Friday 3 September 2021


The Magician by Colm Tóibín            $38
Tóibín brings his immense sympathies and verbal prowess to bear upon the life of Thomas Mann, a writer forced to cope with the turmoil of both public and private life because of war, exile and suicide. Mann's re-evaluation of his relationship to his homeland and his family underlies his novels, and Tóibín reveals the many layers and contradictions of a complex genius. 
"This is not just a whole life in a novel, it's a whole world." —Katharina Volckmer
"The Magician is a remarkable achievement. Mann himself, one feels certain, would approve." —John Banville
Clairvoyant of the Small: The life of Robert Walser by Susan Bernofsky          $60
"Susan Bernofsky's deep and decades-long involvement with Robert Walser's work has resulted in a meticulously researched, lively narrative and astute critical study of this complex and appealing writer. Clairvoyant of the Small is one of the best biographies I've read in a long time." —Lydia Davis
>>Some books by or about Walser (mostly translated by Bernofsky). 
How I Became a Tree by Sumana Roy            $50
"I was tired of speed. I wanted to live tree time." Drawn to trees' wisdom, their nonviolent way of being, their ability to cope with loneliness and pain, Roy movingly explores the lessons that writers, painters, photographers, scientists, and spiritual figures have gleaned through their engagement with trees—from Rabindranath Tagore to Tomas Tranströmer, Ovid to Octavio Paz, William Shakespeare to Margaret Atwood. Her stunning meditations on forests, plant life, time, self, and the exhaustion of being human evoke the spacious, relaxed rhythms of the trees themselves.
København: Urban architecture and public spaces by Eva Herrmann, Sandra Hofmeister, and Jakob Schoof            $130
This book reveals Copenhagen's enviable quality of life to be inseparable from the quality if its built spaces. It leads its readers on a tour of exploration, visiting architecture projects and surprising districts between Ørestad and Nordhavn. A total of over 25 exceptional buildings, urban squares and public spaces created in the past 10 years are presented. Documented with photographs, general plans and texts, these projects paint an image of a generation of architects and planners who are not afraid to employ novel solutions.
The Eloquence of the Sardine: The secret lives of fish and other underwater mysteries by Bill François        $38
Humans have identified just a fraction of the 2.2 million species living in the sea. Roughly 91% of all marine species remain unknown: myths still to be written, discoveries still to be made, blank pages with room to dream. François invites us on a whistle-stop global tour to reveal the mysteries of the sea, beginning with the simple eloquence of the sardine. He unpicks the sound of the sea - an underwater symphony orchestra voiced by a choir of fish - and deciphers the latest scientific discoveries on the immunity of coral and the changing gender of wrasses. We visit the depths of underwater Paris as François delves into the mysterious world of the eel and explore an extraordinary three-generational friendship between humans and killer whales, and the role a shoal of herrings played in Cold War tensions. Throughout, François brings the inner workings of fish to life - their language, their emotions, their societal rituals. He also makes a case for why we should look to the sea for inspiration for improving society and investigates the shocking journey from sea to plate.
The Red Deal: Indigenous action to save our Earth by The Red Nation           $35
An interesting and informative look at efforts towards decolonisation in North America, with parallels to those in contemporary Aotearoa. The Red Deal is a political program for the liberation that emerges from the oldest class struggle in the Americas—the fight by Native people to win sovereignty, autonomy, and dignity. As the Red Nation proclaims, it is time to reclaim the life and future that has been stolen, come together to confront climate disaster, and build a world where all life can thrive. One-part visionary platform, one-part practical toolkit, The Red Deal is a call to action for everyone, including non-Indigenous comrades and relatives who live on Indigenous land. Offering a vision for a decolonised society, The Red Deal is an affirmation that colonialism and capitalism must be overturned for this planet to be habitable for human and other-than-human relatives to live dignified lives; and a pact with movements for liberation, life, and land for a new world of peace and justice that must come from below and to the left. The Red Nation is dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism and centers Native political agendas and struggles through direct action, advocacy, and education.
Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere / The Kuia and the Spider by Patricia Grace and Robyn Kahukiwa (translated by Hirini Melbourne)                $20
Who's the best at weaving, the kuia or the spider? They decide to ask their grandchildren... The beloved 1981 story is now available in a dual reo Maori and English text. 
Te Tuna Wātakirihi me ngā Tamariki o Te Tiriti o Toa / Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street by Patricia Grace and Robyn Kahukiwa (translated by Hirini Melbourne)            $20
What special gifts does the magical Tuna bring the children of Cannon's Creek? Since its publication in 1984, this wonderful, joyous story about a magical eel that presents cultural treasures to a group of Maori, Pasifika and Pakeha children, who then use their gifts to enrich their neighbourhood, has been essential to any child's library.
Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism by Amelia Horgan             $38
 For young people today, the old assumptions are crumbling; hard work in school no longer guarantees a secure, well-paying job in the future. Far from equating to riches and fulfillment, 'work' increasingly means precarity, anxiety and alienation. Amelia Horgan poses three big questions: what is work? How does it harm us? And what can we do about it? Along the way, she explores the many facets of work under Capitalism: its encroachment on our personal lives; the proliferation of temporary and zero-hours contracts; burnout; and how different jobs are gendered or racialised. While abolishing work altogether is not the answer, Lost in Work shows that when workers are able to take control of their workplaces, they become less miserable, and become empowered to make change throughout society. 
Take Me With You When You Go by David Levithan and Jennifer Niven         $21
Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. No note, no sign, nothing but an email address hidden somewhere only he would find it. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother—how is he supposed to navigate life without Bea? Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible But a message in her inbox changes everything, and she finds herself alone in a new city—without Ez, without a real plan—chasing someone who might not even want to be found.   As things unravel at home for Ezra, Bea will confront secrets about their past that will forever change the way they think about their family. Together and apart, broken by abuse but connected by love, this brother and sister must learn to trust themselves before they can find a way back to each other.
The Dawn of Language: How We Came to Talk by Sverker Johansson           $38
Drawing on evidence from many fields, including archaeology, anthropology, neurology and linguistics, Sverker Johansson weaves these disparate threads together to show how our human ancestors evolved into language users. The Dawn of Language provides a fascinating survey of how grammar came into being and the differences or similarities between languages spoken around the world, before exploring how language eventually emerged in the very remote human past. Our intellectual and physiological changes through the process of evolution both have a bearing on our ability to acquire language. But to what extent is the evolution of language dependent on genes, or on environment? How has language evolved further, and how is it changing now, in the process of globalisation? And which aspects of language ensure that robots are not yet intelligent enough to reconstruct how language has evolved?
The Tiny Explorers by Kat Macleod            $30
If you were very very small, the back garden would be full of wonderful discoveries. In this beautifully illustrated book, some tiny children explore and find them. 
Flower: Exploring the world in bloom by Anna Pavord and Shane Connolly            $90
A journey across continents and cultures to discover the endless ways artists and image-makers have employed floral motifs throughout history. Showcasing the diversity of blooms from all over the world, Flower spans a wide range of styles and media — from art, botanical illustrations, and sculptures to floral arrangements, film stills, and textiles — and follows a visually stunning sequence with works, regardless of period, thoughtfully paired to allow interesting and revealing juxtapositions between them.

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