Friday 18 June 2021


The Communicating Vessels by Friederike Mayröcker                         $36
The Austrian poet Friederike Mayröcker met Ernst Jandl in 1954, through the experimental Vienna Group of German-language writers and artists. It was an encounter that would alter the course of their lives. Jandl's death in 2000 ended a partnership of nearly half a century. Taking its cue from the Andre Breton's work of the same name, The Communicating Vessels is an intensely personal and unusual book of mourning, comprised of 140 entries spanning the course of a year and exploring everyday life in the immediate aftermath of Jandl's death. The work, appearing in English for the first time, is paired with And I Shook Myself a Beloved, reflecting on a lifetime of shared books and art, impressions and conversations, memories and dreams.
Rejoice Instead: Collected poems by Peter Hooper           $43
New Zealand West Coast poet, novelist, teacher, bookseller and conservationist Peter Hooper (1919-1991) was described by Colin McCahon, who used his poems in a number of art works, as a 'poet of grace and truth'. His voice on behalf of nature and the environment, and clear insight into where our treatment of the environment was heading, has only deepened in its relevance in the 21st century. 
Bird Collector by Alison Glenny            $28
A patchy archive of hallucinatory field notes, dictionary definitions from inside a dream, and diary entries from an alternate history. This collection of strange poems maintains both excitement and melancholy like the two-edged blade of a letter opener.
"Reading Bird Collector is like walking through the rooms of a nineteenth century house, filled with curiosities but also with a deeper sense of buried trauma: both on a personal and an environmental scale. The fragmentary pieces invite the reader to search for a narrative at the same time as they frustrate this desire—much like the appearance and disappearance of ghosts or spirits. Alison Glenny’s writing suggests a literary lineage that includes Gertrude Stein and Anne Carson. There is a mastery of technique and a skilled repurposing of language and text. I am very much in awe of this work." —Airini Beautrais
"I often think of Emily Dickinson when I read Alison Glenny. There are the same provoking gaps and absences, the same particular gaze; and always — to adapt one of Alison Glenny’s own phrases — the steady habit of turning starlight into song." —Bill Manhire
Mars by Asja Bakić               $37
Mars showcases a series of unique and twisted universes, where every character is tasked with making sense of their strange reality. One woman will be freed from purgatory once she writes the perfect book; another abides in a world devoid of physical contact. With wry prose and skewed humor, an emerging feminist writer explores twenty-first century promises of knowledge, freedom, and power.
"At turns funny, surreal, and grounded in simple language but flung through twisted realities, the stories in this collection are provocative and utterly readable." —The Brooklyn Rail
"This collection of darkly humorous, feminist speculative fiction from the Balkans of sly, uncommon stories by a major talent." —Jeff VanderMeer
Heaven by Mieko Kawakami             $38
The new novel from the author of Breasts and Eggs is told in the voice of a fourteen-year-old student subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, the boy suffers in complete resignation. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate who suffers similar treatment at the hands of her tormenters. The young friends meet in secret in the hopes of avoiding any further attention and take solace in each other's company, completely unaware that their relationship has not gone unnoticed by their bullies.

Ice by Anna Kavan          $28
In a land devastated by war, a nameless narrator pursues an elusive white-haired woman in the clutches of a government official known only as 'The Warden'. Neither will giver her up, but a freak ecological apocalypse is indifferent to their rival claims. As a terrifying wall of ice continues its incursion, freezing everything in its path, it seems that only the white-haired woman is truly resigned to the fate of the world. Ice is hailed as classic of science fiction and a definitive work of the slipstream genre.

Francis Bacon: Revelations by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan         $70
The first biography of this important artist for 25 years.

Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and their chalkboards by Jessica Wynne            $65
While other fields have replaced chalkboards with whiteboards and digital presentations, mathematicians remain loyal to chalk for puzzling out their ideas and communicating their research. Wynne offers more than one hundred stunning photographs of these chalkboards, gathered from a diverse group of mathematicians around the world. The photographs are accompanied by essays from each mathematician, reflecting on their work and processes.
In Bed with the Feminists by Liz Breslin          $30
In these poems, Liz Breslin traces her own truths through Siri, Cixous, supermarkets, spin cycles, pillow gaps facing away from the door and kissing with tongues at the traffic lights. Excavating feminism, mothering and queerness, she writhes into unexamined spaces, using form to play her way. Includes the sequence that was awarded the 2020 Kathleen Grattan Prize.
Noise: A flaw in human judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein          $40
Why do we get things wrong? We make thousands of decisions every day, from minute choices we don't even know we're making to great, agonising deliberations. But when every decision we make is life-changing, the way we reach them matters. And for every decision, there is noise. This book teaches us how to understand all the extraneous factors that impact and bias our decision-making – and how to combat them and improve our thinking. 

Maya's Big Scene by Isabell Arsenault              $37
Maya is a bossy, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers. As both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes—with the help of her friends and subjects—that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

The Book Tour by Andi Watson         $50
Upon the publication of his latest novel, G. H. Fretwell, a minor English writer, embarks on a book tour to promote it. Nothing is going according to plan, and his trip gradually turns into a nightmare. But now the police want to ask him some questions about a mysterious disappearance, and it seems that Fretwell's troubles are only just beginning. Graphic novel. 
The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas            $28
In rural Norway, one evening after school, 11-year-old Siss and Unn strike up a deep and unusual bond. When the next day Unn sets off into the wintry woods in search of a mysterious frozen waterfall, known locally as the 'ice palace', and does not return, a devastated Siss takes it upon herself to find her missing friend.
"How simple this novel is.  How subtle.  How strong.  How unlike any other.  It is unique.  It is unforgettable.  It is extraordinary. —Doris Lessing
Unwell Women: A journey through medicine and myth in a man-made world by Elinor Cleghorn          $38
Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women's bodies, and traces the journey from the 'wandering womb' of ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials in Medieval Europe, through the dawn of Hysteria, to modern day understandings of autoimmune diseases, the menopause and conditions like endometriosis.

Thin Places by Kerri ni Dochartaigh            $33
Kerri ni Dochartaigh was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a grey and impoverished council estate on the wrong side of town. But for her family, and many others, there was no right side. One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year they were forced out of two homes and when she was eleven a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like Kerri's, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape. In Thin Places, a mixture of memoir, history and nature writing, Kerri explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, and how violence and poverty are never more than a stone's throw from beauty and hope. 
"A remarkable piece of writing. I don't think I've ever read a book as open-hearted as this. It resists easy pieties of nature as a healing force, but nevertheless charts a recovery which could never have been achieved without landscape, wild creatures and 'thin places'. Kerri's voice is utterly her own, rich and strange. I've folded down the corners of many pages, marking sentences and moments that glitter out at me." —Robert Macfarlane
"What was Kerri ni Dochartaigh's burden as a child — to exist in 'the gaps between' the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland — has become her gift as a writer. She is sensitive to the legacies of loss and trauma and highly attuned to the gifts of the natural world and the possibilities of place. This is a special, beautiful, many-faceted book." —Amy Liptrot
"An eloquent, moving work of politics, geography and the self. Full of wisdom and deeply engaging." —Sinead Gleeson

The Florentines by Paul Strathern            $37
Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened which transformed the entire culture of western civilisation. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in such a striking fashion that there could be no going back on what had taken place. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely new aspect. Sciences would be born, or emerge in an entirely new guise. The ideas which broke this mould largely began, and continued to flourish, in the city of Florence in the province of Tuscany in northern central Italy, a city with a population comparable to that of contemporary Nelson.
In the early days of the Cold War, a spirit of desperate scientific rivalry birthed a different kind of space race: not the race to outer space that we all know, but a race to master the inner space of the human body. While surgeons on either side of the Iron Curtain competed to become the first to transplant organs like the kidney and heart, a young American neurosurgeon had an even more ambitious thought: Why not transplant the brain? Dr. Robert White was a friend to two popes and a founder of the Vatican's Commission on Bioethics. He developed lifesaving neurosurgical techniques still used in hospitals today and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. But like Dr. Jekyll before him, Dr. White had another identity. In his lab, he was waging a battle against the limits of science, and against mortality itself—working to perfect a surgery that would allow the soul to live on after the human body had died. 
Democracy at Work: A cure for Capitalism by Richard Wolff         $34
"Imagine a country run as a democracy, from the bottom up, not a plutocracy from the top down. Richard Wolff not only imagines it, but in his compelling, captivating and stunningly reasoned new book he details how we get there from here—and why we absolutely must." —Nomi Prins
"Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be, with increasing urgency in the midst of today's serious crises. Richard Wolff's constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times." —Noam Chomsky
The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu            $38
Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. When learns from them that someone is kidnapping children for arcane purposes, she uses a mixture of Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues.
"A fast-moving and entertaining tale, beautifully written." –Ben Aaronovitch (author of the 'Rivers of London' series)
"There is a deeply honed craft in that the most throwaway asides, ones that might be taken as just stage-dressing, are intrinsic to the denouement of the novel, and there is a real satisfaction in seeing how the pieces notch together. But it’s not all fun and games and frights: the novel is serious about disparity, about haves and have-nots, about arbitrary stratifications and codes of behaviour." —The Scotsman
Axe Handbook by Peter Buchanan-Smith, Ross McCammon, Ross Zdon and Michael Getz          $40
Knowing. Buying. Using. Hanging. Restoring. Adorning. A must-have compendium for the axe-wielding adventurer.

The First Kingdom: Britain in the age of Arthur by Max Adams            $65
Somewhere in the shadow time between the departure of the Roman legions in the early fifth century and the arrival in Kent of Augustine's Christian mission at the end of the sixth, the kingdoms of Early Medieval Britain were formed. But by whom? And out of what?

Chapeau! The ultimate guide to men's hats by Pierre Toromanoff         $60
A clear and well illustrated guide to hat styles of the Western traditions. 

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