Friday 8 July 2022


Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel (translated by Rosalind Harvey)             $38
Guadalupe Nettel’s novel, explores one of life’s most consequential decisions – whether or not to have children – with her signature charm and intelligence. Alina and Laura are independent and career-driven women in their mid-thirties, neither of whom have built their future around the prospect of a family. Laura has taken the drastic decision to be sterilized, but as time goes by Alina becomes drawn to the idea of becoming a mother. When complications arise in Alina’s pregnancy and Laura becomes attached to her neighbour’s son, both women are forced to reckon with the complexity of their emotions. In prose that is as gripping as it is insightful, Guadalupe Nettel explores maternal ambivalence with a surgeon’s touch, carefully dissecting the contradictions that make up the lived experiences of women.
"In Still Born, Guadalupe Nettel renders with great veracity life as it is encountered in the everyday, taking us to the heart of the only things that really matter: life, death and our relationships with others. All of these are contained in the experience of motherhood, which this novel explores and deepens." —Annie Ernaux
"Guadalupe Nettel reminds us that there is nothing stranger than our existence lived in containers of meat, blood and madness." —Mariana Enríquez
>>Divination (extract)
Notes on Womanhood by Sarah Jane Barnett              $30
After Sarah Jane Barnett had a hysterectomy in her forties, a comment by her doctor that she wouldn't be 'less of a woman' prompted her to investigate what the concept of womanhood meant to her. Part memoir, part feminist manifesto, part coming-of-middle-age story, Notes on Womanhood is the result. Here, Barnett examines the devastation she inflicted on herself as a young woman, the invisibility she feels as her youth fades, the power of female friendship, the stories women learn about midlife and menopause, and how being the daughter of a transgender woman changed her ideas of womanhood.
"I loved this book. It’s the kind of book you don’t know you need until you read it. Then you realise you really, really do – and, also, that many of your friends will too." –Ingrid Horrocks
The Aphorisms of Franz Kafka edited, introduced and with commentaries by Reiner Stach (translated by Shelley French)           $40
In 1917 and 1918, Franz Kafka wrote a set of more than 100 aphorisms, known as the 'Zürau aphorisms', after the Bohemian village in which he composed them. Among the most mysterious of Kafka's writings, they explore philosophical questions about truth, good and evil, and the spiritual and sensory world. This is the first annotated, bilingual volume of these extraordinary writings, which provide great insight into Kafka's mind. Edited, introduced, and with commentaries by preeminent Kafka biographer and authority Reiner Stach, and  newly translated by Shelley Frisch, this volume presents each aphorism on its own page in English and the original German, with full and useful notes on facing pages. 
Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris            $35
In Sedaris's first new collection of essays since Calypso, he looks back over the recent past and the world and his own personal life became very different from the world and the personal life to which he was accustomed. Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper and wearing a mask — or not — was a decision mostly made on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy Go Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes. But then the pandemic hits and like so many others he's stuck in lockdown, contemplating how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine. As the world gradually settles into a 'new reality', Sedaris too finds himself changed. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, to no longer to be someone's son. 
"So often Sedaris's phrasing is beautiful in its piquancy and minimalism. His life is extraordinary in so many ways, but one of the more unlikely achievements here is in making it all seem quite ordinary. Ultimately, his masterstroke is in acting as a bystander in his own story." —Guardian
The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen              $25
The winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 
Corbin College, not-quite-upstate New York, winter 1959-1960: Ruben Blum, a Jewish historian—but not a historian of the Jews—is co-opted onto a hiring committee to review the application of an exiled Israeli scholar specialising in the Spanish Inquisition. When Benzion Netanyahu shows up for an interview, family unexpectedly in tow (including his notorious-future-politician son), Blum plays the reluctant host, to guests who proceed to lay waste to his American complacencies and whose approaches to almost everything contrast with his own sense of Jewishness. Mixing fiction with non-fiction, the campus novel with the lecture, The Netanyahus is a wildly inventive, genre-bending comedy of blending, identity, and politics. New edition. 
"The Netanyahus is constructed with a brilliant comic grace that moves from the sly to the exuberant. Some scenes are funny beyond belief. But even when moments in the book are sharp or melancholy, they keep an undertone of witty and ironic observation. The vision in this book is deeply original, making clear what a superb writer Joshua Cohen is." —Colm Tóibín
Lisette's Lie by Catharina Valckx              $30
Lisette and her friend Bobbi the lizard have never told a lie. But they are eager to try—it might be fun! They tell Popof they are going for a trip to the mountains. When Popof decides to come too, they realise they'll have to improvise like mad. They end up having a wonderful day together—but will anyone believe them? 

My Father's Diet by Adrian Nathan West         $35
In a broken-down Middle American town, the disintegration of a struggling family is laid bare through the cold eyes of its only son. While studying at the local community college to finish his degree, he works what his divorced parents deem to be menial jobs and tries to stay out of their way, keeping his pitiless observations about their lives to himself. He says nothing about his semi-estranged father's doomed attempts to find meaning in the world. He says nothing about his mother's willingness to subjugate herself to men he deems unworthy. He says nothing about the anonymity and emptiness to which their social classes and places of birth seem to have condemned everyone he knows, robbing them of even the vocabulary to express their grievances. He says nothing about his own pity, disgust, compassion, disdain, tenderness, and love for them. But when another in a long line of his father's boozy relationships falls apart, something changes. He wants to have a chat with his boy. The son fully expects to be talking his dad out of committing suicide, but no: the old man has other plans for his carcass. He has, in fact, entered a bodybuilding competition, and wants his son's help to get fit. If the alternative is despair, how can the son refuse? Grimly hilarious, My Father's Diet is equal parts Kierkegaard and Pumping Iron: an autopsy of our antiquated notions of manhood, and the perfect, bite-sized novel for a world always keen to mistake narcissism for introspection.
"My Father's Diet is slim, sad, comic and sharply observed. West's achievement, in this subtle and delightful book, is to have rendered failure in strikingly handsome terms." —Christopher Shrimpton, The Guardian 
"Adrian Nathan West is one of our best novelists. He gives such solemn care to such mundane American pap and crap even while denying any redemptive power to the effort and it's that denial — sorrowful, but without anger, without delusion — that constitutes his brilliance. My Father's Diet is among the most ruthlessly true chronicles of the culture — of the patrimony — that we, all of us, have ruined." —Joshua Cohen
'I' by Wolfgang Hilbig (translated by Isabel Fargo Cole)          $35
The perfect book for paranoid times, "I" introduces us to W, a mere hanger-on in East Berlin's postmodern underground literary scene. All is not as it appears, though, as W is actually a Stasi informant who reports to the mercurial David Bowie look-alike Major Feuerbach. But are political secrets all that W is seeking in the underground labyrinth of Berlin? In fact, what W really desires are his own lost memories, the self undone by surveillance: his "I." First published in Germany in 1993 and hailed as an instant classic, "I" is a black comedy about state power and the seductions of surveillance. Its vision seems especially relevant today in a world of corporate or state surveillance.
"Hilbig writes as Edgar Allan Poe could have written if he had been born in Communist East Germany." —Los Angeles Review of Books
Translating Myself and Others by Jumpa Lahiri               $35
Lahiri draws on Ovid’s myth of Echo and Narcissus to explore the distinction between writing and translating, and provides a close reading of passages from Aristotle’s Poetics to talk more broadly about writing, desire, and freedom. She traces the theme of translation in Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and takes up the question of Italo Calvino’s popularity as a translated author. Lahiri considers the unique challenge of translating her own work from Italian to English, the question “Why Italian?,” and the singular pleasures of translating contemporary and ancient writers. Featuring essays originally written in Italian and published in English for the first time, as well as essays written in English.
McSweeney's #66 edited by Dave Eggers and Claire Boyle           $40
The 66th issue is an elegant paperback festooned with coded illustrations by Jacques Kleynhans (see how many versions of the number 66 you can spot). Featuring “Willie the Weirdo,” a brand-new story by legendary horror writer Stephen King; plus stories by Taisia Kitaiskaia, Hernan Diaz, and T.C. Boyle; poems by Soviet poet Anna Akhmatova newly translated by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky; a surreal full-color comic by Teddy Goldenberg; letters from Samantha Hunt and Kate Folk; and more.

The New Friend by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud             $30
Two children do everything together and share special experiences. When one of them suddenly abandons the other for a new friend, the feelings of rejection are very painful. This beautifully illustrated book reassures us that new possibilities are always up ahead. 
"The devoted friendship of two children ends without warning. This all-too-common childhood experience is dramatised with an emotional honesty that, refreshingly, skirts sentimentality." —Kirkus
Handmade: Learning the art of chainsaw mindfulness in a Norwegian wood by Siri Helle            $33
One woman, one chainsaw, one modest plan for a very small building... Humans have always used their hands to create the world around them. But now most of us have gone from being practitioners to theorists, from being producers to consumers. What happens to our society when we are so divorced from the act of making? What happens to us as individuals when we limit the uses to which we put our hands? These are questions that preoccupy Siri Helle when she inherits a cabin of 25 square metres, without electricity, inlet water, or a toilet, and decides to build an outhouse herself. Without any previous experience of building anything, she has to learn on the job and what she learns is not just about how to lay a floor and construct walls, but about what she is capable of and about craft and about the satisfactions to be found in making things by hand. 
Two Heads: Where two neuroscientists explore how our brains work with other brains by Uta Frith, Alex Frith, Chris Frith, drawn by Daniel Locke           $33
A graphic guide to the frontiers of neuroscience. Professors and husband-and-wife team Uta and Chris Frith have pioneered major studies of brain disorders throughout their nearly fifty-year career. In Two Heads, their distinguished careers serve as a prism through which they share the compelling story of the birth of neuroscience and their paradigm-shifting discoveries across areas as wide-ranging as autism and schizophrenia research, and new frontiers of social cognition including diversity, prejudice, confidence, collaboration and empathy. Working with their son Alex Frith and artist Daniel Locke, they examine the way that neuroscientific research is now focused on the fact we are a social species, whose brains have evolved to work cooperatively. What happens when people gather in groups? How do people behave when they're in pairs either pitted against each other or working together? Is it better to surround yourself with people who are similar to yourself, or different? And, are two heads really better than one? 
The Empress and the English Doctor: How Catherine the Great defied a deadly virus by Lucy Ward            $43
In the eighteenth century, as surges of smallpox swept Europe, the first rumours emerged of an effective treatment: a mysterious method called inoculation. But a key problem remained: convincing people to accept the preventative remedy, the forerunner of vaccination. Arguments raged over risks and benefits, and public resistance ran high. As smallpox ravaged her empire and threatened her court, Catherine the Great took the momentous decision to summon the Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives. Lucy Ward expertly unveils the extraordinary story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition.
In this uncompromising essay, Jonathan Crary presents the obvious but unsayable reality: our "digital age" is synonymous with the disastrous terminal stage of global capitalism and its financialisation of social existence, mass impoverishment, ecocide, and military terror. Scorched Earth surveys the wrecking of a living world by the internet complex and its devastation of communities and their capacities for mutual support.
Understanding the human mind and how it relates to the world of experience has challenged scientists and philosophers for centuries. How do we even begin to think about ‘minds’ that are not human? Philip Ball argues that in order to understand our own minds and imagine those of others, we need to move on from considering the human mind as a standard against which all others should be measured. Science has begun to have something to say about the properties of mind; the more we learn about the minds of other creatures, from octopuses to chimpanzees, to imagine the potential minds of computers and alien intelligences, the more we can begin to see our own, and the more we can understand the diversity of the human mind, in the widest of contexts.
Nietzsche in Turin: The end of the future by Lesley Chamberlain         $28
In 1888, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche moved to Turin. This would be the year in which he wrote three of his greatest works: Twilight of the IdolsThe Antichrist, and Ecce Homo; it would also be his last year of writing. He suffered a debilitating nervous breakdown in the first days of the following year. In this probing, elegant biography of that pivotal year, Lesley Chamberlain undoes popular clichés and misconceptions about Nietzsche by offering a deeply complex approach to his character and work. Focusing as much on Nietzsche's daily habits, anxieties and insecurities as on the development of his philosophy, Nietzsche in Turin offers a uniquely lively portrait of the great thinker, and of the furiously productive days that preceded his decline.
"A major intellectual event." —John Banville
The Diplomat by Chris Womersley            $38
1991. Fresh out of detox and five years after his involvement in the theft of Picasso's masterpiece 'The Weeping Woman' from the NGV, Edward Degraves — art forger and drug addict — returns to Melbourne for a new start. All he needs to do is make one last visit to The Diplomat, a seedy motel renowned for its drug dealers and eccentrics. But Edward's new-found sobriety is both a torment and a gift. As he revisits old haunts, he is confronted by reminders of the past: ruined relationships, a stalled career as an artist and  — looming over everything  — the death of his beloved wife Gertrude. How fine is the line between self-destruction and redemption?
"This is a gem of a novel, full of all the good stuff — love, art, failure, heartbreak — told in a clear, strong voice brimming with loss and longing. A novel of propulsive storytelling and moving depth." —Emily Bitto
"Edward is so heartbreakingly lost in the everyday, so doomed, that he could have risen from Dostoyevsky. Dark, touching and deeply authentic." —Jock Serong
You Made a Fool Out of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi            $33
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again. It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career. She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? ​
“An unabashed ode to living with, and despite, pain and mortality.” —The New York Times Book Review
"Akwaeke is a Next Generation Leader and they will blow your mind with the beauty and brilliance of this sizzling, glamorous love story, which I would basically like to live in." —Louisa Joyner
Leilong's Too Long by Julia Liu and Bei Lynn            $30
Leilong the brontosaurus has had a wonderful time being the children's school bus, but some people think she's too big to do the job. Poor Leilong! What is she going to do? 
>>Have you read Leilong the Library Bus?
A Short History of Russia: How to understand the world's most complex nation by Mark Galeotti            $30
Russia is a country with no natural borders, no single ethnos, no true central identity. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it is everyone's 'other'. And yet it is one of the most powerful nations on earth, a master game-player on the global stage with a rich history of war and peace, poets and revolutionaries. Updated edition, including events leading up the invasion of Ukraine. 
"An amazing achievement." —Peter Frankopan
Antkind by Charlie Kaufman           $25
B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider - a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete. Convinced that the film will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core, that it might possibly be the greatest movie ever made, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: the film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius. All that's left is a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the work of art that just might be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter. Desperate to impose order on an increasingly nonsensical existence, trapped in a self-imposed prison of aspirational victimhood and degeneratively inclusive language, B. scrambles to re-create the lost masterwork while attempting to keep pace with an ever-fracturing culture of 'likes' and arbitrary denunciations that are simultaneously his bête noire and his raison d'être. Kaufman is best known for his films, such as Being John Malkovich, Adaption, &c 
"Riotously funny." —New York Times
Seasonal Work, And other killer stories by Laura Lippman            $37
Laura Lippman's sharp and acerbic stories explore the contemporary world and the female experience through the prism of classic crime, where the stakes are always deadly.
Find Tom in Time: Michelangelo's Italy by Fatti Burke             $33
Tom's not only lost in time, he's lost his cat, too! Can you find Tom and his naughty cat, Digby, across the pages? Packed with detailed artwork, fascinating renaissance Florence facts and over 100 other things to find - from an apprentice working on a sculpture to a juggler at a carnival ball - lose yourself in Michelangelo's Italy with this interactive book! 
Pride and Pudding: The history of British puddings, savoury and sweet by Regula Ysewijn                $60
Captivated by British culinary history — from its ancient savoury dishes such as the Scottish haggis to traditional sweet and savoury pies, pastries, jellies and ices, flummeries, junkets and jam roly-poly — Ysewijn documents the history of the British pudding as far back as the fourteenth century, rediscovering long-forgotten flavours and food fashions along the way. With stunning photography, illustrations and fascinating facts, Pride and Pudding recreates more than 80 recipes for the twenty-first century palate. A new edition of this excellent and beautiful book. 

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