Friday 28 January 2022


A Sunday in Ville-d'Avray by Dominique Barbéris (translated by John Cullen)     $23
It's a Sunday in early September and a woman is going to visit her sister in the suburbs outside Paris. She remembers their childhood, when they had 'tender hearts and lots of imagination' and a shared infatuation with Mr Rochester. They reminisce about their past and Claire Marie tells her sister about an encounter that took place over ten years earlier. Set against the backdrop of the Corot ponds, Fausses-Reposes forest, and the footbridge above the Sevres-Ville-d'Avray station, this haunting novel explores half-shared truths and desires that can never be fully expressed.
"A little book filled with big questions. Barbéris’s cautious but tense novel is a subtle game of hide and seek with that void." —Guardian
On Tyranny: Twenty lessons from the twentieth century by Timothy Snyder, illustrated by Nora Krug             $38
This graphic edition of Snyder's insightful manual uses the darkest moments in twentieth-century history, from Nazism to Communism, to teach twenty lessons on resisting modern-day authoritarianism. Among the twenty include a warning to be aware of how symbols used today could affect tomorrow ("4: Take responsibility for the face of the world"), a point to use personalised and individualised speech rather than clichéd phrases for the sake of mass appeal ("9: Be kind to our language"), and more. Nora Krug's illustrations add extra depth, colour and urgency to the text.
>>Around the cat's tail
>>Snyder and Krug discuss the book
>>How the cover illustration was made
Germs: A memoir of childhood by Richard Wollheim            $36
Germs is about first things, the seeds from which a life grows, as well as about the illnesses it incurs, the damage it sustains. Written at the end of the life of Richard Wollheim, a major British philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century, this memoir is not the usual story of growing up, but very much about childhood, that early world we all share in which we do not not know either the world or ourselves for sure, and in which things—houses, clothes, meals, parents, the past—loom large around us, seeming both inevitable and uncontrollable. Richard Wollheim's remarkable, moving, and entirely original book recovers this formative moment that makes us who we are before we really are who we are and that haunts us all our lives. Introduction by Sheila Heti. 
"Frighteningly good." —Andrew O’Hagan
"A great book, strange and beautifully written, candid yet ornate, as if Rousseau were being rewritten by Proust, with interpolations by another author familiar with Beckett." —Frank Kermode
"A radiant masterpiece, by turns exquisite, appalling, mysterious, and very, very funny. Brought this close up to what it feels like to be a child, or for that matter an adult, Wollheim helps us see with awful clarity what an emotional and moral predicament it is to be alive." —John Banville
Greek Myths: A new retelling by Charlotte Higgins            $40
A retelling, reassessment and resuscitation of the myths for a new generation. Taking her cue from Ovid, Charlotte Higgins has an intriguing structural device to thread her stories together. Inspired by the many moments in Greek myths in which women are seen to weave stories on to textiles (such as Helen of Troy in Homer, and Arachne and Minerva in Ovid), the tales are told as if they are scenes in the act of being woven onto textiles. And, while not operating as an explicitly feminist retelling, this adds a new dimension to her myths, bringing women narrators and characters into the foreground. With drawings by Chris Ofili. 
"The book would make a perfect introduction to the entrancing world of Greek myth for any secondary school student. Its thoughtful introduction, ample notes pointing to the ancient sources, bibliography of accessible further reading, maps, genealogies and glossary make it a useful resource for far more advanced adult readers. And Higgins’s simple yet sonorous style contains treats even for those lucky enough, like her, to have read her ancient sources in the original languages. She includes deft Homeric epithets, unobtrusive embedded quotations of resonant couplets from Sophoclean tragedy, and luscious Homeric similes at unexpected moments. This excellent book should delight many generations of story lovers to come." —Guardian
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden             $48
A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love—only to learn the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.
"Tillie Walden is the future of comics, and On a Sunbeam is her best work yet. It's a 'space' story unlike any you've ever read, with a rich, lived-in universe of complex characters." —Brian K. Vaughan

Villa: From classic to contemporary by Patrick Reynolds, Jeremy Salmond and Jeremy Hansen          $65
At last, a new edition of this book capturing something essential in New Zealand's domestic architectural history. 
A Feminist Mythology by Chiara Bottici         $44
A Feminist Mythology takes us on a poetic journey through the canonical myths of femininity, testing them from the point of view of our modern condition. A myth is not an object, but rather a process, one that Chiara Bottici practises by exploring different variants of the myth of "womanhood" through first- and third-person prose and poetry. We follow a series of myths that morph into each other, disclosing ways of being woman that question inherited patriarchal orders. In this metamorphic world, story-telling is not just a mix of narrative, philosophical dialogues and metaphysical theorizing: it is a current that traverses all of them by overflowing the boundaries it encounters. In doing so, A Feminist Mythology proposes an alternative writing style that recovers ancient philosophical and literary traditions from the pre-Socratic philosophers and Ovid's Metamorphoses to the philosophical novellas and feminist experimental writings of the last century.
The Eight Gifts of Te Wheke by Steph Matuku, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers           $20
Te Wheke the octopus loves to collect things – pirate coins, glossy pearls, sparkly lamps, old toys, broken toasters. But one day, he wants to get eight treasures all at once, and that gets him into trouble. 
Ngā Taonga e Waru mā Te Wheke by Steph Matuku, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers           $20
He tino rawe ki a Te Wheke te kohikohi taonga, he moni kaitiora, he peara muramura, he rama pīataata, he taonga tawhito, ērā momo mea katoa. Engari i tētahi rangi, ka kaiponu ia ki ngā taonga e waru, kāre e kore . . . he raru kei te haere.

The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoyevsky, a crime and its punishment by Kevin Birmingham          $65
In the summer of 1865, the former exile Dostoevsky found himself trapped in a cheap hotel in Wiesbaden, unable to leave until he'd paid the bill. Having lost the last of his money at the roulette table, his debts hung heavy over his head, his epileptic seizures were worsening, and his wife and beloved brother were dead. Desperate, a story came to him, a way to write himself out of his predicament: the murderer Rasolnikov, the hot, disorienting swirl of St Petersburg, the axe, the terrible crime, and the murderer's paranoia. The book was Crime and Punishment. The book also examines Pierre François Lacenaire, a notorious murderer and glamorous egoist who charmed and outraged Paris in the 1830s and whose sensational story provided the germ of the novel.
>>What about 1867? 
London Clay: Journeys in the deep city by Tom Chivers             $48
The past is below the present. Tom Chivers follows hidden pathways, explores lost islands and uncovers the geological mysteries that burst up through the pavement and bubble to the surface of our streets. From Roman ruins to a submerged playhouse, from an abandoned Tube station to underground rivers, Chivers leads us on a journey into the depths of London.
 From sofa suppers and comfort food to celebration meals and festive feasts, Victoria Moore helps you choose the wine that will taste most delicious with whatever you're eating.
Paul by Daisy Lafarge       $33
Frances is a young English woman spending a summer volunteering in rural France, hoping that picking vegetables and making honey will distract her from a scandal that drove her out of Paris, her degree unfinished and her sense of self unmoored. At Noa Noa, named for the ranch owner's adventures in Tahiti, she comes under the influence of Paul, a charismatic, dominant older man. As his hold over her tightens, Frances watches her plans fragment, and she finds herself entangled in a strange, uneven relationship

The World Turner Upside Down: A history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution by Yang Jisheng              $70
As a major political event and a crucial turning point in the history of the People's Republic of China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) marked the zenith as well as the nadir of Mao Zedong's politics. Reacting in part to the Soviet Union's 'revisionism' that he regarded as a threat to the future of socialism, Mao mobilized the masses in a battle against what he called 'bourgeois' forces within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This ten-year-long class struggle on a massive scale almost obliterated traditional Chinese culture as well as the nation's economy.
The Interest: How the British establishment resisted the abolition of slavery by Michael Taylor          $26
In 1807, Parliament outlawed the slave trade in the British Empire, but for the next quarter of a century, despite heroic and bloody rebellions, more than 700,000 people in the British colonies remained enslaved. And when a renewed abolitionist campaign was mounted, making slave ownership the defining political and moral issue of the day, emancipation was fiercely resisted by the powerful 'West India Interest'. Supported by nearly every leading figure of the British establishment - including Canning, Peel and Gladstone, The Times and Spectator - the Interest ensured that slavery survived until 1833 and that when abolition came at last, compensation worth billions in today's money was given not to the enslaved but to the slaveholders, entrenching the power of their families to shape modern Britain to this day. Now in paperback (but also in hardcover).
Stigma: The machinery of inequality by Imogen Tyler        $30
Stigma is a corrosive social force by which individuals and communities throughout history have been systematically dehumanised, scapegoated and oppressed.

Violeta by Isabelle Allende          $37
From pandemic to pandemic, Allende's latest novel covers a century of South American history as narrated through the life of one woman to her grandson. 
Fire and Ice: The volcanoes of the Solar System by Natalie Starkey          $37
Earth isn't the only planet to harbour volcanoes. In fact, the Solar System, and probably the entire Universe, is littered with them. Our own Moon, which is now a dormant piece of rock, had lava flowing across its surface billions of years ago, while Mars can be credited with the largest volcano in the Solar System, Olympus Mons, which stands 25km high. While Mars's volcanoes are long dead, volcanic activity continues in almost every other corner of the Solar System, in the most unexpected of locations. We tend to think of Earth volcanoes as erupting hot, molten lava and emitting huge, billowing clouds of incandescent ash. However, it isn't necessarily the same across the rest of the Solar System. For a start, some volcanoes aren't even particularly hot. Those on Pluto, for example, erupt an icy slush of substances such as water, methane, nitrogen or ammonia, that freeze to form ice mountains as hard as rock. While others, like the volcanoes on one of Jupiter's moons, Io, erupt the hottest lavas in the Solar System onto a surface covered in a frosty coating of sulphur.
Work: A history of how we spend our time by James Suzman            $25
The work we do brings us meaning, moulds our values, determines our social status and dictates how we spend most of our time. But this wasn't always the case: for 95% of our species' history, work held a radically different importance. How, then, did work become the central organisational principle of our societies? How did it transform our bodies, our environments, our views on equality and our sense of time? And why, in a time of material abundance, are we working more than ever before? New edition. 

Hegel in a Wired Brain by Slavoj Žižek         $30
Zizek gives us a reading of philosophical giant G.W.F. Hegel that changes our way of thinking about the new posthuman era. This work investigates what he might have had to say about the idea of the 'wired brain' — what happens when a direct link between our mental processes and a digital machine emerges. Zizek explores the phenomenon of a wired brain effect, and what might happen when we can share our thoughts directly with others. He hones in on the key question of how it shapes our experience and status as 'free' individuals and asks what it means to be human when a machine can read our minds.
A glimpse of post-war France through the eyes and words of 14 mostly expatriate journalists including Mavis Gallant, James Baldwin, A.J. Liebling, S.N. Behrman, Luc Sante, Joseph Mitchell, and Lillian Ross; plus, portraits of their editors William Shawn and New Yorker founder Harold Ross. Together they invented modern magazine journalism. Includes an introductory interview by Susan Morrison with Anderson about transforming fact into a fiction and the creation of his homage to these exceptional reporters, the film The French Dispatch
Us: A compendium        $30
This journal is filled with creative, enagaging prompts—both silly and serious—to help parents  and children learn more about each other and get everyone giggling. Shared journaling opens lines of communication, providing opportunities for self-expression. Through messages, sketches, and lists, you'll share memories, compare perspectives, uncover similarities, and celebrate uniqueness. And it's fun. 

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