Saturday 12 November 2022


Needles and Plastic: Flying Nun Records, 1981—1988 by Matthew Goody           $70
Stupendously well documented and illustrated, this book takes a clear and generous look at the over 140 records produced by Flying Nun during its prime years in the 1980s, when it was based in Christchurch and was an effective catalyst for homegrown music that rejected the ethos of the corporate labels. The book is packed with information about the bands that were central to an Aotearoan cultural resurgence, and also about bands that you have never heard of or had (sometimes justly) forgotten. Goody's discographic history provides a clear view from a distance, and is even better than you might have hoped it would be. 
>>See some of the many, many pages
>>The best and most interesting period.
>>A faraway fanatic
>>Somewhere in the room
>>Our (nonrepresentative) playlist of sorts: Pin GroupThe BuildersThe Clean; Tall Dwarfs; Sneaky FeelingsLook Blue Go Purple; 25Cents; Victor Dimisich BandGordonsDoubleHappysThe BatsScorched Earth Policy; All Fall Down; The Fall; Marie and the AtomThe Terminals; &c, &c.
Liberation Day by George Saunders            $33
Saunders's fist short story collection in ten years explores ideas of power, ethics, and justice, and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans. With his trademark prose — funny, unsentimental, and perfectly tuned — Saunders continues to challenge and surprise: here is a collection of nine stories that encompass joy and despair, oppression and revolution, bizarre fantasy and brutal reality.
"The world's best short story writer." —Telegraph

The Golden Mole, And other living treasure by Katherine Rundell         $45
The animal world is endlessly varied, fascinating and inspiring, and needs to be preserved both for its own sake and for the richness it adds to human experience and thought. Rundell considers 22 animals (including the human) whose existence is endangered by humans, and reveals the depths of wonder embodied in these animals. Did you know that the Golden Mole is luminescent, but blind and therefore unable to see its own radiance? This hardback book is beautifully presented (the book even has gilt edges), and illustrated by Tayla Baldwin. 
"A rare and magical book. I didn't want it to end." —Bill Bryson
>>Startling astonishments
Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell)         $38
Playful and unsettling, teeming with the energy of barely contained violence, the stories in Seven Empty Houses dismantle the neat appearance of domesticity to expose the darkness and discomfort that lies beneath. A neighbour looks on as a couple grieve the loss of their son. A young girl makes an unwelcome acquaintance in a hospital waiting room. A woman prepares for death with ruthless precision.
'The Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin loves Franz Kafka and Elizabeth Strout. It's hard to conceive of two more different writers. But imagine a fusion between their styles — dreamlike surrealism and taut domestic drama — and you'll have some idea of Schweblin's uniquely weird storyscapes. What does it mean to inhabit a house, or a body, and what do those spaces become when we're no longer fully there? Haunting, elemental questions that run right through this bold writer's eerie, mysterious oeuvre." —The Sunday Times
"Starting a story by Samanta Schweblin is like tumbling into a dark hole with no idea where you'll end up." —Chris Power
Tauhou by Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall         $30
Tauhou envisions a shared past between two Indigenous cultures, set on reimagined versions of Vancouver Island and Aotearoa, two lands that now sit side by side in the ocean. Each chapter in this innovative hybrid novel is a fable, an autobiographical memory, a poem. A monster guards the cultural objects in a museum, a woman uncovers her own grave, another woman remembers her estranged father. On the rainforest beaches or the grassy dunes, sisters and cousins contend with the ghosts of the past—all the way back to when the first foreign ships arrived on their shores. In a testament to the resilience of Indigenous women, the two sides of this family, Coast Salish and Māori, must work together in understanding and forgiveness to heal that which has been forced upon them by colonialism. Tauhou is an ardent search for answers, for ways to live with truth. It is a longing for home, to return to the land and sea.
Small Fires: An epic in the kitchen by Rebecca May Johnson               $38
Cooking is thinking! The spatter of sauce in a pan, a cook's subtle deviation from a recipe, the careful labour of cooking for loved ones: these are not often the subjects of critical enquiry. Cooking, we are told, has nothing to do with serious thought. In this innovative memoir, Rebecca May Johnson rewrites the kitchen as a vital source of knowledge and revelation. Drawing on insights from ten years spent thinking through cooking, she explores the radical openness of the recipe text, the liberating constraint of apron strings and the transformative intimacies of shared meals. Playfully dissolving the boundaries between abstract intellect and bodily pleasure, domesticity and politics, Johnson awakens us to the richness of cooking as a means of experiencing the self and the world — and to the revolutionary potential of the small fires burning in every kitchen.
"One of the most original food books I've ever read, at once intelligent and sensuous, witty, provoking and truly delicious, a radical feast of flavours and ideas." —Olivia Laing
Alison by Lizzy Stewart             $45
A beautifully drawn subtle and insightful graphic novel, from the author of It's Not What You Thought It Would BeAlison is newly married, barely twenty and struggling to find her place in the world. A chance encounter with an older artist upturns her life and she forsakes convention and her working-class Dorset roots for the thrumming art scene of London in the late seventies. As the thrill of bohemian romance leads inevitably to disappointment, Alison begins to find her own path — through art, friendship and love.
"This book is a testament to the right to choose your own life. It is a tender, heartbreaking meditation on the bonds between women, the dazzle of the city, the struggle to become a female artist within the bounds of patriarchy, and the desire to make a mark on the world." —Jessica Andrews
The Novelist: A novel by Jordan Castro              $45
In Jordan Castro's inventive, funny, and surprisingly tender first novel, we follow a young man over the course of a single morning as he tries and fails to write an autobiographical novel, finding himself instead drawn into the infinite spaces of Twitter, quotidian rituals, and his own mind. The act of making coffee prompts a reflection on the limits of self-knowledge; an editor's embarrassing tweet sparks rage at the literary establishment; a meditation on first person versus third examines choice and action; an Instagram post about the ethics of having children triggers mimetic rivalry; the act of doing the dishes is at once ordinary and profound: one of the many small commitments that make up a life of stability. The Novelist: A Novel pays tribute to Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine and Thomas Bernhard's Woodcutters, but in the end is a wholly original novel about language and consciousness, the internet and social media, and addiction and recovery.
>>Just one more click
A Guest at the Feast by Colm Tóibín       $38
This essay collection subtly uncovers the places where politics and poetics meet, where life and fiction melancholy and amusement within the work of the writer John McGahern to an extraordinary essay on his own cancer diagnosis, Tóibín delineates the bleakness and strangeness of life and also its richness and its complexity. As he reveals the shades of light and dark in a Venice without tourists and the streets of Buenos Aires riddled with disappearances, we find ourselves considering law and religion in Ireland as well as the intricacies of Marilynne Robinson's fiction. The imprint of the written word on the private self, as Tóibín himself remarks, is extraordinarily powerful. In this collection, that power is gloriously alive, illuminating history and literature, politics and power, family and the self.
Where Is It in Town? A wildlife hunt for kiwi kids by Ned Barraud           $20
This is a ‘look and find’ book for all children who want to learn about New Zealand’s wildlife, focusing on wildlife that Kiwi children will encounter in town. Each page illustrates a different urban environment, including a garden both in the daytime and at night, the local botanic gardens, a creek, the sea below a wharf, in long grass and the trees above, and in the country on the edge of town. 
Mokorua: Nga korero mo toku moko kauae | My story of moko kauae by Ariana Tikao, with photographs by Matt Calman          $45
One woman’s journey to her moko kauae as an expression of her Kāi Tahu identity. Ariana Tikao grew up in suburban Christchurch in the 1970s and ’80s surrounded by te ao Pākehā. This book tells the story of Ariana exploring her whakapapa, her whānau history and her language. This is one woman’s story, but it is interwoven with the revival of language, tikanga and identity among Kāi Tahu whānau over the last thirty years. Ariana’s journey culminates in her decision to take on Mokorua – her moko kauae – from tā moko artist Christine Harvey. After an emotionally charged ceremony that brought together whānau, young and old, for songs and tautoko, hugs and tears, Ariana writes: "Our whānau had reached another milestone in the decolonisation process – or, rather, in our journey of reindigenising ourselves, becoming who we always were."
>>Look inside
All Our Yesterdays by Natalia Ginzburg (translated by Angus Davidson)         $23
Anna, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl in a small town in northern Italy, after a brief romance finds herself pregnant. To save her reputation, she marries an eccentric older family friend and they move to his village in the south. Her relationship with Cenzo Rena is touched by tragedy and grace as the events of their life in the countryside run parallel to the war and the encroaching threat of fascism — and in their wake, a society dealing with anxiety and grief. At the heart of the novel is a concern with experiences that both deepen and deaden existence: adultery and air raids, neighbourhood quarrels and bombings. With her signature clear-eyed wit, Ginzburg asks how we can act with integrity when faced with catastrophe, and how we can love well.
"I'm utterly entranced by Ginzburg's style — her mysterious directness, her salutary ability to lay things bare that never feels contrived or cold, only necessary, honest, clear." —Maggie Nelson
"This is a perfect novel." —Sally Rooney
Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk                 $37
It is April 1900, in the Levant, on the imaginary island of Mingeria—the (fictional) twenty-ninth state of the Ottoman Empire—located in the eastern Mediterranean between Crete and Cyprus. Half the population is Muslim, the other half are Orthodox Greeks, and tension is high between the two. When a plague arrives—brought either by Muslim pilgrims returning from the Mecca, or by merchant vessels coming from Alexandria—the island revolts. To stop the epidemic, the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II sends his most accomplished quarantine expert to the island—an Orthodox Christian. Some of the Muslims, including followers of a popular religious sect and its leader, Sheikh H, refuse to take precautions or respect the quarantine. And the sultan's expert is murdered. As the plague continues its rapid spread, the sultan sends a second doctor to the island, this time a Muslim, and strict quarantine measures are declared. But the incompetence of the island's governor and local administration and the people's refusal to respect the bans dooms the quarantine to failure, and the death count continues to rise. Faced with the danger that the plague might spread to the West and to Istanbul, the sultan bows to international pressure and allows foreign and Ottoman warships to blockade the island. Now the people of Mingeria are on their own, and they must find a way to defeat the plague themselves. Steeped in history and rife with suspense, Nights of Plague is set more than one hundred years ago but has themes that feel remarkably contemporary.
"Pamuk's lovingly obsessive creation of the invented Mediterranean island of Mingeria is a world so detailed, so magically full, so introverted and personal in emphasis, that it shimmers like a memory palace. The effect is daringly vertiginous, at once floatingly postmodern and solidly realistic. Nights of Plague is a big but swift novel, a novel about pain and death that is fundamentally light and buoyant." —James Wood, The New Yorker
Belated Accolades: Joint historical biography of Rosaline Frank and William Tyree by Rosalina-Ludmila McCarthy        $160
The Tyree Studio Collection, now held in the Nelson Provincial Museum, comprises one of the most important photographic records of life in New Zealand from 1882—1947. The Tyree Studios were founded by brothers William and Frederick Tyree but were largely operated by Rose Frank, and McCarthy's impressively detailed book celebrates Frank's importance to New Zealand photographic history and Nelson provincial culture. 

Big Ideas from History: A history of the world for you          $50
The present can loom very large in a child's mind: all the crises and challenges of the modern world can feel overwhelming and at times dispiriting. This book is a big history of the world, from the beginnings of the universe to now, which places the reader at its centre. It encourages them to think about how and why they experience the world as they do and offers a helpful perspective by placing their thoughts and feelings in the context of our history and evolution.
Gaylene's Take: Her life in New Zealand film by Gaylene Preston            $40
Gaylene Preston has always sought out the stories that have not yet been told, and in this book she reveals the challenges and sometimes heartbreak that have come with that ambition. In both wide lens and close-up, she writes of formative experiences: her childhood in Greymouth in the 1950s, working in a psychiatric institution near Cambridge, England in the 70s, interviewing her tight-lipped father about his life in the war, and a mysterious story of her great-grandfather chiselling a biblical text off a gravestone in the dead of night. Along the way she takes us behind the scenes and into the shadows of some of the most enduring popular classics of New Zealand cinema, including Mr Wrong, Ruby & Rata, War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us, and My Year With Helen, and how she has worked to realise her vision, come what may.
"I had no idea Gaylene was so hilarious. I adored this brilliant memoir: part liar, part cowgirl, mouthy and determined Gaylene grows up in Greymouth and migrates into the wild 70s, ending up in the tough-as-gumboots world of New Zealand film. Her book is irresistible." —Jane Campion
Thrust by Lydia Yuknavitch            $40
It is 2085 and Laisve is learning to use the ancient waterways to travel through water and time. Sifting through the detritus of a fallen city known as The Brook, she discovers a talisman that will connect her with people from the past two centuries, including a squad of labourers at work on a huge, national monument to liberty. As waters rise and a police state encroaches, Laisve must find her way back to the early days of her imperfect country, to forge a bond that might save all their lives — and their shared dream of freedom.
"Brilliant and incendiary." —Jeff Vandermeer
The Poverty of Ethics by Anat Matar             $40
The Poverty of Ethics stands the usual moral-political dichotomy on its head. It argues that moral principles do not in fact underlie or inform political decisions. It is, rather, the conceptual primacy of political discourse that rescues ethics from its poverty. Our ethical convictions receive their substance from historical narratives, political analyses, empirical facts, literary-educational models, political activity and personal experience. Yet morality, essentially, doesn't leave room for relativity: not every ethos deserves to be titled 'moral'. Hence the book argues further, it is the left ethos, as it has evolved over years, which forms the basis for ethics: morality is left-wing! 
"It is rare that one sees such a combination of progressive political engagement and deepest philosophical reflection as in The Poverty of Ethics. Matar's book is a guide for all those who are trying to survive with dignity in a topsy-turvy world that is our own." —Slavoj Zizek
Vanishing Ice: Stories of New Zealand's glaciers by Lynley Hargreaves          $60
Glaciation has had a huge impact on the shape of the New Zealand landscape. Enormous rivers of ice once flowed out onto the Canterbury Plains, stretched beyond the current West Coast shore of Te Waipounamu/ South Island, and spread down the slopes of the volcanoes in central Te Ika-a-Maui/North Island. These glaciers of past ice-ages built plains and vast rocky moraines, sculpted fiords and valleys, and carved out deep lakes. This book tells the stories of our glaciers though the lens of human interaction, with chapters moving through time from first Maori discoverers to colonial explorers, mountaineers and modern glaciologists. In the process, the book investigates the way nature, science and culture interact and sometimes collide, while providing a fascinating insight into the way New Zealand's glaciers work. As the world warms, our glaciers are disappearing at an unprecedented rate.
Faber & Faber Poetry Diary 2023           $28
Our most popular diary! Every week there is either a poem to read or a poetry book cover design to admire, drawn from Faber's incomparable list. We have only limited stock of this sturdy, well produced handbook to the year ahead, so be fast to order. 

No comments:

Post a Comment