Saturday 9 April 2022


Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu (translated by Tiffany Tsao)           $33
"A powerful blend of science fiction, absurdism and alternative-historical realism that aims to destabilise the heteronormative world and expose its underlying rot." Inspired by Simone Weil’s concept of ‘decreation’ and drawing on Batak and Christian cultural elements, in Happy Stories, Mostly Pasaribu puts queer characters in situations and plots conventionally filled by hetero characters. In one story, a staff member is introduced to their new workplace - a department of Heaven devoted to archiving unanswered prayers. In another, a woman’s attempt to vacation in Vietnam after her gay son commits suicide turns into a nightmarish failed escape. And in a speculative-historical third, a young man finds himself haunted by the tale of a giant living in colonial-era Sumatra.
Long-listed for the 2022 International Booker Prize.
A Brief History of Equality by Thomas Piketty (translated by Steven Rendall)        $55
A surprisingly optimistic history of human progress toward equality despite crises, disasters, and backsliding. Piketty guides us through the movements that have made the modern world for better and worse: the growth of capitalism, revolutions, imperialism, slavery, wars, and the building of the welfare state. It's a history of violence and social struggle, punctuated by regression and disaster. But through it all, Piketty believes, human societies have moved fitfully toward a more just distribution of income and assets, a reduction of racial and gender inequalities, and greater access to health care, education, and the rights of citizenship. To keep moving, Piketty argues, we need to learn and commit to what works, to institutional, legal, social, fiscal, and educational systems that can make equality a lasting reality. 
My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi             $38
In this inventive, enjoyable and audacious novel — at once science fiction, myth, eco-horror, parable, and a shout for gender liberation and creative freedom — divers characters in diverse times and places undergo diverse personal eruptions (mostly metaphorical). On June 2, 2016, a protrusion of rock growing from the Central Park Reservoir is spotted by a jogger. Three weeks later, it is nearly two-and-a-half miles tall, and has been determined to be an active volcano. As the volcano grows and then looms over New York, an eight-year-old boy in Mexico City finds himself transported 500 years into the past, where he witnesses the fall of the Aztec Empire; a Nigerian scholar in Tokyo studies a folktale about a woman of fire who descends a mountain and destroys an entire village; a white trans writer in Jersey City struggles to write a sci-fi novel about a thriving civilization on an impossible planet; a nurse tends to Syrian refugees in Greece while grappling with the trauma of living through the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan; a nomadic farmer in Mongolia is stung by a bee, magically transforming him into a green, thorned, flowering creature that aspires to connect every living thing into its consciousness.
Raiment by Jan Kemp             $35
Poet Jan Kemp's memoir of her first 25 years is a vivid and frank account of growing up in New Zealand in the 1950s, and of university life in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It tracks from an innocent Waikato childhood to the seedy flats of Auckland, where anarchic student life, drugs, sexual experimentation and a failing marriage could not keep her away from poetry. Kemp became one of the few young women poets of her era to be allowed into then-male poet circles. Raiment shines a clear-eyed light on the heady, hedonistic hothouse of the New Zealand literary community in the 1970s. 
Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Maria Gainza (translated by Thomas Bunstead)          $35
An Argentinian art critic recalls how she was drawn into the world of forgery, and becomes increasingly fascinated by three women who challenge the fundamentals of art discourse and other cultural norms. 
"Gainza’s novel becomes a puzzle as we question the most improbable biographical details. How much has been fabricated by the narrator? Does authenticity really matter? And exactly whose life story is she really interested in: artist, forger or authenticator? This is a novel with many beautiful, confounding moments. Maria Gainza is sharp, modern and playful, a writer who multiplies the possibilities for fiction." —Guardian
Tūnui | Comet by Robert Sullivan             $20
Rolling easily between kōrero Māori and the canonical traditions of English-language poetry, through karakia and pōwhiri, treaty training and decolonisation wiki entries, Robert Sullivan takes readers on a marvellous poetic hīkoi. Guided by Māui and Tāwhirimātea, Moana Jackson and Freddie Mercury, we walk from K’Rd council flats to Kaka Point, finding ourselves and our ancestors along the way.
Crane Guy: A game of I Spy from on high by Sally Sutton and Sarah Wilkins           $20
Spend the day with Crane Guy and see how many things you can spy from up high in his crane. Crane Guy, up so high, Building towers in the sky, Tell me, tell me what you spy. Something beginning with . . . Join Crane Guy for a game of I Spy up high in a crane - how many things can you see that begin with the letter B? Or S? Or P? This superb rhyming picture book by acclaimed author Sally Sutton and illustrator Sarah Wilkins makes a very fun game of learning letters and their sounds. Readers will love exploring the gorgeously detailed city scenes over and over again. Bustling with people, construction machines and vehicles of all kinds, this is an exciting book. 
Moon Witch, Spider King ('Dark Star' #2) by Marlon James             $38
In the much-anticipated sequel to Black Leopard, Red Wolf, James continues his powerful fantasy, drawing from roots in African mythology and history. In the first book, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It's also the story of a century-long feud — seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch — that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi's power is considerable — and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.
"In the second book of his 'Dark Star' trilogy, James coaxes beauty from dark thoughts, leaving readers with a concaved, mystical and African-inspired world that begins in free-fall. In a world as thoroughly imagined as J.R.R. Tolkien's, no detail seems spared. Full-figured and richly drawn, Moon Witch, Spider King is the bridge of a trilogy and also a creation that, like James's talent, stands alone." —Los Angeles Times
Another Beautiful Day Indoors by Erik Kennedy          $25
Out on the pleasure pier on that benign afternoon,
the air heavy with the blossom of vinegar and old tyres,
you asked what was the closest I had come to death. 
Another Beautiful Day Indoors is more likely to end with a dark flood than a beautiful sundown. As these poems grapple with climate catastrophe, precarious labour, and love, they draw on the full, rich weirdness of the human-made world, with its self-driving cars, official geese and open-plan offices modelled on heaven. A sequence of magical realist short fictions explore ‘essential work’; elsewhere Erik Kennedy wonders what it is like to work in the satellite insurance sector. Somehow he gets away with rhyming ‘guesses’ with ‘yeses’. And somehow, even as this book comes up against the most ominous aspects of our future, it uplifts. 
Dogs in Early New Zealand Photographs edited by Mike White         $35
This entertaining selection of over 100 photos of New Zealand dogs reveals some of the more curious ways in which they have appeared in photographic collections from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dogs named Terror, Betsey Jane, Floss and Erebus appear alongside canines whose names are longer known. The photos range from carefully staged studio portraits to New Zealand landscapes. Many of the photographs are from Nelson's Tyree Collection. 

Run and Hide by Pankaj Mishra                $35
In Mishra's long-awaited new novel, Arun knows there is only way out of this small railway town. He is about to enrol in the prestigious Indian Institute of technology, determined to make something of himself. But once there, he meets two friends who are prepared to go to unimaginable lengths to succeed. In just a few years, Arun's friends become the success stories of their generation. In private planes and expensive cars, from New York to Tuscany, they play out their Gatsby-style fantasies. In reality, these men are about to pay for their transgressions, but who exactly will pay the price? Will it be Arun? Will it be Alia, a female writer and influencer, who is piecing together the story of a big global financial scandal?
"A spectacular, illuminating work of fiction." —Jennifer Egan
"Elegantly written, incisively observed, and deeply satisfying to read." —Kamila Shamsie
Lambda by David Musgrave          $35
Outwardly alien arrivals from a distant sea, the lambdas are genetically human. They slip quietly into low- to middle-income jobs and appear to want nothing more than to be left alone. For Cara Gray, they are first a haunting presence in her otherwise ordinary childhood, then the inscrutable target of her police surveillance work. When a bomb goes off at a school, a nebulous group of lambda extremists claims responsibility for the attack-but how could a vulnerable community of tiny aquatic humans, barely visible in society and seemingly indifferent to their own exploitation, be capable of something so horrific? In Cara's world a toothbrush can be legally alive, a quantum computer has the power to decide who dies, and a government employee made of slime mould protein needs help to relieve his neuroses. As Cara's relationship with the lambdas deepens, she must decide whether to accept her place in a pattern of technology, violence and deceit, or to take action of her own.
"Literary SF at its best." —Guardian
OST: Letters, memoirs and stories from Ostarbeiter in Nazi Germany edited by MEMORIAL (translated by Georgia Thomson)           $70
An extraordinary assemblage of moving and revelatory documents and testimony from the Nazi forced labor camps. An Ostarbeiter was an 'Eastern Worker', rounded up by Nazi Germany from the captured territories in Central and Eastern Europe. By the end of the war, it is estimated that approximately 3 million to 5.5 million Ostarbeiter were forced to work in guarded work camps, many of them younger than 16 years old — at which age they would be conscripted for military service. Ostarbeiter worked 12 hours a day on starvation on rations; as ethnic Slavs, they were treated with extraordinary brutality by Nazi guards who considered them 'sub-human' by the standards of the Aryan master race. They were distinguished by the label 'OST' sewn onto their uniforms. OST is based on over two hundred personal accounts, hundreds of hours of interviews, and over 350,000 letters. 
Nature Boy: The photography of Olaf Petersen edited by Catherine Hammond et al        $60
A gull chick running across Muriwai Beach. Cabbage trees at Lake Wainamu. Tyre tracks, tugs of war and tramping trips. Olaf Petersen produced an unrivalled photographic account of the people and natural world of Auckland's wild west coast, from the 1930s to the 1980s. 

Some Collages by Jim Jarmusch            $65
Although Jim Jarmusch is best known for his storied career in independent cinema, over the years he has produced hundreds of pieces of collage art, the majority of which has been rarely seen by the public. Drawing inspiration from the largest medium of cultural documentation—newspapers—Jarmusch crafts each work by layering newsprints on cardstock. 
The Slowworm's Song by Andrew Miller          $38
An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic living quietly in Somerset, Stephen Rose has just begun to form a bond with the daughter he barely knows when he receives a summons — to an inquiry into an incident during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It is the return of what Stephen hoped he had outdistanced. Above all, to testify would jeopardise the fragile relationship with his daughter. And if he loses her, he loses everything. Instead, he decides to write her an account of his life; a confession, a defence, a love letter. Also a means of buying time. But time is running out, and the day comes when he must face again what happened in that faraway summer of 1982.

Economics and the Left: Interviews with progressive economists edited by C. J. Polychroniou          $55
Twenty-four economists discuss how they promote egalitarianism, democracy and ecological sanity through research, activism, and policy engagement. A combustible brew of ideas and reflections on major historical events, including the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy. Interviewed are: Michael Ash, Nelson Henrique Barbosa Filho, James K. Boyce, Ha-Joon Chang, Jane D'Arista, Diane Elson, Gerald Epstein, Nancy Folbre, James K. Galbraith, Teresa Ghilarducci, Jayati Ghosh, Ilene Grabel, Costas Lapavitsas, Zhongjin Li, William Milberg, Léonce Ndikumana, Ozlem Onaran, Robert Pollin, Malcolm Sawyer, Juliet Schor, Anwar Shaikh, William Spriggs, Fiona Tregenna and Thomas Weisskopf.
The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky, a crime and its punishment by John 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. But how did this haunting tale of guilt come to be, and why does it still hold such a sway over us all these years later? The Sinner and the Saint gives us the story of the two men so central to it: Dostoevsky himself, and 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. As reports of his trial tore through Europe, readers asked themselves: could the instincts of nihilism, the philosophy inspiring a new generation of Russian revolutionaries, also drive a man to murder? Showing how both men's lives were directed by the intoxicating new ideas swirling around Europe in the nineteenth century, The Sinner and the Saint also reveals why they still appall and entice us today.
How to count to ONE (and don't even THINK about bigger numbers!) by Caspar Salmon and Matt Hunt           $25
"You know how to count, right? GREAT! There are LOADS of fun things to count in this book. Whales, baboons, rainbows, pyramids...There's just ONE rule. You must ONLY ever count to ONE. So don't even about THINK bigger numbers. OK?!" A lot of fun!

Meat Lovers by Rebecca Hawkes          $25
Wellington poet and Canterbury farm-girl Rebecca Hawkes takes a generous bite from the excesses of earthly flesh — first 'Meat', then 'Lovers'. 'Meat' is a coming of age in which pony clubs, orphaned lambs and dairy-shed delirium are infused with playful menace and queer longings. Between bottle-fed care and killing-shed floors, the farm is a heady setting for love and death.In 'Lovers', the poet casts a wry eye over romance, from youthful sapphic infatuation to seething beastliness. Sentimental intensity is anchored by an introspective comic streak. This collection of queasy hungers offers a feast of explosive mince & cheese pies, accusatory crackling, lab-grown meat and beetroot tempeh burger patties, all washed down with bloody milk or apple-mush moonshine. It teems with sensuous life, from domesticated beasts to the undulating mysteries of eels, as Hawkes explores uneasy relationships with our animals and with each other. Tender and brutal, seductive and repulsive, Meat Lovers introduces a compelling new mode of hardcore pastoral.
The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson           $38
Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art — the first in many decades — and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good. His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, always her father's biggest champion; sensitive Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make. And what of Lucia, Ray's steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice.
Long-listed for the 2022 Women's Prize for Fiction. 
"It takes the most ferocious intelligence, skill, and a deep reservoir of sadness to write a novel as funny as this." —Meg Mason
What Is Right and What Is Wrong? Who Decides? Where Do Values Come From? And other big questions by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young         $24
This book is a highly topical look at how our decisions about what is right and wrong play out on an individual, local, national and global scale. It examines topics that are strongly connected to the values people hold and their ideas of right and wrong, such as democracy, justice, fairness, prejudice and discrimination, education, climate change and war. A very good resource to help children learn to think for themselves. 
At the Bookshop: A memory game by Kim Siew          $30
Match 25 of the most iconic books with one of their famed characters. Featuring books such as Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Little Women, The Lord of the Rings, American Psycho, A Game of Thrones, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, IT, Great Expectations, Beloved, Frankenstein, Where the Wild Things Are, Midnight's Children, The Outsiders, The Hate U Give, The Book Thief, High Fidelity, White Teeth and The Joy Luck Club.
France: An adventure history by Graham Robb           $45
An original and entertaining history of France, from the first century BC to the present day, based on countless new discoveries and thirty years of exploring France on foot, by bicycle and in the library. 

From noisy izakayas, ramen joints and tempura bars, to gyoza pit-stops, curry restaurants and the iconic convenience stores that stitch the city together, Tokyo after dark generates a vast array of interesting food. This book immerses you in that excitement without having to leave your own kitchen. 

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