Friday 29 October 2021


The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman         $48
Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STÄDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She's hard-working, obsessive, and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It's been years since she's let anyone in. But when Ava's new boss—the young and magnetic Mat Putnam—offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up—and, despite her instincts, she becomes enamored. But Mat isn't who he claims to be, and the romance takes a sharp turn... The Very Nice Box is at once a send-up of male entitlement and a big-hearted account of grief, friendship, and trust.
"Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman are linguistic magicians, and their sparkling debut manages to expose the hollowness of well-being jargon while exploring, with tender care and precision, how we dare to move on after unspeakable loss. They have constructed a mirrored fun house, one that leads us down different paths, each masterfully tied up at the end, yet reflecting and refracting our own quirky selves." —New York Times Book Review
"A very funny debut—and perhaps the most original office satire of the year." —Washington Post
See what happens if you say yes. 
Empty Houses by Brenda Navarro (Translated by Sophie Hughes)          $23
A child has disappeared from the park where he was playing. In the days that follow, his mother is distraught. She is tormented by his absence but also by her own ambivalence: did she even want him in the first place? In a working-class neighbourhood on the other side of Mexico City another woman protects her stolen child. As the novel switches between the voices of these two women, Empty Houses explores the desires, regrets and social pressures of motherhood - from the mother who lost her child to the new mother who risked everything to take him.
The Sea Walks into a Wall by Anne Kennedy       $25
"A new book by Anne Kennedy, one of our most exciting and innovative poets, is always a cause for celebration. These poems, like her mind, are a treasure trove – full of wit, intelligence, innovation, challenge, beauty and a whole lot of heart." —Helen Rickerby
"Anne Kennedy celebrates and memorialises the world in a state of flux, at once dynamic, absurd and magical. Her poems are funny, sceptical and impassioned by turns, and always finely calibrated. Ultimately, she writes about the minor daily miracles of life itself, the narratives of the moment, the human surplus that eludes legal tidiness and finality of judgement." —David Eggleton
The Ark Sakura by Kobo Abe           $26
In anticipation of a coming nuclear apocalypse, Mole has converted a huge underground quarry into an 'ark'. While searching for his crew, he falls for the tricks of a wily insect dealer and his friends. In the surreal drama that ensues, the ark is invaded by first a gang of youths and then a sinister group of elderly people, before Mole himself becomes trapped in the ark's central piece of equipment. Desperate and hilarious.

Across the Pass: A collection of tramping writing edited by Shaun Barnett          $45
Tramping is a journey into mountainous country, across passes, along ridges, beside rivers or through forests. It is a journey also, perhaps, to discovering more about the native plants and animals existing in these wild ecosystems, and a journey into friendship or self-discovery. New Zealand trampers have produced a rich body of literature about their activity, with writing spanning nearly two centuries and ranging from poetry and songs, journals and newspaper pieces to magazine articles and books. These stories may hold drama or tragedy, but more often they are about companionship, enjoying nature and finding challenge in wild environments. Across the Pass includes writing from New Zealanders such as writer John Mulgan, mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and adventurer Graeme Dingle. Some writers appreciate the intricacies of nature or the splendour of the mountains, while for others an interest in history encourages them to tread the trails first pioneered by their ancestors. 
The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Sophie Blackall          $28
In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the recalcitrant goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret – one that imperils them all. And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories must venture into a dark wood in search of the castle of a king who wishes her dead. But should she lose her way, Beatryce knows that those who love her – a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword and a goat with a head as hard as stone – will never give up searching for her. And to know this is to know everything.
The Unseen Body: A doctor's journey through the hidden wonders of human anatomy by Jonathan Reisman           $38
Through his offbeat adventures in healthcare and travel, Reisman discovers new perspectives on the body: a trip to the Alaskan Arctic reveals that fat is not the enemy, but the hero; a stint in the Himalayas uncovers the boundary where the brain ends and the mind begins; and eating a sheep's head in Iceland offers a lesson in empathy. By relating his experiences in far-flung lands and among unique cultures back to the body's inner workings, he shows how our organs live inextricably intertwined lives in an internal ecosystem that reflects the natural world around us.
>>Not this! 
Nioque of the Early-Spring by Francis Ponge (translated by Jonathan Larson)       $34
Written in 1950 during a stay at Le Fleurie in southern France, Ponge's notes record his various attempts to take the poetic pulse of the season just beginning, all the while excluding the human and the societal as much as possible. By the rigour of his thought and the precision of his language, Ponge's various necessarily failed attempts to capture the uncapturable create a poetic cloud that somehow does manage to convey the impossible. 
>>Read a sample. 

After Hours & The Flying Squad by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman           $25
A collection in two halves. The first, 'Pākehā Mōteatea & Southern Shanties', is a poetic evocation of forgotten South Island histories, from all points of the compass, especially those remote and rural backwaters that have long since slipped below the radar of much contemporary urban, identity focussed literary practices. You are more likely to meet miners, shearers, rugby league forwards and fishers, than a digital native surfing cyberspace in search of the next blizzard of pixels. Mythic figures emerge: there are no confessions, no internal monologues; rather, a cast of characters Chaucer would certainly recognise  — the local cop, the publican’s wife, the deckhand stinking of fish, asleep in a homeward bound fishing boat. Each poem in five or six blank verse stanzas attempts to capture a moment, life in a vanished culture, an earthquake, a flood, all in the beating heart of the past. The second part, 'Into the Mist: poems 2009-2021', is completely different, a selection on a wide variety of styles and themes. There are several homages to some of Holman’s favourite writers — Marilynne Robinson, Sebald, Blake amongst others — and salutes to friends and loved ones, tā moko artists, old shearing mates, as well as the birds and animals who are also his whānau members, the wild and the tame. Profit hungry property developers get a serve; the ghettoising of his own generation in retirement compounds comes in for questioning, accelerating the loss of rich family histories as the generations are prised apart. These accounts he was able to absorb, as his feisty grandmother late in her eighties, living with them, regaled him with incredible family legends, of great liners sinking, of bombs raining down.
The Boy Who Drew Auschwitz by Thomas Geve         $45
Thomas Geve was a Birkenau, Auschwitz, Gross Rosen and Buchenwald survivor at just 15 years old. Spending twenty-two months imprisoned at these camps during WW2, Geve was subject to, and forced to observe first-hand, events of the most horrific nature, including the disappearance and eventual murder of his mother. On his release he captured daily life in the death camps in 79 drawings. Scenarios that are synonymous with the camps were covered in brutal but simplistic detail: the ultimate humiliation of being processed into a number and the sheer terror of a selection to the gas chambers were drawn. 

Barbara Hepworth: Art and life by Eleanor Clayton          $55
Barbara Hepworth is one of the most important artists of the 20th century, yet she has been the subject of relatively few monographs in comparison to her male counterparts. This biography moves beyond the traditional narratives of Modernism, truth to materials, and the landscape to provide a penetrating insight into Hepworth's remarkable life, work and legacy. 
Radical Wordsworth: The poet who changed the world by Jonathan Bate         $25
Wordsworth rejoiced in the French Revolution and played a central role in the cultural upheaval that we call the Romantic Revolution. He and his fellow Romantics changed forever the way we think about childhood, the sense of the self, our connection to the natural environment, and the purpose of poetry. But his was also a revolutionary life in the old sense of the word, insofar as his art was of memory, the return of the past, the circling back to childhood and youth. This outstanding biography is purposefully fragmentary, momentary, and selective, opening up what Wordsworth called "the hiding-places of my power."
"The finest modern introduction to Wordsworth's work, life and impact. It shows how and why 'Wordsworth made a difference.'" —Boyd Tonkin
The Movement by Petra Hůlová (translated by Alex Zucker)            $38
The Movement's founding ideology emphasizes that women should be valued for their inner qualities, spirit, and character, and not for their physical attributes. Men have been forbidden to be attracted to women on the basis of their bodies. Some continue with unreformed attitudes but many submit or are sent by their wives and daughters to the Institute for internment and reeducation. However, the Movement also struggles with women and their "old attitudes," with many still undergoing illegal cosmetic surgeries and wearing makeup. Our narrator, an unapologetic guard at one of these re-education facilities, describes how the Movement started, the challenges faced, her own personal journey, and what happens when a program fails. She is convinced the Movement is nearing its final victory, a time when everybody falls in line with its ideals. Outspoken, ambiguous, and terrifying, this is a socio-critical satire of our sexual norms.
"One part Animal Farm, one part The Handmaid’s Tale, one part A Clockwork Orange, and (maybe) one part Frankenstein, Czech writer Hůlová’s novel dismantles the patriarchy and replaces it with a terrifying alternative." —Kirkus
Young focuses on the increasingly endangered resource of freshwater, and what so-called developed societies can learn from the indigenous voices of the Pacific.
The Aotearoa Handbook of Criminology edited by Elizabeth Stanley, Trevor Bradley, and Sarah Monod de Froideville           $90
With chapters by leading scholars of criminology from across the country, The Aotearoa Handbook of Criminology represents a state-of-the-art account of crime and criminal justice in Aotearoa New Zealand. The handbook is structured into four parts that explore the politics of researching and representing crime, key types of crime, the workings of criminal justice, and the differential experiences of crime and justice. The handbook outlines the foundations of current approaches to crime, victims and offenders, alongside critical, decolonising, and feminist perspectives on criminological ideas and practices.
Grown Ups by Marie Aubert (translated by Rosie Hedger)         $28
Ida is a forty-year-old architect, single and struggling with the feeling of panic as she realises her chances of motherhood are rapidly falling away from her. She's navigating Tinder and contemplating freezing her eggs - but tries to put a pause on these worries as she heads out to the family country cabin for her mother's 65th birthday. That is, until some supposedly wonderful news from her sister sets old tensions simmering, building to an almighty clash between Ida and her sister, her mother, and her entire family.

An Evening with Claire by Gaito Gazdanov           $33
Two old friends meet nightly in Paris, trading conversational barbs and manoeuvring around submerged feelings. Throughout the ten years of their separation, thoughts of Claire lingered persistently in Kolya's mind. As the imagined romance finally becomes real, Kolya is thrown into recollections of formative moments from his youth in Russia, from his solitary early years through military school and service in the White Army in the Civil War, all leading to this union with Claire.
"Gazdanov's work is the perfect fusion of the Russian tradition and French innovation." —London Review of Books

Private Gardens of Aotearoa by Suzanne Turley              $60
Suzanne Turley — one of New Zealand's most sought-after landscape designers — has created many of the country's most desirable private gardens, all set against the spectacular backdrop of the natural environment. 
Come Back to Mona Vale: Life and death in a Christchurch mansion by Alexander McKinnon           $40
The book sets about unravelling the mysteries and anomalies behind the public history of a wealthy Christchurch business family in the first half of the 20th century. Researching the book, the author gradually becomes aware that his family heritage isn’t necessarily the norm, nor what he expected. That family members can’t bear to speak to each other about the most private and family-influenced events, facts and atmospheres. That he grew up shielded from aspects of contemporary reality by money and class. The story unfolds like a crime or detective tale, and also delves into the history of the Canterbury colony, contrasting Christchurch’s public values, aspirations and beauty with its murkier private behaviour.  Alexander McKinnon’s explorations of his family’s past is the record of a beautiful and grand (yet gradually crumbling) manor interwoven with social history – with a sense of the Gothic, of obsession, and of a tight-knit circle where secrets wreak a terrible climax leading to a form of inter-generational haunting.
>>Is Mona Vale haunted by more than underemployed stage actors?  
Spark Hunter by Sonya Wilson           $25
Nissa Marshall knows that something is hiding deep in the forests of Fiordland National Park - she's seen their lights in the trees. But what are they, and why does no one else seem to notice them? When Nissa abandons her school camp to track down the mysterious lights, she finds herself lost in a dangerous wonderland. But she's not the only one in danger - the bush and the creatures are under threat too - and she wants to help. What can a school kid do where adults have failed, and can she find her way back? In Fiordland, the lost usually stay lost. 
>>How the book came about

Let's Play Indoors! by Rachel Victoria Hillis and Ryan Eyers           $40
Sometimes the world is encased by four walls, so it's time to get creative. Let's Play Indoors! offers imaginative and resourceful ways to keep kids amused and inspired with games, crafts, and home-styled costumes inside the house. This book encourages children to take the lead in deciding how to spend their time and is a perfect companion for rainy days, lock-downs, or periods spent offline. 

No comments:

Post a Comment