Friday 15 October 2021


She's a Killer by Kirsten McDougall          $30
The world’s climate is in crisis and New Zealand is being divided and reshaped by privileged immigrant wealthugees. Thirty-something Alice has a near-genius IQ and lives at home with her mother with whom she communicates by Morse code. Alice’s imaginary friend, Simp, has shown up, with a running commentary on her failings. The last time Simp was here was when Alice was seven, on the night a fire burned down the family home. Now Simp seems to be plotting something. When Alice meets a wealthugee named Pablo, she thinks she’s found a way out of her dull existence. But then she meets Pablo’s teenage daughter, Erika – an actual genius full of terrifying ambition.
"A claustrophobic eco-thriller with a gloriously unreliable narrator, She’s a Killer is tense and sharp, and feels unnervingly prescient." –Brannavan Gnanalingam
"Equipped with an exhilaratingly badly-behaved protagonist, She’s a Killer builds from a slice of very strange life into a thriller by way of a succession of stunning comic set pieces. You’ll laugh—a lot. And then you’ll cry and be really surprised about it since you were laughing so much." –Elizabeth Knox
>>The first person
Speak, Silence: In search of W.G. Sebald by Carole Angier              $65
Through books such as The Emigrants, Austerlitz and The Rings of Saturn, Sebald pursued an original literary vision that combined fiction, history, autobiography and photography and addressed some of the most profound themes of contemporary literature: the burden of the Holocaust, memory, loss and exile. The first biography to explore his life and work, Speak, Silence pursues the 'true' Sebald through the memories of those who knew him and through the work he left behind. 
>>Ensnaring Sebald
Fight Night by Miriam Toews           $48
You are a small thing, and you must learn to fight. Swiv has taken her grandmother's advice too literally. Now she's at home, suspended from school. Her mother is pregnant and preoccupied — and so Swiv is in the older woman's charge, receiving a very different form of education from a teacher with a style all her own. Grandma likes her stories fast, troublesome and funny. She's known the very worst that life can throw at you - and has met it every time with a wild, unnamable spirit, fighting for joy and independence every step of the way. But will maths lessons based on Amish jigsaws and classes on How to Dig a Winter Grave inspire the same fire in Swiv, and ensure it never goes out? Time is running short. Grandma's health is failing, the baby is on the way, as a family of three extraordinary women prepare to face life's great changes together.
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed          $37
Mahmood Mattan is a father, a chancer, a petty thief. Many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer. So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn’t too worried — secure in his innocence in a country where justice is served. But as the trial nears, it starts to dawn on him that he is in a fight for his life — against conspiracy, prejudice and the ultimate punishment. In the shadow of the hangman’s noose, he realises that the truth may not be enough to save him.
Bewilderment by Richard Powers               $35
Theo Byrne is an astrobiologist. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old. Robin is loving, funny and full of plans to save the world. He is also about to be expelled, for smashing his friend’s face in with a metal thermos. What can a father do, when the only solution offered is to put his boy on psychoactive drugs? What can he say, when his boy asks why we are destroying the world? The only thing to do is to take the boy to other planets, while helping him to save this one.
On an unnamed archipelago off the east coast of Britain, women control the civic institutions, decide how the islands' money is spent, run the businesses, tend to their families, teach the children hope for a better world. They say that this gynotopia is Eva Levi's life's work, and that now she has disappeared, it will be destroyed. But they don't know about Cwen. Cwen has been here longer than the civilisation she has returned to haunt. The clouds are her children, and the waves. Her name has ancient roots, reaching down into the earth and halfway around the world. The islands she inhabits have always belonged to women. And she will do anything she can to protect them...
"A clever, strange and wonderful book, which brims with mystery. A group of women recount their past and present stories, revealing their visions of the future. Cwen is a rare book, bold and powerful." —Xiaolu Guo
"A wild, original, sure-footed feminist reimagining of the present and the past that brushes up against the mythical. It reminds us, eloquently and passionately, what is or can be possible, and in its depiction of a revolution becomes a revolutionary book itself. Beautiful work." —Neel Mukherjee
The Woman in the Purple Jacket by Natsuko Imamura           $33
The Woman in the Purple Skirt seems to live in a world of her own. She appears to glide through crowded streets without acknowledging any reaction her presence elicits. Each afternoon, she sits on the same park bench, eating a pastry and ignoring the local children who make a game of trying to get her attention. She may not know it, but the Woman in the Purple Skirt being watched. Someone is following her, always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes; what she eats; whom she speaks to. But this invisible observer isn't a stalker — no, it's much more complicated than that. Beautifully written and darkly comic, this novel tells the stories of two women whose lives become strangely entwined. 
>>Read and extract. 
The Architect and the Artists: Hackshaw, McCahon, Dibble—The collaborative projects, 1965—1979 by Bridget Hackshaw           $65
A nicel presented book about the remarkable collaboration between the modernist architect James Hackshaw (a member, for a time, of the famous Group Architects), the painter Colin McCahon, and the then young sculptor Paul Dibble on 12 New Zealand buildings — from churches to school halls. Drawing on interviews with James Hackshaw before his death and on the McCahon archive, this book brings into the light a body of work and a collaboration that has hitherto been little known or examined. Illustrated with Hackshaw's plans, McCahon's drawings, letters and journal entries, and contemporary images of the surviving buildings and artworks, the book includes essays by Peter Simpson, Julia Gatley, Peter Shaw and Alexa Johnston.
The Penguin Book of Spanish Short Stories edited by Margaret Jull Costa        $65
A beautifully presented selection of over fifty short stories, from established names to new discoveries, from the nineteenth century to today. 
>>Other books in this series
No Time for Silence: Words of survival, resilience and hope edited by Ash Brockwell        $35
An international anthology of poetry by trans and non-binary writers, including Nelson's Te Urukeiha Tuhua. 
On Freedom: Four songs of care and constraint by Maggie Nelson              $40
So often deployed as a jingoistic, even menacing rallying cry, or limited by a focus on passing moments of liberation, the rhetoric of freedom both rouses and repels. Does it remain key to our autonomy, justice, and well-being, or is freedom's long star turn coming to a close? Does a continued obsession with the term enliven and emancipate, or reflect a deepening nihilism (or both)? On Freedom examines such questions by tracing the concept's complexities in four distinct realms—art, sex, drugs, and climate.
>>Nelson in conversation with Hari Kunzru
And the Band Played On: People, politics, and the AIDS epidemic by Randy Shilts             $28
Randy Shilts was the first openly gay journalist dealing with gay issues for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1981, the year when AIDS came to international attention, he quickly devoted himself to reporting on the developing epidemic, one which devastated his community and eventually took his life as well. Shilts interviewed over 1,000 people, weaving together extensive research in the form of personal stories and political reportage. He was perfectly placed to understand the cultural, medical and political impact of the disease on the gay community and United States society as a whole. And the Band Played On exposes why AIDS was allowed to spread while the medical and political authorities ignored and even denied the threat.
"A heroic work of journalism on what must rank as one of the foremost catastrophes of modern history." —The New York Times
Truthmaker ('The Severed Land' #2) by Tony Chapelle         $20
"This sequel captures the essence of my novel and takes my characters on a tense and dangerous journey through the world of The Severed Land." —Maurice Gee. Picking up where The Severed Land left off, this suspense-filled novel continues the story of the brave ex-slave Fliss. Despite her idyllic life behind the safety of the wall, she can't help longing for someone special to fill the vague sense of loneliness that nags at her. That is until a young man appears, preaching peace and unity. His arrival, however, is about to send Fliss and her friend Minnie back through the wall on a hazardous mission. 

Walking the Invisible: Following in the Brontës' footsteps by Michael Stewart          $38
This walking tour of the north of England is a celebration of the Brontës’ work and a love letter to the windy places that inspired them—and others.

The Web of Meaning: Integrating science and traditional wisdom to find our place in the universe by Jeremy Lent          $55
As our civilisation careens toward climate breakdown, ecological destruction, and gaping inequality, people are losing their existential moorings. The dominant worldview of disconnection, which tells us we are split between mind and body, separate from each other, and at odds with the natural world, has been invalidated by modern science. Lent investigates humanity's age-old questions — Who am I? Why am I? How should I live? — from a fresh perspective, weaving together findings from modern systems thinking, evolutionary biology, and cognitive neuroscience with insights from Buddhism, Taoism, and Indigenous wisdom. Jeremy Lent is the author of The Patterning Instinct
A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes: A son's memoir of Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha by Rodrigo Garcia            $35
In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, came down with a cold. The woman who had been beside him for more than fifty years, his wife Mercedes Barcha, was not hopeful; her husband, affectionately known as 'Gabo', was then nearly 87 and battling dementia. I don't think we'll get out of this one, she told their son Rodrigo. Hearing his mother's words, Rodrigo wondered, “Is this how the end begins?” To make sense of events as they unfolded, he began to write the story of García Márquez's final days. The result is this intimate and honest account that not only contemplates his father's mortality but reveals his remarkable humanity.
Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznik            $30
A ship. A garden. A library. A key. Using pictures and words, Brian Selznick presents the story of two people bound to each other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their relationship is a mystery about the nature of grief and love which will look different to each reader.
In the Kitchen: Essays on food and life                 $25
In these essays thirteen writers consider the subjects of cooking and eating and how they shape our lives, and the possibilities and limitations the kitchen poses. Rachel Roddy traces an alternative personal history through the cookers in her life; Rebecca May Johnson considers the radical potential of finger food; Ruby Tandoh discovers a new way of thinking about flavour through the work of writer Doreen Fernandez; Yemisi Aribisala remembers a love affair in which food failed as a language; and Julia Turshen considers food's ties to community, Nina Mingya Powles considers the various food traditions of her family. 
It's Not What You Thought It Would Be by Lizzy Stewart            $48
A remarkable graphic novel, 
"This brilliant debut collection explores the intensity of teenage ennui and female friendship, with a deft feel for its slights and tensions. Almost without exception, the gorgeous, clever short stories in Lizzy Stewart’s It’s Not What You Thought It Would Be are preoccupied with girlhood, as seen through the eyes of women who are now old enough and wise enough to understand all the stuff that was once beyond their comprehension. Several touch on place and the idea of escape, and at least one explores, quite brilliantly, how women are both seen, and not seen, out in the world. The very best of them, however, encompass both teenage boredom, the fretful ennui that we tend to mourn as adults even as we recall how we longed to escape it, and the special intensity of female friendships, particularly those that go all the way back to the awkward, geeky years before we reinvented ourselves." —Rachel Cooke, The Guardian
The Happy Reader: Issue 16          $12
Includes an interview with Moses Sumney by Jia Tolentino, and features on Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali.

When the log princess goes missing, her brother, the little wooden robot, sets out on an epic adventure to find her. He will encounter goblins, magic puddings, a mushroom queen and a very intimidating wood pile as he seeks to bring his sister home.
"Tom Gauld has created a masterful classic fairytale of a picture book that hits in all the right ways. In his inimitable style, he has squeezed royalty, robots, witches, inventors, trolls, sea-captains, forests, ghosts, and... beetles(!) into a beautiful, odd, adventurous and satisfying story. All wrapped up, of course, with the bow of sibling love. " —Oliver Jeffers

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