Friday 4 March 2022


Paradais by Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes)               $37
The unflinching new novel from the author of the acclaimed Hurricane Season. Inside a luxury housing complex, two misfit teenagers sneak around and get drunk. Franco, lonely, overweight, and addicted to porn, obsessively fantasises about seducing his neighbour—an attractive married woman and mother—while Polo dreams about quitting his gruelling job as a gardener in the gated community and fleeing his overbearing mother and their narco-controlled village. Facing the impossibility of getting what they think they deserve, Franco and Polo hatch a mindless and macabre scheme. Melchor is a thrilling writer, her electric prose charged with the power to transform the reader. Paradais explores the explosive nature of Mexico's brittle society, fractured by issues of race, class and violence-and confronts us with teenagers whose desires and hardships can tear life apart.
"Fernanda Melchor has a powerful voice, and by powerful I mean unsparing, devastating, the voice of someone who writes with rage, and has the skill to pull it off." —Samanta Schweblin 
"Fernanda Melchor explores violence and inequity in this brutal novel. She does it with dazzling technical prowess, a perfect pitch for orality, and a neurosurgeon's precision for cruelty. Paradais is a short inexorable descent into Hell." —Mariana Enriquez 
Everything and Less: The novel in the age of Amazon by Mark McGurl           $45
What has happened to fiction in the age of Platform Capitalism? Since it was first launched in 1994, Amazon has changed the world of literature. The “Everything Store” has not just transformed how we buy books; it has affected what we buy, and even what we read. In Everything and Less, McGurl explores this new world where writing is no longer categorised as high or lowbrow, literature or popular fiction. McGurl contests that contemporary writing has less to do with writing per se than with the manner of its distribution. This consumerist logic has reorganised the  fiction universe so that literary prize-winners sit alongside fantasy, romance, fan fiction, and the infinite list of hybrid genres and self-published works. As other standards of quality have been overwhelmed by pure 'customer satisfaction'—even in university literature courses—and literary culture has been subsumed by corporate culture in search of the 'perfect product', are we better off, or worse?
"Explains the place of culture in a neoliberal economy." —New York Times
After Lockdown: A metamorphosis by Bruno Latour              $36
After the harrowing experience of the pandemic and lockdown, both states and individuals have been searching for ways to exit the crisis, many hoping to return as soon as possible to 'the world as it was before the pandemic'. But there is another way to learn the lessons of this ordeal: as inhabitants of the earth, we may not be able to exit lockdown so easily after all, since the global health crisis is embedded in another larger and more serious crisis — that brought about by climate change. Learning to live in lockdown might be an opportunity to be seized: a dress-rehearsal for the climate mutation, an opportunity to understand at last where we — inhabitants of the Earth — live, what kind of place 'Earth' is and how we will be able to orient ourselves and exist in this world in the years to come. We might finally be able to explore the land in which we live, together with all other living beings, begin to understand the true nature of the climate mutation we are living through and discover what kind of freedom is possible — a freedom differently situated and differently understood.
August by Christa Wolf (translated by Katy Derbyshire)              $23
 "You can only fight sorrow when you look it in the eye." August is Christa Wolf's last piece of fiction, written in a single sitting as a gift to her husband. In it, she revisits her stay at a tuberculosis hospital in the winter of 1946, a real life event that was the inspiration for the closing scenes of her 1976 novel Patterns of Childhood. This time, however, her fictional perspective is very different. The story unfolds through the eyes of August, a young patient who has lost both his parents to the war. He adores an older girl, Lilo, a rebellious teenager who controls the wards. Sixty years later, August reflects on his life and the things that she taught him. Written in taut, affectionate prose, August offers a new entry into Christa Wolf's work.
Life As We Made It: How 50,000 years of human interventon refined — and redefined — nature by Beth Shapiro              $43
Virus-free mosquitoes, resurrected dinosaurs, designer humans — such is the power of the science of tomorrow. But the idea that we have only recently begun to manipulate the natural world is false. We've been meddling with nature since the last ice age. It's just that we're getting better at it. Shapiro reveals the surprisingly long history of human intervention in evolution through hunting, domesticating, polluting, hybridising, conserving and genetically modifying life on Earth. Looking ahead to the future, she casts aside the scaremongering myths on the dangers of interference, and outlines the true risks and opportunities that new biotechnologies will offer us in the years ahead. 
Revolution: An intellectual history by Enzo Traverso               $55
This book reinterprets the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century revolutions by composing a constellation of dialectical images: Marx's locomotives of history, Alexandra Kollontai's sexually liberated bodies, Lenin's mummified body, Auguste Blanqui's barricades and red flags, the Paris Commune's demolition of the Vendome Column, among several others. It connects theories with the existential trajectories of the thinkers who elaborated them, by sketching the diverse profiles of revolutionary intellectuals—from Marx and Bakunin to Luxemburg and the Bolsheviks, from Mao and Ho Chi Minh to Jos Carlos Mariátegui, C.L.R. James, and other rebellious spirits from the South—as outcasts and pariahs. And finally, it analyzes the entanglement between revolution and communism that so deeply shaped the history of the twentieth century. This book thus merges ideas and representations by devoting an equal importance to theoretical and iconographic sources, offering for our troubled present a new intellectual history of the revolutionary past.
"Brilliant and beautiful. Now this book exists, it’s hard to know how we did without it.” –China Miéville
The Walker: On losing and finding yourself in the modern city by Matthew Beaumont            $25
A fascinating literary history of walking—would we have literature without it? From Charles Dickens's insomniac night rambles to wandering through the faceless, windswept monuments of the neoliberal city, the act of walking is one of escape, self-discovery, disappearances and potential revolution. Pacing stride for stride alongside such literary amblers and thinkers as Edgar Allen Poe, Andrew Breton, H G Wells, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and Ray Bradbury, Matthew Beaumont explores the relationship between the metropolis and its pedestrian life. He asks can you get lost in a crowd? It is polite to stare at people walking past on the street? What differentiates the city of daylight and the nocturnal metropolis? What connects walking, philosophy and the big toe? Can we save the city - or ourselves - by taking the pavement?
Drilling through Hard Boards by Alexander Kluge (translated by Wieland Hoban)           $35
Max Weber described politics as "a strong, slow drilling through hard boards with both passion and judgment." Weber's metaphorical drill certainly embodies intelligent tenacity as a precondition for political change. But what is a hammer in the business of politics, Kluge wonders, and what is a subtle touch? What is political in the first place? In the book, Kluge unspools more than one hundred vignettes, through which it becomes clear that the political is more often than not personal. Politics are everywhere in our everyday lives, so along with the stories of major political figures, we also find here the small, mostly unknown ones: Elfriede Eilers alongside Pericles, Chilean miners next to Napoleon, a three-month-old baby beside Alexander the Great. 
Cat Eyes and Dog Whistles: The seven senses of humans and other animals by Cathy Evans and Becky Thorne            $35
Highly sensitive receptor cells in our eyes, ears, noses, tongues and skin relay messages to the brain and allow us to interpret the things going on around us, creating our sense of reality. But how do our senses work? And how do they differ from the senses of other animals? Did you know that, unlike the other senses, smells are delivered directly to the parts of our brain that are responsible for memory and emotion, meaning that smells can trigger feelings in a way that sight or sound can't? Did you know that a cow has about 250,000 tastebuds, compared to 5,000 of a human, and a mere 30 of a chicken? Or that earwax is 80% dead skin? A well-illustrated large-format hardback. 
Yellow Kayak by Nina Laden and Melissa Castrillon     $30
You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend's unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side. From the creators of If I Had a Little Dream
"Castrillon's beautifully surreal artwork is captivating. Each scene is full of imaginative sea creatures, crashing waves, blue-green tendrils of rain, and moonlit skies, all rendered in swirling organic shapes and lines and a dense palette of saturated tones." —Booklist
This is the Canon: Decolonise your bookshelf in 50 books by  Kadija Sesay, Deirdre Osborne, and Joan Anim-Addo           $38
A corrective to the many 'required reading' lists dominated by white men, this book gives excerpts from a great diversity of work and is an excellent way to broaden your reading and discover authors previously unknown to you. 
The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny      $20
Sometimes the monsters take us. Sometimes we become the monsters. Mirabelle has always known she is a monster. When the glamour protecting her unusual family from the human world is torn and an orphaned brother and sister stumble upon Rookhaven, Mirabelle soon discovers that friendship can be found in the outside world. But as something far more sinister comes to threaten them all, it quickly becomes clear that the true monsters aren't necessarily the ones you can see. 
Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe after the Second World War by Paul Betts          $28
In 1945, Europe lay in ruins - its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the wake of the physical devastation came profound moral questions: how could Europe - once proudly confident of its place at the heart of the 'civilised world' - have done this to itself? And what did it mean that it had? In the years that followed, Europeans - from politicians to refugees, poets to campaigners, religious leaders to communist revolutionaries - tried to make sense of what had happened, and to forge a new understanding of civilisation that would bring peace and progress to a broken continent. As they wrestled with questions great and small - from the legacy of colonialism to workplace etiquette - institutions and shared ideals emerged which still shape our world today.
"Marvellously subtle and wide-ranging. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the world of today." —Margaret MacMillan
You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao          $28
Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out-move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam's cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone. In a miraculous turn of events, Julie's been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam's voice makes her fall for him all over again and, with each call, it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn't easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam's family is going through. 
From Another World by Evelina Santangelo (translated by Ruth Clarke)       $33
The seas are filled with drowning migrants; Europe is awash with xenophobia and fear. In the cities and towns, in the schools and shops, strange children are starting to appear: enigmatic and unnerving, they disappear like ghosts, causing uproar. Amid mounting paranoia, Khaled, a young teenager, by chance meets Karolina in a discount store in Brussels. She buys him a red suitcase, and they part ways: Karolina to both mourn and search for her missing son, whose laptop betrays his entanglement with extremist groups; Khaled to head south, against the flow of other Syrian refugees — travelling with urgent intent, desperately protecting the contents of his suitcase.
Autobibliography by Rob Doyle               $33
In my case, reading has always served a dual purpose. In a positive sense, it offers sustenance, enlightenment, the bliss of fascination. In a negative sense, it is a means of withdrawal, of inhabiting a reality quarantined from one that often comes across painful, alarming or downright distasteful. In the former sense, reading is like food; in the latter, it is like drugs or alcohol. Rob Doyle recounts a year spent rereading fifty-two of his favourite books.

The Long Song by Andrea Levy              $26
Told in the willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once a defiant, funny, and shocking novel of life on a nineteenth century Jamaican slave plantation. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her "Marguerite." Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her "freedom." It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Short-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.
XX by Rian Hughes           $38
Wrapping stories within stories, Rian Hughes's XX unleashes the full narrative potential of graphic design. It uses the visual culture of the twenty-first century to ask us who we think we are - and where we may be headed next. At Jodrell Bank Observatory a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin has been detected. Jack Fenwick, artificial intelligence expert and on the autistic spectrum, thinks he can decode it. But when he and his associates at tech startup Intelligencia find a way to step into the alien realm the signal encodes, they discover that it's already occupied - by ghostly entities that may come from our own past. Have these 'DMEn' (Digital Memetic Entities) been created by persons unknown for just such an eventuality? Are they our first line of defence in a coming war, not for territory, but for our minds? Including transcripts from NASA debriefs, newspaper and magazine articles, fictitious Wikipedia pages, a seventeenth-century treatise called Cometographia by Johannis Hevelius, and a spread on the so far undeciphered written language of Easter Island, Rongorongo, from a book called Language Lost: Undeciphered Scripts of the Ancient World. The battle for your mind has already begun. Also by Rian Hughes: The Black Locomotive
"Vastly ambitious, XX is the most astonishing blend of narrative, meta-narratives and visuals. Real 'wow' moments and big ideas combine with brilliant typographical flourishes to create the Moby-Dick of sci-fi." —Daily Mail 
Behind Enemy Lines: War, news and chaos in the Middle East by Patrick Cockburn           $28
The West seems unable to disentangle itself from the 'forever wars' in the Middle East. The US and its allies do not have the strength to win, but they do have the power to avoid defeat, protracting conflicts interminably in the process. Cockburn examines the causes of these endless wars and why reporting on them in the West has markedly deteriorated in recent years. Governments and the public know less and less about who is fighting and why; propaganda increasingly replaces well-informed reporting. The modern era in the Middle East is notable not only for failed states but for failed journalism. 

Going to Town: High Street, Motueka by Carol Dawber         $50
 In the 1850s it was a cart track with stumps that needed dodging but it soon took on the appearance of a settlement, defined at each end by hotels and gradually filling with homes, shops and service industries. There were stables and sawmills, bakeries and bootmakers, and as the wider district was cleared and developed the town of Motueka became a business hub for hop and tobacco farmers, orchardists and agriculturalists. It was also a transport hub linking Nelson, Richmond, Ngātimoti, Riwaka and Golden Bay by land and sea. Today High Street is more intensely concentrated, with three or four businesses where one used to be but it is as vibrant as ever. This book records old family names and businesses, fires, floods and parades and the development of industry, services and tourism. It also documents the strong sense of community which still exists in a district which has High Street as its heart. An exemplary photographic history. 

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