Friday 21 May 2021


Second Place by Rachel Cusk              $33
From the author of the 'Outline' trilogy, a fable of human destiny and decline, enacted in a closed system of intimate, fractured relationships. A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. Over the course of one hot summer, his provocative presence provides the frame for a study of female fate and male privilege, of the geometries of human relationships, and of the struggle to live morally between our internal and external worlds. With its examination of the possibility that art can both save and destroy us, Second Place is both deeply affirming and deeply scathing of humanity. 
Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri               $29
A woman moves through the city, her city, on her own. She moves along its bright pavements; she passes over its bridges, through its shops and pools and bars. She slows her pace to watch a couple fighting, to take in the sight of an old woman in a waiting room; pauses to drink her coffee in a shaded square. Sometimes her steps take her to her grieving mother, sealed off in her own solitude. Sometimes they take her to the station, where the trains can spirit her away for a short while. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun's vital heat, her perspective will change forever. Written in Lahiri's adopted language, Italian, and translated by her into English, Whereabouts is spare and evocative, demonstrating the shift in the author's literary sensibilities. 
>>Lost, at sea, at odds
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones            $35
Short-listed for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction, this well written multi-generational novel coils its way through issues of race, class and gender in a Barbados where poverty and misogyny lurk under the surface and where a cautionary folk tale takes on multiple meanings for three very different women.
The Voice Over: Poems and essays by Maria Stepanova            $38
Short-listed for 2021 International Booker Prize for In Memory of Memory, Maria Stepanova is one of the most distinctive voices of Russia's first post-Soviet literary generation. An award-winning poet and prose writer, she has also founded a major platform for independent journalism. As Russia's political climate has turned increasingly repressive, Stepanova has responded with engaged writing that grapples with the persistence of violence in her country's past and present. The Voice Over brings together two decades of Stepanova's poetry and essays, showcasing her range and creative evolution.  
Events in the Life of Peter Tapsell by PhillipTapsell, edited by Jonathan Adams             $45
Hans Falk, born in 1790 in Copenhagen, took to the sea as a lad, changed his name to Phillip Tapsell, and after many adventures settled at Maketu in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty. There he became the key trader for Bay of Plenty iwi and married into the highest levels of Te Arawa, while helping other tribes to defend themselves against invasion from northern tribes. He was one of the original Pakeha-Maori. Yet Tapsell's life of daring is not well known today, and the memoirs he dictated to Edward Little shortly before his death were only ever published in newspaper form. Adams's research has given Tapsell's account a context in which to appreciate his importance. 
River Kings: A new history of the Vikings, from Scandinavia to the Silk Road by Cat Jarman            $40
Using a bioarchaeological approach, Jarman follows evidence that suggests a Viking-dominated trade and slave route from Northern Europe to the Middle East, India and beyond, and reconfigures our thinking about the Vikings themselves.  

Family Papers: A Sephardic journey through the twentieth century by Sarah Abrevaya Stein             $38
For centuries, the port city of Salonica was home to the sprawling Levy family. As leading publishers and editors, they helped chronicle modernity as it was experienced by Sephardic Jews across the Ottoman Empire. The wars of the twentieth century, however, redrew the borders around them, in the process transforming the Levys from Ottomans to Greeks. Family members soon moved across boundaries and hemispheres, stretching the familial diaspora from Greece to Western Europe, Israel, Brazil, and India. In time, the Holocaust nearly eviscerated the clan, eradicating whole branches of the family tree. Sarah Abrevaya Stein uses the family's correspondence to tell the story of their journey across the arc of a century and the breadth of the globe. They wrote to share grief and to reveal secrets, to propose marriage and to plan for divorce, to maintain connection. And years after they frayed, Stein discovers, what remains solid is the fragile tissue that once held them together: neither blood nor belief, but papers.
We Are Not in the World by Conor O'Callaghan             $35
Heartbroken after a long, painful love affair, a man drives a haulage lorry from England to France. Travelling with him is a secret passenger—his daughter. Twenty-something, unkempt, off the rails. With a week on the road together, father and daughter must restore themselves and each other, and repair a relationship that is at once fiercely loving and deeply scarred.
"Haunting, mesmerising, and so deeply intelligent about the interwoven strengths and frailties of the human heart." —Kamila Shamsie
"Wonderful, wrenching, full of enormous feelings very precisely rendered." —Sara Baume 
Stranger Shores: Essays, 1986-1999 by J.M. Coetzee             $24
Includes essays on Dostoevsky, Kafka, A.S. Byatt, Doris Lessing, Cees Nooteboom, Borges, and Mahfouz.
"For all the sharpness and sorrow of Coetzee's writing, there is something grandly calming about his style: his sentences seem to give off light, and not in a hard dazzle, but in the glow of a child's night-light." —The Age

The Black Cathedral by Marcial Gala        $38
The Stuart family moves to a marginal neighborhood of Cienfuegos, a city on the southern coast of Cuba. Arturo Stuart, a charismatic, visionary preacher, discovers soon after arriving that God has given him a mission: to build a temple that surpasses any before seen in Cuba, and to make of Cienfuegos a new Jerusalem. In a neighborhood that roils with passions and conflicts, at the foot of a cathedral that rises higher day by day, there grows a generation marked by violence, cruelty, and extreme selfishness. This generation will carry these traits beyond the borders of the neighborhood, the city, and the country, unable to escape the shadow of the unfinished cathedral. Told by a chorus of narrators—including gossips, gangsters, a ghost, and a serial killer—who flirt, lie, argue, and finish one another's stories, Marcial Gala's The Black Cathedral is a portrait of what remains when dreams of utopia have withered away.
There are books out there, some shelved unwittingly next to ordinary texts, that are bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand? In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom, a medical librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind this anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world's most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories? Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, mental patients, beautiful women, and indigents whose lives are bound together in this rare, scattered, and disquieting collection. It also tells the story of the scientists, curators, and librarians like Rosenbloom—interested in the full complicated histories behind these dark artifacts of nineteenth-century medicine—are developing tests to discover these books and sorting through the ethics of custodianship. 
Faking It: My life in transition by Kyle Mewburn             $39
Kyle Mewburn grew up in the sunburnt, unsophisticated Brisbane suburbs of the 1960s and '70s in a household with little love and no books, with a lifelong feeling of being somehow wrong — like 'strawberry jam in a spinach can'. In this book, Kyle describes this early life and her journey to becoming her own person — a celebrated children's book author, a husband and, finally, a woman.
The Power of Geography: Ten maps that reveal the future of the world by Tim Marshall            $38
Marshall's global bestseller Prisoners of Geography showed how every nation's choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Since then, the geography hasn't changed, but the world has. In this new book, Marshall takes us into ten regions that are set to shape global politics and power. Find out why the Earth's atmosphere is the world's next battleground; why the fight for the Pacific is just beginning; and why Europe's next refugee crisis is closer than it thinks. Chapters cover Australia, The Sahel, Greece, Turkey, the UK, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Space.

Cowboy Graves by Roberto Bolaño           $25
Three novellas. In 'Cowboy Graves', Arturo Belano—Bolano's alter ego—returns to Chile after the coup to fight with his comrades for socialism. 'French Comedy of Horrors' takes the reader to French Guiana on the night after an eclipse where a seventeen-year-old answers a pay phone and finds himself recruited into the Clandestine Surrealist Group, a secret society of artists based in the sewers of Paris. And in 'Fatherland', a young poet reckons with the fascist overthrow of his country, as the woman he is obsessed with disappears in the ensuing violence and a Third Reich fighter plane mysteriously writes her poetry in the sky overhead.
The Rise and Fall of Patriarchal Systems by Nancy Folbre            $35
Why is gender inequality so pervasive? In part, says Folbre, because of the contradictory effects of capitalist development: on the one hand, rapid technological change has improved living standards and increased the scope for individual choice for women; on the other, increased inequality and the weakening of families and communities have reconfigured gender inequalities, leaving caregivers particularly vulnerable. The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems examines why care work is generally unrewarded in a market economy, calling attention to the non-market processes of childbearing, childrearing and the care of other dependents, the inheritance of assets, and the use of force and violence to appropriate both physical and human resources. Exploring intersecting inequalities based on class, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and citizenship, and their implications for political coalitions, it sets a new feminist agenda for the twenty-first century.
Oddity by Eli Brown               $22
When her physician father is murdered, thirteen-year-old Clover Elkin embarks on a perilous mission through warring frontier territories to protect the one secret Oddity he left behind. And as she uncovers the truth about her parents and her past, Clover herself emerges as a powerful agent of history.

Hume's radical rethinking of human nature and of our relationship with the world is presented by Baggini as a complete approach to life (and we learn quite a bit about Hume's life, too). 
The Book of the Earthworm by Sally Coulthard               $33
For Charles Darwin – who estimated every acre of land contained 53,000 earthworms – the humble earthworm was the most important creature on the planet. We take them for granted but, without the earthworm, the world's soil would be barren, and our gardens, fields and farms wouldn't be able to grow the food and support the animals we need to survive. 

The Alarmist: Fifty years measuring climate change by Dave Lowe           $40
His research was urgent fifty years ago. Now, it’s critical. In the early 1970s, budding Kiwi scientist Dave Lowe was posted at an atmospheric monitoring station on the wind-blasted southern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. On a shoestring salary he measured carbon in the atmosphere, collecting vital data towards what became one of the most important discoveries in modern science. What followed was a lifetime’s career marked by hope and despair. As realisation dawned of what his measurements meant for the future of the planet, Dave travelled the world to understand more about atmospheric gases, along the way programming some of the earliest computers, designing cutting-edge equipment and conducting experiments both dangerous and mind-numbingly dull. From the sandy beaches of California to the stark winters of West Germany, the mesas of the Rocky Mountains and an Atlantic voyage across the equator, Dave has faced down climate deniers, foot-dragging bureaucracy and widespread complacency to open people’s eyes to the effects of increasing fossil fuel emissions on our atmosphere. In equal parts adventure and a warning, and with the wisdom and frustration of half a century behind him, The Alarmist is the autobiography of a pioneering scientist who has dedicated his life to sounding the alarm on climate change.

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