Friday 23 December 2022

We wish you a relaxing and enjoyable holiday period, good health and good books. 

Read our latest newsletter: BOOKS @ VOLUME #310 (23.12.22)

Order from our website or send us an e-mail anytime — we will be back on board from the 4th of January and will dispatch your orders and reply to your e-mails then.   

Saturday 17 December 2022


If you're not sure what to give this season, choose from our 100 recommendations! If the perfect gift isn't there, browse the rest of our website (we have thousands of interesting titles) — or just e-mail us or phone us and we will help you choose. If you like, just send us a list of recipients and we will find the perfect books. Let us know if you'd like them gift-wrapped (and choose a card!). We will courier them anywhere. There's still time!

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BOOKS @ VOLUME #309 (16.12.22)

Read our latest NEWSLETTER (and get all your SEASONAL GIFTS sorted).


>> Read all Stella's reviews.


[Not a review by STELLA.]

Anticipation is a good thing. I’m currently reading Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait, but you’ll have to wait for the review as I’m still mid-stride. When the craziness of the next week is over, I’ll be looking to my stack of books — the ones I didn’t quite get to in 2022 — as well as some fresh tomes.
On the pile and waiting: 
Roni Horn’s Island Zombie: Iceland writings. This was a gift back in March — it’s too good to rush, so hence it’s been waiting for a few days of uninterrupted reading.

Anne Carson’s H of H Playbook. Ditto.
Books I’ve had my eye on and will be adding to my pile:
Stories of the Sahara by Sanmao
, and The Mirror and The Palette by Jennifer Higgie.
And fiction! There’s always so many to choose from, but here are two that will make good summer companions: Harrow by Joy Williams and
 Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott.
If, like many, you found yourself bereft of reading time this year, here are some titles that you might have missed and should be finding their way to your reading pile tout suite:

The amazing Ali Smith — read anything and everything by her! — Companion Piece is her latest. Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House — so on-target, Worn: A people's history of clothing by Sofi Thanhauser — is fascinating, and Olga Ravn's The Employees: A workplace novel of the 22nd century — inventive and thought-provoking.


 >> Read all Thomas's reviews. 


99 Interruptions by Charles Boyle  {Reviewed by THOMAS}

1.   I sit down to write a review of Charles Boyle’s 99 Interruptions, but I no sooner put finger to keyboard than I urgently need the right word to describe the book’s appealing smallness. Is it a duodecimo or a sextodecimo, I wonder. I count the leaves, check the binding, trawl the internet. This is an out-of-date question, I realise eventually, and not really an interesting question anyway.
2.   To any given task the potential interruptions are infinite, but they do seem to fall into two categories: interruptions with an external source (family members, a cat fight in the back garden, a caller from Porlock) and interruptions with an internal source (useless questions about book format, random alerts from some malfunctioning mental appointments calendar, concerns about the underlying cause of various pains, the endless rephrasing of an imperfect conversation). Not that I really think there is a distinction between an internal and an external, I don’t believe in either after all, but it helps to halve infinity sometimes. 
3.   I will just interrupt the practical demands of my life to read this book, I thought, but the practical demands of my life, so to call them and so to call it, repeatedly interrupt my reading, even though the book is short. Two sets of interruptions grapple with each other over my attention. There are perhaps only interruptions (and interruptions to the interruptions).
4.   Sometimes the interruptions come even before whatever it is that they interrupt, in which case they are perhaps not interruptions to that activity but interruptions to the preconditions of that activity, to the preparations that are I suppose themselves some sort of activity but not identifiable as any activity in particular. Is most of my life these days lived in this state of velleity? 
5.   The first time I sat down to read read this book, 99 Interruptions, I was interrupted by finding a surprising quotation on the first page I came to, and then by finding that I had to check the source and context of that quotation.
6.   Without interruptions there is no story, Boyle shows. The interruptions are the story. An interruption disrupts the natural tendency to oversimplification (which is indistinguishable from nonexistence). 
7.   An interruption is the assertion of the particular against the pull of the general and the abstract. It is the prime quality of fiction. 
8.   An interruption breaks a continuum and causes two realities to mingle. I frequently find this irritating but at least my irritation is real irritation.  
9.   Is the fragment the only authentic contemporary literary form?
10.   Boyle remarks that, although most fiction is written in the past tense, a reader or critic invariably relates the narrative to someone else as happening in the present, “as if everything … is still happening and there’s no end in sight.” I hadn’t thought about this before, and thinking about it now is interrupting my progress through the book. 
11.   Fiction interrupts time by the introduction of a completely other thread of time, allowing the reader to jump between the two as inclination or interruption dictates. Before it is anything else, fiction is a sin against time, an interruption or eruption.
12.   In most situations I tend to feel that my presence is an interruption of whatever would otherwise be the case. This is probably not a very healthy way to think, but I cannot find a way in which it is not true. 
13.   I am actually writing a review, if you can call it that, but I am interrupted by that little repeated stifled sound coming from the headphones that S is wearing so that I am not interrupted by the music she is listening to. I won’t interrupt what she is busy doing over there on account of this; it is about time I accepted that the membrane between writing and real life (so to call it) is always entirely permeable. No wonder I never get anything done. 
14.   Would it be possible to welcome every interruption into the work itself? To create a work entirely of interruptions? (Like Boyle’s!)
15.   Be that as it may (does this construction even make sense?), the work is ultimately interrupted by its deadline. 


Spadework for a Palace by László Krasznahorkai (translated by John Batki)            $38

Spadework for a Palace bears the subtitle 'Entering the Madness of Others' and offers an epigraph: "Reality is no obstacle." Indeed. This high-octane obsessive rant vaults over all obstacles, fueled by the idées fixes of a "gray little librarian" with fallen arches whose name—mr herman melvill—is merely one of the coincidences binding him to his lodestar Herman Melville ("I too resided on East 26th Street...I, too, had worked for a while at the Customs Office"), which itself is just one aspect of his also being "constantly conscious of his connectedness" to Lebbeus Woods, to the rock that is Manhattan, to the "drunkard Cowley" and his Lunar Caustic, to Bartok. And with this consciousness of connection he is not only gaining true knowledge of Melville but also tracing the paths to "a Serene Paradise of Knowledge." Driven to save that palace (a higher library he also serves), he loses his job and his wife leaves him, but "people must be told the truth" THERE IS NO DUALISM IN EXISTENCE. And his dream, in fact, will be "realized, for I am not giving up: I am merely a day-laborer, a spade-worker on this dream, a herman melvill, a librarian from the lending desk, currently an inmate at Bellevue, but at the same time—may I say this?—actually a Keeper of the Palace."
"Krasznahorkai establishes his own rules and rides a wave of exhilarating energy. Apocalyptic, visionary, and mad, it flies off the page and stays lodged intractably wherever it lands." —Publishers Weekly
"Breathtaking and hypnotic, this unorthodox novella boldly merges fiction, travelogue and literary criticism into one 96-page sentence." —Thúy Ðinh, NPR
>>A Box built in the abyss

Stream Light by William Direen, with seven artworks by Scott Flanagan             $20
Bill Direen's latest book of poems begins with his life in Dunedin after his shift there from the small rural town of Middlemarch (described in companion volume Seasons. He then takes us on a read through the suburbs and CBD of Dunedin ('Skirting'), with visits to regional Otago and Canterbury (Oamaru, Tekapo, Cave and Pukaki). But behind much of the book lies the city both Direen and artist Scott Flanagan once called home — Christchurch. Flanagan's strangely vivid domestic artworks were completed after his recovery from cancer and its treatment. Both Direen and Flanagan have more than estrangement from their home cities to deal with. Their works deal with grief and the steady accumulation of bereavement the longer one lives, the passage of time, illness and treatment, not forgetting health and, as with Seasons, rhythms of nature and the effects of local light.
>>Christchurch, 1982
3 Streets by YokoTawada (translated by Margaret Mitsutani)        $37
Yoko Tawada takes a walk on the supernatural side of the street in these three stories. In 'Kollwitzstrasse', as the narrator muses on former East Berlin's new bourgeois health food stores, so popular with wealthy young people, a ghost boy begs her to buy him the old-fashioned sweets he craves. She worries that sugar's still sugar--but why lecture him, since he's already dead? Pure white kittens and a great Russian poet haunt 'Majakowskiring': the narrator who reveres Mayakovsky's work is delighted to meet his ghost. And finally, in 'Pushkin Allee', a huge Soviet-era memorial of soldiers comes to life. Each of these stories opens up into new dimensions the work of this writer.
"Tawada's stories agitate the mind like songs half-remembered or treasure boxes whose keys are locked within." —The New York Times
"Tawada is reminiscent of Nikolai Gogol, for whom the natural situation for a ghost story was a minor government employee saving up to buy a fancy coat, the natural destiny of a nose to haunt its owner as an overbearing nobleman." —Rivka Galchen
Architecture at Home: Houses for New Zealanders to live, work and play by Debra Smith             $80
Permanent homes and occasional retreats, small houses on compact urban sites and larger ones in remote landscapes, new builds and extensive alterations are captured by New Zealand's leading architectural photographers and written about in a thought-provoking way.
Blood on the River: A chronicle of mutiny and freedom on the Wild Coast by Marjoleine Kars            $45
On February 27, 1763, thousands of slaves in the Dutch colony of Berbice (in present-day Guyana) launched a massive rebellion. Surrounded by jungle and savannah, the revolutionaries fought for an entire year, and came very close to succeeding. Kars reconstructs this pivotal event, drawing on over nine hundred interrogation transcripts and other documents collected by the Dutch when the rebellion finally collapsed, which were subsequently buried in archives. Blood on the River provides a rare in-depth look at the political vision of enslaved people at the dawn of the Age of Revolution.
One Mile and Two Days Before Sunset by Shimon Adaf (translated by Yardenne Greenspan)          $35
At age thirty, Elish Ben Zaken has found himself in a life he never imagined. As a university student, Elish was an esteemed rock-music critic for local newspapers; now, disenchanted with an increasingly commercialised music scene, he has joined a private investigation agency where he is content to be a "clerk of small human sins"—a finder of stolen cars and wayward husbands. But when a disconcertingly amiable detective asks him to look into the suicide of an infamous philosophy professor—and the police file contains unexpected information about the already-solved murder of Dalia Shushan, a celebrated singer and songwriter—Elish's curiosity is piqued. And when violence begins to dog the steps of his investigation, he knows that dangerous secrets are at hand. Haunted by the ghost of Dalia, a true artist with a transformative voice whose dark brilliance Elish was one of the first to recognize, he must face the long-buried trauma of his own past in order to unravel the intertwining threads of two lives, and their ends.
Diary of an Invasion by Andrey Kurkov                $37
A collection of Andrey Kurkov's writings and broadcasts from Kyiv. Kurkov has been a consistent satirical commentator on his adopted country of Ukraine. His most recent work, Grey Bees, is a dark foreshadowing of the devastation in the eastern part of Ukraine in which only two villagers remain in a village bombed to smithereens. The author has lived in Kyiv and in the remote countryside of Ukraine throughout the Russian invasion. 

What Is History, Now? How the past the the present speak to each other edited by Suzannah Lipscomb and Helen Carr           $30
What stories are told, and by whom, who should be celebrated, and what rewritten, are questions that have been asked recently not just within the history world, but by all of us. Featuring a diverse mix of writers, this book covers topics such as the history of racism and anti-racism, queer history, the history of faith, the history of disability, environmental history, escaping imperial nostalgia, hearing women's voices and 'rewriting' the past. 

Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Nahid Kazemi             $35
Alone with himself, even among his flock, a young bird finds an unexpected connection in the eyes of a little girl. He begins to wonder about the nature of life: What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be a bird? Swept up in his exploration of the human world, he doesn't notice that his flock has already migrated south for the season.
>>Look inside!
>>Also by JonArno Lawson: Sidewalk Flowers.
Tiakina te Pā Harakeke: Ancestral knowledge and tamariki wellbeing edited by Leonie Pihama and Jenny Lee-Morgan       $45
This book is a collaboration of knowledge and insight from a wide range of Māori researchers from all over Aotearoa and across multiple disciplines. The authors explore childrearing approaches and models grounded in kaupapa Māori and Māori knowledge that encourage wellbeing outcomes for children and incorporate ancestral knowledge into practices for the contemporary world.
The Passenger: California              $33
A fascinating assemblage of writing, photography and reportage conveying contemporary life and issues in California. 

Home Is an Island: A writer's tribute to New Zealand's islands by Neville Peat         $40
During Peat's fifty-year writing career, he visited many of the islands within Aotearoa’s marine realm, from the tropics to Antarctica. This insightful book, part memoir, part adventure travel, history and nature conservation, is about these islands, including Stewart Island/Rakiura, Anchor Island in Tamatea/Dusky Sound, Kāpiti Island and Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf. Further afield, the book also covers Ross Island in Antarctica, Enderby Island in the subantarctic Auckland Islands, the Chatham Islands and the New Zealand dependency of Tokelau.
Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli (translated by Christian MacSweeney)        $23
 In New Mexico, she is a young mother. Stuck in a marriage that's deteriorating, unable to shake the feeling that her house and belongings are trapping her, she is increasingly drawn to reflect on who she was before: when she worked as an editor in New York, rarely in her own apartment, always seeking new places to call home. As she folds time, seeking to inhabit her past, she begins to encounter ghosts. Time and again, a solitary man appears — Gilberto Owen — a lesser known poet of the Harlem Renaissance, and an obsession of her youth. He is living on the edge of Harlem's social scene at the beginning of the Great Depression, anticipating death, and tracing spectral visions of his own - among them, a young woman, travelling alone, on the subway. A meditation on time, hauntings, and the elusive, transitory identities we assume.
Losing Ourselves: Learning to live without a self by J.L. Garfield           $45
Drawing on Indian and East Asian Buddhism, Daoism, Western philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience, Garfield shows why it is perfectly natural to think you have a self--and why it actually makes no sense at all and is even dangerous. He explains why shedding the illusion that you have a self can make you a better person.

The Book of Roads and Kingdoms by Richard Fidler         $45
When Richard Fidler came across the account of Ibn Fadlan — a tenth-century Arab diplomat who travelled all the way from Baghdad to the cold riverlands of modern-day Russia — he was struck by how modern his voice was, like that of a twenty-first century time-traveller dropped into a medieval wilderness. On further investigation, Fidler discovered this was just one of countless reports from Arab and Persian travellers of their adventures in medieval China, India, Africa and Byzantium. This book tells the story of the medieval wanderers who travelled out to the edges of the known world during Islam's Golden Age; an era when the caliphs of Baghdad presided over a dominion greater than the Roman Empire at its peak, stretching from North Africa to India. Imperial Baghdad, founded as the 'City of Peace', quickly became the biggest and richest metropolis in the world. In a flourishing culture of science, literature and philosophy, the citizens of Baghdad were fascinated by the world and everything in it. Inspired by their Prophet's commandment to seek knowledge all over the world, these traders, diplomats, soldiers and scientists left behind the cosmopolitan pleasures of Baghdad to venture by camel, horse and boat into the unknown. Those who returned from these distant foreign lands wrote accounts of their adventures, both realistic and fantastical.
Classic Paperbacks Jigsaw Puzzle by Richard Baker        $40
A 1,000-piece puzzle featuring favourite editions of modern classics.
>>A closer look
>>In the same series: In the Bookstore

Saturday 10 December 2022


BOOKS @ VOLUME #308 (9.12.22)

Read our latest NEWSLETTER and use the VOLUME GIFT SELECTOR!

If you're not sure what to give this season, choose from our 100 recommendations! If the perfect gift isn't there, browse the rest of our website (we have thousands of interesting titles) — or just e-mail us or phone us and we will help you choose. Let us know if you'd like the books gift-wrapped (and choose a card!). We'll send them anywhere. 
>>Or consider giving a Volume Reading Subscription!

Our favourite books of the year! We have been asked which books we have enjoyed the most in 2022. 
Stella: 1. Looking, Writing, Reading, Looking edited by Georgi Gospodinov; 2. The Bird Within Me by Sara Lundberg; 3. The Touch System by Alejandra Costamagna (translated by Lisa Dillman). 
Thomas: 1. Panthers and the Museum of Fire by Jen Craig; 2. Dark Neighbourhood by Vanessa Onwuemezi; 3. We Still Have the Telephone by Erica van Horn.


>> Read all Stella's reviews.


Looking, Writing, Reading, Looking edited by Georgi Gospodinov   {Reviewed by STELLA} 

The place where words and art intersect is always interesting. In this collection, writers take on contemporary works at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, and the results are various and wonderfully unexpected. These are not theory-heavy nor filled with art speak. They are critiques of a literary nature — personal responses through the observant eyes of each writer: the looking (and the looking again); and the thoughts, memories or ideas which spring from these observations. Here you will find writers you have read, others you have heard of (but maybe not encountered their writings) and some that haven’t crossed your radar yet. There are memoir pieces, poems, more direct descriptions and interpretations, fictional interviews or reportage, and creative short stories. The writing sometimes takes us further into the particular artwork. Other pieces edge us towards a deeper understanding of elements springing from the work, with cascading ideas that will lead you to future interpretations. Others reveal more about the writer, taking the reader into a more internal world with an experience revealed. Experiences that sit alongside their chosen artwork tell us something about them as well as the power of art to spark this exploration. What draws us to a particular artwork? Why does one painting or sculpture capture us — ask us to stop, to look, to read — while another will hardly leave an imprint: we will see, but merely glide by? Writers are keen observers and this writer/art project at the gallery is refreshing as it does not require us to ‘know’ or have some insider information about the objects, which are interacted with rather than described. Each artwork is photographed and sits alongside the written text, and each author has a portrait taken, in the same place, by the water’s edge, revealing something quite special about each. All 26 writers had been attendees at the museum’s writers’ festival. In this collection, Anne Carson cleverly pulls together an unofficial transcript (with notes) of contemporary philosophers on Ragnar Kjartansson’s 'Me and My Mother'. Colm Toibin explores 'La Double Face' of Asger Jorn with his assured and thoughtful considerations of all that can be held in a face — vulnerability, ambiguity and energy. Domenico Starnone introduces us to 'Museo del Prado 5' by photographer Thomas Struth, expounding on the meta meta nature of this painting/photography/writing exposure. Yoko Tawada quietly, in her storytelling style, asks us to contemplate the role of our lives while viewing Nobuo Sekine’s 'Phases of Nothingness'. Guadalupe Nettel reveals how the 'On Stone Sculptures' by Henry Heerup call to her with a delightful short essay that perfectly embraces the artist’s relationship with stone. And Delphine de Vigan, as she reencounters Louise Bourgeois’s 'Spider Couple', reminds us that our relationship with artworks change, our interpretations are sometimes unintentionally faulty (driven by a desire for an artwork to speak to us of our own experience), and the artist’s intention is not necessarily at the forefront of our understanding — and that is all fine! All the contributions have something to recommend them and there are sharp as well as emotional responses. An interesting collection (handsomely produced), worth having on your shelf for the writing and the selected artworks.


 >> Read all Thomas's reviews. 


The Very Last Interview by David Shields   {"Reviewed" by THOMAS}

So, what makes you want to write a review of David Shields’s new book, The Very Last Interview

Then why are you writing one?

Every week? Whose idea was that?   

Surely at your age, you shouldn’t be so bound by obligation or by expectation, or whatever you call it?

Yes, but do you really care what these readers might think, and do you even believe that there are such people? Aren’t you being altogether a bit precious? 

Do you really think that this helps to pay the mortgage, I mean that this makes a direct and measurable contribution towards paying your mortgage? Or even an indirect and unmeasurable but still valuable contribution towards paying your mortgage? 

Well, what else would you be doing?

Surely you’re joking? 

Okay, we’ve got a bit off the track there. I will reframe my first question. What makes you think that you are able to write a review of David Shields’s new book? 

Don’t you think your humility is a bit mannered?

The Very Last Interview is a book consisting entirely of questions that interviewers have asked David Shields over the years, omitting his answers, assuming he will have answered probably at least most of the questions, and your review, if we can call it that, of this book also consists of a series of questions ostensibly directed at you but without your answers, if indeed there were answers, which is less certain in your case than in the case of David Shields. Is this, on your part, a deliberate choice of approach, and, if so, is it justifiable? 

Do you really believe that a review written in imitation of, or in the style of, the work under review inherently reveals something about that work, even if the review is badly written, or should your approach rather be attributed to laziness, stylistic insecurity, or creative bankruptcy? 

Has it ever occurred to you that the supposedly more enjoyable qualities of your writing are actually nothing more than literary tics or affectations, and, furthermore, that it might be these very literary tics and affectations that prevent you from writing anything of real literary worth? 

Do you think that, by removing his input into the original interviews but retaining the questions, David Shields is attempting to remove himself from his own existence, or merely to show that our identities are always imposed from outside us rather than from inside, or that we exist as persons only to the extent that we are seen by others? Is this, in fact, all the same thing? 

What do you mean by that statement, ‘We are defined by the limits we present to the observations of others’?

What do you mean by that statement ‘There is no such thing as writing, only editing,’ and how does that relate to Shields’s work? 

Do you think that David Shields, in this book as in the much-discussed 2010 Reality Hunger, sees the individual as an illusion, a miserable fragment of what is actually a ‘hive mind’ or collective consciousness, and that ‘creativity’, so to call it, is another illusion predicated on this illusion of individuality?

You don’t?

What do you think David Shields would have answered, when asked, as he was, seemingly in this book, “But what is the role of the imagination in this ‘post-literature literature’ that you envision?” and how might this differ from the answer you might give if asked the same question? 

Shields was asked if he had written anything that couldn’t be interpreted as ‘crypto-autobiography’, but don’t you think the salient question is whether it is even possible to write anything that couldn’t be interpreted as crypto-autobiography? 

Is a perfectly delineated absence, such as David Shields approximates in The Very Last Interview, in fact the most perfect portrait of a person, even the best possible definition of a person, as far as this is possible at all? 

But do you actually have a personal opinion on this? 

Do you think then that you, like Shields, like us all perhaps, are, in essence, a ghost?

Friday 9 December 2022


Saint Sebastian's Abyss by Mark Haber               $35
Former best friends who built their careers writing about a single work of art meet after a decades-long falling-out. One of them, called to the other's deathbed for unknown reasons by a 'relatively short' nine-page email, spends his flight to Berlin reflecting on Dutch Renaissance painter Count Hugo Beckenbauer and his masterpiece, Saint Sebastian's Abyss, the work that established both men as important art critics and also destroyed their relationship. A darkly comic meditation on art, obsession, and the enigmatic power of friendship, Saint Sebastian's Abyss stalks the museum halls of Europe, feverishly seeking salvation, annihilation, and the meaning of belief.
"In sinuous, recursive sentences infused with equal parts reverence and venom, Haber constructs a darkly parodic portrait of aesthetic devotion and intellectual friendship, in which the redemptive practice of collaborative interpretation becomes a cage that two egos relentlessly rattle." —Nathan Goldman, Jewish Currents
"A delightful and dizzying excursion into the relationship between art and criticism, and all the ways that we often deceive ourselves about the things and people we love. Concise and deftly rendered, it moves forward like a rocket-or more accurately, like the transatlantic flight his unnamed American narrator takes to visit his friend and nemesis Schmidt in Berlin. In each of their lives, the painting has become a kind of mirror, reflecting their ideas and their assertions back upon themselves." —David L. Ulin, Alta Journal
"A brilliantly sustained performance: clever, droll and entrancing. Mark Haber creates something entirely new, and greatly impressive, within the Bernhardian universe." —Chloe Aridjis
Landfall 244: Aotearoa New Zealand arts and letters edited by Linley Edmeades          $30
Poetry: Rebecca Ball, Victor Billot, Peter Bland, Cindy Botha, Liz Breslin, Diana Bridge, Rachel Connor, John Dennison, Erin Donohue, David Eggleton, Jan FitzGerald, Miriama Gemmell, Michael Hall, Ruth Hanover, Claudia Jardine, Tim Jones, Erik Kennedy, Lyndsey Knight, Claire Lacey, Jessica Le Bas, Michele Leggott, Mary Macpherson, Cilla McQueen, Anuja Mitra, Margaret Moores, Janet Newman, Mikaela Nyman, Claire Orchard, Richard Reeve, Madeline Reid, Harry Ricketts, Ruth Russ, Harriet Salmon, Elizabeth Smither, Yvette Thomas, Tim Upperton, Sophia Wilson.
Fiction: Lucinda Birch, Joanna Cho, Jana Grohnert, Kirsty Gunn, Isabel Haarhaus, Jonathan Mahon-Heap, Frankie McMillan, Zoë Meager, S. A. Muse, Gerard O’Brien, Rebecca Reader, Angela Trolove.
Non-fiction: Tina Makereti, Jess Richards, Maggie Sturgess.
Art: Neil Pardington, Madison Kelly, Sam Kelly.
Review: Airini Beautrais, Kate Duignan, Emma Gattey, Lawrence Patchett, Laura Toailoa.
>>The winner of the 2022 Landfall Essay Competition
The Book of Dirt: A smelly history of dirt, disease and human hygiene by Monika Utnik-Strugala, Piotr Socha     $55
Millions of people on Earth start their day the same way: we get out of bed, go to the toilet and wash ourselves. But this hasn't always been the standard routine. Ancient Greeks and Romans were happy to splash about in public baths, but by the time the plague struck 14th-century Europe, many people believed that water spread diseases. It was not until the 18th century that Louis Pasteur proved that dangerous germs actually lurk in dirt. Even when hygienic habits began to be taught in schools, lessons were limited to washing faces and hands, because those were the parts that everyone could see. Dive deep into the history and science of dirt, discovering how people around the world (and out in space!) keep themselves and their surroundings free from filth, how our ideas of what's clean and what's not have changed and developed over the centuries, and why a little dirt can sometimes be a good thing.
This Place / That Place by Nandita Dinesh              $37
In a nameless country under military occupation, two friends prepare to attend a wedding. The young man is from the occupied region ('This Place'), the woman is from the occupying nation-state ('That Place'). The complicated relationship between these two protagonists with unusual professions--he is a Protest Designer and she is a De-programmer--is tested when, on the eve of the wedding, the occupying power, That Place, formally annexes This Place and declares a curfew. Suddenly finding themselves confined to the same isolated space, the young woman and man try to kill time but inevitably wind up talking about the ways in which the war between their homelands pervades the unexplored and undeniable attraction between them. Will their relationship become another casualty of war?
Nevada by Imogen Binnie              $25
Maria, a trans woman in her thirties, is going nowhere. She spends her aimless days working in a New York bookstore, trying to remain true to a punk ethos while drinking herself into a stupor and having a variety of listless and confusing sexual encounters. After her girlfriend cheats on her, Maria steals her car and heads for the Pacific, embarking on her version of the Great American Road Trip. Along the way she stops in Reno, Nevada, and meets James, a young man who works in the local Wal-Mart. Maria recognizes elements of her younger self in James and the pair quickly form an unlikely but powerful connection, one that will have big implications for them both. This hilarious, groundbreaking cult classic inspired a whole literary movement, and is now available outside the US for the first time.
"I've told people that Nevada is the On the Road of trans literature, but that's glib and unfair to Imogen Binnie, who is a lot smarter than Jack Kerouac. Nevada crept in under cover of night in 2013 and assumed its position as a classic while everyone's attention was elsewhere." —Lucy Sante
Why Climate Breakdown Matters by Rupert Read              $44
Climate change and the destruction of the earth is the most urgent issue of our time. We are hurtling towards the end of civilisation as we know it. Rupert Read asks us to face up to the fate of the planet. This is a book for anyone who wants their philosophy to deal with reality and their climate concern to be more than a displacement activity. As people come together to mourn the loss of the planet, we have the opportunity to create a grounded, hopeful response. This meaningful hopefulness looks to the new communities created around climate activism. Together, our collective mourning enables us to become human in ways previously unknown.

The Making of the Modern Middle East by Jeremy Bowen       $40
Bowen takes us on a journey across the Middle East and through its history. He meets ordinary men and women on the front line, their leaders, whether brutal or benign, and he explores the power games that have so often wreaked devastation on civilian populations as those leaders, whatever their motives, jostle for political, religious and economic control. With his deep understanding of the political, cultural and religious differences between countries as diverse as Erdogan’s Turkey, Assad’s Syria and Netanyahu’s Israel and his long experience of covering events in the region, Bowen offers readers a gripping and invaluable guide to the modern Middle East, how it came to be and what its future might hold.
The Blue Commons: Rescuing the economy of the sea by Guy Standing          $50
The sea provides more than half the oxygen we breathe, food for billions of people and livelihoods for hundreds of millions. But giant corporations are plundering the world's oceans, aided by global finance and complicit states, following the neoliberal maxim of Blue Growth. The situation is dire: rampant exploitation and corruption now drive all aspects of the ocean economy, destroying communities, intensifying inequalities, and driving fish populations and other ocean life towards extinction. The Blue Commons is an urgent call for change, from a campaigning economist responsible for some of the most innovative solutions to inequality of recent times.
"In this landmark book, Guy Standing not only documents how state-corporate collusion is destroying fragile ocean ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal communities. He explains how degrowth economics and fishery commons could restore the 'Blue Commons-Wealth' that belongs to all of us. The Blue Commons is at once a brilliant synthesis, a searing analysis, and an inspiring call to action." —David Bollier
Class: A graphic guide by Laura Harvey, Sarah Leaney and Danny Noble             $33
What can class tell us about gentrification, precarious work, the role of elites in society, or access to education? How have thinkers explored class in the past, and how does it affect us today? How does class inform activism and change? Class: A Graphic Guide challenges simplistic and stigmatising ideas about working-class people, discusses colonialist roots of class systems, and looks at how class intersects with race, sexuality, gender, disability and age.
The Best of E-Tangata, Volume two edited by Tapu Misa and  Gary Wilson          $18
A thought-provoking set of Maori, Pasifika, and tangata Tiriti writers combine in this celebration of some of the best writing from E-Tangata. Traverse a landscape of contemporary and historical issues through the lens of a mother's loss, a man's hard-won expertise, a homesick student abroad and with the knowledge that all good things begin with ten guitars. These writings exemplify that grief and hope go hand-in-hand in the pursuit of justice and the reclaiming of identities in Aotearoa and the Pacific. Contributors Becky Manawatu, Maui Solomon, Max Harris, Andrew Robb, Joanna Kidman, Joe Williams, Moana Maniapoto, Kingi Snelgar, Emmaline Pickering-Martin, Moana Jackson, Rangi Matamua, Dale Husband, Patrick Thomsen, Shelley Burne-Field, Tainui Stephens, Connie Buchanan, Simone Kaho, and Christine Ammunson.
Tiaki: A shout-out to Aotearoa's lesser-known creatures by  Jean Donaldson          $30
This book is about the weird and wonderful endangered species in Aotearoa, those lesser-known creatures that don't regularly make the news. But they are just as important as the 'stars' like kakapo and kiwi, for they are the foundation of our unique biodiversity. Tiaki includes such exotic animals as the Smeagol gravel maggot, a sea slug found on the south coast of Wellington; the moko kakariki, a gecko with a bright blue mouth; the kowaro/Canterbury mudfish, which can survive out of water for up to several months; and the tiny, critically endangered pekapeka-tou-roa/long-tailed bat.
Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A history of food, from sustainable to suicidal by Mark Bittman           $37
The story of humankind is usually told as one of technological innovation and economic influence, arrowheads and atomic bombs, settlers and stock markets. But behind it all, there is an even more fundamental driver: food. In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, trusted food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments-from slavery and colonialism to famine and genocide-and to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people. Even so, Bittman refuses to concede that the battle is lost, pointing to activists, workers, and governments around the world who are choosing well-being over corporate greed and gluttony and fighting to free society from Big Food's grip. Sweeping, impassioned, and ultimately full of hope, Animal, Vegetable, Junk reveals not only how food has shaped our past, but also how we can transform it to reclaim our future. 
Encountering China: New Zealanders and the People's Republic edited by Duncan Campbell and Brian Moloughney             $40
In this collection of 50 texts, which range from essays to poems, a wide range of authors, from diplomats and students to politicians, academics and businesspeople, reflect on their experiences of and in China over the last half century. 
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera            $19
Petra Pena wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth will soon be destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children — among them Petra and her family — have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet — and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard — or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again? A multi-award winning and bestselling novel, blending science fiction and Mexican folklore to explore the power of storytelling.
"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes — truly a beautiful cuento." —New York Times
The Little Captain by Paul Biegel            $17
One morning, after a fierce storm, the people of the harbour come down to find a strange ship called the Neversink stuck fast on top of the sand dunes. Inside is only a small boy with a big cap - The Little Captain. He and his ship stay marooned on top of the dunes until one day a giant wave sweeps the Neversink to freedom. And so The Little Captain sets sail once more, this time with three of the town's children, Podgy, Marinka and Thomas, as his crew mates. Together they are determined to find the island of Evertaller, where legend has it children turn into grown-ups overnight and never have to go to school again.

Notes from a Small Kitchen Island by Debora Robertson               $55
Robertson introduces us to the recipes that made her, as much as she made them. From feasts in her French holiday cottage to the Turkish-inspired weeknight dinners created with ingredients from her local Hackney high street, her recipes encapsulate the comfort to be found in the everyday. 
Always Going Home: Lauris and Frances Edmond, A mother-and-daughter story by Frances Edmond              $40
Writing from memory, family recollections, and the goldmine of poet Lauris Edmond's correspondence and diaries, Frances Edmond details how her life intersected with, and often diverged from, her mothers. As creative collaborator, sole literary executor, and a frequent sounding board and confidante, Frances was privy to details known to very few. She learned about the wounds her mother carried and her inability to manage, or influence, the shifting tides of grief and resentment within their family.