madison Hamill         $30
Shape-shifting personal essays probing the ways in which a person’s inner and outer worlds intersect and submit to one another. Discomfiting, vivid and funny. 
"I never felt that I was looking at fine writing — only at astonishing writing." —Elizabeth Knox

The Shapeless Unease: A year of not sleeping by Samantha Harvey           $35
Those who cannot sleep are the only ones who do not take sleep for granted. For the insomniac, every detail of their lives is seen in relation to their insomnia. Harvey's insomnia came upon her without warning. This is the poetic and insightful account of how she spent a year under its dominance. 

The Dark is Light Enough: Ralph Hotere, A biographical portrait by Vincent O'Sullivan           $45
Hotere invited O'Sullivan to write his life in 2005, and this nuanced and insightful portrait of one of Aotearoa's most important and interesting artists is the long-awaited and supremely fulfilling result. 

This Pākehā Life: An unsettled memoir by Alison Jones         $40
"This book is about my making sense here, of my becoming and being Pākehā. Every Pākehā becomes a Pākehā in their own way, finding her or his own meaning for that Māori word. This is the story of what it means to me. I have written this book for Pākehā — and other New Zealanders — curious about their sense of identity and about the ambivalences we Pākehā often experience in our relationships with Māori."

Lockdown: Tales from Aotearoa          $35
19 superb graphic novelists and comic artists provide their takes on the New Zealand lockdown and the ways our lives have been changed by the unforeseen events of 2020. Alex Cara, Hana Chatani, Li Chen, Miriama Grace-Smith, Sloane Hong, Ruby Jones, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Toby Morris, Sharon Murdoch, Ross Murray, Ant Sang, Coco Solid, Anthony Stocking (Deadface Comics), Mat Tait, Jessica Thompson Carr (Māori Mermaid), Zak Waipara, Tokerau Wilson, and Jem Yoshioka!

Mantel Pieces by Hilary Mantel         $45
Thirty years of incisive essays from the London Review of Books, including 'Royal Bodies', 'In Bed with Madonna', and ruminations on Jane Boleyn, Robespierre, the murder of James Bulger, Britain's last witch, the Hair Shirt Sisterhood, and numerous other historical, political and social matters. Compelling. 
>>VOLUME feature

A Promised Land by Barack Obama         $70
The first volume of Obama's presidential memoirs. Thoughtful and revealing. 

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

Sweet Time by Weng Pixin              $48
A charming, intimate graphic rumination on love, empathy, and confidence. Singaporean cartoonist Weng Pixin delicately explores strained relationships with a kind of hopefulness while acknowledging their inevitable collapse. 
>>Look inside!

Figuring by Maria Popova          $33
“How, in this blink of existence book-ended by nothingness, do we attain completeness of being?” From the creator of the hugely popular Brainpickings blog.
"A highly original survey of life, love and creativity; an intellectual odyssey that challenges easy categorisation. It interweaves the 'invisible connections' between pioneering scientists, artists and writers to create a tapestry of ideas and biographies. Her approach subverts the idea that lives 'unfold in sensical narratives'. Popova’s unique act of 'figuring' in this book is to create resonances and synchronicities between the lives of visionary figures." —Guardian

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power           $37
A relentless advocate for promoting human rights, Power has been heralded by President Barack Obama as one of America's "foremost thinkers on foreign policy." The Education of an Idealist traces Power's extraordinary journey, from Irish immigrant to human rights activist to war-zone correspondent to United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter        $32
In 1934, the Austrian painter Christiane Ritter travelled to the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen to spend a year with her husband, an explorer and researcher. They lived in a tiny ramshackle hut on the shores of a lonely fjord, hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement. At first, Christiane is horrified by the freezing cold, the bleak landscape the lack of equipment and supplies, but as time passes, and after encounters with bears and seals, long treks over the ice and months on end of perpetual night, she finds herself falling in love with the Arctic's harsh, otherworldly beauty, gaining a sense of inner peace and a new appreciation for the sanctity of life. A rediscovered classic. 

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. 

Intimations: Six essays by Zadie Smith           $16
A series of perceptive essays on the experiences and lessons of lock-down.  "There will be many books written about the year 2020: historical, analytic, political and comprehensive accounts. This is not any of those. What I've tried to do is organize some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me, in those scraps of time the year itself has allowed. These are, above all, personal essays: small by definition, short by necessity. Early on in the crisis, I picked up Marcus Aurelius and for the first time in my life read his Meditations not as an academic exercise, nor in pursuit of pleasure, but with the same attitude I bring to the instructions for a flat-pack table - I was in need of practical assistance. I am no more a Stoic now than I was when I opened that ancient book, but I did come out with two invaluable intimations. Talking to yourself can be useful. And writing means being overheard."

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
>>Read Stella's review

You Have a Lot to Lose: A memoir, 1956—1986 by C.K. Stead        $50
In this second volume of his memoirs, Stead takes us from the moment he left New Zealand for a job in rural Australia, through study abroad, writing and a university career, until he left the University of Auckland to write full time aged fifty-three. It is a tumultuous tale of literary friends and foes (Curnow and Baxter, A. S. Byatt and Barry Humphries and many more) and of navigating a personal and political life through the social change of the 1960s and 70s.
>>"I'm an alien, a book man.
>>'Janet Frame and Me" (extracted from the book)

Māori Philosophy: Indigenous thinking from Aotearoa by Georgina Tuari Stewart          $30
Addresses core philosophical issues including Maori notions of the self, the world, epistemology, the form in which Maori philosophy is conveyed, and whether or not Maori philosophy has a teleological agenda.

The Well Gardened Mind: Rediscovering nature in the modern world by Sue Stuart-Smith             $55
The garden has always been a place of peace and perseverance, of nurture and reward. A garden can provide a family's food, a child's playground, an adult's peaceful retreat. But around the world and throughout history, gardens have often meant something more profound. For Sue Stuart-Smith's grandfather, returning from the First World War weighing six stone, a year-long horticulture course became a life raft for recovering from the trauma. For prisoners in today's justice system, gardening can be a mental escape from captivity which offers, in a context when opportunity is scarce, the chance to take ownership of a project and build something positive up from seed. In The Well Gardened Mind, Stuart-Smith investigates the huge power of the garden and its little-acknowledged effects on health and wellbeing.

Square Haunting: Five women, freedom, and London between the wars by Francesca Wade       $45
Mecklenburgh Square, on the radical fringes of interwar Bloomsbury, was home to activists, experimenters and revolutionaries; among them were the modernist poet H. D., detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power, and writer and publisher Virginia Woolf. They each alighted there seeking a space where they could live, love and, above all, work independently. 
"Outstanding. I'll be recommending this all year." —Sarah Bakewell
"A beautiful and deeply moving book." —Sally Rooney

At the Pond: Swimming at the Hampstead Ladies' Pond by  
Ava Wong Davies, Margaret Drabble, Esther Freud, Nell Frizzell, Eli Goldstone, Amy Key, Jessica J. Lee, Sophie Mackintosh, So Mayer, Deborah Moggach, Nina Mingya Powles, Leanne Shapton, Lou Stoppard and Sharlene Teo       $25
Esther Freud describes the life-affirming sensation of swimming through the seasons; Lou Stoppard pays tribute to the winter swimmers who break the ice; Margaret Drabble reflects on the golden Hampstead days of her youth; Sharlene Teo visits for the first time; and Nell Frizzell shares the view from her yellow lifeguard’s canoe.

The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn         $40
In The Salt Path, Raynor and Moth went out to find the sea, the windswept and wild coastline, to find a way through homelessness, to find themselves again. Now, in The Wild Silence, they come back to what should be home, but four walls no longer feel that way. For Raynor, recovering self-esteem and trust in herself, and in others, is harder than she expected. She continues to face Moth's debilitating illness and struggles to find a way to adjust to a life in one place, unmoving. Then an incredible gesture by someone who read their story changes everything. 
"In this unflinching sequel to The Salt Path, nature provides solace against forebodings of mortality." —Guardian

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