Friday 26 November 2021


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? 

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