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Vol. 26 No. 3 April 2019
Sydney Writersâ€™ Festival Carriageworks April 29th to May 5th
The Festival Cometh Welcome to our special ‘Pre- Festival’ Gleaner. It’s fair to say that the Sydney Writers’ Festival takes over our (certainly my) lives at this time of year. Not surprising, given its size and scope, and our commitment as Festival Bookseller to be everywhere as more than 400 writers and speakers share their versions of this year’s theme, ‘Lie to Me’. Of course, we’d love to see you there, if that’s possible for you, but don’t forget the fabulous exposure the program gets, during and after, on the ABC, and the Festival podcasts which follow. There are many, many writers this year, of international and local reputation, some of whom you’ll be familiar with, and others new even to me. We have plenty of the printed program—please phone or email if you’d like us to send you a copy, otherwise you can check the program out online at swf.org.au. In the meantime, here are a few name— some well-known, some waiting-to-be discovered—that I’d love to see, if I wasn’t up to me ears in stacks of books: Ece Temelkuran, Turkish writer and political commentator; Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers and The Mars Room; Carrie Tiffany, talking to her remarkable new novel, Exploded View; German novelist, Jenny Erpenbeck, who wrote Go, Went, Gone; British political economist William Davies on Nervous States: How Feelings Took Over the World; and Anabel Hernandez (Narcoland)—Mexican investigative journalist. Just to whet your appetite ... And here is a snapshot of what I’ve been reading this month, and what awaits: Carrie Tiffany’s Exploded View is intense and dark, crystal sharp and spare, and utterly original in approach and execution. Terrific Caro Llewellyn Diving Into Glass is a tender, uplifting, absorbing memoir, around her father’s (polio) and her own experience with multiple sclerosis—and of the devastating impact of illness, and the resilience and spirit that comes of living in the face of it. Andrea Goldsmith’s Invented Lives is a beautifully realised, poignant story of loss, exile, assimilation and connection across the worlds of Gorbachev’s Russia and 1980s Melbourne. Robert Macfarlane’s Underland (publishing in May) is (for me at least, a long-awaited sequel to MacFarlane’s masterful The Old Ways. The best writer of his generation about landscape and humanity takes a ‘deep-time’ exploration into how we related to, impacted on, and viewed our relationship to our planet. Powerful and potent and personal, it’s essential reading from a beautiful writer. David Gaunt
The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta
When Rosie Gennaro first meets Jimmy Hailler, she has walked away from life in Sydney, leaving behind the place on Dalhousie that her father, Seb, painstakingly rebuilt for his family but never saw completed. Two years later, Rosie returns to the house & living there is Martha, whom Seb Gennaro married less than a year after the death of Rosie’s mother. Martha is struggling to fulfil Seb’s dream, while Rosie is coming to terms with new responsibilities. And so begins a stand-off between two women who refuse to move out of the home they both lay claim to. As the battle lines are drawn, Jimmy Hailler re-enters Rosie’s life. Having always watched other families from the perimeters, he’s now grappling, heartbreakingly, with forming one of his own. ($33, PB)
The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean
Tikka Molloy was 11 & one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992—the summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared. Hannah, beautiful Cordelia & Ruth vanished during the night of the school’s Showstopper concert at the amphitheatre by the river, surrounded by encroaching bushland. Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try & make sense of the summer that shaped her, and the girls that she never forgot. Blackly comic & sharply observed, this is Picnic at Hanging Rock for a new generation, a haunting coming-of-age story with a shimmering, unexplained mystery at its heart. ‘Sharp, mysteriously moving and highly entertaining’ Robert Drewe. ($33, PB)
Simpson Returns by Wayne Macauley ($20, PB)
90 years after they were thought to have died heroically in the Great War, the stretcher-bearer Simpson & his donkey journey through country Victoria, performing minor miracles & surviving on offerings left at war memorials. They are making their 29th, and perhaps final, attempt to find the country’s famed Inland Sea. On the road north from Melbourne, Simpson & his weary donkey encounter a broke single mother, a suicidal Vietnam veteran, a refugee who has lost everything, an abused teenager & a deranged ex-teacher. These are society’s downtrodden, whom Simpson believes can be renewed by the healing waters of the sea. A concise satire of Australian platitudes about fairness & egalitarianism, Wayne Macauley’s novella sticks a pin in the balloon of our national myth.
The Aunts’ House by Elizabeth Stead ($29.95, PB)
Sydney, 1942. Recently orphaned, Angel Martin moves into a boarding house populated by an assortment of eccentric & colourful characters. She’s befriended by the gregarious Winifred Varnham—a vision in exotic fabrics—and the numerically gifted Barnaby Grange. But not everyone is kind & her scrimping landlady, Missus Potts, is only the beginning of Angel’s troubles. Refusing to accept her fate, Angel is determined to forge a sense of belonging despite rejection from her two maiden aunts, Clara & Elsa, who blame Angel’s mother for their brother’s death. Her Sunday visits to the aunts’ house by the Bay expand her world in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
No One by John Hughes ($25, PB)
In the ghost hours of a Monday morning a man feels a dull thud against the side of his car near the entrance to Redfern Station. He doesn’t stop immediately. By the time he returns to the scene, the road is empty, but there is a dent in the car, high up on the passenger door, and what looks like blood. Only a man could have made such a dent, he thinks. Has he hit someone, and if so, where is the victim? So begins a story that takes us to the heart of contemporary Australia’s festering relationship to its indigenous past. A story about guilt for acts which precede us, crimes we are not sure we have committed, crimes gone on so long they now seem criminal-less. Part crime novel, part road movie, part love story, John Hughes takes his protagonist to the very heart of a nation where non-existence is the true existence, where crimes cannot be resolved & guilt cannot be redeemed, and no one knows what to do with ghosts that are real.
The Artist’s Portrait by Julie Keys ($33, PB)
In 1992, morning sickness drives Jane to pre-dawn walks of her neighbourhood where she meets an unfriendly woman who sprays her with a hose as she passes by. When they do talk: Muriel Kemp eyes my pregnant belly and tells me if I really want to succeed, I’d get rid of the baby. Driven to find out more about her curmudgeonly neighbour, Jane Cooper begins to investigate the life of Muriel, who claims to be a famous artist from Sydney’s bohemian 1920s. Contemporary critics argue that legend, rather than ability, has secured her position in history. They also claim that the real Muriel Kemp died in 1936. Murderer, narcissist, sexual deviant or artistic genius and a woman before her time: Who really is Muriel Kemp?
Now in B Format Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, $20 The Choke by Sofie Laguna, $23 The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French, $20 Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, $23 Arcadia by Di Morrissey, $25
Australian Literature In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor 1851: After the death of her father, young Eve Richards is destitute. Her struggle to survive sees her deported in chains to the colony of NSW, penniless & alone. But here in this strange new world fortune smiles on the spirited, clever Eve in the shape of a respectable job offer that will lead to a quiet, secure life. Then the fiery & charismatic Irishman Kieran Clancy crosses her path. For Kieran & his brother Liam, the promise of free passage & land in this brave new world is a chance to leave the grief & starvation of County Clare behind. But while Liam farms their land, Kieran is drawn to the goldfields of Ballarat, and finds himself caught up in the cataclysmic events at the Eureka Stockade—facing the decision of whether, when it comes to love, blood will remain thicker than water. ($33, PB)
The Sparkle Pages by Meg Bignell ($33, PB)
Susannah Parks—wife, mother, cleaner of surfaces—is a viola virtuoso. Except she hasn’t picked up a viola for over a decade. She has, however, picked up a lot of Lego, socks, wet towels—and the possibility that her husband has lost interest in her. Frankly, she’s not very interested in Susannah Parks either—but this year, she has resolved to be very interesting. In her highly confidential diary, Susannah documents the search for the elusive spark in her marriage, along with all the high & low notes of life with her 4 beloved children, with her free-spirited (and world famous) best friend Ria, and with Hugh, the man who fills her heart with burning passion and her washing pile with shirts.
Invented Lives by Andrea Goldsmith ($33, PB)
It is the mid-1980s. In Australia, stay-at-home wives jostle with wantit-all feminists, while AIDS threatens the sexual freedom of everyone. On the other side of the world, the Soviet bloc is in turmoil. Mikhail Gorbachev has been in power for a year when 24-year-old book illustrator Galina Kogan leaves Leningrad—forbidden ever to return. As a Jew, she’s inherited several generations worth of Russia’s chronic anti-Semitism. As a Soviet citizen, she is unprepared for Australia and its easy-going ways. Once settled in Melbourne, Galina is befriended by Sylvie & Leonard Morrow, and their adult son, Andrew. The Morrow marriage of 30 years balances on secrets. Leonard is a man with conflicted desires & passions, while Sylvie chafes against the confines of domestic life. Their son, Andrew, a successful mosaicist, is a deeply shy man. He is content with his life and work—until he finds himself increasingly drawn to Galina. While Galina grapples with the tumultuous demands that come with being an immigrant in Australia, her presence disrupts the lives of each of the Morrows. No one is left unchanged.
The Shining Wall by Melissa Ferguson ($30, PB)
In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health & longevity to extremes & surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege & security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, & the exploitation of women in the shanty towns & wastelands beyond the fortress city. Orphaned Alida & her younger sister Graycie struggle for survival in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall, but when they are forced to enter the City they risk being separated forever. Cloned Neandertal officer, Shuqba is exiled to a security outpost in the Demi-Settlements when she fails to adhere to the impossible standards set for her species within the City. Will she offer a lifeline to Alida or betray her? This is at once a frightening parable of our unjust world of haves & have nots, a richly imagined yet thrilling story of technological control & the fight for survival, and a paean to female friendship & power.
l l i H ’ D n O
After several months of reading and writing about somewhat serious and literary novels, I’ve been enjoying some lighter reads this month. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid was actually recommended to me by a customer who works for another bookshop! We book people just can’t help sharing when we love a new book or discover a new writer. Daisy Jones and the Six were a band in the 70s—I was thinking Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, as DJ & the Six puts together a bestselling album which sounds a bit like Rumors—a part of the novel which is a fascinating insight into songwriting and recording in itself. The story is told in the form of interviews with the band members, their partners and others as the unknown interviewer attempts to uncover why the band broke up while still at the height of their fame. This is a great evocation of LA in the 70s and the rock music scene, but what makes it such a terrific read is how the reader invests in the characters—Daisy and Billy, the songwriters and lead singers, Camila, Billy’s wife and the other band members ... all of course with different memories of what happened and why. While the book is a lot of fun, it is also very moving in parts and I confess to a few tears. Look, it’s not brilliant by any means, but it is a pleasure to read and I’m not surprised Reese Witherspoon has snapped up the rights for a 13 part TV series. (I just googled a review and the US reviewer said exactly the same thing about Rumors and Fleetwood Mac—I feel quite clever!) After She’s Gone is an unimaginatively titled Scandi crime by Camilla Grebe. But, title aside, Grebe had me completely sucked in to the story of a young cop, Malin, who has to return to her backwater Swedish village in the middle of winter (of course) to investigate a cold case (Ha ha). Malin herself had discovered the skeleton of a small child as a teenager, but now the body of a woman has been found in exactly the same place in the forest—25 years later. How do the two murders relate to each other? What has befallen Hanne, their colleague who has early onset dementia and has been found bloodied and barefoot in the snow, unable to remember anything. And what of Hanne’s partner Peter? Grebe sets the crime against the backdrop of this small village where the mill and ironworks have shut down, and unemployment is high—as is the resentment towards the Syrian refugees housed nearby. The writing (and translation) are better than much crime writing and there are several brilliant twists. Most satisfying, if you like that kind of thing. Lastly, a new Australian novel by Miriam Sved called A Universe of Sufficient Size. Weaving between Hungary in 1938 and Sydney in 2007, this book is understandably being likened to Anna Funder’s All that I Am. Based on the true story of her own grandparents, Sved gives us a wonderful recreation of Hungary before the war, and of a group of young mathematicians too engrossed with their work to fully understand what is about to befall them. I’m half way through this stunning novel and can’t wait to get back to it, which I’m going to do right now. Happy Easter! See you on D’Hill, Morgan
Typhoon Kingdom by Matthew Hooton ($30, PB)
In 1653, the Dutch East India Company’s Sparrowhawk is wrecked on a Korean island, and Hae-jo, a local fisherman, guides the ship’s bookkeeper to Seoul in search of his surviving shipmates. The two men, one who has never ventured to the mainland, and the other unable to speak the language, are soon forced to choose between loyalty to each other, and a king determined to maintain his country’s isolation. Three-hundred years later, in the midst of the Japanese occupation, Yoo-jin is taken from her family and forced into prostitution, and a young soldier must navigate the Japanese surrender and ensuing chaos of the Korean War to find her.
A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved ($33, PB)
Budapest, 1938. In a city park, five young Jewish mathematicians gather to share ideas, trade proofs and whisper sedition. Sydney, 2007. Illy has just buried her father, a violent, unpredictable man whose bitterness she never understood. And now Illy’s mother has gifted her a curious notebook—its pages a mix of personal story and mathematical discovery, recounted by a woman full of hopes and regrets. Inspired by a true story, Miriam Sved has ‘woven three generations and two periods of history into a page-turning, emotional rollercoaster to remind us all that families are messy, complicated and that the repercussions of decisions made decades ago can come back to haunt you... I cannot recommend this book highly enough.’ Heather Morris (The Tattooist of Auschwitz)
The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl ($30, PB)
1920, 17-year-old Maddie Bright gratefully accepts a job as a serving girl on the royal tour of Australia by Edward, Prince of Wales. What starts as a desire to help her family becomes for Maddie’s chance to work on something that matters. When the unthinkable happens, it is swift and life changing. Decades later, Maddie Bright is living in a ramshackle house in Paddington, Brisbane. She has Ed, her drunken & devoted neighbour, to talk to, the television news to shout at, and door-knocker religions to join. But when London journalist Victoria Byrd gets the sniff of a story that might lead to the true identity of a famously reclusive writer, Maddie’s version of her own story may change. 1920, 1981 and 1997: the strands twist across the seas and over two continents to build a compelling story of love and fame, motherhood and friendship.
The Parade by Dave Eggers ($35, HB)
Two Western men are sent to work far away from home, tasked with paving a road the length of a country. The country is dangerous & largely lawless, only just recovering from a devastating civil war, and the road will unite north & south. The road is Progress. The road is Hope. And, when it is completed, a great parade will march it end to end. The two men follow a route from the outer villages to the capital, operating their high-tech road-building machine & bickering along the way. One man is highly experienced, reliable, focused, pausing only to sleep & eat the company-issued food. The other is chaotic, curious, forever joking with locals & breaking protocol. But when illness, corruption & theft compromise their mission, the pair discover danger far greater than anything they had anticipated.
Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger ($33, PB)
Helen Clapp is a physics professor. She doesn’t believe in pseudoscience, or time travel & especially not in ghosts. So when she gets a missed call from Charlie, her closest friend from university with whom she hasn’t spoken in over a year, Helen thinks there must be some mistake. Because Charlie died two days ago. Then when her young son, Jack, claims to have seen Charlie in their house just the other day, Helen begins to have doubts. Through the grief of the husband & daughter she left behind, Helen is drawn into the orbit of Charlie’s world, slotting in the missing pieces of her friend’s life—and finds herself entangled in the forgotten threads of her own life.
Halibut on the Moon by David Vann ($30, PB)
Middle-aged and deeply depressed, Jim arrives in California from Alaska & surrenders himself to the care of his brother Gary, who intends to watch over him. Swinging unpredictably from manic highs to extreme lows, Jim wanders ghostlike through the remains of his old life, attempting to find meaning in his tattered relationships with family & friends. As sessions with his therapist become increasingly combative & his connections to others seem ever more tenuous, Jim is propelled forwards by his thoughts, which have the potential to lead him, despairingly, to his end. A searing exploration of a man held captive by the dark logic of depression struggling to wrench himself free. The Place on Dalhousie Melina Marchetta From the bestselling author of Looking for Alibrandi comes this unforgettable story about families, relationships, grief and the true nature of belonging. Out 2 April
The Parisian Isabella Hammad As the First World War shatters families, destroys friendships and kills lovers, a young Palestinian dreamer picks his way across a fractured world to find himself. Out 16 April
Lux by Elizabeth Cook ($33, PB)
King David sings his psalms. A world away, King Henry VIII plots. Courtier Thomas Wyatt sees them both, his beloved falcon Lukkes on his arm. David wants Bathsheba. Henry too must have what he wants. He wants Ann, a divorce, a son. He looks up at his tapestry of David & sees a mighty predecessor who defended his faith & took what he liked. But he leaves it to others to count the costs. Among those counting is poet Wyatt, who sees a different David, a man who repented before God, in song as in life. This is the version of the biblical king which Wyatt must give voice to as he translates David’s psalms—interweaving past & present as David pursues Bathsheba, Henry courts Ann.
Night Theatre by Vikram Paralkar ($30, HB)
As dusk approaches, a former surgeon goes about closing up his dilapidated clinic in rural India. His medical supplies arrive late if at all, the electrics in the clinic threaten to burn out at any minute, and his overseer, a corrupt government official, blackmails & extorts him. That night, as the surgeon completes his paperwork, he is visited by a family—a teacher, his heavily pregnant wife & their young son. Victims of a senseless attack, they reveal to the surgeon wounds that they could not possibly have survived. And so the surgeon finds himself faced with a preposterous task: to mend the wounds of the dead family before sunrise so that they may return to life. But this is not the only challenge laid before the surgeon, and as the night unfolds he realises his future is tied more closely to that of the dead family than he could have imagined.
Only Americans Burn in Hell by Jarett Kobek ($30, HB)
Spring Ali Smith From bestselling author Ali Smith comes the third instalment in the remarkable, once-in-ageneration masterpiece, the Seasonal Quartet. Out 2 April
The Forest of Wool and Steel Natsu Miyashita Set in small-town Japan, this tender, mystical story portrays the coming-of-age of a young man on a life-making quest to discover his musical calling. Out 16 April
2019 and America is ruled over by a billionaire reality TV star. Its media is owned by a transnational class of the shameless & the depraved. And its people have been silently robbed of their wealth, their dignity and their democracy. In this brave new world, going to see a superhero movie counts as activism, and arguing with the other serfs on social media is political engagement. But everything is fine—as long as you never, ever ask yourself who makes money from the ticket sales and the ratings, or who owns Twitter. An hilarious provocative fantasy novel about an immortal fairy queen & a shadowy billionaire philanthropist sheikh called Dennis—a novel for our certifiably insane times.
Memoirs of a Mother in Law by George R. Sims
Jane Tressider has never been afraid of speaking her mind, even if she admits that she may have occasionally given offence by doing so. But as a busy mother of nine children, she cannot let such a small foible get in the way of her job, which is to keep her feckless husband on his toes while ensuring the perfect management not just of her own household but also of that of her married daughters and sons. Since mothers-inlaw have always been misunderstood and no one has ever taken up their side of the argument properly, Jane is determined to set the record straight and plead the cause of the most maligned race on the face of the earth. The result is a hilarious comedy of manners and a gentle satire of Edwardian mores and attitudes. ($17, PB)
HARE’S FUR by
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99
Set in the Blue Mountains, this new novel from local author, Trevor Shearston, tells the story of a potter living a mostly solitary life until one day he hikes into the valley below his house to collect rock for glazes from a remote creek bed and he finds a chocolate wrapper on the path. His curiosity leads him to a cave where three siblings — two young children and a teenage girl — are camped out, hiding from social services and the police. Hare’s Fur tells an exquisite story of grief, kindness, art, and the transformation that can grow from the seeds of trust.
Spring by Ali Smith ($33, PB)
What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times? Spring. The great connective. With an eye to the migrancy of story over time, and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare’s most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tells the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown Smith opens the door.
This is Trevor’s ninth novel and he will be in conversation with well-known local author, Tegan Bennett Daylight.
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver ($33, PB)
In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened. Maud’s battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft , the age-old legends of her beloved fen—and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past. Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl’s longing to fly free.
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs & celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters & kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny & Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence & a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan & Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their 30 year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat & Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust & boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children. ($30, PB)
BOOK EVENTS AT
Machines Like Me is set in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever— a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions—what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.
Boo ks w i
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan ($33, PB)
THURSDAY 4TH ApRil 2019
THe cARRingTon HoTel libRARY
5.00pm for a 5.30pm start Katoomba St, Katoomba
Bookings essential. Tickets available at Gleebooks Blackheath or phone Gleebooks on 4787 6340 or email email@example.com
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell ($33, PB)
Namwali Serpell’s ground-shaking debut novel is an epic story of three generations of three Zambian families—one black, one brown & one white. Unfolding over 200 years, but set mainly in the 20th century, one family begins in Italy, another in England & the third in Zambia. The three families’ lives become entwined as each is plagued by a curse passed on down the generations. Each of the three ‘books’ that make up the novel—The Grandmothers, The Mothers, The Children—engages with a different genre of writing, satirizing the kind of language historically used to describe Africa, whilst celebrating Lanny by Max Porter ($28, HB) There is a village outside London, no different from many others. the diversity and hybridity of African culture. Everyday lives conjure a tapestry of fabulism & domesticity. This Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt village belongs to the people who live in it & to the people who lived Fresh from Minnesota & hungry for all New York has to offer, in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past 23 year-old S.H. embarks on a year that proves both exhilarat& its confounding present. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Tooth- ing & frightening—from bruising encounters with men to the wort who has woken from his slumber & is listening, and watching. increasingly ominous monologues of the woman next door. 40 He is watching Mad Pete the village artist. He is listening to ancient years on, those pivotal months come back to vibrant life when Peggy gossiping at her gate, to families recently moved here & to S.H. discovers the notebook in which she recorded her advenfamilies dead for generations. Dead Papa Toothwort hears them all tures alongside drafts of a novel. Measuring what she rememas he searches, intently, for his favourite. Looking for the boy. Lanny. bers against what she wrote, she regards her younger self with
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey
1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a 10 year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie & his glamorous but troubled mother. Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living—the artists Jo & Edward Hopper—and an unlikely friendship is forged. She, volatile, passionate & often irrational, suffers bouts of obsessive sexual jealousy. He, withdrawn & unwell, depressed by his inability to work, becomes besotted by Richie’s frail & beautiful Aunt Katherine who has not long to live—an infatuation he shares with young Michael. A novel of loneliness & regret, the legacy of WWII & the ever-changing concept of the American Dream. ($30, PB)
tion. ($25, PB)
curiosity, amusement & Anger for a world where the female presidential candidate is called an abomination. ($33, PB)
Kaddish.com by Nathan Englander ($30, PB)
Larry is an atheist in a family of orthodox Memphis Jews. When his father dies, it is his responsibility as the surviving son to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, every day for 11 months. To the horror and dismay of his mother and sisters, Larry refuses-thus imperilling the fate of his father’s soul. To appease them, and in penance for failing to mourn his father correctly, he hatches an ingenious if cynical plan, hiring a stranger through a website called Kaddish.com to recite the daily prayer and shepherd his father’s soul safely to rest. A deThe Forest of Wool and Steel by Natsu Miyashita Tomura is startled by the hypnotic sound of a piano being tuned in lightful take on the conflict between religious & secular worlds, his school. It seeps into his soul and transports him to the forests, and the hypocrisies that run through both. dark and gleaming, that surround his beloved mountain village. From The Penguin Book Of Japanese Short Stories that moment, he is determined to discover more. Under the tutelage From its modern origins in the 19th century to works being of three master piano-tuners—one humble, one cheery, one ill-tem- written today, this collection includes writers already wellpered—Tomura embarks on his training, never straying too far from a known to English-language readers—Tanizaki, Akutagawa, single, unfathomable question—do I have what it takes? The road to Murakami, Mishima, Kawabata—but also many new finds. finding one’s purpose is a winding path, often filled with treacherous From Yuko Tsushima’s Flames to Yuten Sawanishi’s Filling doubts and, for those who persevere, astonishing moments of revela- Up with Sugar, from Shin’ichi Hoshi’s Shoulder-Top Secretary to Banana Yoshimoto’s Bee Honey. ($23, PB)
THE WILDER AISLES
The new Donna Leon, Unto us a Child is Born, features an old favourite—the wonderful Commmissario Guido Brunetti and his family. Of course food and wine, integral to the Italian way of life, are integral to the story. Brunetti has a somewhat difficult relationship with his father-in-law, the wealthy Count Falier, so when the Count asks for a favour, he is reluctant to involve himself in what seems to be a personal matter between the Count and a close friend. This friend, Gonzalo—elderly and childless—wants to adopt a young man and make him his heir. This appals most of the Count’s circle, Brunetti, on the other hand, thinks the man should do as he pleases. When Gonzalo dies from natural causes his death goes unquestioned. But, of course, this is Venice and nothing is as it seems. Long-buried secrets and a murder draw Brunetti in. For lovers of Venice it is hard to go past Leon’s books—you can feel the love she has for her adopted country with every twist and turn of a calle canal. Another old favourite Andrea Camilleri has a new book—The Overnight Kidnapper. I just love Montalbano books—who could not love Salvo, with his love of good food and wine, and his ability to solve crime without seeming to make much of an effort. Of course there are also his off-siders, the wonderful Catarella, whose strange fractured Italian means he mangles every word he speaks & always, always, gets names wrong. The rest of the cast are all great characters in their own right, but I must admit Cat is my favourite. This outing sees Montalbano dealing with a confusing series of kidnappings—where women are kidnapped, held overnight, and then released, unharmed with all their possessions intact. The question of who would do such a strange thing, and why, becomes even more urgent when a murder enters the puzzle. Great fun. I have never been let down by Camilleri—he paints a great picture of Sicily—sadly, although having been to Italy a few times, I have never made it to the south. I loved The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, so was very happy when her new novel featuring DS Cormac Reilly and partner Dr Emma Sweeney, landed on the shelves. In The Scholar Emma is doing research at Galway University, in a laboratory sponsored by Darcy Therapeutics, a giant pharmaceutical company—owned by the powerful Darcy family. Working late, Emma arrives at the centre to discover a body lying on the road. Emma contacts Cormac who finds a security card in the victim’s pocket that identifies the victim as Caroline Darcy—a gifted student, granddaughter of the founder of the company and the heir apparent. With the Darcy family such prominent members of the Galway community, this is a high profile investigation and Cormac has to juggle his concern for Emma—as she has been involved in a previous murder enquiry—and where the case is leading him. However, Cormac Reilly is a policeman through and through and won’t allow personal feelings to lead him down the wrong path. If you’ve read The Ruin I’m sure you won’t need any encouragement to read The Scholar, but if you haven’t tried Dervla McTiernan yet, start with The Ruin before heading to the new one—McTiernan is a force to be reckoned with in crime writing—I loved them both. Finally, just briefly, The Girl Without Skin is a new crime novel by Mads Peder Nordbo. This is not a pretty book—lots of blood and vital organs being spilled on the snow and ice. When a body, or what is left of one, is found in a deep crevasse, the locals are very excited. The local newspaper believes that the small town of Nuuk in Greenland will be the centre of the attention of the world. However, things do not go to plan and when one body vanishes and another is found, the mystery deepens. I am loving it so far, and I am looking forward to some of Nordbo’s other books being translated into English. It is sometimes hard to say just why you like a book, but there is something about this one that has really appealed to me. Never mind, the violence, the story is the thing. Janice Wilder
River of Salt by Dave Warner ($30, PB)
Life in Coral Shoals is perfect and ex US hitman, Blake is a new man— running a club called the Surf Shack, and playing nights there with his surf music band, The Twang. But then a young woman’s body is found at a local motel, a matchbook from the Surf Shack on her bedside table. When Blake’s friend is arrested for her murder and the local sergeant doesn’t want to know, it becomes clear that it is up to Blake—a man who knows about cold-blooded killing—to protect his corner of paradise.
The Silver Road by Stina Jackson ($30, PB)
Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was—a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place. As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle & Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined. Fled by Meg Keneally ($30, PB) Jenny Trelawney is no ordinary thief. Forced by poverty to live in the forest, she becomes a successful highwaywoman—until her luck runs out. Transported to Britain’s furthest colony, Jenny must tackle new challenges and growing responsibilities. And when famine hits the new colony, Jenny becomes convinced that those she most cares about will not survive. She becomes the leader in a grand plot of escape, but is survival any more certain in a small open boat on an unknown ocean? Meg Keneally’s debut solo novel is an epic historical adventure based on the extraordinary life of convict Mary Bryant.
Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehanat Khan ($18, PB)
On leave from Canada’s Community Policing department, Esa Khattak is travelling in Iran, reconnecting with his cultural heritage & seeking peace in the country’s beautiful mosques & gardens. But Khattak’s supposed break from work is cut short when he’s approached by a Canadian government agent in Iran, asking him to look into the death of renowned Canadian-Iranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani. Zahra was murdered at Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where she’d been seeking the release of a well-known political prisoner. Khattak quickly finds himself embroiled in Iran’s tumultuous politics & under surveillance by the regime, and when the trail leads back to Zahra’s family in Canada, Khattak calls on his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, for help.
Prefecture D by Hideo Yokoyama ($33, PB)
Personnel’s Futawatari receives a horrifying memo forcing him to investigate the behaviour of a legendary detective with unfinished business; Shinto of Internal Affairs receives an anonymous tipoff alleging a Station Chief is visiting the red-light district—a warning he soon learns is a red herring; Section Chief Nanao, responsible for the force’s 49 female officers, is alarmed to learn her star pupil has not reported for duty, and is believed to be missing; On the eve of a routine debate, Political Liaison Tsuge learns a wronged politician is preparing his revenge. He must now quickly dig up dirt to silence him; Four novellas centring around a mystery and the unfortunate officer tasked with solving it.
Metropolis by Philip Kerr ($33, PB)
Philip Kerr’s 14th and final Bernie Gunther sees a young detective Gunther working Berlin Vice in 1928—in a period of decadence & excess as Berliners, after the terrible slaughter of WWI & the hardships that followed, enjoy their own version of Babylon. Invited to join Criminal Inspection A Bernie is suddenly facing first a case of serial murder of prostitutes, and then of crippled wartime veterans who beg in the city’s streets. It seems that someone is determined to clean up Berlin of anyone less than perfect. The voice of Nazism is becoming a roar that threatens to drown out all others. But not Bernie Gunther’s.
Eight Lives by Susan Hurley ($33, PB)
Former refugee David Tran becomes the Golden Boy of Australian medical research and invents a drug that could transform immunology. Eight volunteers are recruited for the first human trial, a crucial step on the path to global fame for David and windfall gains for his investors. But when David dies in baffling circumstances, motives are put under the microscope. With its origins in a real-life drug trial that ended in tragedy, Eight Lives is told from the perspectives of David’s friends, family and business associates, who all played a role in his downfall.
Redemption by David Baldacci ($30, PB)
Amos Decker & his FBI partner Alex Jamison are visiting his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, when he’s approached by an unfamiliar man— whose name he instantly recognises—Meryl Hawkins, the first person Decker ever arrested for murder as a young detective. Though a dozen years in prison have left Hawkins unrecognizably aged & terminally ill, one thing hasn’t changed: He maintains he never committed the murders. Did Decker get it wrong all those years ago? As he starts digging Decker finds a startling connection to a new crime that he may be able to prevent, if only he can put the pieces together quickly enough.
Island by Ragnar Jonasson ($33, PB)
Elli aey is a collection of isolated islands off the coast of Iceland. It has a beautiful, unforgiving terrain & is an easy place to vanish. In the 2nd book in Ragnar Jonasson’s Hidden Iceland trilogy, Hulda is at the peak of her career and is sent to investigate what happened on Elli aey after a group of friends visited but one failed to return. Could this have links to the disappearance of a couple ten years previously out on the Westfjords? Is there a killer stalking these barren outposts? The Island follows Hulda’s journey to uncover the island’s secrets and find the truth hidden in its darkest shadows. Unto Us a Son Is Given by Donna Leon ($30, PB) As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly & childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son—who would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned. But when Berta, one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?
This Storm by James Ellroy ($33, PB)
The 2nd novel in Ellroy’s 2nd LA Quartet sees 1941 LA gripped by war fever & racial hatred, with the Japanese internment in full swing. Sgt Dudley Smith of the LAPD is now Army Captain Smith & a budding war profiteer. He’s shacked up with Claire De Haven in Baja— sniffing out fifth column elements & hunting down a missing Japanese Naval Attaché. Hideo Ashida is working in the LAPD crime lab, knowing he can’t avoid internment forever. Vehicular homicide suspect Joan Conville is put on Ashida’s team, and they become obsessed with finding the identity of a body discovered in a mudslide—a body linked to an unsolved gold heist from ‘31, and they want the gold.
‘This book should be read by anyone interested in the way myths become accepted as history’ Peter Edwards
Sleep by C. L. Taylor ($30, PB)
n Australia’s Vietnam,
All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare. Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.
Muscle by Alan Trotter ($23, PB)
In a hard-boiled city of crooks, grifts and rackets lurk a pair of toughs: Box and _____. They’re the kind of men capable of extracting apologies & reparations, of teaching you a chilling lesson. They seldom think twice, and ask very few questions. Until one night over the poker table, they encounter a pulp writer with wild ideas & an unscrupulous private detective, leading them into what is either a classic mystery, a senseless maze of corpses, or an inextricable fever dream ... Drunk on cinematic & literary influence, Muscle is a slice of noir fiction in collapse.
From the Shadows by G. R. Halliday ($33, PB)
16-year-old Robert arrives home late. Without a word to his dad, he goes up to his bedroom—and is never seen alive again. A body is soon found on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. DI Monica Kennedy stands by the victim in this starkly beautiful & remote landscape. Instinct tells her the case won’t begin & end with this one death. Meanwhile, Inverness-based social worker Michael Bach is worried about one of his clients whose last correspondence was a single ambiguous text message. As Monica is faced with catching a murderer who has been meticulously watching and waiting, Michael keeps searching for Nichol, desperate to find him before the killer claims another victim.
Fade to Grey by John Lincoln ($25, PB)
Gethin Grey is the man you call when there’s nowhere else to turn. His Last Resort Legals team investigates miscarriages of justice. But Gethin’s gambling is out of control, his marriage is falling apart and there’s no money left to pay the wages? Izma M was sent down years ago for the brutal murder of a young woman. In jail he’s written a bestseller & become a cult hero, and now the charismatic fading-film-star Amelia Laverne wants to bankroll Gethin to prove Izma’s innocence. For Gethin—low on luck & cash—the job is heaven sent. But is Izma M really as blameless as his fans believe?
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson ($30, PB)
When Hen and Lloyd move into their new house in West Dartford, Mass., they’re relieved to meet, at their first block party, the only other seemingly-childless couple in their neighbourhood, Matthew and Mira Dolamore. When they’re invited over for dinner, however, things take a sinister turn—could this charming, mild-mannered College Professor really be hiding a dark secret, one that only Hen, whose been battling her own problems with depression and medication, could know about? From its deeply unsettling opening, Peter Swanson fashions a novel as dark, coruscating and surprising as Patricia Highsmith
journalist and historian Mark
Dapin argues that every stage of Australia’s Vietnam War has been misremembered and obscured by myth. He disproves claims that every national serviceman was a volunteer; questions the idea
that Australian troops committed atrocities; debunks the fallacy that there were no welcome home parades until 1987; and rebuts the fable that returned soldiers were met by spitting protesters at Australian airports. Australia’s Vietnam is a major contribution to the understanding of Australia’s experience of the war and will change the way we think about memory and military history.
‘Here’s the flip side of the Anzac spirit, and it’s squalid, brutal and grimly captivating.’ Paul Ham
t seems that not even world war could stop crime in Sydney. In
fact, World War Noir confirms that war and crime – in the form of sex, drugs, alcohol, racketeering and other illicit activities – are natural accomplices. Michael Duffy and Nick Hordern tell the story of a time when many
Australians were not as patriotic as we have been told.
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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy, Virginia Hall by Sonia Purnell ($33, PB)
Picnic at Hanging Rock meets The Virgin Suicides ‘Sharp, mysteriously moving and highly entertaining’ Robert Drewe
In 1942, the Gestapo would stop at nothing to track down a mysterious ‘limping lady’ who was fighting for the freedom of France. The Nazi chiefs issued a simple but urgent command: ‘She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.’ The Gestapo’s target was Virginia Hall, a glamorous American with a wooden leg who broke through the barriers against her gender & disability to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France for the SOE. In so doing she helped turn the course of the intelligence war. This is the epic tale of an heiress who determined that a hunting accident would not define her existence; a young woman who gambled her life to fight for the freedoms she believed in; an espionage novice who helped to light the flame of French Resistance.
Daughters of Chivalry: The Forgotten Children of Edward I by Kelcey Wilson-Lee ($40, HB)
A rousing, funny, straighttalking, inspirational and generally awesome book from social entrepreneur Lucy Bloom.
‘The best Australian novel I have read in more than a decade’ Sydney Morning Herald
I Will Never See the World Again by Ahmet Altan ($23, PB)
Confined in a cell four metres long, imprisoned on absurd, Kafkaesque charges, novelist Ahmet Altan is one of many writers persecuted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s oppressive regime. In this extraordinary memoir, written from his prison cell, Altan reflects upon his sentence, on a life whittled down to a courtyard covered by bars, and on the hope and solace a writer’s mind can provide, even in the darkest places.
‘Cherry’ Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan’s Blossoms by Naoko Abe ($33, HB)
Collingwood Ingram, known as ‘Cherry’ for his defining obsession, was born in 1880 & lived until he was a 100, witnessing a fraught century of conflict & change. After visiting Japan in 1902 & 1907 & discovering 2 magnificent cherry trees in the garden of his family home in Kent in 1919, Ingram fell in love with cherry blossoms, or sakura, and dedicated much of his life to their cultivation & preservation. On a 1926 trip to Japan to search for new specimens, Ingram was shocked to see the loss of local cherry diversity, driven by modernisation, neglect & a dangerous & creeping ideology. A cloned cherry, the Somei-yoshino, was taking over the landscape & becoming the symbol of Japan’s expansionist ambitions. This is a portrait of this little-known Englishman, a story of Britain & Japan in the 20th century & an exploration of the delicate blossoms whose beauty is admired around the world.
A Novel Idea by Fiona McGregor ($29.95, PB)
This is a memoir in photoessay form that follows Fiona McGregor’s life as she writes her award-winning novel Indelible Ink. It is a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the monotony and loneliness of the novelist’s daily life, and the act of endurance the writer must perform. Through an extended sequence of photographs taken on a hand-me-down camera, accompanied by terse, evocative captions, the book spans several years of labour & procrastination, elation & despair. The details of the outside world intrude as McGregor works on the novel alone in her Bondi flat, with nothing but a desk, a pin-board, a laptop and a cat, and in studio spaces in Berlin & Estonia. McGregor’s voice is wry, vulnerable, at times caustic, capturing the colloquial qualities of her fiction & the durational nature of her performance art via the ephemeral & essential thoughts that take up an author’s days, weeks, and years. ‘Composed over years, Fiona McGregor’s intimate photo-essay charts writing a novel: that collision of exhilaration, tedium, despair and sheer slog. Captivating to writers & readers alike.’—Michelle de Kretser
Virginal, chaste, humble, patiently waiting for rescue by brave knights and handsome princes: this idealized—and largely mythical—notion of the medieval noblewoman still lingers. But the lives of the 5 daughters of Edward I—Eleanora, Joanna, Margaret, Mary & Elizabeth—ran the full gamut of experiences open to royal women in the Middle Ages. Living as they did in a courtly culture founded on romantic longing & brilliant pageantry, they knew that a princess was to be chaste yet a mother to many children, preferably sons, meek yet able to influence a recalcitrant husband or even command a host of men-at-arms. Edward’s daughters were of course expected to cement alliances & secure lands & territory by making great dynastic marriages, or endow religious houses with royal favour. But they also skilfully managed enormous households, navigated choppy diplomatic waters & promoted their family’s cause throughout Europe—and had the courage to defy their royal father. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, Kelcey Wilson-Lee offers a rich portrait of these spirited Plantagenet women.
Unconditional Love: A Memoir of Filmmaking and Motherhood by Jocelyn Moorhouse ($33, PB)
Jocelyn Moorhouse has a successful career as a gifted scriptwriter & film director, as well as a maintaining a marriage & a family of 4 children. Her memoir is a moving story of growing up with adoring parents & siblings. She knew early on that she wanted to be a filmmaker, & her dreams were encouraged by her family & by her teachers. Meeting P.J. Hogan, becoming parents & filmmakers together was a turning point. But when they discovered that 2 of their children were autistic, Jocelyn’s life turned upside down. In this memoir she talks from the heart, about her fears for her children, the highs & lows in her international career, about Hollywood & home, and about her love for what she does best-filmmaking and motherhood.
An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold by Mary Hoban ($40, HB)
Julia Sorell was an original. A colonial belle from Tasmania, her marriage to Tom Arnold in 1850 propelled her into one of the most renowned families in England & into a circle that included Lewis Carroll & George Eliot. Her eldest daughter became a bestselling novelist, while her grandchildren included the writer Aldous Huxley, and the evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley. With these family connections, Julia is a presence in many documented & famous lives, but she is a mostly silent presence. However, when extracted from her background of colonial life, extracted from the covers of marriage & family life, her story reveals an extraordinary woman, a paradox who defied convention as much as she embraced it.
A Spanner in the Works: The extraordinary story of Alice Anderson and Australia’s first all-girl garage by Loretta Smith ($33, PB)
Without family or husband to back her financially, Alice Anderson built a garage to her own specifications & established the country’s first motor service run entirely by women. Also an adventurer, she made a famous road trip in 1926 in a Baby Austin she had purchased exclusively to prove that the smallest car off a production line could successfully make the 1500-mile-plus journey on & off road from Melbourne to Alice Springs, central Australia. However, less than a week after her return, Alice was fatally shot in the head at the rear of her own garage. She was only 29 years old..Loretta Smith brings this pioneering woman to life.
Barefoot in the Bindis by Angela Wales ($30, PB)
In 1953, after doctors prescribed fresh country air for his health, Scottish-born Robert Wales uprooted his young family from the city life of Sydney & set out to establish a sheep farm in the bush. What he lacked in experience & expertise, he made up for in enthusiasm. Or so he hoped. When the family arrived on a lonely hill in northern NSW, they had no electricity, no running water, no telephone & no choice but to make that tangle of bush their home. Angela Wales, eldest of the five kids, gives a vivid account of the next 10 years as they tried to tame 6000 acres & navigate the challenges of country life—an hilarious & back-breaking childhood spent in the bush.
Esther by Jessica North ($30, PB)
Esther only just escaped the hangman in London. Aged 16, she stood trial at the Old Bailey for stealing 24 yards of black silk lace. She was sentenced to transportation and embarked on the perilous journey on the First Fleet as a convict—one of the first Jewish women to arrive in the new land. Life in the fledgling colony was gruelling, with starvation looming and lashings for convicts who stepped out of line. Once on shore, she became the servant and, in time, the lover of the dashing young first lieutenant George Johnston. As leader of the Rum Rebellion against Governor Bligh, George Johnston became Lieutenant-Governor of NSW, making Esther First Lady of the colony. And much like another, better-known colonial woman, Elizabeth Macarthur, Esther successfully managed her husband’s property and became a significant figure in the new colony.
Henrik Ibsen: The Man and the Mask by Ivo De Figueiredo ($75, HB)
Henrik Ibsen (1820–1908) is arguably the most important playwright of the 19th century. Globally he remains the most performed playwright after Shakespeare, and Hedda Gabler, A Doll’s House, Peer Gynt & Ghosts are all masterpieces of psychological insight. This full-scale biography takes a literary as well as historical approach to his works, life & times. Ivo de Figueiredo shows how, as a man, Ibsen was drawn toward authoritarianism, was absolute in his judgments over others, and resisted the ideas of equality & human rights that formed the bases of the emerging democracies in Europe. And yet as an artist, he advanced debates about the modern individual’s freedom & responsibility—and cultivated his own image accordingly. Where other biographies try to show how the artist creates the art, Figueiredo reveals how, in Ibsen’s case, the art shaped the artist.
Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures by Adina Hoffman ($40, HB)
Besides a prolific screenwriting career, encompassing dozens of now-classic scripts—including Scarface, Twentieth Century & Notorious—Ben Hecht was known in his day as ace reporter, celebrated playwright, taboo-busting novelist & the most quick-witted of provocateurs. During WWII, he also emerged as an outspoken crusader for the imperilled Jews of Europe, and later he became a fierce propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground. Whatever the outrage he stirred, this self-declared ‘child of the century’ came to embody much that defined America—especially Jewish America—in his time. Adina Hoffman’s vivid portrait brings this charismatic & contradictory figure back to life. Hecht was a renaissance man of dazzling sorts, and Hoffman—biographer, film critic & commentator on Middle Eastern culture & politics—is uniquely suited to capture him in all his far-flung modes.
White by Bret Easton Ellis ($33, PB)
Bret Easton Ellis has wrestled with the double-edged sword of fame & notoriety for more than 30 years since Less Than Zero catapulted him into the limelight in 1985. An enigmatic figure who has always gone against the grain, he captured the depravity of the 80s with one of contemporary literature’s most polarizing characters, American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. In recent years, on both Twitter & his podcast he has continued to speak the truth, however painful it might be—more often than not fighting the status quo. In White, Ellis pours himself out onto the page, eviscerating the perceived good that the social-media age has wrought, starting with the dangerous cult of likeability. White is both a denunciation of censorship, particularly the self-inflicted sort committed in hopes of being ‘accepted’, and a bracing view of a life devoted to authenticity.
Some Kids I Taught And What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy ($35, HB)
Kate Clanchy has taught in state schools for nearly 30 years. This memoir is about a life’s work spent teaching in a national institution. By telling the stories of some of the kids she’s taught, some of the teachers she’s worked with, and some of the lessons she’s learned, Clanchy offers a revelatory picture of school life, and a fascinating look at the role education plays in our society today. Whilst not a work of moaning pessimism or dry sociology, Clanchy’s book acknowledges the undoubtedly difficult situation in many schools. Also a prize-winning author of fiction & poetry, Clanchy writes beautifully about her students as people, whose diversity, humour & sheer brains she aims to celebrate; she writes about the uplifting power of teaching when practised well, about the success she’s seen & encouraged in some of the most challenged & challenging pupils she knows, and about the effect all of this had on her, as a teacher, mother & citizen.
Seven Big Australians by Anne Pender ($29.95, PB)
Comic actors have made a particularly strong contribution to cultural life in Australia over the past sixty years. They have brought a range of memorable characters to the stage, television and film; they have transformed our image of ourselves, helped to overturn the crippling cultural cringe, and brought Australian humour and satire to the world. This book draws on extensive interviews to present full, rounded portraits of seven significant Australian comic actors: Carol Raye, Barry Humphries, Noeline Brown, Max Gillies, John Clarke, Tony Sheldon, and Denise Scott—careers that span the period from the Second World War until the present.
Walking: One Step at a Time by Erling Kagge
‘After having put my shoes on and let my thoughts wander, I am sure of one thing—to put one foot in front of the other is one of the most important things we do.’From the author of Silence comes an illuminating exploration of the joy of walking. From those perilous first steps to great expeditions, from walking to work to walking to the North Pole, Erling Kagge explains that he who walks lives longer, and better. ($25, HB)
See You in the Piazza: New Places To Discover in Italy by Frances Mayes ($35, PB)
The Roman Forum, the Leaning Tower, the Piazza San Marcothese are the sights synonymous with Italy. But such landmarks only scratch the surface of this magical country’s offerings. Frances Mayes introduces the Italy only the locals know, as she and her husband, Ed, eat and drink their way through 15 regions—from Friuli to Sardinia—along the way seeking out the cultural & historic gems not found in traditional guidebooks: The back streets, the hubbub of the markets, the dreamlike wonder of that space between lunch & dinner when a city cracks open to those who would wander.
Pagan Light: Dreams of Freedom and Beauty in Capri by Jamie James ($40, HB) Isolated & arrestingly beautiful, the island of Capri has been a refuge for renegade artists & writers fleeing the strictures of conventional society from the time of Augustus, who bought the island in 29BC after defeating Antony & Cleopatra, to the early 20th century, when the poet & novelist Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen was in exile there after being charged with corrupting minors, to the 1960s, when Truman Capote spent time on the island. We also meet the Marquis de Sade, Goethe, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Compton Mackenzie, Rilke, Lenin & Gorky—Pagan Light tells how a tiny island served as a wildly permissive haven for people—queer, criminal, sick, marginalised & simply crazy—who had nowhere else to go.
Travel Anywhere (and Avoid Being a Tourist)
Discover the places everyone will be talking about, plus a few of the classic destinations that deserve to be revisited time & again. Recharge your batteries (and not your phone) by going off-grid & trying a digital detox; or focus on mind, body & spirit with feel-good wellness destinations & top voluntourism ideas. Find out how you can leave your desk behind & make the world your global office. If you like to stick to the basics—food & shelter—discover the places that elevate both to an art in chapters on the world’s top foodie escapes & the hotels that are the destination. The founders of travel website Fathom offer inspiration & practical tips for turning your next holiday into an adventure. ($30, PB)
Sky Runner: Finding Strength, Happiness and Balance in your Running by Emelie Forsberg ($33, HB)
Emelie Forsberg, one of the most successful trail/sky runners in the world, shares her passion for running and how to get the most out of her body. Each chapter in the book, looks at ways to develop your skills, as well as immerse yourself in the moment. Emelie shares stories, recipes, yoga, techniques and strength training exercises as she shares her experiences from her career and from life. Sky Runner is about much more than running in the mountains, it’s about living an outdoors lifestyle and enjoying the thrill of running in nature.
Horizon by Barry Lopez
($38, PB) Taking us nearly from pole to pole—from modern megacities to some of the earth’s most remote regions—and across decades of lived experience, Barry Lopez describes his travels to six regions of the world—from Western Oregon to the High Arctic; from the Galapagos to the Kenyan desert; from Botany Bay to the ice shelves of Antarctica. Along the way Lopez probes the long history of humanity’s quests & explorations, including the prehistoric peoples who trekked across Skraeling Island in northern Canada and today’s ecotourists in the tropics. Throughout his journeys, and via friendships with scientists, archaeologists, artists & local residents, Lopez searches for meaning & purpose in a broken world.
Hiking with Nietzsche by John Kaag ($33, PB)
This is a tale of two philosophical journeys to the Swiss peaks above Sils Maria where Nietzsche wrote his landmark work Thus Spoke Zarathustra—one made by John Kaag as an introspective young man of 19, the other 17 years later, with his wife & small child in tow. Both of Kaag’s journeys are made in search of the wisdom at the core of Nietzsche’s philosophy, yet they deliver him to radically different interpretations and, more crucially, revelations about the human condition. As Kaag hikes, alone or with his family, he recognizes that it is in the process of climbing, and through the inevitable missteps, that one has the chance, in Nietzsche’s words, to ‘become who you are’.
books for kids to young adults
compiled by our children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett We have the dear little Selecta wooden books back in stock. Small and square, made in Germany with a colourful picture on each wooden page, these fit perfectly in a baby’s hand. At $27.95 each they are expensive, but they will last forever and can be handed down through generations. There’s a Farm book, and an Animals book. Louise
One Tree by Christopher Cheng (ill) Bruce Whatley ($25, HB)
Grandfather used to live happily in a farm on a mountain, nearest the tallest tree. Now he lives with his family in a small apartment in a crowded city, and he is silent and sad. When his grandson, the narrator, takes home a tiny tree he’s rescued from a footpath, Grandfather is at first dismissive, but gradually becomes involved in helping his grandson grow the tree. This is a wonderfully life affirming book. Not only do we follow the grandfather’s life, with its obvious changes, but we can see that renewal and regeneration are possible, for both people and their environments. There are many notable things about this book; it is a book that acknowledges the old ways while being realistic, but not negative, about modern life. It shows there are always possibilities for change, and that can be brought about with the smallest start. And it emphasises how lucky we are if we have elders in our life, and how important it is to listen to them. Christopher Cheng’s Chinese heritage informs the whole book, and it’s a privilege for us to be included in it as readers. His narrative is accessible, and refreshingly not didactic or preachy, it’s a very good story, albeit one with a strong message. Bruce Whatley’s illustrations are wonderful. He is a prolific and versatile illustrator, and he has really outdone himself with this book. In the dedication he thanks the author for trusting him ‘to play around with a new technique for this very personal narrative’. This new technique has the appearance of linocut pictures, although it has been achieved digitally. The palette is muted and limited at the start of the book, and becomes more varied by the end. Not only do the pictures extend the text, but they deepen it, and it’s the technique that gives it the extra layer of interest and meaning. The book has also been very nicely designed, with its bright red spine, lime green endpapers, and judicious use of white space as borders for each picture. This is an outstanding book that will surely stand the test of time. 4 1/2 stars Louise (From review published in longer form in Books + Publishing.)
Dinosaur Rescue! by Penny Dale ($13, BD) When I first became interested in dinosaurs, as a very young child, I was a little disappointed to find that they only seemed to be three colours: grey, green and brown. I wish I could have read this enjoyable book way back then. An exciting story of dinosaur rescue on the way to help a crew of builder dinosaurs, whose truck has broken down on a level crossing! Will they arrive in time to stop the train heading towards them? Bold, colourful pictures capture all the action. Lots of noisy words are repeated for young readers to practise. My favourite illustration shows the happy dinosaurs back at rescue headquarters—with Tyrannosaurus Rex about to enjoy a meal of fresh fruit, chocolate chip cookies and orange juice! Yum. This sturdy board book is the perfect way to introduce preschoolers to new words and… new dinosaurs in every colour of the rainbow! Stephen
Yahoo Creek, an Australian Mystery by Tohby Riddle ($30, HB)
Tohby Riddle’s latest book is a collection of extracts from colonial newspapers, each one describing sightings of a mysterious hairy man, a yeti, a bigfoot, or in Australian parlance, a Yahoo. These sightings were real, sometimes quite overt but more often shadowy, and mysterious. This is a picture book that draws one in, not only by the intriguing subject, but by the shadowy, sensitive illustrations; exquisite landscapes, delicate foliage and birdlife, surrounding a large, hairy, and mainly undefined Yahoo. There are human beings too, also foggy and undefined, beings that seem as ghostly as the Yahoo who is watching them. Despite the undeniable mystery and eeriness in this book, it’s been created with a light touch, and a sensitivity not often found books about legendary beings. A beautiful book, for 5–adults. Louise
The Othering by Marina Cilona ($16, PB)
‘The second Rosie and Fry decide to poke Roy with a stick in the rain, their quiet life on the island of Greensley is transformed into an adventure.’ This beginning of the cover blurb immediately tantalised me, as did the entire novel in an impressive debut by a local Sydney author. It’s multilayered: an energetic blend of quest and intrigue, corruption and secrets, plus a strong resonance with white colonisation and treatment of indigenous Australians. Proud descendants of the original pirate clans that conquered the archipelago, 15-year-old Rosie and her 6-year-old brother Fry share a close bond that expands to include friendship with Roy, the youth they encounter in the park. Roy is a Pelago—one of the native people typically shunned by the white population, and soon Rosie and Fry are swept up in the mystery of Roy’s late mother and her connections to the island’s most influential family. Following Roy’s cryptic clues draws the three friends inexorably to revelations of secret medical experiments on the Pelagoes, a hidden community, environmental desecration, and the discovery of a missing boy who becomes an unlikely ally. The principal characters are credible—teenaged Rosie, frustrated by her wayward hair and her friends’ initial attitude to her relationship with Roy, driven by curiosity just like her investigative journalist mother; spirited Fry, sizzling with eagerness to be involved in Roy’s search; and Roy himself, mature, protective and determined. The social dilemma of the Pelago culture, so important to Roy and the narrative, has contemporary relevance—‘They’re expected to maintain some kind of tribal Pelago-ness, but we live in a modern world.’ I thoroughly enjoyed The Othering, which after some tricky plot twists ends in a denouement that left me wanting more. Readers of 11+ are sure to find plenty to absorb their interest. Lynndy
Found by Jeff Newman (ill) Larry Day ($27, HB)
This wordless picture book is a very fine example of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. A little girl finds a dog in the rain outside her apartment, and the dog, as lost dogs can do, firmly places himself into her life. But we know as adults, for someone to find something, someone else has lost it—and the story develops, concluding in a most heartwarming way. It’s vital to start, and finish this book by reading the endpapers, and although the mainly black and white drawings are spare and elegant, the illustrations are full of narrative details and visual cues. This is a book that is so rich in feeling, and yet so restrained in its delivery, I read it a few times before I felt its full impact. An outstanding book for 4–10 year olds. Louise
Cats & Robbers by Russell Ayto ($13, PB)
A UK Librarians’ Choice, this catalogue of mishaps has shades of the ingenious foils so memorable in the movie Home Alone. Fun abounds in an action-packed caper featuring three hapless robbers, two very clever cats, and one robbery gone awry. Masked, and armed with their thievery list, the robbers head off to steal the loot from the big old house on the hill… but the resident cats are ready with booby traps to prevent the villains sneaking and creeping their way to the prized safe. Who will prevail—the robbers or the cunning kitties? ‘A funny, high-energy picture book with a fun surprise twist at the end.’ Lynndy
The Little Woman Wanted Noise by Val Teal (ill) Robert Lawson ($30, HB)
When I was 9 years old, I lived on my grandparents’ dairy farm in Victoria. It was often noisy but not nearly as noisy as the farm that the little woman of this story lives in. This was author Val Teal’s (1902–1997) first book, published in 1943. It tells the story of a little woman who lives in the city and is surrounded by noise every day: cars, buses, trucks rattle down her street. A carpenter, a shoemaker and a printer all live in houses next door to her and make a constant racket. She enjoys all the noise. One day, a cousin writes to tell the little woman that she is going to live in Australia and has left her a ‘pleasant, peaceful’ farm, way out in the countryside. The little woman moves in and finds the farm beautiful but it is TOO quiet and peaceful…she can’t relax. She decides to buy lots of animals to make the farm noisy. The rest of the story is an animal noises book with each animal adding a new sound: cows, ducks, dogs, roosters, pigs—and not just animals. The little woman also buys a ‘rattlety-bang’ car with a loud horn. She lets lots of VERY noisy, young boys play in the farm as well. Surrounded by constant noise once again, the little woman is content. The other treat for readers are the innovative, hilarious, marvellously detailed, black-and-white drawings on every page by artist Robert Lawson. Just stunning. Stephen
Latest in the Klutz range of craft and activity packs are these Mini Eraser Kits ($17, boxed). Choose your design: Aliens, Sweets, Cuties or Animals, and embark on creating 15 erasers. Each kit is complete with all you need, including instruction booklet, clay, eyes and tools. Bringing extra pizzazz are the individual clays—neon for Aliens, pastel for Sweets, glow in the dark for Animals, and Cuties comes with glitter to zhuzh up your unicorns and other fantastical creatures. Fun and functional, for 8+ Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
The Enchanted Hour by Meghan Gurdon ($33, PB)
A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice & a bit of time into complex & powerful fuel for the heart, brain & imagination. Grounded in the latest neuroscience & behavioural research, and drawing widely from literature, Gurdon explains the dazzling cognitive & social-emotional benefits that await children, whatever their class, nationality or family background. But it’s not just about bedtime stories for small children: reading aloud consoles, uplifts & invigorates at every age, deepening the intellectual lives & emotional well-being of teenagers & adults, too. Gurdon argues that this ancient practice is a fast-working antidote to the fractured attention spans, atomized families & unfulfilling ephemera of the tech era, helping to replenish what our devices are leaching away.
Raising Readers: How to Nurture a Child’s Love of Books by Megan Daley ($27.95, PB)
Some kids refuse to read, others won’t stop—not even at the dinner table! How do you support your child’s literacy journey. When can you start reading to your child? How do you find that special book to inspire a reluctant reader? How can you tell if a book is age appropriate? What can you do to keep your tween reading into their adolescent years? Award-winning teacher librarian Megan Daley has the answers to all these questions and more. She unpacks her 15 years of experience into this guide, enhanced with up-to-date research & first-hand accounts from well-known Australian children’s authors. It also contains practical tips, such as suggested reading lists and instructions on how to run book-themed activities.
GRAVITY IS THE THING ‘Astonishingly wonderful and magical and moving and uplifting and DIFFERENT.’ MARIAN KEYES A dazzling and unforgettable adult novel by award-winning and critically acclaimed author Jaclyn Moriarty.
A UNIVERSE OF SUFFICIENT SIZE ‘Love, friendship and sacrifice explode from the pages...Miriam Sved has woven three generations and two periods of history into a page-turning, emotional rollercoaster...I cannot recommend this book highly enough.’ HEATHER MORRIS
Diary of a Crap Housewife by Jessica Rowe ($30, PB)
Being a crap housewife is a badge Jessica Rowe wears with pride, and it’s a title she invites other women to embrace. In this fabulously funny, down-to-earth book she writes honestly about her talent (or lack thereof) for cooking, about what’s really important when it comes to mothering & family, and about her many & varied views, musings & commonsense advice on other crap housewife matters. As an added bonus, there are 13 crap housewife recipes included, from Jessica’s old favourite, spag bol, to a fresh & tasty Waldorf salad—all so simple you can’t go wrong.
KOCHIE’S 11-STEP MONEY PLAN FOR A BETTER LIFE David Koch, online entrepreneur, finance journalist and trusted Australian media personality knows a thing or two about the family finances. Friendly, clear and easy to use, this is the guide you need to reset your money habits.
TEEN BRAIN With their fragile and rapidly developing brains, teenagers are particularly susceptible to addiction, and addiction leads to anxiety and depression. From Australia’s most trusted non-fiction researcher and author comes the book that every parent needs to read.
Teen Brain by David Gillespie ($33, PB)
With their labile and rapidly developing brains, adolescents are particularly susceptible to addiction, and addiction leads to anxiety & depression. What few parents will know is that what we think of as the most typical addictions & problematic teen behaviours—smoking, drinking, drug-taking, sex leading to teenage pregnancy—are on the decline. The bad news is that a whole raft of addictions has taken their place. Whereas once the dopamine-hungry brain of a teenager got its fix from smoking a joint or sculling a Bundy & coke, it is now turning to electronic devices for the pleasure jolt that typically comes from playing online games &engaging with social media. What is even more troubling is that, unlike drugs, alcohol & cigarettes, electronic devices are not illicit. They are liberally distributed by schools & parents, with few restrictions placed on their use. In Teen Brain, David Gillespie sets out clear, reasonable & effective rules to help you confidently manage your kids’ use of screens at this critical point in their lives.
I’m Fine (and other lies) by Megan Blandford
With her career down the toilet, a husband who was never home, a baby screaming non-stop and her cries for help falling on deaf ears, Megan Blandford spent years saying, ‘I’m fine’. Spoiler alert (not really): she wasn’t fine. Blandford sank into postnatal depression & anxiety, with a highly negative inner voice leading the charge in the battle for better mental health. Until she faced a life-changing question: What if the enemy inside isn’t the enemy after all? This book is a touching true story of motherhood: the challenges it presents, and the hope that can be found within it. ($29.95, PB)
Mr Guilfoyle’s Honeymoon: The Gardens of Europe & Great Britain ($45, PB)
The Guilfoyles took their Grand Tour honeymoon in 1890, at the height of William’s reputation as the architect of one of the world’s great botanical masterpieces, Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. His visits to impressive landscapes—as diverse as Kew Gardens, Versailles & the wild gardens of England—inspired a series of illustrated articles, which were published to great acclaim on his return to Australia.
Crops in Tight Spots by Alex Mitchell ($35, PB)
Short of outdoor space but want to grow fruit and vegetables? As more of us live in cities with restricted outside spaces, growing food becomes all the more important, not just for the delicious results, but as a mindful way to connect us to the seasons & to nature. Full of tried-and-tested, fool-proof crop ideas exclusively tailored for containers, raised beds and small gardens, Alex Mitchell’s book guarantees vegetable growing success for even the most newbie of gardeners & limited of spaces.
BOSH: Simple Recipes. Amazing Food. All Plants. by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby ($30, PB)
Creamy Mac and Greens, Burrito Samosas, the Big Bhaji Burger, the World’s Best Pesto Lasagne, Satay Sweet Potato BOSH! Bowl, Spanish Beach Churros, Gooey PBJ Brownies and Salted Caramel Chocolate Crunch Tart, all easy enough to be rustled up any night of the week. Henry Firth & Ian Theasby, creators of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing plant-based platform, BOSH!, 140 incredibly easy & outrageously tasty all plants meals.
Just Add Love: Holocaust Survivors Share their Stories and Recipes by Irris Makler ($50, HB)
When a child cooks with their grandmother they learn much more than a recipe - they absorb culture and family history, and start to discover their place in the world. This is a work of history and photography, a cookbook and a testament to the last generation of survivors in Australia, as they transmit history, culture, sustenance and love through the powerful ritual of food. This unique and moving combination of stories and recipes will inspire you to cook for the people you love, and to gather around the table together. Like grandma encouraged you to.
Bazaar: Vibrant vegetarian and plant-based recipes by Sabrina Ghayour ($40, HB)
‘The golden girl of Persian cookery’ offers a colourful, flavourful and satisfying celebration of vegetable dishes, designed to suit every occasion and every palate. Recipes include: Grilled halloumi flatbreads with preserved lemon & barberry salsa; Roasted tomato & chilli soup with herb-fried croutons; Roast vegetable bastilla; Grilled tofu salad with tamarind & miso dressing; Potato, ricotta & herb dumplings with walnuts & pul biber butter; Feta, pul biber & oregano macaroni bake Courgette; orange & almond cake with sweet yogurt frosting.
Raw: Recipes for a modern vegetarian lifestyle
5 chapters—breakfast, snacks, light lunches, main dishes & sweet treats offer recipes like Green smoothie, Pistachio & kale hummus, Quinoa pizza & vegan Vanilla ice cream. All the recipes are vegetarian & many are raw & vegan—each with symbols to indicate whether dishes are suitable for a dairy-free, glutenfree, nut-free, raw-food, or vegan diet. After each chapter there is a seasonal recipe & activity section, with wider lifestyle elements like growing vegetables in small spaces, dying cloth with 11 turmeric in summer & picking wild berries in fall. ($39.95, PB)
Events r Calenda
Remember! b and get free Join the Gleeclu ld at our shops, entry to events he d with every 10%credit accrue Gleaner purchase, and the door. delivered to your
Event—6 for 6.30
7 Launch—3.30 for 4pm
Vicarious Dreaming Launcher: Tom Thompson Documents a series of personal voyages between Cooktown & the Torres Strait that are interwoven with accounts of exploration, exploitation & escape. The travels & tales coalesce around the works of Ion Idriess and the lives of solitary men at the edge of the world.
The Colonial Fantasy in conv. with Larissa Behrendt In a call for a radical restructuring of the relationship between black and white Australia—the one thing that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people want, the one thing that has made a difference elsewhere: the ability to control and manage their own lives.
—6 for 6.30 Michel Feher Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age Martijn Konings Capital & Time: For a New Critique of Neoliberal Reason Lisa Adkins The Time of Money
TUESDAY Event—6 for 6.30 Sally Young
Paper Emperors: The Rise of Australia’s Newspaper Empires in conv. with Monica Attard Before newspapers were ravaged by the digital age, they were a powerful force in Australia—a country of newspaper giants & kingmakers. This book reveals who owned Australia’s newspapers and how they used them to wield political power.
Defeating the Mi in conv. with N In truth humans far more to fear fro terrorist attacks. T cination shows tha cation in the first humanity’s deadli cency has set in. W of these disease
Event—6 for 6.30 Michael Roddan
The People Vs The Banks The banking royal commission has put the financial sector on trial and exposed its self-interest, corruption and excess. Michael Roddan reveals what happens when businesses put profit before punters, reward bad behaviour and assume they are beyond the law.
Dr. Space Junk in conv. with Bi A pioneer in the chaeology, Gorma cal journey throu tem and beyond to is not as empty as And that by lookin space artefacts, we about our own c
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World W in conv. with Tim In a companion glory days of the Sy from Sydney Noi and Nick Hordern a time when many not as patriotic as w
29th April to 5th May 12
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
—6 for 6.30 vid Isaacs
inisters of Death Norman Swan have always had om infections than This history of vacat with the eradiworld of some of iest foes, complaWe forget the power es at our peril.
—6 for 6.30 Gorman
vs the Universe ianca Nogrady field of space aran takes a physiugh the solar syso reveal that space s we might think. ng up and studying e learn an awful lot culture on earth.
—6 for 6.30 Duffy & Hordern
War Noir m Watson-Munro book to the later ydney underworld ir, Michael Duffy n tell the story of y Australians were we have been told.
The Lives of Stories Launcher: Mark McKenna This book traces three stories of Aboriginal–settler friendships that intersect with the ways in which Australians remember founding national stories, build narratives for cultural revival, and work on reconciliation and self-determination.
Event—6 for 6.30 The Conversation
Launch—6 for 6.30
Launch—6 for 6.30
SATURDAY 6 Launch—3.30 for 4pm Caroline De Costa
Barefoot in the Bindis Launcher: Tony Llewellyn-Jones A vivid account of a family’s attempt to tame 6000 acres of bush and navigate the challenges of country life. Filled with drama and hilarity, joy and back-breaking toil, Angela Wales portrays a childhood spent in the outback that is a sensational picture of Australia past.
Missing Pieces/Blood Sisters Launcher: Prof. Sue Turnbull In 1992, toddler Yasmin Munoz disappears without a trace. 2012 a wealthy businessman and former mayor of Cairns leaves directions for a search for the missing child in his will. Cairns detective Cass Diamond is soon asked to help with the search.
13 Event—3.30 for 4pm
Advancing Australia Politics in Australia is in a dire state. Voters’ trust in politicians is at an all-time low, there is policy inertia on key issues, and ideology and internal politics too often trump good government. In this collection of essays, the country’s best academic minds look at the key issues and chart a way forward.
The Lions’ Torment Launcher: Susan Ryan This 3rd book in the compelling d’Alpuget’s Birth of the Plantagenets series follows follows Henry II, Queen Eleanor and Thomas Becket in an era of power and vengeance that leads to one of the most scandalous and tragic murders in history.
27 Launch—3.30 for 4pm
#metoo: Stories from the Australian Movement
Coming in May Sydney Writers Festival 29th April to May 5th
Event: Thur 10: Troy Bramston—Robert Menzies: The Art of Politics Launch: Fri 10: Diana Plater—Whale Rock Launch: Sat 11: Bianca de Reus—Hello? Can you hear me? Launch: Fri 31: Jane Monica-Jones—The Billionaire Buddha for more events go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
‘A wonderful, wonderful read’ says Stephen Fry about Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale. And it is indeed a wonderful read—so wonderful that when I finished it I started again at page 1 for a second read. There is a certain magic about a Patrick Gale novel: he writes so well and his characters are so real that the reader is reluctant to let go of them. Eustace is fifty plus, well off and living in Kensington. Naomi, his best friend, borrows his sitting room two days a week for her cello lessons in return for looking after Joyce his whippet when he goes to visit his mother in her posh nursing home. Naomi cajoles him into putting a dating app on his phone, through which he meets Theo, a captain in the army somewhere in the Middle East and they fall in love via Skype. Theo is about to come to London for two weeks’ leave when Eustace is diagnosed with thyroid cancer and he ends up in a lead-lined room with an MP3 player loaded with cello music by Naomi. The music reminds him of his childhood when he began learning the cello himself. A dreamy, solitary child, he grew up in a houseful of adults in the care home run by his parents, the sort of child who noticed the macramé pot holder in a picture in a girlie mag, not the girls. His life changed when he began cello lessons with glamorous Carla Gold. Through her he met Ebrahim and Louis who taught him, among many other important things, that there are better foods than boiled cabbage and trifle made with canned mandarin segments. He developed a passion for his cello and became good enough to be chosen for a holiday course in Scotland run by legendary Jean Curwen. Here he met Naomi and learned the joy of playing music in a group. The worst comment Jean Curwen could make on a student was ‘does not play well with others’. This is an unforgettable novel about a boy on the cusp of adulthood who learns survival and resilience through the nourishing joy of music. And if that isn’t enough, Louis gives him a foolproof recipe for pasta sauce. Carla tells him: ‘Memorize this recipe and you will never lack friends.’ What a versatile writer Tim Flannery is. In a recent New York Review of Books he wrote learnedly about bees. Now he has turned his attention to Europe in Europe: A Natural History. I bought this book after I heard him chatting with Robyn Williams on the Science Show about all the exciting things he discovered, and I was hooked. He takes us back 100 million years when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and Europe was an island archipelago between Asia, North America and Africa. He explores the changes that followed the devastating asteroid strike which destroyed almost all of the species then on the planet. He takes us through millions of years of evolutionary history and the species lost before and after humans first inhabited Europe. The woolly rhino, the cave bear, the giant elk vanished, while elephants, crocodiles and giant sharks have come and gone. Would you believe that once there were hippos basking in the Thames? And woolly rhinos in Scotland? And a giant carnivorous hedgehog in what is now southern Italy? Humans have a propensity to drive species to extinction. If there were two snow leopards left in the world a poacher would come and kill them. However, Europe is now taking a leading role in wildlife restoration, so Europe now has more wolves than North America, including Alaska. Flannery himself would like to see African elephants—under stress in their own country—once again inhabiting European forests. And with advancements in gene editing technology perhaps we’ll see the woolly mammoth once more. Don’t miss The Ink Stain, the fourth in the Monsarrat/ Mulrooney series from Tom and Meg Keneally. They keep getting better and better. Governor Darling thinks that his predecessors, Governors Brisbane and Macquarie, were too soft on convicts and especially ticket-of-leave men. He particularly dislikes criticism from the press so when a newspaper editor ends up with a bullet in the brain our detectives get little help from authorities when they are sent to solve the crime. Mrs Mulrooney does a large proportion of the detective work, using her modest wealth for gathering information. Both detectives end up in great peril, but they survive ... and volume 5, called The Valley of the Swells, is already in the pipeline. The Authors’ historical note is illuminating. How could I resist a book called Books That Saved My Life? Especially when Michael McGirr says that reading is a gift that has taken him a lifetime to unwrap. Some of his chosen books are ones that I would choose, some not, but I love his reasons for choosing them. It’s his delight in books that I share and which makes this book one to cherish and reread from time to time for ‘wisdom, solace and pleasure’. Sonia
Robert Menzies: The Art of Politics by Troy Bramston ($50, HB)
Robert Menzies claimed the prime ministership in 1939 & led the nation during the early years of WW2, but resigned 2 years later when he lost the confidence of his party. His political career seemed over, and yet he staged a great comeback to forge a new political party, devise a new governing philosophy & craft a winning electoral approach that as to make him Australia’s longest-serving prime minister. Who was he, what did he stand for, what did he achieve? Troy Bramston has not only researched the official record & published accounts, but has also interviewed members of Menzies’ family, and his former advisers & ministers. He has also been given exclusive access to family letters, as well as to a series of interviews that Menzies gave that have never been revealed before. In this major historical find Menzies talks about his life, reflects on political events & personalities, offers political lessons, and candidly assesses his successors.
Growing Up African in Australia (ed) Maxine Beneba Clarke ($30, PB)
People of African descent have been in Australia for at least 200 years, yet their stories are largely missing from Australian writing. What is it like to grow up African in Australia? This anthology, compiled by Maxine Beneba Clarke with curatorial assistance from writers Ahmed Yussuf & Magan Magan, showcases diverse voices, experiences & stories in order to answer that question. Accounts from well-known authors & high-profile cultural & sporting identities sit alongside newly discovered voices of all ages, with experiences spanning regions, cities & generations. All of the pieces challenge stereotypes & demand respect.
D-Day New Guinea by Phillip Bradley ($33, PB)
‘Java is heaven, Burma is hell, but you never come back alive from New Guinea’—Japanese military saying. The capture of Lae was the most complex operation for the Australian army in the WW2. In many ways it was also a rehearsal for the D-Day invasion of France, with an amphibious landing combined with the first successful large-scale Allied airborne operation of the war. D-Day New Guinea brings together the extraordinary stories of the Australian, American & Japanese participants in this battle, and of the fight against the cloying jungle, the raging rivers & the soaring mountain ranges that made New Guinea such a daunting battlefield. Phillip Bradley brings a compelling clarity, humanity & new insight into a little known but crucial Australian battle of the Pacific War.
The Colonial Fantasy: Why white Australia can’t solve black problems by Sarah Maddison ($35, PB)
Australia is wreaking devastation on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Whatever the policy—from protection to assimilation, self-determination to intervention, reconciliation to recognition—government has done little to improve the quality of life of Indigenous people. In far too many instances, interaction with governments has only made Indigenous lives worse. Sarah Maddison considers why Australia persists in the face of such obvious failure. She argues that white Australia can’t solve black problems because white Australia is the problem. Australia has resisted the one thing that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people want, and the one thing that has made a difference elsewhere: the ability to control & manage their own lives. She calls for a radical restructuring of the relationship between black & white Australia.
Women to the Front by Sheard & Lee ($35, PB)
At the outbreak of WWI, 129 women were registered as medical practitioners in Australia, and many of them were eager to contribute their skills & expertise to the war effort. For the military establishment, however, the notion of women doctors serving on the battlefield was unthinkable. Undaunted, at least 24 Australian women doctors ignored official military policy & headed to the frontlines. This book explores the stories of the Australian women who served as surgeons, pathologists, anaesthetists & medical officers between 1914 & 1919. Despite saving hundreds of lives, their experiences have been almost totally absent from official military records for over a century.
The People vs The Banks by Michael Roddan
The banking royal commission has put the financial sector on trial and exposed its self-interest, corruption and excess. The People vs The Banks reveals what happens when businesses put profit before punters, reward bad behaviour and assume they are beyond the law. The day of reckoning for liars and thieves in pin-striped suits has arrived. Michael Roddan is a journalist with The Australian. He previously worked at Business Spectator and has written about economics, policy and politics, regulation, banking, insurance, superannuation and financial services. ($35, PB)
Now in B Format An Irresistible Force: How Caroline Chisholm Helped Shape a Nation by Sarah Goldman, $25
World War Noir: Sydney’s Unpatriotic War by Michael Duffy & Nick Hordern ($35, PB)
It seems that not even world war could stop crime in Sydney. In fact, Michael Duffy & Nick Hordern confirm that war & crime— in the form of sex, drugs, alcohol, racketeering and other illicit activities—go hand in hand. A companion book to the later glory days of the Sydney underworld from Sydney Noir, here Duffy and Hordern tell the story of a time when many Australians were not as patriotic as we have been told. With soldiers’ pockets full of cash and the freedom of being on leave, criminal possibilities opened up during World War II. Told from the ground—or the gutter—up, World War Noir is a raw and broad-ranging tale that confounds expectations and reveals a grittier truth.
Inked: Australian Cartoons by Guy Hansen
Cartoons offer a pictorial history of Australia in a series of cartoon ‘time capsules’—holding a mirror up to Australian society. Guy Hansen shows how cartoonists helped develop a visual vocabulary for Australian life and culture—whether it is ‘The Little Boy from Manly’, a larrikin digger or Tony Abbott’s red speedos. The book presents a selection of thought-provoking cartoons from the National Library of Australia’s extensive archive, covering topics from the First Fleet to the present day—showing the breadth of Australia’s cartooning history, from historic subjects such as convict life, the goldfields, early royal visits & Ashes cricket tests—whether it be post-war politics & the demise of the Labor government, capital punishment, the Vietnam War, Indigenous affairs or changing relationships with Britain & Asia, nothing escapes our cartoonists’ satirical pens. ($30, PB)
Blackout by Matthew Warren ($30, PB)
For 20 years Australia has been in political denial about the seismic changes occurring in the way we power our country. Successive governments continue to tell people that power prices will fall while the lights stay on. Debate is reduced to two equally preposterous narratives: coal-fired, climate change indifference versus an impossibly utopian renewable energy future. This nonsense swirls around an incredulous public while power prices rise, the grid is stretched, energy becomes political poison & the earth warms. Matthew Warren has worked for all sides of the energy industry, has been lobbying for a national climate & electricity policy for over a decade. His book cuts through the waffle to chart the disintegration of Australia’s energy security, calls out what is holding us back, and plots the way for a brighter future.
Australia’s Vietnam: Myth vs history by Mark Dapin ($33, PB)
When Mark Dapin first interviewed Vietnam veterans & wrote about the war, he swallowed (and regurgitated) every misconception. He wasn’t alone. In this book, Dapin reveals that every stage of Australia’s commitment to the Vietnam War has been misunderstood, misinterpreted & shrouded in myth. From army claims that every national serviceman was a volunteer; and the level of atrocities committed by Australian troops; to the belief there were no welcome home parades until the late 1980s & that returned soldiers were met by angry protesters. Australia’s Vietnam is a major contribution to the understanding of Australia’s experience of the war—hopefully changing the way we think about memory & military history.
Doing Justice by Preet Bharara ($30, PB)
Multi-million-dollar fraud. Terrorism. Mafia criminality. Russian espionage. For 8 years Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, successfully prosecuted some of the most high-profile crimes in America. Along the way he gained notoriety as the ‘Sheriff of Wall Street’, was banned from Russia by Vladimir Putin & earned the distinction of being one of the first federal employees fired by Trump. Bharara takes us into the gritty, tactically complex, often sensational world of America’s criminal justice system to meet the wrongly accused and those who have escaped scrutiny for too long, the fraudsters and mobsters, investigators and interrogators, snitches and witnesses. We learn what justice is and the basics of building a case, and how judgement must be delivered not only with toughness, but with calmness, care and compassion.
The Price of Paradise by Iain Overton ($35, PB)
We live in the age of the suicide bomber. The suicide bomb itself takes more lives than any other type of explosive weapon. Moreover, in the last 5 years more people have been killed by suicide attacks than at any other time in history. How has this descent deep into the heart of terror escalated in such a way? What drives people to blow themselves up and what are the consequences? More importantly perhaps, what can be done to combat the rising spread of this form of violence? Interviewing Russian anarchists, Japanese kamikazes, Hezbollah militants, survivors of suicide bombings & countless other sources while travelling to places such as Iran, Iraq & Pakistan Iain Overton addresses the fundamental drivers of modern day suicide attacks—showing how the suicide bomber has played a pivotal role in the evolution of some of the most defining forces of the modern age, from Communism and the Cold War, to the modern day War on Terror.
Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being by Paul Mason ($35, PB)
From new authoritarian regimes in the US, Turkey & Russia, to the imminent break-up of the European Union & a social media awash with intolerance, things look set to fall apart just as abruptly as the Soviet Union did some 30 years ago. Paul Mason argues that at the heart of this crisis lies an attack on the idea of humanity itself. The free-market system has reduced us to two-dimensional consumers, genetics has stripped us of our belief in humans as agents of change, and now the dystopian forces of the authoritarian right are pushing the world towards a pre-modern understanding of the human being—destroying the very concept of universal human rights, and create a new world in which we are biologically destined to form hierarchies based on ethnicity & gender, and to obey the demands of religious conformity. Mason demands a radical defence of the human being—a reinvention of humanism; a re-assertion of the universality of human rights; and a struggle for a society where biologically determined hierarchies are abolished. We have the power to imagine and design a better system.
Economics in Two Lessons by John Quiggin
Since 1946, Henry Hazlitt’s bestselling Economics in One Lesson has popularised the belief that economics can be boiled down to one simple lesson: market prices represent the true cost of everything. But one-lesson economics can’t explain why markets often fail so badly—or what should be done when they stumble. John Quiggin teaches a second lesson—explaining why market prices often fail to reflect the full cost of our choices to society as a whole. For example, every time we drive a car, fly in a plane, or flick a light switch, we contribute to global warming. But, in the absence of a price on carbon emissions, the costs of our actions are borne by everyone else. In such cases, government action is needed to achieve better outcomes. Two-lesson economics means giving up the dogmatism of laissez-faire as well as the reflexive assumption that any economic problem can be solved by government action, since the right answer often involves a mixture of both. Brilliantly accessible, Quiggin unlocks the essential issues at the heart of any economic question. ($45, HB)
A Lot of People Are Saying ($45, HB) Russell Muirhead & Nancy L. Rosenblum
Conspiracists today have introduced something new—conspiracy without theory—a conspiracism that has moved from the fringes to the heart of government with the election of Trump. Classic conspiracy theory insists that things are not what they seem & gathers evidence—especially facts ominously withheld by official sources—to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. There is no demand for evidence, no dots revealed to form a pattern, no close examination of shadowy plotters. Dispensing with the burden of explanation, the new conspiracism imposes its own reality through repetition (exemplified by the Trump catchphrase ‘a lot of people are saying’ & bare assertion ‘rigged!’ ). The new conspiracism targets democratic foundations—political parties & knowledge-producing institutions. It makes it more difficult to argue, persuade, negotiate, compromise, and even to disagree. Ultimately, it delegitimates democracy. This book diagnoses a defining & disorienting feature of today’s politics & offers a guide to responding to the threat.
Now in B Format Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman, $25 China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power (eds) Jennifer Rudolph & Michael Szonyi
In only a few decades, the most populous country on Earth has moved from relative isolation to centre stage. 36 of the world’s leading China experts—all affiliates of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University—answer key questions (like Can China’s economic growth continue apace? Can China embrace the sacrifices required for a clean environment? Will Taiwan reunite with the mainland? How do the Chinese people understand their position in today’s global marketplace?) to consider where this new superpower is headed & what makes its people and their leaders tick. ($45, PB)
Emmanuel Macron and the two years that changed France by Alistair Cole ($28, PB)
This book looks at the period 2015–18 in French politics, a turbulent time that witnessed the apparent collapse of the old party system, the taming of populist & left-wing challenges to the Republic & the emergence of a new political order centred on President Emmanuel Macron. The election of Macron was greeted with relief in European chancelleries and appeared to give a new impetus to European integration, even accomplishing the feat of making France attractive after a long period of French bashing and reflexive decline. But what is the real significance of the Macron presidency? Is it as transformative as it appears? Emmanuel Macron and the remaking of France provides a balanced answer to this pressing question. 15
Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War by Tim Bouverie ($35, PB)
Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933 this compelling new narrative history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy & parliamentary infighting that enabled Nazi domination of Europe sweeps from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Tim Bouverie takes us into the backrooms of 10 Downing Street & Parliament, where a small group of rebellious MPs, including the indomitable Winston Churchill, were among the few to realise that the only choice was between ‘war now or war later’. And we enter the drawing rooms & dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class & even some members of the Royal Family. Drawing on deep archival research, including previously unseen sources, Bouverie gives an unforgettable portrait of the ministers, aristocrats & amateur diplomats who, through their actions & inaction, shaped their country’s policy & determined the fate of Europe.
Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre by Kim Wagner ($50, HB)
The Amritsar Massacre of 1919 was a seminal moment in the history of the British Empire, yet it remains poorly understood. In this dramatic account, Kim A. Wagner details the perspectives of ordinary people and argues that General Dyer’s order to open fire at Jallianwalla Bagh was an act of fear. Situating the massacre within the ‘deep’ context of British colonial mentality & the local dynamics of Indian nationalism, Wagner provides a genuinely nuanced approach to the bloody history of the British Empire.
Cnut the Great by Timothy Bolton ($33, PB)
Historian Timothy Bolton offers a fascinating reappraisal of one of the most misunderstood of the Anglo-Saxon kings: Cnut, the powerful Danish warlord who conquered England and created a North Sea empire in the eleventh century. This seminal biography draws from a wealth of written and archaeological sources to provide the most detailed accounting to date of the life and accomplishments of a remarkable figure in European history, a forward-thinking warrior-turned-statesman who created a new AngloDanish regime through designed internationalism.
Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America by Michael P. Winship ($50, HB)
Begun in the mid-16th century by Protestant nonconformists keen to reform England’s church & society while saving their own souls, the puritan movement was a major catalyst in the great cultural changes that transformed the early modern world. Providing a uniquely broad transatlantic perspective, this groundbreaking volume traces puritanism’s tumultuous history from its initial attempts to reshape the Church of England to its establishment of godly republics in both England & America & its demise at the end of the 17th century. Shedding new light on puritans whose impact was far-reaching as well as on those who left only limited traces behind them, Michael Winship delineates puritanism’s triumphs & tribulations & shows how the puritan project of creating reformed churches working closely with intolerant godly governments evolved & broke down over time in response to changing geographical, political & religious exigencies.
Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires by Tim Mackintosh-Smith ($65, HB)
This kaleidoscopic book covers almost 3,000 years of Arab history—shining a light on the footloose Arab peoples & tribes who conquered lands & disseminated their language & culture over vast distances. Tracing this process to the origins of the Arabic language, rather than the advent of Islam, Tim Mackintosh-Smith begins his narrative more than a thousand years before Muhammad & focuses on how Arabic, both spoken & written, has functioned as a vital source of shared cultural identity over the millennia. He reveals how linguistic developments—from pre-Islamic poetry to the growth of script, Muhammad’s use of writing, and the later problems of printing Arabic—have helped & hindered the progress of Arab history, and investigates how, even in today’s politically fractured post-Arab Spring environment, Arabic itself is still a source of unity & disunity.
Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease & the End of an Empire by Kyle Harper ($38, PB)
In a monumental retelling of one of the fall of the Roman Empire, Kyle Harper examines the catastrophic role that climate change & infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition. Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science & genetic discoveries, Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers & barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability & devastating viruses & bacteria—a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered & endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence.
Science & Nature
Nature’s Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age Transformed the West and Shaped the Present by Phillip Blom ($45, HB)
While hints of a climate crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, by the end of the 16th century the temperature plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbours were covered with ice, birds literally dropped & of the sky, and ‘frost fairs’ were erected on a frozen Thames—with kiosks, taverns & even brothels that become a semi-permanent part of the city. Recounting the deep legacy & sweeping consequences of this ‘Little Ice Age’, Philipp Blom reveals how the European landscape had ineradicably changed by the mid-17th century. While apocalyptic weather patterns destroyed entire harvests & incited mass migrations, Blom shows how they also gave rise to the growth of European cities, the appearance of early capitalism & the vigorous stirrings of the Enlightenment. This sweeping examination of how a society responds to profound & unexpected change, looks to the way we will think about climate change in the 21st century & beyond.
Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum by Lee Smolin
Quantum physics has been since its inception the golden child of science. It is the basis of our understanding of everything from elemental particles to the behaviour of materials. Yet is has also been beset by controversy & raging disagreement over which formulation best describes our world. It has helped physicists agree that atoms and radiation behave differently to rocks & cats, but often not on much else. The simple reason quantum physics is unsolvable, Lee Smolin argues, is that the theory is incomplete. In this radical new theory of reality, he aims to go beyond quantum mechanics to find a description of the world that makes sense to everyone—an alternative theory, based on the one that nature uses. In doing so, he takes away the mystery & confusion, & presents the quantum world in a way that is accessible to all—specialist & non-specialist alike. ($30, HB)
Genesis: On the Deep Origin of Societies by Edward O. Wilson ($40, HB)
Asserting that religious creeds & philosophical questions can be reduced to purely genetic & evolutionary components, and that the human body & mind have a physical base obedient to the laws of physics & chemistry, Edward O. Wilson demonstrates that the only way for us to fully understand human behaviour is to study the evolutionary histories of nonhuman species. Of these, Wilson demonstrates that at least 17—among them the African naked mole rat & the sponge-dwelling shrimp—have been found to have advanced societies based on altruism & cooperation. Whether writing about midges who ‘dance about like acrobats’ or schools of anchovies who protectively huddle ‘to appear like a gigantic fish, or proposing that human society owes a debt of gratitude to ‘postmenopausal grandmothers’ & ‘childless homosexuals,’ Genesis is a pithy yet pathbreaking work of evolutionary theory filled with lyrical biological & humanistic observations.
Hacking the Code of Life: How gene editing will rewrite our futures by Nessa Carey ($28, PB)
The age of gene modification was born 45 years ago—researchers could create glow-in-the-dark mice, farmyard animals producing drugs in their milk, and vitamin-enhanced rice that could prevent half a million people going blind every year. But now GM is rapidly being supplanted by a new system called CRISPR or ‘gene editing’. Using this approach, scientists can manipulate the genes of almost any organism with a degree of precision, ease & speed that we could only dream of 10 years ago. But is it ethical to change the genetic material of organisms in a way that might be passed on to future generations? If a person is suffering from a lethal genetic disease, is it even more unethical to deny them this option? Who controls the application of this technology, when it makes ‘biohacking’—perhaps of one’s own genome—a real possibility? Nessa Carey’s book is a thrilling & timely snapshot of a technology that will radically alter our futures.
Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the future by Dr Alice Gorman ($30, PB)
Dr Alice Gorman (aka Dr Space Junk) turns the common perception of archaeology as an exploration of the ancient on its head. Her captivating inquiry into the most modern and daring of technologies spanning some 60 years ? a mere speck in cosmic terms ? takes the reader on a journey which captures the relics of space forays and uncovers the cultural value of detritus all too readily dismissed as junk. In this book, she takes a physical journey through the solar system and beyond, and a conceptual journey into human interactions with space. Her tools are artefacts, historical explorations, the occasional cocktail recipe, and the archaeologist’s eye applied not only to the past, but the present and future as well. Erudite and playful, Dr Space Junk reveals that space is not as empty as we might think.
Now in B format & paperback France: A History: from Gaul to de Gaulle by John Julius Norwich, $25 The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young, $18
Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree ($20, PB)
Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree & her husband Charlie Burrell decided to step back & let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs & deer—proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain—their 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers & diversity in little over a decade. Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers & purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life—all by itself.
Philosophy & Religion
Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World by Michael Ignatieff ($35, PB)
As globalization draws us together economically, are our values converging or diverging? In particular, are human rights becoming a global ethic? These were the questions that led Michael Ignatieff to embark on a 3 year, 8 nation journey in search of answers. This book presents his discoveries & his interpretation of what globalization— and resistance to it—is doing to our conscience and our moral understanding. Through dialogues with favela dwellers in Brazil, South Africans & Zimbabweans living in shacks, Japanese farmers, gang leaders in Los Angeles, and monks in Myanmar, Ignatieff found that while human rights may be the language of states & liberal elites, the moral language that resonates with most people is that of everyday virtues: tolerance, forgiveness, trust & resilience. Ignatieff seeks to understand the moral structure & psychology of these core values, which privilege the local over the universal, and citizens’ claims over those of strangers. Ordinary virtues, he concludes, are antitheoretical & anti-ideological. When order breaks down & conflicts break out, they are easily exploited for a politics of fear & exclusion—reserved for one’s own group & denied to others. But they are also the key to healing, reconciliation, and solidarity on both a local & a global scale.
Idea of the Muslim World: A Global Intellectual History by Cemil Aydin ($40, PB)
Standing at the centre of both Islamophobic & pan-Islamic ideologies, the idea of the Muslim world continues to hold the global imagination in a grip that needs to be loosened in order to begin a more fruitful discussion about politics in Muslim societies today. It is a misconception to think that the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims constitute a single religio-political entity. How did this belief arise, and why is it so widespread? Cemil Aydin searches for the intellectual origins of a mistaken notion & explains its enduring allure for nonMuslims & Muslims alike. Conceived as the antithesis of Western Christian civilization, the idea of the Muslim world emerged in the late 19th century, when European empires ruled the majority of Muslims. It was inflected from the start by theories of white supremacy, but Muslims had a hand in shaping the idea as well. Aydin reveals the role of Muslim intellectuals in envisioning and essentializing an idealized panIslamic society that refuted claims of Muslims’ racial & civilisational inferiority. After playing a key role in the politics of the Ottoman Caliphate, the idea of the Muslim world survived decolonisation & the Cold War, and took on new force in the late 20th century.
Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Sǿren Kierkegaard by Clare Carlisle ($50, HB)
Sǿren Kierkegaard is one of the most passionate & challenging of all modern philosophers, and is often regarded as the founder of existentialism. Over about a decade in the 1840s & 1850s, writings poured from his pen pursuing the question of existence—how to be a human being in the world?—while exploring the possibilities of Christianity & confronting the failures of its institutional manifestation around him. Much of his creativity sprang from his relationship with the young woman whom he promised to marry, then left to devote himself to writing—a relationship which remained decisive for the rest of his life. He deliberately lived in the swim of human life in Copenhagen, but alone, & died exhausted in 1855 at the age of 42, bequeathing his remarkable writings to his erstwhile fiancée. Clare Carlisle’s innovative & moving biography writes Kierkegaard’s life as far as possible from his own perspective, to convey what it was like actually being this Socrates of Christendom—as he put it, living life forwards yet only understanding it backwards.
A History of the Bible: The Book and its Faiths by John Barton ($55, HB)
Biblical scholar John Barton , provides a full account of how the different parts of the Bible came to be written; how some writings which were regarded as holy became canonical & were included in the Bible, and others were not; what the relationship is of the different parts of the Bible to each other; and how, once it became a stable text, the Bible has been disseminated & interpreted around the world. He gives full weight to discussion of the importance of the Tanakh (Old Testament) in Judaism as in Christianity, and shows the degree to which, contrary to widespread belief, both Judaism & Christianity are not faiths drawn from the Bible texts but from other sources and traditions.
Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters by Christian Smith ($47, PB)
Religion remains an important influence in the world today, yet the social sciences are still not adequately equipped to understand and explain it. Christian Smith advances an innovative theory of religion that goes beyond the problematic theoretical paradigms of the past. Drawing on the philosophy of critical realism & personalist social theory, Smith explores why humans are religious in the first place—uniquely so as a species—and offers an account of secularisation & religious innovation & persistence that breaks the logjam in which so many religion scholars have been stuck for so long. Featuring a wealth of illustrations & examples that help to make its concepts accessible Smith’s book brings sound theoretical thinking to a perennially thorny subject, and a new vitality and focus to its study.
Now in B format Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray, $25 Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason by Justin E. H. Smith ($55, HB)
Once, humans were benighted by superstition & irrationality, but then the Greeks invented reason. Later, the Enlightenment enshrined rationality as the supreme value. Discovering that reason is the defining feature of our species, we named ourselves the ‘rational animal’. But is this flattering story itself rational? In this sweeping account of irrationality from antiquity to today—from the 5th century BC murder of Hippasus for revealing the existence of irrational numbers to the rise of Twitter mobs & the election of Donald Trump—Justin Smith challenges conventional thinking about logic, natural reason, dreams, art & science, pseudoscience, the Enlightenment, the internet, jokes & lies, and death, and his book shows how history reveals that any triumph of reason is temporary & reversible, and that rational schemes, notably including many from Silicon Valley, often result in their polar opposite. Illuminating unreason at a moment when the world appears to have gone mad again, Irrationality is fascinating, provocative, and timely.
Psychology The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President—Updated with New Essays ($40, HB) Originally released in fall 2017, to answer the question alarmed Americans & international onlookers wanted to know: What is wrong with him? That question still plagues us, and this volume with 8 new essays covers the dangerous ramifications of Trump’s unnatural state. It’s not all in our heads. It’s in his.
How Attention Works: Finding Your Way in a World Full of Distraction by Stefan Van der Stigchel & Danny Guinan ($50, HB)
Advertisers, web designers, and other ?attention architects try hard to get our attention, promoting products with videos on huge outdoor screens, adding flashing banners to websites, and developing computer programs with blinking icons that tempt us to click. Often they succeed in distracting us from what we are supposed to be doing. In this book Van der Stigchel & Guinan explain the process of attention & what the implications are for our everyday lives—making their case with examples from real life, explaining, among other things, the limitations of colour perception (and why fire trucks shouldn’t be red); the importance of location (security guards & radiologists, for example, have to know where to look); the attention-getting properties of faces & spiders; what we can learn from someone else’s eye movements; why we see what we expect to see (magicians take advantage of this); and visual neglect & unattended information.
Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition Asma & Gabriel ($63, HB)
Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power. Yet, in evolutionary terms, rational cognition emerged only the day before yesterday. For nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason, the emotional centres of the brain were hard at work. If we want to properly understand the evolution of the mind, we must explore this more primal capability that we share with other animals: the power to feel. Emotions saturate every thought and perception with the weight of feelings. Even the roots of so much that makes us uniquely human—art, mythology, religion—can be traced to feelings of caring, longing, fear, loneliness, awe, rage, lust, playfulness, and more. From prehistoric cave art to the songs of Hank Williams, philosopher, Stephen T. Asma, and psychologist, Rami Gabriel, explore how the evolution of the emotional mind stimulated our species’ cultural expression in all its rich variety.
A Life in Orange That’s orange the colour, not Orange the town in NSW. The colour worn by the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh—the Indian guru who fell from grace, and ended up in prison, and who was ultimately denied entry into every country his jet landed in. There’s a lot of falling from great heights in this poignant memoir by Tim Guest, whose mother joined the Rajneeshis, and took her son with her. The children in the communes were left largely to their own devices, and Tim spent a lot of time leaping through trap doors, jumping from sheds, and falling into water. He writes with conviction, and an amazing recall, capturing the atmosphere generated by the guru—in his presence, but mainly in his absence. The communes he describes, in India, Oregon and Germany and his home base in England, were places where the adults sought Nirvana and the children were on the whole neglected. It’s hard to see the appeal of living like this, but, it was a different time, and it did actually happen. His describes the utter disregard for the childrens’ wellbeing in the communes without rancour—always keeping his mother at the centre of his tale. His longing for her (to a lesser extent his father) and sense of desolating loneliness pervades the whole book. He recounts the excesses of Baghwan’s lifestyle, and his extraordinary decline quite objectively—there is no need to exaggerate the story, the facts are unbelievable enough. This book was first published in 2004, and has just been republished; tragically, the author died in 2009, from a drug overdose, a sad fact that overshadows the whole book. Louise
The Power of Cute by Simon May ($30, HB)
From Hello Kitty and Pokémon to the works of artists Takashi Murakami & Jeff Koons, we usually see the cute as merely diminutive, harmless & helpless. Simon May challenges this prevailing perspective, investigating everything from Mickey Mouse to Kim Jong-il, to argue that cuteness is not restricted to such sweet qualities but also beguiles us by transforming or distorting them into something of playfully indeterminate power, gender, age, morality & even species. May grapples with cuteness’ dark & unpindownable side—unnerving, artful, knowing, apprehensive—elements that have fascinated since ancient times through mythical figures, especially hybrids like the hermaphrodite & the sphinx. He argues that cuteness is an addictive antidote to today’s pressured expectations of knowing our purpose, being in charge, and appearing predictable, transparent & sincere.
Bob Dylan’s Poetics: How the Songs Work by Timothy Hampton ($65, HB)
Timothy Hampton offers a unique examination of both the poetics & politics of Bob Dylan’s compositions. Focusing on the interplay of music & lyric, Hampton traces Dylan’s innovative use of musical form, his complex manipulation of poetic diction, and his dialogues with other artists, from Woody Guthrie to Arthur Rimbaud. Moving from Dylan’s earliest experiments with the blues through his mastery of rock & country to his densely allusive more recent recordings, Hampton offers a detailed account of Dylan’s achievement. Locating Dylan in the long history of artistic modernism, he examines the relationships among form, genre, and the political & social themes that crisscross Dylan’s work—offering both a nuanced engagement with the work of a major artist & a meditation on the contribution of song at times of political & social change.
How the Classics Made Shakespeare by Jonathan Bate ($45, HB)
Ben Jonson famously accused Shakespeare of having ‘small Latin and less Greek’. But Shakespeare was steeped in the classics. Shaped by his grammar school education in Roman literature, history, and rhetoric, he moved to London, a city that modelled itself on ancient Rome. He worked in a theatrical profession that inherited the conventions and forms of classical drama. He read deeply in Ovid, Virgil, and Seneca. Revealing in new depth the influence of Cicero and Horace on Shakespeare and finding new links between him and classical traditions, ranging from myths and magic to monuments and politics, Jonathan Bate offers striking new readings of a wide array of the plays and poems. At the heart of his book is an argument that Shakespeare’s supreme valuation of the force of imagination was honed by the classical tradition and designed as a defence of poetry and theatre in a hostile world of emergent Puritanism.
Cultural Studies & Criticism The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller ($30, PB)
Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicising the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instil the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we’ve gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself—and this tyranny of metrics now threatens the quality of our organisations & lives. Jerry Muller uncovers the damage metrics is causing & shows how we can begin to fix the problem. Filled with examples from business, medicine, education, government & other fields, the book explains why paying for measured performance doesn’t work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But Muller also shows that, when used as a complement to judgment based on personal experience, metrics can be beneficial, and he includes an invaluable checklist of when & how to use them.
Coders by Clive Thompson ($33, PB)
Clive Thompson offers an anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers, interrogating who they are, how they think, what qualifies as greatness in their world, and what should give us pause. In pop culture & media, the people who create the code that rules our world are regularly portrayed in hackneyed, simplified terms, as ciphers in hoodies. Thompson goes far deeper, dramatizing the psychology of the invisible architects of the culture, exploring their passions & their values, as well as their messy history. Thompson wrestles with the major controversies of our era, from the ‘disruption’ fetish of Silicon Valley to the struggle for inclusion by marginalised groups. To understand the world today, we need to understand code & its consequences—Thompson gives a definitive look into the heart of the machine.
White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo ($23, PB)
Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has—unintentionally—caused racial offence or hurt. But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to ‘liberal’ white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction. Robin DiAngelo coined the term ‘White Fragility’ in 2011 to describe this process. Using knowledge & insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops she illustrates how it’s possible to have more honest conversations, listen better, and react to feedback with grace & humility. It is not enough to simply hold abstract progressive views & condemn the obvious racists on social media—change starts at a practical, granular level, and it is time for all white people to take responsibility for relinquishing their own racial supremacy.
On Violence by Natasha Stott Despoja ($15, PB)
Every two minutes, police are called to a family violence matter. Every week, a woman is killed by a current or former partner. Why is violence against women endemic, and how do we stop it? This is Australia’s national emergency. Violence against women is preventable. It is not an inevitable part of the human condition. It’s time to create a new normal. It is time to stop the slaughter in our suburbs.
On Us by Mark Scott ($15, PB)
Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott, asks: How do we step outside our own echo chamber to understand others? What are we losing when we share fewer and fewer national moments? The new media is enabling despots and disempowering democracy. So when every opinion seems to matter equally, On Us offers a few more thoughts on choice in a concentrated media world and asks why more information often means less insight.
Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love by Naomi Wolf ($33, PB)
Until 1857, the State did not link the idea of ‘homosexuality’ to deviancy. In the same year, the concept of the ‘obscene’ was coined. Naomi Wolf’s Outrages is the story of why this two-pronged State repression took hold—first in England and spreading quickly to America—and why it was attached so dramatically, for the first time, to homosexual men. Before 1857 it wasn’t ‘homosexuality’ that was a crime, but simply the act of sodomy. But with the 1857 British law the Obscene Publications Act not only was love between made men illegal, but anything referring to this love became obscene, unprintable, unspeakable. Wolf paints the dramatic ways this played out among a bohemian group of sexual dissidents, including Walt Whitman in America and the closeted homosexual English critic John Addington Symonds—in love with Whitman’s homoerotic voice in Leaves of Grass—as, decades before the infamous 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde, dire prison terms became the State’s penalty for homosexuality. Wolf recounts how a dying Symonds helped write the book on ‘sexual inversion’ that created our modern understanding of homosexuality—suggesting that his secret memoir, mined here fully for the first time, stands as the first gay rights manifesto in the west.
Now in paperback Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard, $15 Sabers and Utopias: Visions of Latin America: Essays by Mario Vargas Llosa, $27
Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America by Box Brown ($37, HB)
In 1518 CE Mexico, Cortés introduces hemp farming during his violent colonial campaign. In secret, locals begin cultivating the plant for consumption. It eventually makes its way to the US through the immigrant labour force, where it’s shared with black labourers. It doesn’t take American lawmakers long to decry cannabis as the vice of ‘inferior races’. To strengthen their anti-drug campaigns, legislators spread vicious lies about the dangers of cannabis. As a result, the plant is given a schedule I classification, alongside heroin. Box Brown delves deep into this complex & troubling history, offering a rich, entertaining, and thoroughly researched graphic essay on the racist legacy of cannabis legislation in America.
City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death and the Need for a Forest by Sophie Cunningham
How do we take in the beauty of our planet while processing the losses? What trees can survive in the city? Which animals can survive in the wild? How do any of us-humans, animals, trees-find a forest we can call home? In these moving, thought-provoking essays Sophie Cunningham considers the meaning of trees and our love of them. She chronicles the deaths of both her fathers, and the survival of P-22, a mountain lion in Griffith Park, Los Angeles; contemplates the loneliness of Ranee, the first elephant in Australia; celebrates the iconic eucalyptus and explores its international status as an invasive species. ($25, PB)
Figuring by Maria Popova ($35, HB) Figuring explores the complexities of love & the human search for truth & meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across 4 centuries—beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist & author Rachel Carson, who catalysed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers & scientists—mostly women, mostly queer—whose public contribution has risen out of their unclassifiable & often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience & appreciate the universe.
Language & Writing
Four Words for Friend: Why Using More Than One Language Matters Now More Than Ever by Marek Kohn ($45, HB)
In a world that has English as its global language & rapidly advancing translation technology, it’s easy to assume that the need to use more than one language will diminish—but Marek Kohn argues that plural language use is more important than ever. In a divided world, it helps us to understand ourselves & others better, to live together better, and to make the most of our various cultures. Kohn brings together perspectives from psychology, evolutionary thought, politics, literature & everyday experience to explore how people acquire languages; how they lose them; how they can regain them; how different languages may affect people’s perceptions, their senses of self, and their relationships with each other; and how to resolve the fundamental contradiction of languages—that they exist as much to prevent communication as to make it happen.
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway 10th ed ($44, PB)
A creative writer’s shelf should hold at least three essential books: a dictionary, a style guide, and Writing Fiction. Burroway’s tone is personal & nonprescriptive, welcoming learning writers into the community of practiced storytellers. Moving from freewriting to final revision, the book addresses: showing not telling, characterization, dialogue, atmosphere, plot, imagery, and point of view. This 10th edition includes new topics & writing prompts, and each chapter now ends with a list of recommended readings that exemplify the craft elements discussed, allowing for further study.
Babel: Adventures in Translation by Dennis Duncan etal ($50, HB)
This collection of essays shows how linguistic diversity has inspired people across time & cultures to embark on adventurous journeys through the translation of texts. It tells the story of how ideas have travelled via the medium of translation into different languages & cultures, the search for a universal language & the challenges of translation in multicultural Britain. Starting with the concept of Babel itself, which illustrates the early cultural prominence of multilingualism, and with an illustration of a Mediterranean language of four millennia ago (Linear A) which still resists deciphering, it goes on to examine how languages have interacted with each other in different contexts.
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Even after three decades in bookselling, one can still be surprised—and intrigue—by some books that cross one’s desk. Here is an example. Treatises of Fistula in Ano Haemorrhoids, and Clysers by John Arderne Oxford University Press for the Early English Text Society (1968). Hardcover. xxxvii,156pp., b/w illustrations, foldout, notes, index. A reprint of the EETS 1910 Edition. This is a reproduction of an Early Fifteenth Century Manuscript translation. Edited by D’Arcy Power. No dustjacket. Age browning to page edges. Book is clean and unmarked inside. Near Fine condition. $40.00. Fistula in Ano is the Latin term for an Anal Fistula, which is best described as an abscess or cavity with an external opening in the area between the rectum or anal canal. Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower region of the rectum that cause itching and bleeding. Clyser is liquid injected into the lower intestines by means of a syringe. An enema. Finished wincing yet? John Arderne (1307–1392) was the first notable English surgeon who managed to devise workable treatments and cures for many ailments. His practice was open to people of all classes. The wealthy were charged a substantial sum, the poor were treated free of charge. ‘I John Arderne from the first pestilence that in the Year of Our Lord 1349, dwelt in Newark in Nottinghamshire unto the Year of Our Lord 1370 and that I healed many men of fistula in ano.’ The opening paragraph of his treatise. This is my Modern English translation. The text is written in Middle English—spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th Century. Similar to reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the original. (Remember doing that in High School?) The editor’s useful margin notes help the reader along. John Arderne records his first patient, the Knight, Sir Adam de Everingham of Tewksford, who suffered from an anal affliction. Sir Adam had visited surgeons at Poitiers, Toulouse, Gascoigne, Narbonne ‘and many other places…and all forsook him for a cure’. He had lost all hope of recovery until: At last, I John Arderne came to him and did my cure to him and Our Lord being my instrument, I healed him perfectly within half a year; and afterward, whole and sound, he led a glad life of 30 years and more, for which I got myself much honour and long praise in England.’ Treated in 1349, Sir Adam lived on until 1387. One can still sense Arderne’s justifiable pride. It is no surprise that the nobility comprised a large part of Arderne’s patients. The Hundred Years War, waged between England and France at this time, would have kept the English Knightly class busy. Apart from the savagery of medieval warfare itself, long hours in the saddle, often wet and cold, burdened by battle armour that weighed up 30kgs (65 lbs), would often lead to the condition requiring Arderne’s medical skill. Chronic constipation by both medieval diet and sedentary habits, would have also caused anal ailments in many of the religious and civil population. How John of Arderne treated his legion of patients is shown in this work. It describes both his operative procedures and his code of conduct for the ideal medical practitioner. A final grimace of sympathy is given for medieval patients when viewing the contemporary illustrations of medical instruments included in this unique volume. Stephen Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Annaconda by Sean Naylor ($20, HB) At dawn on March 2, 2002, the first major battle of the 21st century began. Over 200 soldiers of the 101st Airborne & 10th Mountain Divisions flew into Afghanistan’s Shahikot valley—and into the mouth of a buzz-saw. After the attacks of 9/11, Coalition forces quickly toppled the Taliban regime from the seat of governmnet, and believing the war to be all but over the Pentagon & US Central Command delegated responisbility for fighing the war’s biggest battle to a tangle of untested units thrown together at the last moment—backed up by a small, but crucial, team of special forces they were all that stood between the Coalition and a military disaster. Journalist, Sean Naylor was an eyewitness to these events, and he vividly portrays the fight for Afghanistan’s most hostile battleground, detailing the failures of military intelligence and planning that left victory hanging by a thread. Juggernaut! A Story of Sydney in the Wild Days of the Steam Trams by David Burke, $25 Beginning with a ‘temporary line’ to the International Exhibition of 1879, Sydney’s steam tram network rapidly spread into the far corners of the city. Today’s long-established suburbs such as Coogee, Bondi Beach, Dulwich Hill, Leichhardt & Rozelle took shape along the tracks of these quaint little hissing, whistling Yankee ‘steam motors’ hauling ungainly double-deck cars where conductors, on a windy day, would provide women with ‘modesty laces’ to secure their skirts. More than just a convenient means of transport, the ‘Juggernauts’ & ‘Manglers’ became an indispensable part of the city’s social fabric: a bloody accident rate, the nefarious deeds of larrikin conductors, wolf-whistling drivers & the Bondi tram that ‘shot through’. This book isn’t just for steam buffs, it is a vivid portrait of the bustling metropolis that was Victorian-era Sydney.
Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson $33 It wasn’t until I started reading Nick Pyenson’s fascinating book that I realised that so much about whales is astonishing yet so much still remains utterly mysterious. There are over eighty species of whales alive today. Officially known as Cetaceans (from the Latin cetus ‘whale’, from the Greek ketos ‘huge fish’). There is a useful family tree of whales given at the end of the book. Blue Whales are the largest animals ever to have evolved in the history of life on Earth. Bigger than any dinosaur. The heaviest specimen yet measured, weighed in at 136 tonnes. (That’s 300,000 Ibs—for people of a certain age). Twice the weight of T-Rex. Some species of whales can hold their breath under water for over two hours and that is while diving up to depths of 2,700 metres (9,000 ft) searching for food— and do this routinely multiple times a day. To navigate, whales have an organ in their forehead that emits an acoustic echolocation sonar signal, whose strength of frequency varies based on the body size of whales. Sperm whales have one that can be up to 6 metres (20 ft) long. The sonar used by military forces today is no where near as sophisticated as that of whales. Yet much of whale behaviour and anatomy remains hidden in the ocean depths. Palaeontologist Pyenson, is curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and has been studying whales for over two decades. He divides his book into three parts: the past, the present, and the future. How whales evolved and grew so large, how and what whales eat, how they live today, and what the now dominant Age of the Anthropocene (we Humans) means for them. I always thought that whales had simply evolved in the sea. Scientists now believe that 40 million to 50 million years ago, whales had four legs and lived at least part of their lives on land. The similarity of those creatures and today’s aquatic descendants is found in the fossil record of their skull similarities. This transformation from land to ocean took place in a mere 10 million years—almost lightning pace in the evolutionary timescale. Yet fossils that would reveal the complete record of whale evolution have not yet been found. Our author is also a self-styled whale chaser and recounts his research travel adventures around the globe. What comes through is Pyenson’s love of his subject— since childhood visits to natural history museums in Canada —is the excitement of scientific discovery and his vivid depiction of scientists at work. From Alaska to Antarctica to tag whales for clues on their behaviour. From examining a ‘whale hill’ of dozens of ancient fossils in Chile’s Atacama Desert, to an uncomfortable visit to a whaling station in Hvalfjördur, Iceland, studying freshly killed carcasses. He rationalised this venture by reminding himself that he was putting their inevitable deaths to good use. Pyenson makes the point that of the 2 to 3 million whales killed by whaling nations in the 20th century, very few were examined by biologists of any kind. The best monographs available on the subject of whale anatomy were over a century old and served only as rough guides to their structure. After several weeks at Hvalfjördur (Icelandic for ‘whale fjord’), he discovered a unique pressure sensor at the tip of the whale’s jaw that allow large whales to coordinate just how much their jaws were able to open and close in the course of their daily feeding activity. The future of all cetaceans is overshadowed by the legacy of mass whale hunting. Some species—minke whales—have recovered. Others, such as blue whales remain endangered. Man-made ocean pollution, climate change and the sheer increase in human activity upon the oceans threaten the species. Whales feeding habitats are now often directly in busy shipping routes or near busy harbours. Whales cannot move quickly enough to avoid ever faster—and larger—ships, so increasing numbers are victims of traumatic ‘ship strikes’. Increased shipping also means that the underwater environment has also changed. It has become ever noisier. This has unfortunate consequences for whales. It effects their ability to hear, to use their acoustics to communicate, to seek food. Their livelihood depends upon this and is now continually disrupted. Pyenson says there is evidence that in busy ports, whales now often have to sing and communicate louder and at different frequencies to overcome the new artificial noise. He does however end on a hopeful note, describing four evolutionary traits that will help enable this species to stand the best chance of survival in the Age of the Anthropocene: Be the right size—In an increasingly urbanised ocean, extreme largeness (blue whales) or smallness (vaquita whales) leave these species more vulnerable to man-made or environmental hazards. Most whale species fall in size ranges between these two extremes; Don’t be a picky eater—Overspecialisation in diet leaves various species at risk if their prey disappears due to sudden changes in ocean temperature or chemistry—an example is killer whales that feed exclusively on salmon. Fortunately, other species: humpbacks, grey whales, dolphins and sperm whales can all feed on a variety of prey; Stay global—Sperm, killer and humpback whales are found in all the world’s oceans. This provides an insurance policy against regional calamity; Adaptive culture—these three above mentioned species also seem to possess a resilient culture, adaptable against unexpected changes, as part of their social structure and behaviour, perhaps unique to other cetaceans. However, there are no certainties to species survival. As Pyenson reminds us: Whales ‘live at the mercy and curse of human civilization’. Stephen Reid
Walter Benjamin Reimagined: A Graphic Translation of Poetry, Prose, Aphorisms & Dreams ($45, HB)
This is not an illustrated Walter Benjamin cheat sheet, but rather a beautifully rendered work of graphic literature. Frances Cannon doesn’t plod through thickets of minutiae, but strolls—a flâneuse herself—using Benjamin’s words and her own drawings to construct a creative topography of Benjamin’s writing. Cannon takes the reader through different periods of Benjamin’s writing: Artifacts of Youth, nostalgic musings on his childhood; Fragments of a Critical Eye, early writings, political observations, and cultural criticism; Athenaeum of Imagination, meditations on philosophy and psychology; A Stroll through the Arcades, Benjamin’s unfinished magnum opus; and A Collection of Dreams and Stories, experimental and fantastical writings—offering a phantasmagorical tribute to Benjamin’s wandering eye.
apparently by Joanne Burns ($24, PB)
Where does a poem come from? Over 4 sections Joanne Burns considers this question. The first section gathers poems springboarding from the clues and solutions to crossword puzzles; the second recounts unsettling dreams in the form of prose poems or microfictions; dial, the longest section, acknowledges the bewildering sense of daily time & the dizzying spectacle of social & worldly matters contained within. Finally, from a more restful or relaxed vantage, the random couch presents a number of drifting poems, written while lounging on the sofa.
Sappho: A New Translation (tr) Mary Barnard
These hundred poems & fragments constitute virtually all of Sappho that survives & effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet. Mary Barnard’s translations are lean, incisive, direct.. Expressing the bare, lyrical intensity of Sappho’s poetry without recourse to excessive linguistic ornament or narrative padding, Mary Barnard’s translation is widely regarded as the best in modern idiom. ($30, PB)
Collected Poems by Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy has been a bold & original voice in British poetry since Standing Female Nude in 1985. Since then she has won every major poetry prize in the UK & sold over one million copies of her books around the world. She was appointed Poet Laureate in 2009. Her first Collected Poems includes all of the poems from her 9 acclaimed volumes of adult poetry—from Standing Female Nude to Ritual Lighting (2014)—as well as her much-loved Christmas poems, which celebrate aspects of Christmas: from the charity of King Wenceslas to the famous truce between the Allies & the Germans in the trenches in 1914. Varied, inventive & emotionally powerful, the poems in this book showcase Duffy’s full poetic range. ($40, PB)
Winter of Summers by Michael Faudet ($28, PB)
Michael Faudet’s (author Dirty Pretty Things which was selected by Sylvia Whitman, the owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris, as one of her personal favourite books of 2016) latest book explores the fine line between love and loss, the fragility of relationships, self-empowerment, and social commentary. Every page taking the reader to a world of conflicting emotions, where nothing is what it seems and beautiful dreams come to life. All exquisitely captured in a thought-provoking collection of poetry, prose, and short stories.
The Uncertain Land And Other Poems by Patrick O’Brian ($30, HB)
In his first poetry collection Patrick O’Brian takes a journey through his life—a writer full of a young man’s spirit, challenging life, an author reflecting an old man’s melancholy at youth gone; and in between, as he describes the places that he lived & people that he encountered, are poems of sly observation, wry humour & delicate beauty. Through more than 100 poems, O’Brian reveals insights into the world that captivated him while he was at work on a succession of novels that would reach its apotheosis in the Aubrey/Maturin adventures, which would secure his reputation as ‘the Homer of the Napoleonic Wars’.
The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht ($78.95, HB) Widely celebrated as the greatest German playwright of the twentieth century, Bertolt Brecht was also, as George Steiner observed, ‘that very rare phenomenon, a great poet’. Hugely prolific, Brecht wrote some 2,000 poems and songs—though fewer than half were published in his lifetime. This is the most comprehensive English collection of Brecht’s poetry to date. Written between 1913 and 1956, these poems celebrate Brecht’s unquenchable ‘love of life, the desire for better and more of it’ and reflect the technical virtuosity of an artist driven by bitter and violent politics, as well as by the untrammelled forces of love and erotic desire.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty, PB
Now $9.95 I wandered Lonely as a Cloud Ana Sampson, PB
Now $13.95 Grog: A Bottled History of Australia’s First 30 Years Tom Gilling, PB
Now $16.95 This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon or Apocalypse in the age of Science & Reason by Mark Molesky, HB
The Skin Collector Jeffery Deaver, HB
I Used to Know That Caroline Taggart, HB
Minefields: A life in the News Game Hugh Riminton, PB
Valiant for the Truth: The Life of Chester Wilmot Neil McDonald, HB
Num Pang: Bold recipes from New York City’s Favourite Sandwich Shop, PB
Slade House David Mitchell, HB
House of Stone Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, PB
Coding from Scratch Rachel Ziter, PB
A Classical Education Caroline Taggart, PB
I Think, Therefore I Am Lesley Levene, PB
Mozart’s Starling Lyanda Lynn Haupt, HB
Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords & Their Godfathers Anabel Hernandez, HB
Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy Benjamin Balint, PB
The 50s: The Story of a Decade, HB
Chasing Lost Time: The LIfe of C.K. Scott Moncrieff Jean Findlay, HB
Art in Oceania: A New History, HB
The Arts So Much Longing in So Little Space: The art of Edvard Munch by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Setting out to understand the enduring power of Edvard Munch’s painting, Knausgaard reflects on the essence of creativity, on choosing to be an artist, experiencing the world through art & its influence on his own writing. As co-curator of a major new exhibition of Munch’s work in Oslo, Knausgaard visits the landscapes that inspired him, and speaks with contemporary artists, including Vanessa Baird & Anselm Kiefer. Bringing together art history, biography & memoir, and drawing on ideas of truth, originality and memory, this is a brilliant & personal examination of the legacy of one of the world’s most iconic painters, & a meditation on art itself. ($32.95, PB)
Nora Heysen: A Portrait by Anne-Louise Willoughby ($34, PB)
Hahndorf artist Nora Heysen was the first woman to win the Archibald Prize, and Australia’s first female painter to be appointed as an official war artist. A portraitist and a flower painter, Heysen’s life was defined by an all-consuming drive to draw and paint. In 1989, aged 78, Nora re-emerged on the Australian art scene as the nation’s major art institutions restored her position after years of artistic obscurity. Extensively researched this is the first biography of the artist, and it has been enthusiastically embraced by the Heysen family.
Lina Bo Bardi ($80, PB)
One of the most important architects working in Latin America in the 20th century, Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) was prolific & idiosyncratic. A participant in the efforts to reshape Italian culture in her youth, Bo Bardi immigrated to Brazil with her husband in 1946. In Brazil, her practice evolved within the social & cultural realities of her adopted country. While she continued to work with industrial materials like concrete & glass, she added popular building materials & naturalistic forms to her design palette, striving to create large, multiuse spaces that welcomed public life. This book is an authoritative guide to her experimental, ephemeral & iconic works of design—examining how considerations of ethics, politics & social inclusiveness influenced Bo Bardi’s intellectual engagement with modern architecture.
Ben Nicholson: Writings and Ideas ($80, HB)
Throughout his life, Ben Nicholson (1894–1982) was a prolific & creative writer. Correspondent to many, his unpublished letters reveal fascinating insight into significant events & encounters at various stages of his career, while also demonstrating how Nicholson’s aesthetic was interwoven into every aspect of his daily life. Including previously unpublished letters to both Winifred Nicholson & Barbara Hepworth, these are complemented by those sent to some of the artist’s closest friends & trusted supporters, among them Herbert Read, Adrian Stokes, Jim Ede & Margaret Gardiner. The book features reproductions of his key works.
Plastic Capitalism: Contemporary Art and the Drive to Waste by Amanda Boetzkes
Ecological crisis has driven contemporary artists to engage with waste in its most non-biodegradable forms: plastics, e-waste, toxic waste, garbage hermetically sealed in landfills. Often, when art is analysed in relation to the political, scientific, or ecological climate, it is considered merely illustrative. Boetzkes argues that art is constitutive of an ecological consciousness, not simply an extension of it. Boetzkes examines a series of works by an international roster of celebrated artists, including Thomas Hirschhorn, Song Dong, Tara Donovan & Agnès Varda mapping waste art from its modernist origins to the development of a new waste imaginary generated by contemporary artists. ($95, HB)
Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist by Elizabeth Goldring ($110, HB)
Published to mark the 400th anniversary of his death, this illustrated biography follows Nicholas Hilliard’s long and remarkable life (c. 1547–1619)—from the West Country to the heart of the Elizabethan and Jacobean courts. It showcases new archival research and stunning images, many reproduced in colour for the first time. Hilliard’s portraits—some no larger than a watch-face—have decisively shaped perceptions of the appearances and personalities of many key figures in one of the most exciting, if volatile, periods in British history. His sitters included Elizabeth I, James I, and Mary, Queen of Scots; explorers Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh; and members of the emerging middle class from which he himself hailed. Hilliard counted the Medici, the Valois, the Habsburgs, and the Bourbons among his Continental European patrons and admirers.
Neo Rauch by Michael Glover ($92, HB)
German painter Neo Rauch’s paintings deftly blend the iconography of Socialist Realism from his upbringing & art-school training in GDR-era Leipzig with the stylistic mannerisms of the Baroque & Romantic past, conjuring heavily populated sites of great commotion & complexity—his compositions & their enigmatic figures are rich with reference & allusion, but the stories they tell are indistinct & somehow out of time. Michael Glover discloses Rauch’s working methods, revealing how the artist approaches the making of his work, how his images come into being, and the importance of words & their etymology to the creation or disruption of an artwork. These are works that interrogate the very meaning of the artistic impulse; ruminations in the guise of history painting that in fact question what a painter could and should be creating at this particular historical moment.
Impressionism in the Age of Industry by Caroline Shields ($90, HB)
The late-19th century was a time of new technology, industry, and modernity. People were enthralled with their changing world and artists were not an exception. Fascinated by progress in every form, artists depicted factories, trains & construction sites. Artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh &Camille Pissarro began to paint the world around them, from laundresses in the basements of Paris to rural labourers in fields. Generously illustrated, this book focuses on how Impressionist artists engaged and treated the topic of industry in their art.
Self-Portrait: From Schiele to Beckmann by Tobias G. Natter ($90, HB)
The self-portrait has been a vital aspect of artistic expression throughout history. Neo-Classical painters such as El Greco & Rembrandt formalised the practice, and the first half of the 20th century saw a dramatic transformation in the self-portrait’s style & context, especially in the hands of the German & Austrian Expressionists. Vibrant reproductions of works by Egon Schiele, Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka & others—from Schiele’s erotically charged & overtly physical paintings to Beckmann’s emotionally fraught depictions of psychic trauma and accompanying essays explore how these artists, many of whom were classified as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazi party, imbued their images with eloquent expressions of resistance, isolation, entrapment, and provocation.
Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life by Francesca Whitlum-Cooper ($37, HB)
In a long career that spanned the French Revolution, the rise & fall of Napoleon, and the Bourbon Restoration, Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845) managed to create richly innovative & daring works in the midst of extremely turbulent times. Bringing together two dozen of Boilly’s works—the majority of which have never before been published—this handsome volume includes portraiture, scenes of seduction, and vivid representations of raucous Parisian street life. A master technician with acute powers of observation & a wry sense of humour, Boilly invented the term trompe l’oeil & popularized the genre through his stunningly realistic compositions. Whitlum-Cooper vividly brings the artist and the period he lived in to life, shedding new light on Boilly’s groundbreaking work to expand our understanding of how art functioned within France’s rapidly changing political environment.
World Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East ($125, HB)
In urgent response to the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq, Syria & Iran, this volume examines the art & architecture of regions that served as major trade routes between the Roman & Parthian empires from 100 BC to 250 AD. The book examines the cultural histories of Timna, Petra, Baalbek, Palmyra, Dura-Europos & Hatra capturing the intricate web of influence that emerged in the Near East through the exchange of goods & ideas across the region. Works illustrated & discussed include statues, coins, reliefs, architectural elements & friezes, painted tiles & wall fragments, jewellery, textiles & more.
Shizuko Kuroha’s Japanese Patchwork Quilting Patterns ($30, PB)
Step-by-step illustrations walk quilters through Kuroha’s intricate hand-piecework process. The book includes 19 sampler blocks used to make hundreds of different combinations. Apart from full-sized quilts destined to become cherished heirlooms, instructions show you how to incorporate the sampler blocks into projects large and small—pincushions, drawstring bags & zippered pouches, quilted tote bags, a stylish backpack table runners & wall hangings.
Five Simple Steps to Sketching Flowers with Watercolors by Ai Nakamura ($35, PB)
The most fundamental part of painting watercolour flowers is to draw each flower precisely. Ai Nakamura’s five simple steps are accompanied by detailed illustrations, important points and instructions, which allow the reader to reconfirm the essential technique details that were introduced in each step.
what we're reading
Stef: If you love historical fiction, look no further than Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. From the very first page to the last, it is storytelling at it’s best— and storytelling is just what you’ll get when you stop by for a drink at The Swan, the local inn, set on the banks of the river Thames, in the village of Radcot. The Radcot village drinkers gather at The Swan of an evening, for a drink and to share a story. But the night of the winter solstice delivers a story that they would tell and retell for years to come. Shaped by the ebb and flow of the great river, this tale brings a stranger carrying a young child, seemingly dead, to their door. Miraculously, the child, a girl of around four has wakens and breathes again. But who is she? And who does she belong to? Three families come forward to claim to the child, but who is telling the truth. That is where you come into it dear reader—listen carefully as they each lay bare their own story in this atmospheric novel, brimming with mystery and intrigue. The Suspect by Fiona Barton—Fiona Barton sure knows how to craft a real page turner. The Suspect is the third thriller featuring investigative journalist, Kate Waters. Two teenage girls are missing. They are on their first overseas holiday. It should have been a great adventure but it has turned into a nightmare. Can Kate Waters discover the truth behind the missing girls’ dream holiday in Thailand? Written in short bursts from different perspectives,this adrenalin fuelled thriller will keep you guessing to the very end.
Judy: Outline, Transit & Kudos by Rachel Cusk—I recommend reading this group of three one after the other. It will be worth your time. They are written as episodes, conversations and encounters between a working author and the people she meets going to book festivals, conferences, creative writing classes, and in the process of renovating her house. The form she has chosen is revelatory and exhilarating—it becomes something of a high-wire act. She writes beautifully, deftly—I found myself re-reading passages for sheer delight, and the joy of seeing with her clear eye things strange, funny, threatening. The three books hang together as an edifying whole. Indicative of the boldness of the author is the final scene in the final book. After all has been said and done, she throws all the balls up in the air again concerning the major theme of the novels: the power struggles between men and women. It’s a stunning last episode.
Jack: The Collected Stories by Grace Paley—I saw my ex-husband in the street. I was sitting on the steps of the new library. Hello, my life, I said. We had once been married for twenty-seven years, so I felt justified. I’ve always thrilled to that opening, so it’s a quiet joy (in a Grace Paley kind of way) to have her funny and passionate short stories at gleebooks. Cherished by Lorrie Moore, George Saunders, Joy Williams, Nathan Englander, AM Homes—and the occasional bookseller! Her story, Goodbye & Good Luck, is similarly affecting: I was popular in certain circles, says Aunt Rose. I wasn’t no thinner then, only more stationary in the flesh. The thrill is now yours...
Stephen: The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris ($23, PB) The subtitle says it all. Medical pioneer Joseph Lister (1827–1912) ushers surgery into the modern era with his use of antiseptics, sterilization of medical instruments and the necessity of personal hygiene. Before Lister, medical surgery was a charnel house of blood, dirt and infection. Victorian operating theatres were known as ‘gateways of death’. Post-operative infection mortality rates were so endemic in hospital wards that it was named ‘hospitalism’. Fitzharris narration of scientific progress in the brutal and bloody world of Victorian surgery is engaging, informative and gruesomely entertaining. Footnote: Joseph Lister did not invent Listerine, but it was inspired by his antiseptic techniques.
Andrew: Deer Reeder: First may I say, sorry for any werds I spel rong. Because I am a fox! So don’t rite or spel perfect. I’ve just finished the sublime fable Fox 8 by George Saunders which as you can gather is narrated by Fox 8 himself. It is a short story that you can knock over in half an hour but the smart little hardback presents the story with line drawings by Chelsea Cardinal that suit the funny-sad prose beautifully. Whilst it is chock full of wry jokes, and Saunders’ trademark clever language play, this story of environmental carnage ultimately packs a heavy emotional punch. I’ve also just started the short story collection You Know You Want This by Kirsten Roupenian—another 2019 Sydney Writers’ Festival quest. One story, Cat Person, has garnered the distinction of being the New Yorker’s most shared article of the digital age. It is indeed a doozy. A blowtorch taken to the subject of dating in the age of the text message, it is a swirling, nauseous, rollercoaster of a story.
Performing Arts A Fabulous Creation: How the LP Saved Our Lives by David Hepworth ($35, PB)
From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film by Siegfried Kracauer ($41, PB)
The era of the LP began in 1967, with Sgt Pepper;—The Beatles didn’t just collect together a bunch of songs, they Made An Album. Henceforth, everybody else wanted to Make An Album. The end came only fifteen years later, coinciding with the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. This is the story of that time; it takes us from recording studios where musicians were doing things that had never been done before to the sparsely furnished apartments where their efforts would be received like visitations from a higher power. This is the story of how LPs saved our lives.
Sleeping with Strangers: How Movies Shaped Desire by David Thomson ($52, HB)
While sometimes rapturous, the interaction of onscreen beauty & private desire speaks to a crisis in American culture, one that pits delusions of male supremacy against feminist awakening & the spirit of gay resistance. Combining criticism, his encyclopedic knowledge of film history, and memoir, David Thomson examines how film has found the fault lines in traditional masculinity and helped to point the way past it toward a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a person desiring others. Ranging from advertising to pornography, Rudolph Valentino to Moonlight, Rock Hudson to Call Me By Your Name, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant to Phantom Thread, Thomson shows us the art and the artists we love under a new light..
Serving The Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain by Danny Goldberg ($33, PB)
In early 1991, music manager Danny Goldberg agreed to take on Nirvana, a critically acclaimed new band from the underground music scene in Seattle. He had no idea that the band’s leader, Kurt Cobain, would become a pop-culture icon with a legacy arguably at the level of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, or Elvis Presley. Goldberg worked with Kurt from 1990 to 1994, seeing the stratospheric success of Nevermind turn Nirvana into the most successful rock band in the world and make punk and grunge household names; Cobain’s marriage to Courtney Love—their relationship becoming a lightning rod for critics; the birth of their daughter; and, finally, Cobain’s public struggles with addiction ending in a devastating suicide. Throughout, Goldberg stood by Cobain’s side as manager & close friend—he draws on his own memories of Kurt, files which previously have not been made public, and interviews with close family, friends & former bandmates to shed an entirely new light on these critical years.
Jonathan: The First Bad Man by Miranda July—A brilliant, celebrated debut novel from the performance artist and filmmaker. Ultimately a warming story about loneliness, friendship and shaking off pasts that no longer serve us. This book will take you on a wondrous, hilarious journey. July also includes a witty commentary on Feminism in the late 20th Century in the women’s group that Cheryl Glickman works for. Just great. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff—A stunning re-evaluation of capitalism in the digital age. It is not so much that we are the products of ‘free’ social media apps, but that we are the raw materials of a distinct mode of production. Zuboff traces the invention of a world without privacy or personal sovereignty, where social media platforms turn our inner lives into grist for their mills. Scary, but also hopeful for push back. Zuboff writes beautifully, to boot.
First published in 1947, From Caligari to Hitler remains an undisputed landmark study of the rich cinematic history of the Weimar Republic. Prominent film critic Siegfried Kracauer examines German society from 1921 to 1933, in light of such movies as The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, M, Metropolis, and The Blue Angel. He explores the connections among film aesthetics, the prevailing psychological state of Germans in the Weimar era, and the evolving social & political reality of the time. Kracauer makes a startling (and still controversial) claim: films as popular art provide insight into the unconscious motivations & fantasies of a nation. With a critical introduction by Leonardo Quaresima which provides context for Kracauer’s scholarship & his contributions to film studies, this Princeton Classics edition makes an influential work available once more.
Leonard Bernstein and the Language of Jazz by Katherine Baber ($57, PB)
Leonard Bernstein’s gifts for drama & connecting with popular audiences made him a central figure in 20th century American music. Though a Bernstein work might reference anything from modernism to cartoon ditties, jazz permeated every part of his musical identity as a performer, educator, and intellectual. Katherine Baber investigates how jazz in its many styles served Bernstein as a flexible, indeed protean, musical idea—using jazz to signify American identity with all its tensions & contradictions & to articulate community & conflict, irony & parody, and timely issues of race & gender. Baber offers in-depth analyses of On the Town, West Side Story, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue & other works to explore fascinating links between Bernstein’s art & issues like eclecticism, music’s relationship to social engagement, black-Jewish relations, and his own musical identity.
Hollywood: Her Story, An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies ($60, HB)
1896, the woman was Alice Guy-Blach—and the film was The Cabbage Fairy. Guy-Blach made hundreds of movies during her career. Thousands of women with passion & commitment to storytelling followed in her footsteps. Working in all aspects of the movie industry, they collaborated with others to create memorable images on the screen. More than 1200 women famous & not so are featured in this book.
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison
2. From Cradle to Global Citizen: Finding Our Way
in Turbulent Times
3. Diving into Glass
Lorraine Rose Caro Llewellyn
4. Dark Emu: Black Seeds, Agriculture or Accident
6. Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself & What
7. Troll Hunting: Inside the World of Online Hate and
Its Human Fallout
Ginger Gorman Michelle Obama
9. Accidental Feminists 10. Nobody’s Looking at You: Essays
Jane Caro Janet Malcolm
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. The Flight of Birds 2. The Age of Discretion
3. Birthday Girl
4. The Rosie Result
5. Normal People 6. The Scholar 7. The Shepherd’s Hut 8. The Friend 9. Unto Us a Son Is Given 10. Hiding to Nothing
Sally Rooney Dervla McTiernan Tim Winton Sigrid Nunez Donna Leon Andy Muir
and another thing.....
Another Sydney Writers’ Festival is in the wings and Gleebooks staff are working overtime to make sure every book by every author will be piled high in our shops at the festival’s new venue, Carriageworks. In the spirit of said Fest, I’ll lie to you and say that I’m happy that I’ll be keeping the doors open at 49 Glebe Point Road rather than experiencing a leisurely but stimulating week wandering from one event to the next—the programme looks fantastic, and I’m not just saying that because this year’s theme streams from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Speaking of the eyes wide open ‘Lie to Me’ world we occupy I’ve just overdosed on Trumpian America reading Richard Cooke’s ‘chronicle of American decline’, Tired of Winning, in one gulp—a very intelligent and highly readable outsider view of the ‘United’ States, with essays ranging from gun culture to the 1968 Democratic National Convention and its unintentional creation of Nixon’s ‘silent majority’ and the ‘Southernisation of the Midwest (quoting Norman Mailer—the Yippies’ ‘demand for all-accelerated entrance into a 20th century Utopia’ represented the ‘destruction of every saving hypocrisy’). An invigorating collection. On a less depressing subject, I’m planning a trip to Europe at the end of this year’s magazine and have started a related reading tour of London. First Peter Ackroyd’s doorstopper biography of London, followed by some of Iain Sinclair’s explorations in and around London’s fringes—but this week I’ve been on a side trip to Roman Britain with Rosemary Sutcliffe’s Roman Britain trilogy (this lead from another travel research related book, Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain by Charlotte Higgins). The first in the Sutcliffe series is The Eagle of the Ninth, which I’ve already ripped through. This is ‘childrens’ literature from an era when books for children were less compartmentalised, and the boundary between childrens’ and adult fiction less defined. Sutcliffe uses a poetically descriptive pen without florid overuse of adjectives, capturing a sense of another time and sensability, while at the same time keeping a tight rein on the narrative tension—the race for the safety of the Roman wall at the end had me on the edge of my seat. It’s writing that children can aspire to. After this trilogy I’ll be investigating Sutcliffe further. Happy Festival! Viki
For more April new releases go to:
Main shop—49 Glebe Pt Rd; Ph: (02) 9660 2333, Fax: (02) 9660 3597. Open 7 days, 9am to 9m Thur–Sat; 9am to 7pm Sun–Wed Sydney Theatre Shop—22 Hickson Rd Walsh Bay; Open two hours before and until after every performance Blackheath—Shop 1 Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd; Ph: (02) 4787 6340. Open 7 days, 9am to 6pm Blackheath Oldbooks—Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd: Open 7 days 10am to 5pm Dulwich Hill—536 Marrickville Rd Dulwich Hill; Ph: (02) 9560 0660. Open 7 days, Tue–Sat 9am to 7pm; Sun–Mon 9 to 5 www.gleebooks.com.au. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org