Friday 27 May 2022


Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine           $37
Pine follows her remarkable 2019 essay collection Notes to Self with a novel of equal clarity and perspicacity. Dublin, 7 October 2019.One day, one city, two women- Ruth and Pen. Neither known to the other, but both asking themselves the same questions — how to be with others and how, when the world doesn't seem willing to make space for them, to be with themselves? Ruth's marriage to Aidan is in crisis. Today she needs to make a choice — to stay or not to stay, to take the risk of reaching out, or to pull up the drawbridge. For teenage Pen, today is the day the words will flow, and she will speak her truth to Alice, to ask for what she so desperately wants.
"Full of empathy and good will." —The Irish Times
They by Kay Dick          $23
A forgotten dystopian classic, first published in 1977. The Sussex coast. Sunsets paint the windswept ocean; seagulls haunt the marshland; hunting rifles crack across hillsides. But this is England through-a-glass-darkly. They are coming closer. They begin with a dead dog, shadowy footsteps, confiscated books. Then, the National Gallery is purged; motorway checkpoints demarcate Areas, violent mobs stalk the countryside, destroying cultural artefacts — and those who resist. The surviving writers, artists and thinkers gather together, welcoming 'dissidents' like the unmarried and the childless. These polyamorous and queer communities preserve their crafts, create, love, and remember. But as 'subversives' are captured in military sweeps, cured of identity, desensitised in retreats, They make it easier to forget. Introduction by Carmen Maria Machado.
"A masterpiece of creeping dread. —Emily St. John Mandel
"Lush, hypnotic, compulsive. A reminder of where groupthink leads." —Eimear McBride
"A masterwork of English pastoral horror: eerie and bewitching." —Claire-Louise Bennett
Three Rings: A tale of exile, narrative and fate by Daniel Mendelsohn             $20
Mendelsohn explores the mysterious links between the randomness of the lives we lead and the artfulness of the stories we tell. Combining memoir, biography, history, and literary criticism, Three Rings weaves together the stories of three exiled writers who turned to the classics of the past to create work of their own — work that pondered the nature of narrative itself: Erich Auerbach, the Jewish philologist who fled Hitler's Germany and wrote his classic study of Western literature, Mimesis, in Istanbul; Francois Fenelon, the seventeenth-century French archbishop whose ingenious sequel to the Odyssey,The Adventures of Telemachus — a veiled critique of the Sun King, and the best-selling book in Europe for one hundred years — resulted in his banishment; and the German novelist W. G. Sebald, self-exiled to England, whose distinctively meandering narratives explore Odyssean themes of displacement, nostalgia, and separation from home. Intertwined with these tales of exile and artistic crisis is an account of Mendelsohn's struggles to write two of his own books — a family saga of the Holocaust and a memoir about reading the Odyssey with his elderly father — that are haunted by tales of oppression and wandering. 
>>How literature makes reality feel. 
Revolutionary Letters by Diane di Prima          $40
During the tumult of 1968, Beat poet Diane di Prima began writing her "letters," poems filled with a potent blend of utopian anarchism and Zen-tinged ecological awareness that were circulated via underground newspapers and stapled pamphlets. In 1971, Lawrence Ferlinghetti published the first collection of these poems in his iconic Pocket Poets Series, and di Prima would go on to publish four subsequent editions, expanding the collection each time. During the last years of her life, di Prima got to work on the final iteration of this lifelong project, collecting all of her previously published "letters" and adding the new work, poems written from 2007 up to the time of her death in October 2020. Published in a board-bound edition that features the original edition's cover art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
>>A living weapon in your hand
Mona by Pola Oloixarac (translated by Adam Morris)              $28
Mona is a Peruvian writer based on a Californian campus, open-eyed and sardonic, a connoisseur of marijuana and prescription pills. In the humanities she has discovered she is something of an anthropological curiosity — a female writer of colour treasured for the flourish of rarefied diversity that reflects so well upon her department. When she is nominated for 'the most important literary award in Europe', Mona sees a chance to escape her sunlit substance abuse and erotic distraction, and leaves for a small village in Sweden. Now she is stuck in the company of her competitors, who arrive from Japan, France, Armenia, Iran and Colombia. The writers do what writers do: exchange flattery, nurse envy and private resentments, stab rivals in the back and go to bed together. But all the while, Mona keeps stumbling across traces of violence on her body, the origins of which she can't — or won't — remember.
"Mona reads like Rachel Cusk's Kudos on drugs." —The Atlantic 
"Ruthless, very funny." —New York Times 
"One of the great writers of the Internet, the only country larger than Argentina." —Joshua Cohen 
A Girl Returned by Donatella di Pietrantonio      $23
"I was the Arminuta, the girl returned. I spoke another language, I no longer knew who I belonged to. The word 'mama' stuck in my throat like a toad. And, nowadays, I really have no idea what kind of place mother is. It is not mine in the way one might have good health, a safe place, certainty." Without warning or a word of explanation, an unnamed 13-year-old girl is sent away from the family she has always thought of as hers to live with her birth family: a large, chaotic assortment of individuals whom she has never met and who seem anything but welcoming. Thus begins a new life, one of struggle, conflict, especially between the young girl and her mother, and deprivation. But in her relationship with Adriana and Vincenzo, two of her newly acquired siblings, she will find the strength to start again and to build anew and enduring sense of self. Translated  by Ann Goldstein, who has also translated the works of Elena Ferrante.
A Florence Diary by Diana Athill             $23
In August 1947, Diana Athill travelled to Florence by the Golden Arrow train for a two-week holiday with her good friend Pen. In this playful diary of that trip, Athill recorded her observations and adventures — eating with (and paid for by) the hopeful men they meet on their travels, admiring architectural sights, sampling delicious pastries, eking out their budget and getting into scrapes. Enjoyable. 
The Lobster's Shell by Caroline Albertine Minor (translated from Danish by Caroline Waight)             $33
A complex tale of family mythology and regret, The Lobster's Shell is the story of three orphaned siblings, now in their thirties and forties; their attempts at connection, their failures and frustrations. Over the years their differences have driven them apart, but during five days in April they have to confront their relationship and shared history. Sidsel asks Niels for a service that challenges his chosen loneliness and Ea gets in touch from the United States. Hoping to make contact with their mother, she has visited a clairvoyant. Lately, a nagging question has been haunting her.
"Minor's acute, elliptical observations and silky prose are a delight to read, as the misunderstandings, machinations and mysteries of past and present knit together, fall apart, and re-establish themselves in an uneven, bright weave in Caroline Wright's distinctive, unforced translation." —The Irish Times 
80 spice-infused recipes following the trails of ancient maritime trade through Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Iran and the Emirates. Ford combines historical research with a travel writer's eye and a cook's nose for a memorable recipe. Interwoven are stories that explore how spices from across the Indian Ocean — the original cradle of spice — have, over time, been adopted into cuisines around the world.
Matariki Around the World: A cluster of stars, A cluster of stories by Rangi Mātāmua & Miriama Kamo         $35
The Matariki constellation (or Pleiades) is known by many different names and is seen and celebrated by many cultures around the world. This beautifully illustrated book features 9 stories that explore the Māori Matariki stars, and 12 stories from different cultures around the globe that also reference this constellation, from the Pacific Islands to Australia, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Te Toi Whakairo: The art of Māori carving by Hirini Moko Mead             $50
A new edition of this indispensable guide to te toi whakairo. Beginning with carving's mythical origins, this book explores the evolution of styles and techniques through the four main artistic periods to the present day, and provides detailed explanations of carving styles in different parts of the country, using examples from meeting houses and leading artists. Later chapters delve into the main structures, forms and motifs, and the role of the woodcarver, and explore the status of the art in contemporary New Zealand. Practical guidance is given for use of materials, tools, techniques, surface and background decoration, the human figure, and carving poupou.
Fledgling by Lucy Hope            $17
A cherub is blown into Cassie Engel's bedroom during a thunderstorm, triggering a series of terrifying events. Cassie must discover if its arrival was an accident or part of something more sinister. With a self-obsessed opera singer for a mother, a strange taxidermist father, and a best friend who isn't quite what he seems, Cassie is forced to unearth the secrets of her family's past. As the dark forces gather around them, can Cassie protect all that she holds dear?
Seven and a Half Brief Lessons about the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett         $25
In seven short chapters (plus a brief history of how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You'll learn where brains came from, how they're structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience. Along the way, you'll also learn to dismiss popular myths such as the idea of a 'lizard brain' and the alleged battle between thoughts and emotions, or even between nature and nurture, to determine your behaviour.
Good both for beginners and those who just want to improve. Fully illustrated. 

Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden               $23
Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted by her job and now seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. She meets Wolf, a troubled young writer, who — enthralled by her stories — begins to write Mrs Death's memoirs. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced (or facilitated), their friendship flourishes. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans' fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her. A paperback edition of this enjoyable, life-affirming book.  
"A modern-day Pilgrim's Progress leavened with caustic wit. This is not light-hearted stuff, yet Godden has produced a miraculously light-hearted novel, an elegant, occasionally uproarious, danse macabre." —Guardian
Thin Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh            $23
Kerri ní Dochartaigh was born in Derry, on the border of the North and South of Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a council estate on the wrong side of town. But for her family, and many others, there was no right side. One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year they were forced out of two homes and when she was eleven a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like Kerri's, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape. Thin Places, a mixture of memoir, history and nature writing, explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone's throw from beauty and hope, and how political misadventure is, once again, allowing the borders to become hard, and terror to creep back in. Paperback edition. 
"A special, beautiful, many-faceted book." —Amy Liptrot
"A remarkable piece of writing. Luminous." —Robert Macfarlane
The Nightworkers by Brian Selfon             $40
A Brooklyn family of money launderers thrown into chaos when a runner ends up dead and a bag of dirty money goes missing. Shecky Keenan's family is under fire—or at least it feels that way. Bank accounts have closed unexpectedly, a strange car has been parked near the house at odd hours, and Emil Scott, an enigmatic artist and the family's new runner, is missing—along with the $250,000 of dirty money he was carrying. Inspired by a career that has included corruption cases and wiretaps as an investigative analyst for New York law enforcement, Selfon unspools a tale of crime and consequence through shifting perspectives across the streets, alleys, bodegas, and art studios of Brooklyn. 

Women Will Rise! Recalling the Working Women's Charter edited by Gay Simpkin and Marie Russell           $30
In the late 1970s, as the women’s movement was fracturing, trade union women put forward a new agenda to bring feminists and women workers together. The one-page, 16-clause Working Women’s Charter covered: ★ the right to work ★ equal pay ★ an end to discrimination at work ★ better conditions, family leave, flexible work arrangements ★ free, quality childcare ★ reproductive rights —and more. Challenged by patriarchal union traditions, the women worked hard to win union support for their demands. This book includes chapters by women who promoted the Charter, and others looking at what has been achieved since — and what remains to be done.
Soundings: Journeys in the company of whales by Doreen Cunningham          $38
Doreen first visited Utqiagvik, the northernmost town in Alaska, as a young journalist reporting on climate change among indigenous whaling communities. There, she joined the spring whale hunt under the neverending Arctic light, watching for bowhead whales and polar bears, drawn deeply into an Inupiaq family, their culture and the disappearing ice. Years later, plunged into sudden poverty and isolation, living in a Women's Refuge with her baby son, Doreen recalls the wilderness that once helped shape her own. She embarks on an extraordinary adventure: taking Max to follow the grey whale migration all the way north to the Inupiaq family that took her in, where grey and bowhead whales meet at the melting apex of our planet.
All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The true story of the woman at the heart of the German resistance to Hitler by Rebecca Donner       $40
Born and raised in America, Mildred Harnack was twenty-six when she enrolled in a PhD programme in Germany and witnessed the meteoric rise of the Nazi party. In 1932, she began holding secret meetings in her apartment-a small band of political activists that by 1940 had grown into the largest underground resistance group in Berlin. She recruited Germans into the resistance, helped Jews escape, plotted acts of sabotage and collaborated in writing leaflets that denounced Hitler and called for revolution. Her co-conspirators circulated through Berlin under the cover of night, slipping the leaflets into mailboxes, public restrooms, phone booths. When the first shots of the Second World War were fired she became a spy, couriering top-secret intelligence to the Allies. On the eve of her escape to Sweden, she was ambushed by the Gestapo. During a hastily convened trial at the Reichskriegsgericht — the Reich Court-Martial — a panel of five judges sentenced her to six years at a prison camp, but Hitler overruled the decision and ordered her execution. On 16 February 1943, she was strapped to a guillotine and beheaded.
Niho Taniwha: Improving teaching and learning for ākonga Māori by Melanie Riwai-Couch          $70
Niho Taniwha equips educators with culturally responsive practices to better serve and empower Māori students and their whānau. The book is centred around the Niho Taniwha model, in which both the learner and the teacher move through three phases in the teaching and learning process: Whai, Ako and Mau. Written by a senior advisor to the Ministry of Education, the book shows that educational success for Māori students is about more than academic achievement – it includes all aspects of hauora (health and wellbeing). This book demonstrates how to create learning environments that encompass self-esteem, happiness and engagement in Māori language, identity and culture.
All That She Carried: The story of Ashley's sack, a Black family keepsake by Tiya Miles            $36
In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose faced a crisis, the imminent sale of her daughter Ashley. Thinking quickly, she packed a cotton bag with a few precious items as a token of love and to try to ensure Ashley's survival. Soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley's granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the bag in spare yet haunting language—including Rose's wish that "It be filled with my Love always." Ruth's sewn words, the reason we remember Ashley's sack today, evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love passed down through generations. Winner of a (US) National Book Award.
"Deeply layered and insightful. A bold reflection on American history, African American resilience, and the human capacity for love and perseverance in the face of soul-crushing madness." —The Washington Post
Jungle Nama by Amitav Ghosh, illustrated by Salman Toor            $35
A beautifully illustrated verse adaptation of a legend from the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. It tells the story of the avaricious rich merchant Dhona, the poor lad Dukhey, and his mother; it is also the story of Dokkhin Rai, a mighty spirit who appears to humans as a tiger, of Bon Bibi, the benign goddess of the forest, and her warrior brother Shah Jongoli. Jungle Nama is the story of an ancient legend with urgent relevance to today's climate crisis. Its themes of limiting greed, and of preserving the balance between the needs of humans and nature have never been more timely.
Woodcut Postcard Book by Bryan Nash Gill             $35
24 cards of twelve prints taken from the arboreal rings of actual trees. 

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