Friday 25 November 2022


Te Motunui Epa by Rachel Buchanan            $50
The story begins in the early 1800s in Peropero swamp, just north of Waitara. Taranaki was teetering on the edge of what would be almost a century of war, and Te Atiawa hapu moved quickly to dismantle their most important public buildings and hide significant pieces in the swamps. The epa – serpentine figures carved in five totara panels – went to sleep, only to awaken one hundred and fifty years later to hands that would take them to New York, Geneva, London and the Royal Courts of Justice. Te Motunui Epa have journeyed across the world and changed practices, understanding and international law on the protection and repatriation of stolen cultural treasures. By placing these taonga/tupuna at the centre of the story, Rachel Buchanan (Taranaki, Te Atiawa) presents a vivid narrative, richly illustrated, that draws on newly released government records to tell a story of art, ancestors and power.
>>A return home.
>>Book trailer.
>>Look inside.

Book Manifest by Irma Boom               $90
In Book Manifest, renowned Dutch designer Irma Boom presents her vision on the essence, meaning and relevance of the book. Based on the in-depth research that Boom conducted into the development of the book in the library of the Vatican, Book Manifest is at once a survey of the history of the book and a miniature Irma Boom retrospective, reproducing a selection of more than 350 books she has designed over the course of her eminent career. Alongside reproductions, Boom extensively discusses the relationship between her work and older book forms. With this tiny (65mm x 75mm), 1000-page, richly illustrated volume, Boom aims to inspire and encourage designers to experiment and develop new ways of conceiving this simplest and most enduringly effective of forms. Irresistible. 
>>Some of the 1000 pages
>>The architecture of the book
One and Everything by Sam Winston                  $33
Once there were many stories in the world. Some had beautiful sunsets, some lived at the bottom of the sea, and some were simply about dogs. Until one story decided that it was going to be the most important story ever. It called itself the One and started to consume every other story in existence. Soon it seemed that the One was all that was left ... or was it?
Inspired by the Endangered Alphabets Project, aimed at preserving cultures by sharing their unique scripts, author-illustrator Sam Winston incorporates writing systems such as cuneiform, Canadian aboriginal, Egyptian hieroglyphs and ogham in the abstract illustrations of this colourful, wonderful book.
Cooking: Simply and well, for one or many by Jeremy Lee          $75
From a lifetime of cooking with some of the UK's greatest chefs — as well as lessons from his cookery teacher mother's home cooking — this book is about good food honed from good ingredients whether that be some great potatoes, asparagus or some berries. It is they that invariably and best spark the idea of what to cook. The book is a masterclass in simple things done well. There are sections on the usefulness and frugality of breadcrumbs, whether black olive crumbs or parsley to serve on spaghetti, impromptu puddings like peaches in wine with bay leaves or plum compote with ricotta and hazelnuts, pea dishes galore, the most useful jams and jellies from a Dundee childhood, classics like potatoes and wild garlic aioli, essentials like anchovy dressing. 
"A beautifully written instant classic that is every bit as exuberant and delicious as the man himself!" —Nigella Lawson
"Already a classic." —Fergus Henderson
"One of the most beautiful cookery books I have ever seen. It should be prescribed." —Rachel Roddy
>>Have a look inside.
Granta 160: Conflict           $28
Granta 160: Conflict features Lindsey Hilsum and Volodymyr Rafeyenko (tr. Sasha Dugdale) on the war in Ukraine, but the theme of conflict is internal as well as external. This issue also includes memoir by Janet Malcolm, Sarah Moss, Suzanne Scanlon, and essays by Rebecca May Johnson, George Prochnik, Daniel Trilling and Sana Valiulina (tr. Polly Gannon). Plus: new fiction by Aidan Cottrell-Boyce, Jane Delury and Dizz Tate and poetry by Rae Armantrout, Sandra Cisneros and Peter Gizzi. Photography by Aline Deschamps (introduced by Rattawut Lapcharoensap) and Thomas Duffield.
>>Issue sampler
Bill Andersen was one of the most significant figures in New Zealand's trade union movement in the later twentieth century. Locke's biography recovers the relationships between communism and working class trade unionism during World War Two and the following decades, drawing over forty oral interviews, as well as Bill's unpublished autobiography, to explore what it meant to be a working class, communist trade unionist through those years of social change. The post-war splintering of the world communist movement fractured New Zealand communists; in the 1970s, the Northern Drivers' Union emerged as a powerful social movement; and Maori land rights and sovereignty activism reframed radicalism through the last decades of the century. The impact of neo-liberalism on trade unions in the late 1980s and 1990s is starkly shown. 
Creature: Paintings, drawings and reflections by Shaun Tan       $70
A collection of Shaun Tan’s artwork from the past 25 years. The drawings and paintings in the book come from his work in picture books and other works including films and graphic novels. Others were created for no specific purpose beyond the desire to see what something looks like, or just to follow a sketched line to see where it goes. Many works are previously unpublished. As the title suggests the collection and accompanying essays by Shaun explore his use of non-human creatures as a motif throughout his artwork.

Between the Flags by Rachel Fenton           $25
What if the worst thing that could ever happen to you had already happened, but you didn't realise? Like your brain couldn't handle it, so you turned it into a comic. Then closed it. Fourteen-year-old trainee lifeguard Mandy Malham has wanted to beat Jen in the surf lifesaving championships at Soldier Tree Bay ever since Jen bullied her in primary school, but to do that, Mandy comes to realise that first she must rescue herself. Some days it feels like the only friend you have is the pen in your hand. A YA novel from author and graphic artist Rachel J Fenton.
Nietzsche in Italy by Guy de Pourtales (translated by Will Stone)            $25
For fifteen years, after his first visit to the country in1876, Nietzsche was repeatedly and irresistibly drawn back to Italy's climate and lifestyle. It was there that he composed his most famous works, including Thus Spake Zarathustra and Ecce Homo. This classic biography, now translated into English for the first time) follows the troubled philosopher from Rome, to Florence, via Venice, Sorrento, Genoa, Sicily and finally to the tragic denouement in Turin, the city in which Nietzsche found a final measure of contentment before his irretrievable collapse.

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), but in this fascinating, 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. 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.
"An intense, thought-provoking enquiry into the very nature of cooking, which stayed with me long after I finished it." —Nigella Lawson
"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
Sleeping Among Sheep under a Starry Sky: Essays, 1985—2021 by Wallace Shawn            $40
Born in 1943 in New York, Shawn has been writing plays since 1967. He has also worked as an actor. As he says of himself, he can be seen as someone who has spent his life 'sunk deep in the not particularly grown-up world of pretending and make-believe, but one could also note that writing plays and acting both involve the close observation of human society and human behaviour'. In a way entirely unique to himself, Shawn here attempts to understand the social and political realities of his time, whilst also offering some of his thoughts about 'the relatively innocent and provincial activity of creating small imaginary worlds with made-up characters'. His ultimate goal in the book is to determine whether people who are intimately concerned with the pursuit of the beautiful, can play a role in fighting against the horrifying injustice and vicious destructiveness that characterise our world.
"Shawn has a powerful sense, both as an actor and political essayist, of the extent to which our better selves are constrained by lines that have been written for us; by received ideas, the comforting deceptions of class, agency and so on. Behind most of these essays are questions about the unfairness of life to which the author responds — fairly, I think — without answers, only further questions of his own." —Will Eaves
Look! We Have Come Through! Living with D.H. Lawrence by Lara Feigal                $33
Lara Feigel listens to birds outside her window their circling, strident calls and thinks of D. H. Lawrence. It is the spring of 2020 and, as the pandemic takes hold, she locks down in rural Oxfordshire with her partner, her two children, and that most explosive of writers. Proceeding month by month through the year, she sets out to start again with Lawrence — to find vital literary companionship; to use him as a guide to rural living and even, unexpectedly, to child-rearing; to find a way through his writing to excavate the modern world she feels he helped bring into being. Tracing the arc of Lawrence's life and delving deep into his writings, she confronts his anger, his passion, his tumultuous vitality. In the process, she faces some of today's most urgent dilemmas, from secular religion to the climate crisis, from sex and sexuality to feminism's ideas about motherhood. And, as she watches the seasons change alongside Lawrence, Feigel finds the rhythms of her own life shifting in unexpected ways.
"A lovely, urgent, serious book." —Tessa Hadley
The Edge of the Plain: How borders make and break our world by James Crawford            $45
Crawford argues that our enduring obsession with borders has brought us to a crisis point: that we are entering the endgame of a process that began thousands of years ago, when we first started dividing up the earth. Today, nationalism, climate change, globalisation, technology and mass migration are all colliding with ever-hardening borders. At stake is the future of the world as we know it. Borders are the ultimate test — can we let go of the lines that separate us? Or are we fated to repeat the mistakes of the past, as our angry, warming and segregated planet lurches towards catastrophe?
Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua: Māori housing realities and aspirations edited by Fiona Cram, Jessica Hutchings and Jo Smith          $40
surveys the many ways Maori experience home and housing across Aotearoa New Zealand. These accounts range from the broader factors shaping Maori housing aspirations through to the experiences of whanau, hapu and iwi that connect to specific sites and locations. From statistically informed analyses to more poetic renderings of the challenges and opportunities of Maori housing, the book encompasses a rich range of voices and perspectives, including many wahine Maori authors. Opening with chapters on the wider contexts - history, land, colonisation - the book moves through to focused, and often intimate, discussions of the relationships between housing, home and identity. An expansive concluding section explores how Maori are developing housing solutions that are being called papakainga. These chapters cover rural, urban and big-city developments and complete a book that revitalises our understanding of what constitutes a home for Maori in the twenty-first century.
How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo          $40
An exploration and manifesto investigating the power of reading - and our potential to become radically better readers in the world. How many times have we heard that reading builds empathy? That we can travel through books? How often have we were heard about the importance of diversifying our bookshelves? Or claimed that books saved our life? Of course, these beautiful words are sometimes true. But reading is—and can be—more powerful, more relevant, and more vital than we currently let it be. Castillo illuminates—and insists upon—our potential to become better readers, readers who will wield the power of reading ruthlessly, effectively, and to startling result to enact equity, kindle authentic connection, and clear space for voices to be heard.
Idol, Burning by Rin Usami            $33
High school student Akari has only one passion in her life: her oshi, her idol. His name is Masaki Ueno, best known as one fifth of Japanese boyband Maza Maza. Akari's devotion to her oshi consumes her days completely. She keeps a blog entirely devoted to him, piously chronicling and analysing all his events. He is the spine of her life, she cannot survive without him. When Masaki is rumoured to have assaulted a female fan, facing waves of social media backlash, Akari's world falls apart. Offering a vivid insight into otaku culture and adolescence, Idol, Burning is a story of obsession, coming-of-age and the addictive, relentless nature of fandom culture. 
Winner of the 2021 Akutagawa Prize. 
Faith, Hope and Carnage by Nick Cave and Sean O'Hagan            $50
Created from over forty hours of conversations, this book is a thoughtful exploration, in Cave's own words, of what really drives his life and creativity. The book examines questions of faith, art, music, freedom, grief and love. It draws candidly on Cave's life, from his early childhood to the present day, his loves, his work ethic and his dramatic transformation in recent years. 
>>'Straight to You'

Kahurangi Out West: More stories from Northwest Nelson by Gerard Hindmarsh             $40
Following Kahurangi Calling and Kahurangi Stories, this book is the final in this trilogy of stories from the backcountry of Northwest Nelson. An area of outstanding ecological and geological complexity, Kahurangi also generated a rich and colourful social history. Told here are the stories which start with the earliest human arrivals and finish with the family stories of the graziers who live along Kahurangi’s wild western flank today. Drovers, loggers, mill workers, top secret coast watchers, linesmen, miners and uranium prospectors, there’s also the story of King Tom of the Matakitaki, and one man’s obsession with traversing the formidable Dragon’s Teeth of the Douglas Range. Highly readable and engaging.
From the Bottom... to the Top by Harry Bell            $48
Starting as a young rope boy at Liverpool No 2 coalmine near Greymouth in 1948, Harry Bell went on to manage other mines around New Zealand, including Strongman, Denniston and Huntly. He also became chief mines inspector around New Zealand – including at Ohai.

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