Saturday 27 November 2021


BOOKS @ VOLUME #257 (26.11.21)

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 >> Read all Thomas's reviews. 


Chasing Homer by László Krasznahorkai (translated by John Batki), with paintings by Max Neumann and music by Szilveszter Miklós   {Reviewed by THOMAS}
It seemed sometimes that they were even wanting the worst to happen, if only to be relieved of the terrible anticipation that the worst may happen. It seemed sometimes that the worst thing sucks everything else towards it, even our resistance to the worst thing, and the closer we get to the worst thing it seems the less we resist it, just when we would be better to resist it more, until we are drawn over the acquiescence horizon, so to call it, until we are drawn past the point at which the possibility of relief from the effort to resist is stronger than our exhausting effort to resist, the point at which we either try to resist more, which just increases the degree of relief offered by giving up, or we resist less, which draws us closer to giving up. We give up. Of course, we don’t want to be seen to be giving up, not even by ourselves, what we want is a way to be seen to be resisting when in fact we are giving up, what we want is some mechanism that will make it appear that, when the worst happens, it might not have been as bad as it could have been even though it is worse than we could have imagined. How could that *they* have become a *we* so easily? A threat presses unrelentingly on the narrator of Krasznahorkai’s text, the threat of the worst thing, the nullification of that narrator, the narrator *knows* there are assassins on the narrator’s trail, they from whom the narrator flees, they whom the narrator has never seen and may never see, no matter, this just makes the fleeing more urgent, the threat more imminent, the worst that could happen always just on the point of happening if never actually happening. “I know they’ll never relent,” the narrator writes, “it’s as if their orders aren’t to make quick work of me … but rather to keep pursuing me.” The narrator must keep fleeing so as to continue being what a narrator is, the narrator must flee nullification, the narrator must flee into the new. “I have no memories whatever … the past doesn’t exist for me, only what’s current exists … and I rush into this instant, an instant that has no continuation.” The narrator flees in the present tense, the narrator flees by narrating. The text we read is the result of the narrator’s resistance to their own nullification, or, rather, the text *is* the narrator’s resistance to their own nullification. Obviously. “Life is forever merely the incalculable consequence facing the oncoming process, because there’s nothing that lurks behind the process … for me nothing exists that goes beyond the situation that happens to be at hand,” states the narrator, and if fate, or, rather, the causal mechanisms that we mistakenly label as *fate*, is nothing but an ineluctable process of destruction, if nullification is a corrolary of being, then we can only exist in our errors, we can only exist to the extent that we make a mistake. “The decisions I make must be the utterly wrong ones.” the narrator states, “that’s how I can confound my pursuers.” Great forces grapple through the text, through the narrator caught within themselves. We all share this pressure upon us that many would mistake for paranoia, no such luck, we all share this problem with time, this snagging in the moment, this agony of being forced on but this terror of no longer going on. “If I were to divine a plan of action of some kind, it would be all over for me,” the narrator states, though, really, is the threat coming from within or from without? But the narrator *does* divine a plan of action, the narrator *is* seduced by story, the narrator *does* start to abrade against their surroundings and against the people in those surroundings by the very fact of their interaction with those surroundings and with those people. The narrator passes the acquiescence horizon without being aware that they are passing the acquiescence horizon. All is lost. Giving up is no less fatal for looking like merely a change of plan. 

Friday 26 November 2021

 How are our memories and how are our histories somehow stored in objects? In our Book of the Week, Patch Work: A life amongst clothes, Claire Wilcox, curator of fashion at he Victoria & Albert Museum, tells the story of  her own life through a sequence of items of clothing, from her mother's black wedding suit to her own silk kimono. The book is beautifully and evocatively written, and helps us to think anew about the garments we wear between ourselves and the world. 
>>Read Stella's review
>>"When I look at clothing I'm thinking about narratives."
>>Fashion insiders
>>At the Wearers Festival
>>Material matters
>>Visit the V&A
>>Your copy
>>Twentieth Century Fashion in Detail. 


>> Read all Stella's reviews.


Patch Work: A life amongst clothes by Claire Wilcox    {Reviewed by STELLA}
As a maker of objects and a lover of fabric I was drawn to this memoir from Claire Wilcox, Senior Curator of Fashion at the V&A and Professor in Fashion Curation at the London College of Fashion. Yet this surpassed my expectations. It isn’t a blow by blow account of her career in fashion curation, although there are plenty of mentions of life and work at the V&A; nor is it a window to the history of fashion and textiles, although again there are pepperings of this throughout. It is a wonderful collection of vignettes about a life lived, and Wilcox uses objects as portals into history, both personal and social, and as vessels for memories. With humour and quiet reflection she pinpoints pivotal moments from childhood through to adulthood. The first time she walked into the V&A library in the passage entitled 'Yellow Pages', she was researching the colour yellow. “The invigilator sat at his desk, watching us. Our eyes met, and I blushed, feeling like an imposter and wondering if I was handling the books correctly; I’d never seen a book support before. I was wearing a Laura Ashley blouse, inset with cotton lace — it was early summer — and the deadline for my dissertation was looming ... I felt like a parched traveller who had found an oasis, found their sensibility.” This easy style takes the reader on journeys through objects — each passage either is triggered by a reference to a clothing piece or has recollections that bring to mind a significant historical costume or a more personal item. Through the joys and tiredness of motherhood to the author’s relationship with her own mother. In 'Bound', we have the corduroy baby sling, the crocheted blanket alongside her husband’s hunt for a new suit in the sales and his wedding ring, worn only once. “We were linked to each other by a series of fastenings; complications only bind us tighter. ... And, going all the way back, something I had known in my fingertips but forgotten, a far-away memory in all this remembering of buttons, of sitting on my mother’s lap buttoning up her cardigan, and pushing each button through its buttonhole with very small fingers...I was buttoning and unbuttoning her all the way up, and then all the way down...and we were together in this ritual.” There are references throughout the book to grief, loss, and to delight; to the most intimate. And wonderfully balanced with these moments are the reader’s delight as Wilcox takes us backstage, so to speak, into the rooms of the fashion collection at the V&A. Atmospheric and vividly explored, with sweet snippets of information, these passages are endlessly fascinating. The book has enticing chapter headings — 'Verdant', 'Unbound', 'Entwined', 'Gather', 'Seam', 'Dusk', 'Mist' and 'Vertigo' — and each chapter then includes three or four vignettes. Like a cloth, each strand weaves together to make a whole. Or as per the title, a pieced patch work.


When You Look Up by Decur        $60
Lorenzo isn't happy about moving. But in his new room, he finds an old desk with what seems likes hundreds of drawers. Each even has its own smell! Deep inside the desk, he finds a book and begins to read. When he looks up, he sees all kinds of curious things. Has the book come to life? Or is it something else? This is a graphic novel about observation, imagination, and the many incredible lenses through which everyday experience might be perceived if you read. Completely wonderful.
>>Decur at work. 
The Paper Lantern by Will Burns           $35
In this beautifully written book, a single speaker charts and interrogates the shifts in mood and understanding that have defined a surreal, transformative period in both his own history and that of the surrounding area. Set in a shuttered pub - The Paper Lantern - in a village in the very middle of the country adjacent to the Chequers estate, the narrator embarks on a series of walks in the Chiltern Hills, which become the landscape for evocations of a past scarred with trauma and a present lacking compass. From local raves in secret valleys and the history of landmarks such as Halton House, to the fallout of the lockdown period, climate change and capitalism, The Paper Lantern creates a tangible, lived-in, complicated rendering of a place.

Orwell's Roses by Rebecca Solnit            $33
From 1936 to 1940, the newly-wed George Orwell lived in a small cottage in Hertfordshire, writing, and tending his garden. When Rebecca Solnit visited the cottage, she discovered the descendants of the roses that he had planted many decades previously. These survivors, as well as the diaries he kept of his planting and growing, provide a springboard for a fresh look at Orwell's motivations and drives — and the optimism that countered his dystopian vision — and open up a mediation on our relationship to plants, trees and the natural world. Tracking Orwell's impact on political thought over the last century, Solnit journeys to England and Russia, Mexico and Colombia, exploring the political and historical events that shaped Orwell's life and her own. From a history of roses to discussions of climate change and insights into structural inequalities in contemporary society, Orwell's Roses is a fresh reading of a towering figure of 20th century literary and political life, and finds optimism, solace and solutions to our 21st century world.
A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes by Witold Gombrowicz (translated by Benjamin Ivry)       $34
In a small literary gem full of sardonic wit, brilliant insights, and provocative criticism, Gombrowicz discusses Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Heidegger in six one-hour essays—and addresses Marxism for fifteen minutes.

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut         $23 
The great mathematician Alexander Grothendieck tunnels so deeply into abstraction that he tries to cut all ties with the world, terrified of the horror his discoveries might cause. Erwin Schrodinger and Werner Heisenberg battle over the soul of physics after creating two equivalent yet opposed versions of quantum mechanics. Their fight will tear the very fabric of reality, revealing a world stranger than they could have ever imagined. Using extraordinary, epoch-defining moments from the history of science, Benjamin Labatut plunges us into exhilarating territory between fact and fiction, progress and destruction, genius and madness. Now in paperback. 
"A monstrous and brilliant book." —Philip Pullman
"Wholly mesmerising and revelatory. Completely fascinating." —William Boyd

Chemistry by Tim Pears          $43
A wife compulsively digs in her garden. Two brothers, long estranged, reunite for a terse, heady summer. A woman flies to Krakow to see her adult son. At dusk, a teenage girl pushes her dying mother out into the sea. A small boy sits on his own in the cinema, entranced by the cowboys who light up the screen. With these short stories, Tim Pears illuminates a series of blazing moments in quiet lives the tragic, strange, funny and beautiful fragments that make and unmake us and shines a light into the gulfs that lie between us and those who should know us best.

Nine Lives: New Zealand writers on notable New Zealanders      $40
Lloyd Jones on Paul Melser (potter), Paula Morris on Matiu Rata (politician), Catherine Robertson on Dame Margaret Sparrow (doctor and health advocate), Greg McGee on Ken Gray (all black), Stephanie Johnson on Carole Beu (bookseller), Malcolm Mulholland on Ranginui Walker (academic), Selina Tusitala Marsh on Albert Wendt (writer), Elspeth Sandys on Rewi Alley (writer and activist), and Paul Thomas on John Wright (cricketer).

Literature is a technology like any other. And the writers we revere - from Homer to Shakespeare, Austen to Ferrante - each made a unique technical breakthrough that can be viewed as both a narrative and neuroscientific advancement. But literature's great invention was to address problems we could not solve: not how to start a fire or build a boat, but how to live and love; how to maintain courage in the face of death; how to account for the fact that we exist at all.
Manifesto: On never giving up by Bernadine Evaristo           $35
Bernardine Evaristo's 2019 Booker win was the first by a Black woman. After three decades as a writer, teacher and activist, she moved from the margins to centre stage. Manifesto is Bernardine Evaristo's intimate and inspirational, no-holds-barred account of how she did it, refusing to let any barriers stand in her way. She charts her creative rebellion against the mainstream and her life-long commitment to the imaginative exploration of 'untold' stories. Drawing on her own experiences, she offers a contribution to current conversations around social issues such as race, class, feminism, sexuality, and aging.
Farewell Mr Puffin: A small boat voyage to Iceland by Paul Heiney         $28
The puffin is the joker amongst the seabirds of the north Atlantic, but what is happening to this much-loved bird is far from a laughing matter. This is the conclusion of writer and broadcaster, Paul Heiney, who set sail from the east coast of England bound for Iceland, propelled by a desire to breathe the cool, clear air of the high latitudes, and to follow in the wake of generations of sailors who have made this often treacherous journey since the 13th century. In almost every harbour he tripped over maritime history and anecdote, and came face to face with his own past as he sailed north along his childhood coastline of east Yorkshire towards the Arctic Circle. But there was one major thing missing from this voyage - the sight of puffins.
African Artists, From 1882 > now edited by Joseph L. Underwood and Okeke-Agulu Chika      $110
The most substantial survey to date of modern and contemporary African-born or Africa-based artists. Long overdue. 
Te Kupenga: 101 stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull by Michael Keith and Chris Szekely                         $60
Published to mark 100 years since the establishment of the Alexander Turnbull Library, this book approaches the history of Aotearoa New Zealand through 101 remarkable objects. Each tells a story, be it of discovery, courage, dispossession, conflict, invention, creation, or conservation. The objects range from letters and paintings to journals, photographs, posters, banners and books.

Your Home Izakaya: Fun and simple recopies inspired by the drinking and dining dens of Japan by Tim Anderson             $50
Izakaya began as sake stores that allowed their customers to drink on the premises, and, over time, they began to serve food as well. The food is simple to prepare but big on flavour, making it conducive to sociable snacking. From Shredded Daikon and Watercress Salad and Sweetcorn with Shoyu Butter, to Spicy Sesame Ramen Salad and Udon Carbonara with Bacon Tempura, the recipes are impressive yet simple to achieve and no specialist equipment is needed. The book includes a guide on how to stock a Japanese bar and instructions on the preparation of some cocktails.
The Bikes We Built: A journey through New Zealand-made bicycles by Jonathan Kennett          $50
"When I explained to the collectors that I hoped to find at least fifty fine examples to showcase an industry that once thrived in every New Zealand city, their eyes lit up. We disappeared together into a world that no longer exists, of forges and lugs and pinstriping. A time when the humble bicycle was not so humble, and everyone knew the name of the craftsman that built the machine they rode." Includes much to recognise and much to discover with surprise. 

In Kiltumper: A year in an Irish garden by Niall Williams and Christine Freen          $55
Thirty-four years ago, when they were in their twenties, Niall Williams (the author of This Is Happiness)and Christine Breen made the impulsive decision to leave their lives in New York City and move to Christine's ancestral home in the town of Kiltumper in rural Ireland. In the decades that followed, the pair dedicated themselves to writing, gardening and living a life that followed the rhythms of the earth. In 2019, with Christine in the final stages of recovery from cancer and the land itself threatened by the arrival of turbines just one farm over, Niall and Christine decided to document a year of living in their garden and in their small corner of a rapidly changing world.

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky                     $38
Tiny is pregnant. Her husband is delighted. 'It's not yours,' she tells him. 'This baby will be an owl-baby.' Tiny's always been an outsider, and she knows her child will be different. When Chouette is born, Tiny's husband and family are devastated by her condition and strange appearance. Doctors tell them to expect the worst. Chouette won't learn to walk; she never speaks; she lashes out when frightened and causes chaos in public. Tiny's husband wants to make her better: 'Don't you want our daughter to have a normal life?' But Tiny thinks Chouette is perfect the way she is. As Tiny and her husband fight over what's right for their child, Chouette herself is growing. In her fierce self-possession, her untameable will, she teaches Tiny to break free of expectations - no matter what it takes.

Edith Widder grew up wanting to become a marine biologist. But after complications from surgery caused her to go temporarily blind while at university, she became fascinated by light, and her focus turned to bioluminescence. On her first visit to the deep ocean, in an experimental diving suit that took her to a depth of 250 metres, she turned off the suit's lights and witnessed breathtaking explosions of bioluminescent activity. Why was there so much light down there? Below the Edge of Darkness takes readers deep into the mysteries of the oceans as Widder investigates one of nature's most widely used forms of communication. She reveals hidden worlds and a dazzling menagerie of creatures, from microbes to leviathans—many never before seen or, like the giant squid, never before filmed.
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson             $30
During a night of power outages, arson and gunfire, the diverse neighbourhood of 1st Street, Charlottesville comes under attack by a white supremacist mob. Fleeing for their lives in an abandoned bus, a group of family, friends and strangers find themselves in the hills above town, where they occupy and take refuge in Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's old plantation house. Led by Da'Naisha, a young black descendant of Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, the group find ways to care for and sustain one another while Charlottesville burns below them. 
The Tragedy of the Worker: Towards the proletarocene by Jamie Allinson, China Mieville, Richard Seymour, and Rosie Warren                                   $23
"The current state of the planet, the capitolocene, is a direct result of extractive appetites of capitalism. The threats of climate change are already here and, if we continue along the same path, ensures an apocalyse. The tragedy of the worker is, therefore, twofold- forced to work in such conditions the present is unsupportable. However, within these conditions are exposed the contradictions that might deliver liberation. Nevertheless, this liberation is likely to be into a world that is beyond salvage. What is to be done to create a planet where the prospects of a communist horizon are a new dawn rather than a planetary twilight?"
Irvine's hands-on, often humorous advice steps readers through everything they need to know to grow great produce at home, including garden design, tools and equipment, seasonal planting advice, soil fertility, seed-saving basics, managing pests and diseases, and how to incorporate organic and permaculture gardening methods into any home garden. While documenting a year on her own property, Irvine shows how you can successfully produce bountiful crops throughout the seasons to provide a steady, daily harvest with minimal wastage. The book is illustrated with hundreds of photographs and hand-drawn illustrations that share design concepts and planting plans for gardens of all shapes and sizes. 

New Zealand Seabirds: A natural history by Kerry-Jayne Wilson      $50
Definitively describes the different groups of seabirds, where in New Zealand they occur, their breeding biology, foods and foraging behaviours, the conservation threats they face, and the vast distances they often travel to feed and breed.

Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman           $23
"I am no superhero. But I can save you from the one who claims to be. I am no wizard. But I cast a spell that can bring back the dead. I am, if nothing else, your final defence – your last hope." Isaac is slowly falling down the dark abyss of addiction. Ivy is picking herself up after years of partying and self-medicating. And ROXY, the god of painkillers, sees it all. A chilling YA novel on the opioid epidemic. 
New Zealand's Wild Weather         $45
New Zealand's unique and changeable weather patterns explained by experts at the MetService. 

Cover Story: 100 beautiful, strange and frankly incredible New Zealand LP covers by Steve Braunias           $50
Divided into themes, Cover Story brings Braunias's inimitable wit and empathy to bear on the artistic flair, fashion and occasional gaudiness these album covers represent. Based on interviews and his own experience collecting over 800 albums produced between 1957 and 1987 from op-shops around the country, he reflects on what they say about our popular culture. Each cover is reproduced full-size. 
>>Maria Dallas, anyone? 

Saturday 20 November 2021


BOOKS @ VOLUME #256 (19.11.21)

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Kiwi Christmas Books. Donate books for children who would otherwise go without. We are again collecting books for distribution to children suffering hardship in our area, through the Kiwi Christmas Books scheme. Either choose books from our website (just put "Kiwi Christmas Books" in the 'notes' field as you check out), or simply make a donation and let us choose the books. >>Find out more about the Kiwi Christmas Books scheme


>> Read all Stella's reviews.


The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez     {Reviewed by STELLA}
Let the title of this short story collection be a warning. In the second of Mariana Enriquez's collections to be translated into English, the macabre and disorderly rise to the surface. There are ghosts in these pages, phantoms and hauntings. Some reside just under the surface in superstition, some make their presence known by their unsettled, revenge-seeking wanderings, while others are phantoms that walk in broad daylight, bold and violent. Enriquez’s tales resist the easy condition of horror or the gothic, creeping under our skin — making us uneasy yet fascinated. We can not turn away, as our curiosity gets the better of us. The stories meld the mundane, the daily chores, and the familiar with unresolved crimes, passions and jealousies, and the uneasy moments when you know that the truth lies in a shallow grave just under a veneer of lies. As the characters, predominantly women, navigate their way through the stories, Enriquez spins a web of deceit, dark magic and fantastical scenarios to point a finger at the horror of a place imbued with violence, hypocrisy, fear and grief. Her themes do not rest easy, but the tales and the worlds she builds through metaphor and fantasy are hypnotic, taking us in, sometimes gently, often not. Teenage jealousy in 'Our Lady of The Quarry' conjures up a pack of raving dogs. In 'The Well', a young girl unwittingly becomes the vehicle, body and soul, for her mother, aunt and siblings fear of a malign spirit. So imbued with this malign force, madness is the only solution. 'The Lookout' sends a shiver down your spine — trapped in her frightening form, The Lady Upstairs is looking for a victim — someone to set her free. Each story draws you into a situation that has no easy answers, where friends are bonded by shared crises and sanity is a breath away from collapse. Yet Enriquez’s writing is succinct, beguiling and fizzes with energy — with a force that points a finger at death, at violence and corruption, and says I am not afraid. 


 >> Read all Thomas's reviews. 


Walking by Thomas Bernhard   {Reviewed by THOMAS}
It is thought that makes life intolerable, suggests Bernhard in this 1971 novella that both anticipates and provides a key to reading his subsequent novels of ineluctable self-erasure (notably 1975’s Correction). Bernhard is constantly in mind of the widespread complicity of his fellow Austrians in Nazism, both a symptom and a cause of many of the societal ills he is most perplexed and disgusted by. “I ask myself, says Oehler, how can so much helplessness and so much misfortune and so much misery be possible? That nature can create so much misfortune and so much palpable horror. That nature can be so ruthless toward its most helpless and pitiable creatures. This limitless capacity for suffering, says Oehler. This limitless capricious will to procreate and then to survive misfortune.” But there is no real difference, suggests Bernhard, between objective and subjective suffering. “When we imagine ourselves to be in a state of mind, no matter what, we are in that state of mind, and thus in that state of illness which we imagine ourselves to be in.” We are unavoidably perplexed by our existence and cannot help thinking about it, but thought will not do us any good, as we are always carried towards the conclusion we strive most to avoid, drawn to it by this striving. “If we see something, we check what we see until we are forced to say that what we are looking at is horrible. If we do something, we think about what we are doing until we are forced to say that it is something nasty, something low, something outrageous.” In Bernhard’s works, thought is a kind of a chute leading towards madness and suicide, a chute down which all characters slide, faster or slower, obsessed, losing perspective. “Circumstances are everything, we are nothing.” How, then, are we to carry on existing? “There is little doubt that the art lies in bearing what is unbearable and in not feeling that what is horrible is something horrible. Of course we have to label this art the most difficult of all. The art of existing against the facts. If we do not constantly exist against, but only constantly with the facts, says Oehler, we shall go under in the shortest possible time.” “The art of thinking about things consists in the art, says Oehler, of stopping thinking before the fatal moment.” In common with many of Bernhard’s novels, the unnamed narrator of Walking is effectively passive, effectively annihilated by his role of *merely* reporting what his friend Oehler tells him during their walk or walks together. Oehler’s observations chiefly concern another one-time walking companion, Karrer, who has recently gone “irrevocably mad” and been confined to the Steinhof lunatic asylum. Karrer’s madness  followed the suicide of his friend, the chemist Hollensteiner, and you can feel the pull of this annihilation reaching through the layers of narration as far as the narrator himself, each character being effaced by their narration. “I am struck by how often Oehler quotes Karrer without expressly drawing attention to the fact that he is quoting Karrer. Oehler frequently makes several statements that stem from Karrer and frequently thinks a thought that Karrer thought, I think, without expressly saying, what I am now saying comes from Karrer.” The second of the three paragraphs that constitute the novella describes Karrer’s breakdown in Rustenschacher’s clothing shop, irrevocably losing perspective, ranting about what he perceives as the inferior cloth from which the trousers are sewn, repeatedly banging his walking stick upon the counter. At times the layers of narration are wonderfully deep, such as when the narrator tells us what Oehler tells the narrator that Oehler told the psychiatric doctor Scherrer about what Karrer said and did in Rustenschacher’s shop, and the novella becomes as much about the migration of narrative burden as it is about what the narrative is about. Habit, character, tendency, circumstance comprise a trap, a trap we find ourselves in when we begin to think but into which thinking can only drive us deeper. “When we walk, we walk from one helplessness to another. It is suddenly clear you can do what you like but you cannot walk away. No longer being able to alter this problem of no longer being able to walk away occupies your whole life. From then on it is all that occupies your life. You then grow more and more helpless and weaker and weaker.” All Bernhard’s subsequent novels address this problem of the obliterative nature of thought. “We may not think about why we are walking, says Oehler, for then it would soon be impossible to walk.”

Friday 19 November 2021


This week we are featuring books published by Lolli Editions, who are bringing some exciting fiction into English.
Recommended, and in stock now: 

The Employees: A workplace novel of the 22nd century by Olga Ravn (translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken). A profound and beautifully written investigation into sentience and into what it means to be human. 
>>Read Thomas's review.
>>Read Stella's review
>>Reading with the mouth
>>Find out more

Sevastopol by Emilio Fraia (translated from the Portuguese by Zoë Perry). Three connected stories stories of yearning and loss, obsession and madness, failure and the desire to persist.

After the Sun by Jonas Eika (translated from the Danish by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg). Short stories set in the margins of a globalised world that is both saturated with yearning and brutally transactional.

The Dolls by Ursula Scavenius (translated from the Danish by Jennifer Russell). Four beautifully and sparely written stories featuring characters beset by disorienting and unfathomable losses in situations that conflate the familiar and the strange. 

Adorable by Ida Marie Hede (translated from the Danish by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg). "Adorable pulls us between wanting to live and having to die, between child found and parent lost, feeling from inside Hede's brain-womb all that hide and seek within the concaves of living rooms, telephone calls, and other skins." —Mara Coson
>>"Death is the mindfuck of existence."


Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka           $35
Kurangaituku is the story of Hatupatu told from the perspective of the traditional ‘monster’, Kurangaituku, the bird woman. In the traditional story, told from the view of Hatupatu, he is out hunting and is captured by a creature that is part bird and part woman. The bird woman imprisons him in her cave in the mountains. Hatupatu eventually escapes and is pursued by Kurangaituku. He evades her when he leaps over hot springs, but Kurangaituku goes into them and dies. In this version of the story, Kurangaituku takes us on the journey of her extraordinary life – from the birds who sang her into being, to the arrival of the Song Makers and the change they brought to her world, and her life with Hatupatu and her death. Through the eyes of Kurangaituku, we come to see how being with Hatupatu changed Kurangaituku, emotionally and in her thoughts and actions, and how devastating his betrayal of her was.
The Fell by Sarah Moss         $35
Desperate for some respite from her teenage son during a period of quarantine in England's Peak District, a woman goes for a short walk on the moors. When she falls and injures herself, this triggers a mountain rescue effort and a recalibration of the participants' relationships with nature and with each other, during which the myriad anxieties of contemporary life are brought to the fore. A document of the inner life of our times from the author of Summerwater
September 12: The third test and final protest of the 1981 Springbok tour, photography by Anthony Phelps, foreword by John Minto     $85
A large-format book featuring over 50 superb photographs, many previously unseen, from the Springbok Tour protests of 1981, showing the people, marches, and often violent clashes between the police, protesters and spectators around Eden Park  Photographed on the day of the 3rd rugby test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Eden Park in Auckland with some photos from earlier protest marches including the Day of Shame, the 22nd of July when the first match of the Tour was played. Limited edition of 100 signed copies.
Hei Taonga mā ngā Uri Whakatipu | Treasures for the Rising Generation: The Dominion Museum Ethnological Expeditions, 1919–1923 by Wayne Ngata, Arapata Hakiwai, Anne Salmond, Conal McCarthy, Amiria Salmond, Monty Soutar, James Schuster, Billie Lythberg, John Niko Maihi, Sandra Kahu Nepia, Te Wheturere Poope Gray, Te Aroha McDonnell and Natalie Robertson         $75
From 1919 to 1923, at Sir Apirana Ngata’s initiative, a team from the Dominion Museum travelled to tribal areas across Te Ika-a-Māui The North Island to record tikanga Māori that Ngata feared might be disappearing. These ethnographic expeditions, the first in the world to be inspired and guided by indigenous leaders, used cutting-edge technologies that included cinematic film and wax cylinders to record fishing techniques, art forms (weaving, kōwhaiwhai, kapa haka and mōteatea), ancestral rituals and everyday life in the communities they visited. The team visited the 1919 Hui Aroha in Gisborne, the 1920 welcome to the Prince of Wales in Rotorua, and communities along the Whanganui River (1921) and in Tairāwhiti (1923). Medical doctor-soldier-ethnographer Te Rangihīroa (Sir Peter Buck), the expedition’s photographer and film-maker James McDonald, the ethnologist Elsdon Best and Turnbull Librarian Johannes Andersen recorded a wealth of material. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of these expeditions, and the determination of early twentieth century Māori leaders, including Ngata, Te Rangihiroa, James Carroll, and those in the communities they visited, to pass on ancestral tikanga ‘hei taonga mā ngā uri whakatipu’ as treasures for a rising generation.
Brickmakers by Selva Almada (translated by Annie McDermott)          $34
Pájaro Tamai and Marciano Miranda, two young men, are dying in a deserted amusement park. The story begins almost at its end, just a little after the two main characters have faced off in a knife fight: the culmination of a rivalry that has pitted them against one another since childhood. The present in Brickmakers is a state of impending death, at moments marked by oneiric visions: Marciano is visited by the ghost of his father, who was murdered when he was a teenager, a father he had sworn to avenge, in a promise he could not keep. Pájaro is also visited, in a recurring nightmare, by his abusive father who disappeared years earlier. A rural tragedy in the great American tradition, a story of love and violence where everything is put at stake. 
Long unavailable and now completely revised and extended, this wonderful well-illustrated book is the definitive guide to the alpine regions that comprise so much of New Zealand. An essential book (even if you already have the earlier edition). 
The Penguin Book of Feminist Writing edited by Hannah Dawson          $55
Beginning in the fifteenth century with Christine de Pizan, who imagined a City of Ladies that would serve as a refuge from the harassment of men, the book reaches around the whole earth and through history to us, now, splashing about in the fourth wave. It goes beyond the usual white, Western story, attentive also to class, capitalism and colonialism, and to the other axes of oppression that intersect with sexism. Alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who declared in Seneca Falls in 1848 the self-evident truth 'that all men and women are created equal', we find Sojourner Truth, born into slavery in New York in 1797, who asked 'and ain't I a woman?' Draws on poems, novels and memoirs, as well roaring manifestos.
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich              $38
Recently released from a decades-long prison sentence, Tookie - a headstrong and deeply wronged Ojibwe woman with a chequered past - must make a life for herself in a changed, charged world. During her incarceration, her only lifeline were the books she 'learned to read with murderous attention', so when she finds work at a local independent bookshop she also finds kindred spirits among an eclectic, often eccentric, community of fellow booksellers and readers.When the bookshop's most persistent customer, Flora, dies, it soon becomes clear this revenant has unfinished business with Tookie in particular. Her search leads her right back to her roots and the stories her ancestors told; what Tookie unearths is a shocking personal revelation that resonates beyond her to a world in pain.
Bloody Woman by Lana Lopesi             $40
This wayfinding set of essays explores the overlap of being Sāmoan and a woman, as experienced 'from diaspora', by writer and critic Lana Lopesi. Writing on ancestral ideas of womanhood appears alongside contemporary reflections on women's experiences and the Pacific. These often deeply personal essays amount to a complex, rich and multi-layered book. Playful, speculative and far-sighted, these essays are written to support 'the narratives not yet written' and the new generations to come.
A Year in Fleurville: Recipes from rooftops, balconies, and gardens by Felicita Sala            $35
Maria's picking asparagus, Ramon's mum is watering the cucumbers, and a gaggle of kids are eating cherries fresh from the tree and even wearing some as earrings! Meet the many people of Fleurville, delight in their produce, learn their recipes, and find comfort in the cycle of the seasons. Another wonderful picture cookbook for children, with food from all sorts of family backgrounds, from the author of Lunch at No.10 Pomegranate Street. 

He Pou Hiringa: Grounding science in Te Ao Māori edited by Katharina Ruckstuhl, Merata Kawharu and Maria Amoamo             $15
This book brings together writing on the big questions about the role of Maori, tikanga and matauranga in shaping science and technological innovation. Written by Maori from diverse disciplines, it explores the potential for novel approaches, theories, methods and community engagement models in science and technology programmes. It calls for increased participation, initiative and leadership from Maori and presents the views of Maori thinkers on what technology and science mean for the future.
Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness by Neil Vallelly             $55
A proposal for countering the futility of neoliberal existence to build an egalitarian, sustainable, and hopeful future. If maximising utility leads to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people, as utilitarianism has always proposed, then why is it that as many of us currently maximize our utility—by working endlessly, undertaking further education and training, relentlessly marketing and selling ourselves—we are met with the steady worsening of collective social and economic conditions? In Futilitarianism, social and political theorist Neil Vallelly tells the story of how neoliberalism transformed the relationship between utility maximisation and the common good.
An important book, not only reassessing the achievements—and failures—of Churchill's life and leadership, but examining the legacies of the 'Churchill myth' on all that has come after, from Tony Blair's eagerness to follow the United States into war in Iraq to the belief in British exceptionalism that underpinned Brexit. 
"Provocative, clear-sighted, richly textured and wonderfully readable, this is the indispensable biography of Churchill for the post-Brexit 2020s." —David Kynaston

The Amur River, Between Russia and China by Colin Thubron             $40
In his eightieth year Thubron travelled the length of the river that divides China from Russia, using public transport where possible and sleeping where he could. In his inimitable elegant prose, he evokes the ordinary lives of those in a place of tension between superpowers. 

Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (translated by Sarah Moses)              $35
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore. His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the 'Transition'. Now, eating human meat—'special meat'—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing. Then one day he's given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he's aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved. A disquieting novel about how quickly atrocities become normalised. 
"The novel is horrific, yes, but fascinatingly provocative (and Orwellian) in the way it exposes the lengths society will go to deform language and avoid moral truths." —Taylor Antrim, Vogue
Whatever Happened to Harold Absolon? by Simon Okotie           $32
Although ostensibly about the rather down-at-heel detective Marguerite's attempt to solve the disappearance of a public transport official, the book is more concerned with the hilariously pedantic examination of thought and language, as if clues to this or to some other existential mystery could somehow be found there. 
"An absurdist comedy about overthinking." —Blake Morrison
Te Pakanga a Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua (Avengers vs X-Men) by Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction      $50
Kātahi anō te pakanga nui whakaharahara a ngā tuahangata nei ka whakamāoringia hei whakaputanga ki te ao mārama. Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua – mai anō i te wehenga o Rangi rāua ko Papa ko rāua tonu ngā tauā tuahangata rongonui katoa – ka wera te umu pokapoka o te ao tukupū i tēnei pakanga turaki aorangi. Kātahi nei te pukapuka ko tēnei – he kohinga nō ngā pakiwaituhi hirahira katoa i tēnei tekau tau kua hori – e huihui mai ai a Tua Rino, a Kāpene Amerika, a Toa, a Kaiora, a Katipō, a Tama-Werewere, a Matihao, a Whatupihi, a Rangipō, a Te Autō me te huhua noa atu i tēnei pūrākau e rerekē katoa nei ō rātau āhua ā muri ake nei.
Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Magneto and more in te reo Māori!