Friday 1 October 2021


Awake by Harald Voetmann (translated by Johanne Sorgenfri Ottosen)       $36
In a shuttered bedroom in ancient Italy, the sleepless Pliny the Elder lies in bed obsessively dictating new chapters of his Natural History to his slave Diocles. Fat, wheezing, imperious, and prone to nosebleeds, Pliny does not believe in spending his evenings in repose: No—to be awake is to be alive. There's no time to waste if he is to classify every element of the natural world in a single work. By day Pliny the Elder carries out his many civic duties and gives the occasional disastrous public reading. But despite his astonishing ambition to catalog everything from precious metals to the moon, as well as a collection of exotic plants sourced from the farthest reaches of the world, Pliny the Elder still takes immense pleasure in the common rose. After he rushes to an erupting Mount Vesuvius and perishes in the ash, his nephew, Pliny the Younger, becomes custodian of his life's work. But where Pliny the Elder saw starlight, Pliny the Younger only sees fireflies.
"Awake is original, piercing, and richly exhilarating. Voetmann’s text is a sharp reminder of how powerfully and succinctly well-chosen words can create a world, render experiences, and express thoughts—in short, transport us, to places and in ways we could not have imagined." —Claire Messud

Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett           $35
With fierce imagination, a woman revisits the moments that shape her life; from crushes on teachers to navigating relationships in a fast-paced world; from overhearing her grandmothers' peculiar stories to nurturing her own personal freedom and a boundless love of literature. 
>>"Most people were being sold a bit of a lie." 
>>"If there was a revoltion, I'd be there."
>>'The Russian Man'.
>>Read Thomas's review of Pond

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi            $55
Behind the wonderful cookbooks and the iconic restaurant that has made Ottolenghi a household name stands the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, a team of quirky gifted gastronomes who devise, tweak and perfect the recipes you love. In this new book, the team turn their attentions to the contents of your fridge and kitchen cupboards, showing you how to transform humble ingredients into delicious food. The approach is flexible and relaxed, but imbued with that mix of inventiveness and tradition that we have come to expect from anything Ottolenghi. Visit the kitchen that is Ottolenghi's creative hub and enrich your own. 
>>Visit the OTK
All Tito's Children by Tim Grgec            $25
Stjepan and Elizabeta are siblings in Kotoriba, a small village between two rivers in Yugoslavia. They want to know everything about the world. From their tiny corner of communist Europe, small cracks are starting to appear in their adoration of their national leader, Tito. The peoms in All Tito's Children are shadowed by the story of Grgec's own grandparents, who fled communist Yugoslavia in the 1950s and came to New Zealand as refugees. The collection is a multilayered portrait of personal and political disillusionment, deception, escape and loss.

Conversātiō: In the company of bees by Anne Noble          $60
"To fear the sting of a bee and know the sweetness of honey." Renowned New Zealand photographer Anne Noble has become increasingly fascinated with bees: their social complexity, their otherness, their long importance to humans, and the clarity with which they raise the alarm over environmental stress and degradation. This beautifully presented and idiosyncratic book displays Noble's bee photographs, at once sensitive and stunning, and helps us to think in new ways about the bees with which we share our world.
>>Look inside.
>>Noble talks about the book

In the company of bats, owls, moths and seabirds, Annette Lees guides us from dusk to dawn with fascinating night stories: tales of war stealth and ghosts; nights lit by candles and lighthouses; night surfing, fishing, diving and skiing; mountain walking and night navigation on ocean voyaging waka. From the author of Swim

A Good Winter by Gigi Fenster              $37
When Olga's friend Lara becomes a grandmother, Olga helps out whenever she can. After all, it's a big imposition on Lara, looking after her bereaved daughter and the baby. And the new mother is not exactly considerate. But smoldering beneath Olga's sensible support and loving generosity is a deep jealous need to be the centre of Lara's attention and affection-a need that soon becomes a consuming, dangerous and ultimately tragic obsession. Winner of the 2020 Michael Gifkins Prize. 

On the Origin of Species, And other stories by Bo-Young Kim          $39
Straddling science fiction, fantasy and myth, the writings of Bo-Young Kim have garnered a cult following in South Korea. This title makes available for the first time in English some of Kim’s most acclaimed stories, as well as an essay on science fiction. Her strikingly original, thought-provoking work teems with human and non-human beings, all of whom are striving to survive through evolution. 

Egg Marks the Spot ('Skunk and Badger' #2) by Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen        $25
Odd companions Skunk and Badger became firm favourites for many (young and old) with their first book, and now they're back, setting off on a rock-finding expedition that is just bound to be very different from what they were expecting!

Skinny Dip: Poetry edited by Susan Price and Kate De Goldi             $30
Thirty-six poems for young readers from Sam Duckor-Jones, essa may ranapiri, Bill Manhire, Anahera Gildea, Amy McDaid, Kōtuku Nuttall, Ben Brown, Ashleigh Young, Rata Gordon, Dinah Hawken, Oscar Upperton, James Brown, Victor Rodger, Tim Upperton, Lynley Edmeades, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Nina Mingya Powles, Renee Liang and Nick Ascroft. Illustrations by Amy van Luijk.
"Bold and timely. A magnificent range of form from some of our best contemporary voices." —Hera Lindsay Bird

Long Players: Writers on the albums that shaped them edited by Tom Gatti          $37
Our favorite albums are our most faithful companions: we listen to them hundreds of times over decades, we know them far better than any novel or film. These records don't just soundtrack our lives but work their way deep inside us, shaping our outlook and identity, forging our friendships and charting our love affairs. They become part of our story.  In Long Players, fifty authors write about the albums that changed their lives, from Deborah Levy on Bowie to Daisy Johnson on Lizzo, Ben Okri on Miles Davis to David Mitchell on Joni Mitchell, Sarah Perry on Rachmaninov to Bernardine Evaristo on Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Part meditation on the album form and part candid self-portrait, each of these miniature essays reveals music's power to transport the listener to a particular time and place. REM's Automatic for the People sends Olivia Laing back to first love and heartbreak, Bjork's Post resolves a crisis of faith and sexuality for a young Marlon James, while Fragile by Yes instils in George Saunders the confidence to take his own creative path.  This often surprising book both shed new light on authors and on the music. 
>>Lavinia Greenlaw nails White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground. >>Dont you think? 
Kia Kaha: A storybook of Māori who changed the world by Jeremy Sherlock and Stacey Morrison        $45
Featuring people and groups both historic and contemporary, who have achieved great things from land marches and language revival to hip hop and contemporary Maori fashion design, this book will fill readers of all ages, and from all walks of life, with aroha, whanaungatanga and hope for our future. Illustrations by Akoni Pakinga, Haylee Ngaroma, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, Jess Thompson aka Maori Mermaid, Josh Morgan, Kurawaka Productions, Miriama Grace-Smith, Ngaumutane Jones aka Ms Meemo, Reweti Arapete, Taupuruariki Whakataka-Brightwell, Xoe Hall, and Zak Waipara.
Mortals: How the fear of death shaped human society by Rachel E. Menzies and Ross G. Menzies              $40
The human mind can grapple with the future, visualising and calculating solutions to complex problems, giving us advantages over other species throughout our evolutionary history. However, this capability comes with a curse. By five to ten years of age, all humans know where they are ultimately heading: to the grave. Rachel and Ross Menzies examine the major human responses to death across history, from the development of religious systems denying the finality of death to 'immortality projects' involving enduring art, architecture and literature. While some of these have been glorious, like the construction of the pyramids, others have been destructive, leading to global conflicts and genocide. The authors hypothesise that worse is to come — our unconscious dread of death has led to the rampant consumerism and overpopulation of the 20th century, which has driven the global warming and pandemic crises that now threaten our very existence. In a terribly irony, Homo sapiens may ultimately be destroyed by our knowledge of our own mortality.
When I Am Bigger: Counting numbers big and small by Maria Dek            $40
A completely delightful and stimulating book about how numbers are often central to the wildness of our imaginations. 

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak            $37
"The Island of Missing Trees is an even-handed portrayal of tragedy in Cyprus through the eyes of a bereaved man and his daughter, Ada, surrounded by secrets, and an olive tree. The use of the olive tree as a witness may sound fanciful, but in the hands of Shafak, it works by connecting the natural world with the human history of this place, and this olive tree is a beautiful storyteller of love, longing and redemption. The Island of Missing Trees is a love story, an ode to the power of nature and the memory of trees, an unwavering look at a confrontation (which continues to flare up) and the ways in which land absorbs tragedy, a warning about the power of untold secrets and the ability to survive them, and a reminder to take the best of who you are, culturally, emotionally and politically, to enable you to walk forward and choose a better path." —Stella
>>Read Stella's review
Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan by Jean Daive             $35
"Daive's memoir sensitively conjures a portrait of a man tormented by both his mind and his medical treatment but who nonetheless remained a generous friend and a poet for whom writing was a matter of life and death." —The New Yorker
"Jean Daive's memoir of his brief but intense spell as confidant and poetic confr re of Paul Celan offers us unique access to the mind and personality of one of the great poets of the dark twentieth century." —J.M. Coetzee
I Laugh Me Broken by Bridget van der Zijpp               $30
Ginny is feeling lighter and heavier at the same time. She’s just learned from her cousin about a devastating genetic inheritance – but the revelation has brought a new logic to her mother’s death many years before, and to her mother’s love. Leaving her fiancé in the dark, Ginny flees to Germany to research a novel about the maverick sea captain Count von Luckner, who was lauded for his courage. ‘What was courage anyway?’ she wonders. ‘Did it rise up out of some kind of counter-pressure?’ Navigating transient, hedonistic Berlin on her own, she absorbs the city’s tangle of stories as she tries to gather the strength to face her future.
A Queer Existence: The lives of young gay men in Aotearoa New Zealand by Mark Beehre          $45
A Queer Existence is a major documentary project that uses photographic portraiture and oral history to record the life experiences of a group of 27 gay men born since the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986. In New Zealand, discrimination in work was outlawed in 1993, same-sex relationships were granted legal recognition in 2005, and marriage equality followed in 2013. In 2018 Parliament apologised to those whose lives had been blighted by criminal prosecution for expressing their sexuality.

Tales from the Folly: A 'Rivers of London' short story collection by Ben Aaronovitch            $36
A gathering of previously published stories and brand new tales. Discover what's haunting a lonely motorway service station, who still wanders the shelves of a popular London bookshop, and what exactly happened to the River Lugg...
Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman           $38
In 1970, activist Abbie Hoffman sat in Cook County jail, awaiting what would become known as the Trial of the Chicago Seven. Hoffman and six conspirators were prosecuted by the US government for their part in anti-Vietnam War and counterculture protests outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention. While in jail Hoffman began to write Steal This Book. Labelled by publishers as a book that would "end free speech" and causing scandals with its advice on how to get free food, housing, transportation, medical care, and more, as well as how to run a guerrilla movement, Steal This Book is a revolutionary's manual to "survival in the prison that is Amerika." 50th anniversary edition. [BTW Please don't!]

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