Thursday 31 December 2020


Colouring My Soul by Kat Maxwell           $25
Maxwell's remarkably raw and direct stories and spare, effective style evoke a childhood in a whānau marked by deprivation, misfortune and strength. 
"I write because my stories bruise my brain until they’re written. They fell out of my fingers one day after I had been nostalgic remembering my childhood and my aunties, my nanny and my koro, and all my cousins."
“Kat Maxwell writes vividly and with raw emotion. She’s inside her world, she knows how it works, her stories are brave and bare.”—Maurice Gee
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The last interview and other conversations           $36
Ginsburg details her rise from a Brooklyn public school to becoming the second woman on the United States Supreme Court, and her non-stop fight for gender equality along the way. Besides telling the story behind many of her famous court battles, she also talks openly about motherhood and her partnership with her beloved husband, her Jewishness, her surprising friendship with her legal polar opposite Justice Antonin Scalia, her passion for opera, and offers advice to high school students wondering about the law. 
Letters of Denis Glover selected and edited by Sarah Shieff           $80

"Oh Christ, a bloody ½ witted student, for purposes of an essay, has just come in to ask me what I and Baxter write verse for, and if we mean what we say, or is there something deeper; could we write better verse in England, or here; or do the critics and professors just read a lot into what’s said that isn’t there? So much. And I have been very rude indeed." – Letter to John Reece Cole, 16 August 1949

The Imaginary Museum by Ben Eastham             $23
With the help of a cast of critics, guards, curators, artists, protestors and ghosts, Eastham explores the idea that the value of art is not to be found in what it means, but in what it does to you.
“The Imaginary Museum is the most inventive writing on art I’ve read in a long while. By inviting us into his made-up institution, Ben Eastham opens up a space for reflection on how contemporary art helps us make sense of ourselves and the world around us. This is a brilliant book – a museum in the form of a parable.”  —Lauren Elkin
“Ben Eastham is a critic with intelligence, verve and delirious wit, and in this essay he makes a lovely experiment with art criticism: proposing contemporary art as a charmed space for us all to explore a radical and comical subjectivity – flâneurs freed from the illusion of connoisseurship.” —Adam Thirlwell

The 99% Invisible City: A field guide to the hidden world of everyday design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt           $60
The most effective design is often the design that we don't notice, the design of the objects, spaces and systems we use every day. This fascinating book helps us to appreciate the world around us in new ways. 
Must I Go by Yiyun Li             $48
Lilia Liska is 81. She has shrewdly outlived three husbands, raised five children and seen the birth of seventeen grandchildren. Now she has turned her keen attention to a strange little book published by a vanity press—the diary of a long-forgotten man named Roland Bouley, with whom she once had a fleeting affair. Drawn into an obsession over this fragment of intimate history, Lilia begins to annotate the diary with her own, rather different version of events. Gradually she undercuts Roland's charming but arrogant voice with her sharply incisive and deeply moving commentary. She reveals to us the surprising, long-held secrets of her own life. And she returns inexorably to her daughter, Lucy, who took her own life at the age of 27. How does the past shape the future? How do we live in the face of the unanswerable? 
"This brilliant novel examines lives lived, losses accumulated, and the slipperiness of perception. Yiyun Li writes deeply, drolly, and with elegance about history, even as it's happening. She is one of my favorite writers, and Must I Go is an extraordinary book." —Meg Wolitzer
The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris          $40
Kindred in spirit to their previous collaboration The Lost Words but intriguingly new in form, pocket-sized gem The Lost Spells introduces another beautiful set of word-poems and artwork. 
Patti Smith — Camera Solo            $55
For more than four decades, Patti Smith has documented sights and spaces infused with personal significance. Her visual work possesses the same unfiltered, emotional quality prevalent in her poetry and music lyrics: their allure lies in their often dreamlike imagery; their modest scale belies their depth and power. Using either a vintage Land 100 or a Land 250 Polaroid camera, Patti Smith photographs subjects inspired by her connections to poetry and literature as well as pictures that honor the personal effects of those she admires or loves.

PANdemIC! Covid 19 shakes the world by Slavoj Žižek        $30
We live in a moment when the greatest act of love is to stay distant from the object of your affection. When governments renowned for ruthless cuts in public spending can suddenly conjure up trillions. When toilet paper becomes a commodity as precious as diamonds. And when, according to Žižek, a new form of communism—the outlines of which can already be seen in the very heartlands of neoliberalism—may be the only way of averting a descent into global barbarism.
Solitude and Company: The life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez told with help from his friends, family, fans, arguers, fellow pranksters, drunks, and a few respectable souls by Silvana Paternostro               $37
Did Gabriel García Márquez survived his own self-creation?

Victors' Justice, From Nuremberg to Baghdad by Danilo Zolo             $33
An argument against the manipulation of international penal law by the West, combining historical detail, juridical precision and philosophical analysis. Zolo's key thesis is that contemporary international law functions as a two-track system—a made-to-measure law for the hegemons and their allies, on the one hand, and a punitive regime for the losers and the disadvantaged, on the other. Though it constantly advertised its impartiality and universalism, international law served to bolster and legitimize, ever since the Tokyo and Nuremberg trials, a fundamentally unilateral and unequal international order.
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler, translated by Philip Boehm             $24
From a prison cell in an unnamed country run by a totalitarian government Rubashov reflects. Once a powerful player in the regime, mercilessly dispensing with anyone who got in the way of his party's aims, Rubashov has had the tables turned on him. He has been arrested and he'll be interrogated, probably tortured and certainly executed. 
This excellent new translation from Koestler's original, long-lost manuscript adds further dimension and nuance to this classic, hitherto known in English only in a rather inept and incomplete translation from 1940. 

Helen Garner's second volume of diaries charts a tumultuous stage in her life. Beginning in 1987, as she embarks on an affair that she knows will be all-consuming, and ending in 1995 with the publication of The First Stone and the bombshell that followed it, Garner grapples with what it means for her sense of self to be so entwined with another—how to survive as an artist in a partnership that is both thrilling and uncompromising.
Snake by Erica Wright           $22
Feared and worshiped in equal measure, snakes have captured the imagination of poets, painters, and philosophers for centuries. From Ice Age cave drawings to Snakes on a Plane, this creature continues to enthrall the public. But what harm has been caused by our mythologising? While considering the dangers of stigma, Erica Wright moves from art and pop culture to religion, fetish, and ecologic disaster. This book considers how the snake has become more symbol than animal, a metaphor for how we treat whatever scares us the most, whether or not our panic is justified.

Girl With a Sniper Rifle: An Eastern Front memoir by Yulia Zhukova         $35
Yulia was a dedicated member of the Komsomol (the Soviet communist youth organisation) and her parents worked for the NKVD. She started at the sniper school in Podolsk and eventually became a valued member of her battalion during operations against Prussia. She persevered through eight months of training before leaving for the Front on 24th November 1944 just days after qualifying. Joining the third Belorussian Front her battalion endured rounds of German mortar as well as loudspeaker announcements beckoning them to come over to the German side and witnessed Nazi atrocities as the war drew towards its end. 
I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Ray Padgett       $22
When the tribute album by various artists I'm Your Fan was released in 1991, Cohen's popularity was at a low. Did this album of covers resuscitate his career?
There is a Britain that exists outside of the official histories and guidebooks—places that lie on the margins. This is the Britain of industrial estates, and tower blocks, of motorway service stations and haunted council houses, of roundabouts and flyovers, places where modern life speeds past but where people and stories nevertheless collect—places where human dramas play out: stories of love, violence, fear, boredom and artistic expression, places of ghost sightings, first kisses, experiments with drugs, refuges for the homeless, hangouts for the outcasts.  Struck by the power of these stories and experiences, Gareth Rees set out to explore these spaces and the essential part they have played in the history and geography of Britain. 

Sealand: The true story of the world's most stubborn micronation by Dylan Taylor-Lehman          $38
In 1967, retired army major and self-made millionaire Paddy Roy Bates inaugurated himself ruler of the Principality of Sealand on a World War II Maunsell Sea Fort near Felixstowe. Having fought off attacks from UK government officials and armed mercenaries for half a century—and thwarted an attempted coup that saw the Prince Regent taken hostage—the self-proclaimed independent nation still stands. It has its own constitution, national flag and anthem, currency, and passports. 
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong           $25
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette's first love—and first betrayal. But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can't stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
14 ngā Tohu Aroha ka Tukuna by Wayne Youle          $20
When we’re apart from the ones we love, how do we get our kisses to them? We blow them! The blown kisses in this charming book travel far—tied to a rocket, attached to a pigeon, kicked like a rugby ball, and many other imaginative ways. Wayne Youle (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Ngāti Pākehā) lived in isolation for 14 days during the COVID-19 lockdown. He created 14 ways to share blown kisses with his sons.
Exit by Laura Waddell            $22
Exits are all around us. They are the difference between travelling and arriving, being on the inside or outside. Whether signposted or subversive, personal or political, choices or holes we've fallen through, exits determine how we move around our lives, cities, and the world. What does it really mean to 'exit'? In these meditations on exits in architecture, transport, ancestry, language, garbage, death, Sesame Street and Brexit, Laura Waddell follows the neon and the pictograms of exit signs to see what's on the other side. 
Best wishes for the new year!

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