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Vol. 28 No. 4 August 2021
Stop streaming Start reading Hand delivering books to your lockdown neighbourhoods now! 1
Pivot pivot PIVOT
It’s because every time I hear it I know we’ve fallen into LOCKDOWN, and that means chaos (what next/when/how do we do it/are we getting clear and unambiguous directions) and anxiety (what happens with every individual staff member, in each shop/what government support is available/how long will it last, at what level of restriction. And it also means closed shops, and total reliance on phone/‘click and collect’ and web-based orders to survive. And rest assured that is NEVER going to be enough to make up for all the lost business that comes with lockdown. Which is why I hate that blithely delivered message that we’ll need to PIVOT our business, again. What PIVOT also means is that we have to do a lot of mailouts (also expensive, even when we charge for it, even more so if we don’t, as currently, if anyone orders more than $70.00 worth). And the only thing that redeems this sad story is that I get to do hours of home delivery, and I love it. I love driving, and it’s a joy to meet and greet customers (even behind a mask). It’s seriously interesting to drive around a (thankfully large) catchment of Sydney suburbs, and to get a feel of where everybody is, and how they’re going. I calm down. For decades, we’ve known that bookshops don’t survive, let alone thrive, without being embedded in their community, and home delivery is a perfect manifestation of that community connection. So thanks for the support. We couldn’t do without it, especially now. David Gaunt
Australian Literature Literature
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team tasked with reintroducing 14 grey wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but a broken Aggie, too. However, Inti may be in need of rewilding herself. Despite fierce opposition from the locals, Inti’s wolves surprise everyone by thriving, and she begins to let her guard down, even opening up to the possibility of love. But when a local farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, she makes a reckless decision to protect them, testing every instinct she has. But if her wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will she do when the man she’s been seeing becomes the main suspect? ($33, PB)
Red Heaven by Nicolas Rothwell ($33, PB)
In 1960s in Switzerland a boy’s ideas about life are being shaped by two rival influences—his so-called aunts—both exiles, at the mercy of outside political events; both determined to make the boy into their own heir, an inheritor of their values. Serghiana, the ‘red princess’, is the daughter of a Soviet general, a producer of films and worshipper of art, a true believer. Ady, a former actress and singer, is a dilettante and cynic, Viennese, married to a great conductor—in her eyes, all is surface, truth a mere illusion. Memory and nostalgia—the aunts’ gifts to the boy, gifts of obligation-are the purest expression of love allowed them. Gradually he comes to understand the shadows in their past, and their stories stay with him, guiding his path through adolescence, until he can absorb the influences of the wider world.
The Golden Book by Kate Ryan ($30, PB)
In Kate Ryan’s debut novel it’s the 1980s, and in their small coastal town, Ali and her best friend, Jessie, are on the cusp. With ‘The Golden Book’, a journal of incantation and risk taking as their record, they begin to chafe at the restrictions put on them by teachers, parents, each other. Then Jessie suffers a devastating accident, and both their lives are forever changed. When Ali is an adult, with a young daughter herself, the news of Jessie’s death brings back the intensity of that summer, forcing her to reckon with her own role in what happened to Jessie so many years ago. Moving back and forth in time, Ryan asks profound questions about responsibility and blame, and, ultimately, about love.
Dark As Last Night by Tony Birch ($30, PB)
A young girl struggling to protect her mother from her father’s violence, two teenagers clumsily getting to know one another by way of a shared love of music, and a man mourning the death of his younger brother, while beset by memories and regrets from their shared past. Throughout this powerful collection of stories, Tony Birch’s concern for the humanity of those who are often marginalised or overlooked shines bright. ‘Tony Birch writes short stories better than pretty much anyone at work in Australia today.’ Stephen Romei
The Village is Quiet by Patrick Hartigan ($25, PB)
Patrick Hartigan’s tableaux of a Slovak village, where his wife Lenka was born, draw us into the simple and sensory lives of a grandpa, grandma, Linda the dog and the villagers who go about their business. Hartigan chronicles the family relationships and rituals from the viewpoint of an outsider and yet the care he brings to these observations makes them feel like cherished heirlooms. The Village is Quiet is an exquisite collection of stories where strangeness and intimacy transport us into another world.
The Colour of Thunder by Suzanne Harrison ($28, PB)
One small island, six troubled lives, and the storm of the century is on its way. In one of the world’s most vibrant international cities, present day Hong Kong, the lives of six people become irreversibly intertwined. The past is catching up with those running from it, while the futures of others hangs dangerously in the balance. But who knows the most? And what will they do to keep it that way? Long time expat journalist, Suzanne Harrison, uses her experience living in & reporting from Hong Kong since 1999 expose the multi-layers of Hong Kong society
Roots: Home is Who We Are: Voices from the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition ($35, PB)
Join the Gleeclub for free entry to events held in our stores, freepost anywhere in Australia, 10% credit accrued with every purchase, and the Gleaner delivered to your door. 2
Offering a snapshot of contemporary Australia, this diverse collection explores love, family, loss, culture, sexual awakening & the abiding connections to people and place that make us who we are. Featuring stories by Alana Hicks, Nadia Johansen, Amy Duong, Nakul Legha, Karla Hart, Tania Ogier, Miranda Jakich, Sita Walker, Jason Phu, Trent Wallace, Amer Etri, Bon-Wai Chou, Caitlyn Davies-Plummer, Cher Coad, Courtney Theseira, Dianne Ussher, Esme James, Hugh Jorgensen, Jackie Bailey, Kaye Cooper, Lal Perera, Maha Sidaoui, Margarita D’heureux, Michael Sun, Monikka Eliah, Naeun Kim, Prateeti Sabhlok, Rosie Ofori Ward, Sam Price & Serpil Senelmis.
Film cover edition The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell, $20
Empires by Nick Earls ($33, PB)
Alaska, 2018—Mike is a long way from home, nursing a wrecked knee & an unspoken grief, striking out into real estate & parenting his partner’s son. London, 1978—Simon is an Australian fish out of water navigating adolescence during the Winter of Discontent, and drawn to an eccentric impresario next door. Washington, DC, 1928—a retired US senator is interviewed about his time in Russia in 1916, and his mission to save a young heir to an empire. Vienna, 1809—an Irish teenager on the run from the law takes refuge among composers as Napoleon besieges & shells the city. Hong Kong, 2019—estranged brothers Mike & Simon reunite in midlife to face the secrets of the past, and reconnect in more ways than one. Empires rise & fall, human lives play out, encounters, collisions & connections occur more than we can ever know—and yet, the unexpected can still happen.
Nothing But My Body by Tilly Lawless ($30, PB)
This is an 8-day journey through the mind of a young, queer sex worker in Australia, as she navigates breakups and infatuation across just over a year. The unnamed narrator’s voice is both fierce and vulnerable as she explores the interplay between her external and internal world, and the fluctuations of her emotions as love affairs intensify and wane. Set during the cataclysmic bushfire season of 2019 & into the coronavirus pandemic & lockdown, sex work is the constant backdrop of the story as it moves between Sydney, Berlin, Orange & Bellingen. The moving sense of compassion that threads through this Lawless’s novel give true meaning to the concepts of inclusivity and community in surprising and original ways.
Thursdays at Orange Blossom House by Sophie Green ($33, PB)
Far North QLD, 1993: At 74, former cane farmer Grace Maud is feeling her age, and her isolation, and thinks the best of life may be behind her. Elsewhere in town, high school teacher Patricia has given up on her dreams of travel & adventure & has moved back home to look after her ageing parents, while cafe owner Dorothy is struggling to accept that she may never have the baby she & her husband so desperately want. Each woman has a need to reconnect—which is how they find themselves at Orange Blossom House, surrounded by perfumed rainforest, being cajoled & encouraged by their yoga teacher, the lively Sandrine. Together, they discover that life has much more to offer than they ever expected.
Small Joys of Real Life by Allee Richards ($33, PB)
The night Eva shared a smile with Pat, something started. Two weeks later, lying together in her bed, Pat said, ‘You can’t live your life saying you’ll get around to doing something you know will make you happy. You just have to do it.’ When Pat dies the aftershock leaves Eva on unsteady ground. She is pregnant. Suddenly, the world that she at times already questioned, her career, her roommates & friends, and life in the inner-city are all even harder to navigate. Her best friends, Sarah & Annie, are also dealing with the shifts & changes of their late 20s, and each of them will at times let the others down. This is a poignant novel about friendship, desire, loss and growing up, and how the life you have can change in an instant.
We’re in lock-down as I write in mid-July and while the shop continues to trade, I’ve taken a week off. I’m so grateful to love reading. The solace and joy to be found in a well-written book, no matter how sad or difficult the content, is immeasurable. I have an embarrassment of riches for you this month with books covering politics, trauma, sexuality, art, relationships and family. Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy by Anne Sebba (Les Parisiennes) is a brilliant biography of a remarkable woman—a Communist, a singer/musician, a loving wife and mother who, along with her husband Julius, was executed in 1953 for espionage. It is a horrifying story, endemic to the history of post-war America, the Cold War and McCarthyism. While Sebba does not claim Ethel Rosenberg to be entirely innocent, she illuminates the injustice and prejudice which surrounded this famous trial. Not only a story of betrayal (in more ways than one) the story of the Rosenbergs is also a tragic love story. The Promise is a beautifully written novel by South African writer Damon Galgut. A fascinating dissection of a white family living outside Pretoria, their fate reflects that of the benighted country in which they live. The Promise of the title on one level refers to an unfulfilled promise made to the family’s black servant, but also to the broken promise of a ‘new’ South Africa. Galgut’s gorgeous language, extraordinary characters and ever-shifting point of view make this a very human and complex novel. The personal is political also, in Katie Kitamura’s excellent novel, Intimacies. In pared-back prose, Kitamura’s female protagonist is a cosmopolitan interpreter, recently arrived in The Hague, who is given the confronting job of interpreting at the trial of a brutal African dictator. In her personal life, she is having trouble interpreting not only her own motives and behaviour, but those of her new lover and friends. Such a brief précis short-changes this stunningly insightful, multi-layered and rewarding book. I’ve been hand-selling Animal by Lisa Taddeo (Three Women) because of its totally out-there main character. Nice, empathic women people so much fiction, it’s refreshing to read a book about a deeply flawed, kind of crazy (traumatised) character driving a kind of crazy narrative. Gird your loins! And lastly, I’ll mention Night Blue, a debut Australian novel by Angela O’Keeffe which has been out a few months and divided opinion, it being told partly through the ‘voice’ of the painting Blue Poles. I’ll take sides. I loved it! Hopefully be seeing you on D’hill by the time you read this, Morgan
The Airways by Jennifer Mills ($33, PB)
I had a body once before. I didn’t always love it. I knew the skin as my limit, and there were times I longed to leave it. I knew better than to wish for this. This is the story of Yun. It’s the story of Adam. Two young people. A familiar chase. But this is not a love story. It’s a story of revenge, transformation, survival. Feel something, the body commands. Feel this. But it’s a phantom . . . I go untouched. They want their body back. Who are we, if we lose hold of the body? What might we become? The Airways shifts between Sydney and Beijing, unsettling the boundaries of gender and power, consent and rage, self and other, and even life and death.
Now in B Format In Darkness Visible by Tony Jones, $20 Ghost River by Tony Birch, $23 The Last of the Apple Blossom by Mary-Lou Stephens ($30, PB)
7 February, 1967. Walls of flame reduce much of Tasmania to ash. Young schoolteacher Catherine Turner rushes to the Huon Valley to find her family’s apple orchard destroyed, her childhood home in ruins & her brother dead. She resolves to rebuild the family business. Catherine’s friend and neighbour, Annie & her husband Dave work to repair the damage to their orchard, Dave’s friend Mark pitches in. Mark has moved his family to the valley to escape his life in Melbourne, but his wife has disappeared leaving chaos in her wake and their young son Charlie in Mark’s care. Catherine becomes fond of Charlie, whose strange upbringing has left him shy and withdrawn. However, the growing friendship between Mark and Catherine not only scandalises the small community but threatens a secret Annie is desperate to keep hidden.
The Garden of Hopes and Dreams by Barbara Hannay ($33, PB)
The residents in Brisbane’s Riverview apartment block have no idea of the loneliness, the lost hopes & dreams, being experienced behind their neighbours’ closed doors. Vera, now widowed, is trying her hardest to create a new life for herself in an unfamiliar city environment. Unlucky-in-love Maddie has been hurt too many times by untrustworthy men, yet refuses to give up on romance. Ned, a reclusive scientist, has an unusual interest in bees & worm farms. Meanwhile, the building’s caretaker, Jock, is quietly nursing a secret dream. When a couple of gardening enthusiasts from one of the apartments suggest they all create a communal garden on their rooftop, initially no one is interested. But as the residents come together over their budding plants and produce, their lives become interconnected in ways they could never have imagined. The Night Village by Zoe Deleuil ($30, PB) When Australian expat Simone moves to London to start a career, getting pregnant is not on her agenda. But she’s excited to start a new life with her baby & determined to be a good mother. Even though her boyfriend Paul’s cold & grey apartment in the Barbican Estate seems completely ill-suited for a baby. Even though Simone & Paul have only known each other for a year. Even though she feels utterly unprepared for motherhood. The arrival of Paul’s cousin Rachel in the flat should be a godsend. But there is something about Rachel that Simone doesn’t trust. Fighting sleep deprivation and a rising sense of unease, she begins to question Rachel’s motives, and to wonder what secrets the cousins share.
International Inte rnational Literature
Objects of Desire by Clare Sestanovich ($33, PB)
Great Stories Uncovered
A college freshman, flying home, strikes up an odd, ephemeral friendship with the couple next to her on the airplane. A long-lost stepbrother’s visit to New York prompts a reckoning with a family’s old taboos. An office worker, exhausted by the ambitions of the men around her, emerges into the gridlocked city one afternoon to make a decision. A wife, looking at her husband’s passwords neatly posted on the wall, realizes there are no secrets left in their marriage. In these 11 stories, desire & melancholic yearning animate women’s lives—from the brink of adulthood, to the labyrinthine path between 20 & 30, to middle age, when certain possibilities quietly elapse.
The Liquid Land by Raphaela Edelbauer ($33, PB)
From the beloved author of The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome and We Are Wolves comes an enchanting series for young readers
Dangerous predators and ravenous herbivores: the story of Australia’s feral nightmare
Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister, the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia
Out now from Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin ($28, PB)
Meet Gilda. She cannot stop thinking about death. Desperate for relief from her anxious mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local church and finds herself abruptly hired to replace the deceased receptionist Grace. It’s not the most obvious job - she’s queer and an atheist for starters—and so in between trying to learn mass, hiding her new maybe-girlfriend and conducting an amateur investigation into Grace’s death, Gilda must avoid revealing the truth of her mortifying existence.
Blank Pages and Other Stories by Bernard MacLaverty ($33, HB)
In this collection of 12 new stories a poor out-of-work Catholic man falls gravely ill in the sectarian Northern Ireland of 1942 but is brought back from the brink by an unlikely saviour; The End of Days imagines the last moments in the life of painter Egon Schiele, watching his wife dying of Spanish flu—the world’s worst pandemic, until now. Much of what MacLaverty writes is an amalgam of sadness & joy, of circumlocution and directness. He never wastes words but neither does he ever forget to make them sing. Each story he writes creates a universe..
Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession
In this charming and truly unique debut, popular Irish musician Ronan Hession tells the story of two single, thirty-something men who still live with their parents and who are . . . nice. They take care of their parents and play board games together. They like to read. They take satisfaction from their work. They are resolutely kind. And they realize that none of this is considered —normal. Can gentle people change the world? ($30, PB)
Billy Summers by Stephen King ($33, PB)
Billy Summers is a man is a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong? How about everything. This can’tput-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man.
When her parents die in a car accident, physicist Ruth Schwarz is confronted with an almost intractable problem. Her parents’ will calls for them to be buried in their childhood home—but for strangers, GrossEinland is a village that remains stubbornly hidden from view. When Ruth finally finds her way there, she discovers a vast cavern beneath the town that seems to exert a strange control over the lives of the villagers. Nobody wants to talk about it—not even when the stability of the entire town is in jeopardy. Is this silence controlled by the charming countess who rules the community? And what role does Ruth’s family history have to play? The more questions Ruth asks, the more resistance she encounters. But as she continues to dig deeper, she comes to realise that the key to deciphering the mysterious codes of the people of Gross-Einland can only lie in the history of the hole.
Love Like Water, Love Like Fire by Mikhail Iossel
From the moment of its founding, the USSR was reviled & admired, demonised & idealised. Many Jews saw the new society ushered in by the Russian Revolution as their salvation from shtetl life with its deprivations & deadly pogroms. But Soviet Russia was rife with antisemitism, and a Jewish boy growing up in Leningrad learned early, harsh, & enduring lessons. Unsparing & poignant, Mikhail Iossel’s 20 stories of Soviet childhood & adulthood, dissidence & subsequent immigration, are filled with wit & humour even as they describe the daily absurdities of a fickle & often perilous reality. ($30, PB)
Godspeed by Nickolas Butler ($30, PB)
Bart, Teddy and Cole have been best friends since childhood. Having founded their own small-town construction company, they yearn to build a legacy for their families. So when Gretchen Connors, a mysterious millionaire lawyer from California, approaches them with a stunning, almost formidable project in the mountains above their town, the 3 friends convince themselves it’s the job which will secure their future. But what is Gretchen hiding from them? And why does the build have to be complete by Christmas, a near-impossible deadline? With the lines between ambition & greed ever more slippery & dangerous, how far will they push themselves & what will be the cost of their dream?
The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
The Woman in the Purple Skirt seems to live in a world of her own. She appears to glide through crowded streets without acknowledging any reaction her presence elicits. Each afternoon, she sits on the same park bench, eating a pastry & ignoring the local children who make a game of trying to get her attention. She may not know it, but the Woman in the Purple Skirt being watched. Someone is following her, always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes; what she eats; whom she speaks to. But this invisible observer isn’t a stalker— no, it’s much more complicated than that. ($28, PB)
The Echo Chamber by John Boyne ($33, PB)
The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a ‘national treasure’ (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen. Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. To err is maybe to be human but to really foul things up you only need a phone.
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson ($33, PB)
For generations, Rich Gundersen’s family has made a living felling giant redwoods on California’s rugged coast. It’s treacherous work, and though his son, Chub, wants nothing more than to step into his father’s boots, Rich longs for a bigger future for him. Colleen just wants a brother or sister for Chub, but she’s losing hope. There is so much that she and Rich don’t talk about these days—including her suspicions that there is something very wrong at the heart of the forest on which their community is built. When Rich is offered the opportunity to buy a plot of timber which borders Damnation Grove, he leaps at the chance—without telling Colleen. Soon the Gundersens find themselves on opposite sides of a battle that threatens to rip their town apart. Can they find a way to emerge from this together?.
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak ($33, PB)
Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot & a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. The taverna is the only place that Kostas & Defne can meet in secret. The fig tree, growing through a cavity in the roof, witnesses their hushed, happy meetings; their silent, surreptitious departures. The fig tree is there, too, when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes & rubble, when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns—a botanist, looking for native species—looking, really, for Defne. The two lovers return to the taverna to take a clipping from the fig tree & smuggle it into their suitcase, bound for London. Years later, the fig tree in the garden is their daughter Ada’s only knowledge of a home she has never visited, as she seeks to untangle years of secrets & silence, and find her place in the world.
‘A visceral read of unflinching honesty.’ MELINA MARCHETTA
Assembly by Natasha Brown ($20, PB)
Over the course of 24 hours, the whip-smart young narrator receives a cancer diagnosis, decides not to tell her posh white boyfriend, accepts a long-awaited promotion from her toxic boss—and wrestles with the question of her own existence. She has spent her 20s climbing against the current, overcoming adversity, being twice as good, always reaching for that glass ceiling. But what has it all been for? And why should she fight for a life that has never truly been hers? Via a lacerating critique of race, Empire, and privilege in modern Britain, Natasha Brown sets out a bold & timely provocation about what it means to be truly safe and truly free.
‘Like Andre Agassi’s Open, this is a transformative book; it is going to change our way of seeing.’ MALCOLM KNOX
The Rome Zoo by Pascal Janovjak ($28, PB)
The Rome Zoo—a place borne of fantasy & driven by a nation’s aspirations. It has witnessed—and reflected in its tarnished mirror—the great follies of the 20th century. Now, in an ongoing battle that has seen it survive world wars & epidemics, the zoo must once again reinvent itself, and assert its relevance in the Eternal City. Caught up in these machinations is a cast of characters worthy of this baroque backdrop—a man desperate to find meaning in his own life, a woman tasked with halting the zoo’s decline & a rare animal, the last of its species, who bewitches the world.
People Like Them by Samira Sedira ($30, PB)
Anna and Constant Guillot and their two daughters live in the peaceful, remote mountain village of Carmac. Everyone in Carmac knows each other, leading simple lives mostly unaffected by the outside world that is until Bakary & Sylvia Langlois arrive with their 3 children. The new family’s impressive chalet & expensive cars are in stark contrast with the modesty of those of their neighbours, yet despite their initial differences, the Langlois & the Guillots form an uneasy friendship. But when both families come under financial strain, the underlying class & racial tensions of their relationship reach breaking point, culminating in act of abhorrent violence..
Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman ($30, HB)
Francisco Goldberg has been living & working in Mexico City as a journalist for over a decade, but has recently returned to NYC in hopes of ‘going home again.’ It’s been 5 years since the end of his last relationship & he is falling in love again. Soon he is beckoned back to Boston by the high school girlfriend who was witness to his greatest youthful humiliations, and his mother, Yolanda, around whom his story orbits like a dark star. Backdropping this 5-day trip to his childhood home is the spectre of Frank’s recently deceased father, Bert—an immigrant from Ukraine, volcanically tempered, pathologically abusive, yet also at times infuriatingly endearing; as well as the high school bullies who gave him the moniker ‘monkey boy’ & his estranged sister, Lexi.
The Dictator’s Muse by Nigel Farndale ($33, PB)
It is the early 1930s, and Europe is holding its breath. As Hitler’s grip on power tightens, preparations are being made for the Berlin Olympics. Leni Riefenstahl has been chosen by Hitler to capture the Olympics on celluloid but is about to find that even his closest friends have much to fear. Kim Newlands is the English athlete ‘sponsored’ by the Blackshirts & devoted to his mercurial, socialite girlfriend Connie. He is driven by a desire to win an Olympic gold but to do that he must first pretend to be someone he is not. Alun Pryce is the Welsh communist sent to infiltrate the Blackshirts. When he befriends Kim & Connie, his belief that the end justifies the means will be tested to the core. Through her camera lens & memoirs, Leni is able to manipulate the truth about what happens when their fates collide at the Olympics. But while some scenes end up on the cutting room floor, this does not mean they are lost forever.
What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad ($33, PB)
More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too-many passengers, and only one had made the passage: nine-yearold Amir, a Syrian boy who is taken in by Vänna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place & among people she has come to disdain. Alternating chapters tell the story of Amir’s life, and follow the duo as they make their way towards a vision of safety. Not just the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world, this is the story of our collective moment—of how empathy & indifference, hope & despair each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.
‘He was a sage, a raconteur; in our era he was the greatest teller of our great stories.’ SIR PETER COSGROVE
The Pages by Hugo Hamilton ($28, PB)
Narrated in the voice of Joseph Roth’s masterpiece Rebellion, Hugo Hamilton’s inventive new novel tells the life story of that book, initially rescued from the Nazi book-burning in Berlin in May 1933. It recounts the life of its Austrian-Jewish author, a writer on the run, and his wife Friederike—who fell victim to mental illness. And it tells a multitude of other stories: of Adreas Pum, a barrel-organ player down on his luck; of a young German American woman who finds a small map drawn by hand on its own blank page in the back, a thrilling mystery which will lead her to Berlin, the book’s birthplace. The Pages carries profound echoes from the past into the present day and is an inspiring story of the survival of literature over 100 years.
The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea ($35, HB) Orkney, 1940. On a remote island, a prisoner-of-war camp is constructed to house 500 Italian soldiers. Upon arrival, a freezing Orkney winter & divided community greets them. Orphaned sisters Dorothy & Constance volunteer to nurse the men. Dot is immediately drawn to Cesare, a young man fighting on the wrong side & broken by war & destruction. The soldiers spend their days building a secret barricade between the islands. By night, however, they construct a reminder of their native land—an exquisite chapel. As tensions between the islanders and outsiders grow, the sisters’ loyalty is tested. Will Dot choose love, or family? Roundabout of Death by Faysal Khartash
Set in Aleppo in 2012, when everyday life was metronomically punctuated by bombing, Roundabout of Death offers powerful witness to the violence that obliterated the ancient city’s rich layers of history, its neighborhoods & medieval & Ottoman landmarks. The novel is told from the perspective of a schoolteacher of Arabic for whom even daily errands become life-threatening tasks. He experiences the wide-scale destruction wrought upon the monumental Syrian metropolis—death hovers ever closer while the teacher roams Aleppo’s streets & byways, minutely observing the perils of urban life in an uncanny twist on Baudelaire’s flâneur. ($30, PB)
The Heart Remembers by Jan-Philipp Sendker ($20, PB)
12-year-old Ko Bo Bo lives with his uncle in Kalaw, a town in Burma. Bo Bo can read people’s emotions in their eyes. His father comes to visit him once a year, and he can hardly remember his mother, whose mysterious sickness keeps herself away from her son. Everything changes when Bo Bo discovers the story of his parents’ great love, which threatens to break down in the whirlwind of political events.
THE WILDER AISLES
I have always been a bit of a re-reader—and this habit has served me well during the last few weeks. Due to both covid lockdown and illness my supply of new books had dried up, so I went searching my shelves for something to read for a second or third time—and discovered a few I hadn’t yet read, and among these unreads, I found a quirky little novel that I really enjoyed, in fact I laughed out loud at times. Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny could be classifed a rom-com ( I refuse to use the term chicklit), but I think it is more. Jane is a teacher, newly arrived in Boyne City, Michigan, ready to teach early primary. After being in Boyne for less than three weeks, Jane accidentally locks herself out, and when the locksmith—Duncan, a handsome older man—arrives, she is immediately smitten. They start a relationship—intense on her side, but not so much on Duncan’s. Jane soon realises that she has to share Duncan with most of the women of the town, including his exwife Aggie, whose current husband refuses to mow the lawn, so Duncan helps out. Duncan is a woodworker and a jack of all trades. He has an offsider called Jimmy, who has learning difficulties that Jane thinks would have been overcome if he had some help earlier on. Eventually, Jane dumps the overcommitted Duncan, and finds herself a more suitable boyfriend, Luke Armstrong, a financial analyst, who is smart, ambitious, kind and loyal and values family and education. Cut to two days before their wedding and the mothers-in-law have arrived in town. Trying on her wedding dress, worrying about the pre-wedding dinner, coping with her mother, Jane realises that she is not happy—will this wedding prove a great mistake, or will it all turn out alright in the end? I really liked this book. I found it very funny and very real. I especially loved Jane’s mother—in a class of her own! And, it is published by 4th Estate, one of my favourite publishers. Death Goes on Skis by Nancy Spain is another light-hearted story, but this time murder’s afoot, rather than relationship trouble. Originally published in 1949, it has recently been reprinted by Virago with an introduction by the lovely Sandi Tovsvig, of QI fame. I read and enjoyed Nancy Spain years ago. Nancy led a very interesting life, as a journalist, radio presenter, and on television. During the Second World War, she was a driver and wrote, in a very funny way, of her time in WRNS, which became a best-seller. Death Goes On Skies is one of a set of crime novels she wrote after the war. They are great fun, full of the most incredible characters, amazing places and over the top stories. Nancy preferred farce and humour to a more serious approach to crime. In Death Goes on Skies a group of friends go skiing in the alps—among which are Miriam Birdseye, daring, brilliant and the dashing heroine and leader of the group. As time passes secrets are exposed, tensions arouse, and murders take place. Miriam, along with Russian ballerina Natasha Nevkorina, another member of the group, join forces to try and solve the crimes. There is so much in this book, the wonderful characters with wonderful names, two obnoxious children and their governess, and the other members of the party—that should be enough to moisten your appetite. As an aside, I remember with great nostalgia, listening to a radio programme called My Word! Nancy was on a panel with three others, and the ones I most remember were Frank Muir, Denis Norden and Dilys Powell. I loved it, and tried never to miss the programme. Fortunately my family loved it as well. There was also My Music which was great as well! Having dealt with at least two of the unreads on my shelves, I got to the comfort of the re-reads—this time around, the wonderful Andrea Camilleri and his Inspector Montalbano Mysteries. I love these books and I am quite happy to read them again. I love everything about them, the characters, the stories, the politics and the location. It’s impossible to choose one book in particular from the series, to me there is not a bad one. I like the fact that Montalbano and his crew are on the side of the disadvantaged, the refugees and the lesser members of the community. I also like his love for food and drink, the way that Adelia always leaves something eat in the oven or refrigerator, and how Enzo’s, his favourite restaurant, is his second home. I will quote from the Guardian, which expresses all this better than I can: ‘Montalbano’s colleagues, chance encounters, Sicilian mores, even the contents of his fridge are described with the wit and gusto that make this narrator the best company in crime fiction today.’ Very sad to say the Riccardino—the last Montalbano novel—is to be published in September. I’m looking forward to it, but I don’t want it to end! Janice Wilder
The Long Game by Simon Rowell ($33, PB)
In a tightly-wound debut crime novel set in Melbourne & surrounds, a local surfer named Ray Carlson is found dead in a house not far from Portsea back beach. DS Zoe Mayer is scarcely back from extended leave, and still wrestling with her demons, but she is assigned the casealongside her new service dog, Harry. There’s an obvious suspect for the murder, and Zoe makes an arrest. But it’s all too neat, and none of Zoe’s colleagues believes her theory that the whole thing is a stitch-up. Except now someone is trying to hunt Zoe down..
Just Murdered by Katherine Kovacic ($30, PB)
Peregrine Fisher is unexpectedly summoned to a meeting of the Adventuresses’ Club of the Antipodes, where she learns some incredible news. When Adventuress Florence Astor is accused of murder, Peregrine jumps at the chance to help on the case. A second shocking death occurs and Detective James Steed’s boss, Inspector Sparrow, demands the case be brought to a close with suspicious speed. With Sparrow issuing threats, it seems Peregrine has set herself an impossible task, but then, as Detective Steed says, ‘never underestimate a woman named Fisher’.
A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz ($33, PB)
Alderney is a tiny island, just 3 miles long & a mile & a half wide—it’s the perfect location for a brand-new literary festival. PI Daniel Hawthorne has been invited to talk about his new book. The writer Anthony Horowitz travels with him. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery & turning neighbour against neighbour. The visiting authors—including a blind medium, a French performance poet & a celebrity chef—seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets. When the festival’s wealthy sponsor is found brutally killed, Alderney goes into lockdown & Hawthorne knows that he doesn’t have to look too far for suspects. There’s no escape. The killer is still on the island. And there’s about to be a second death.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz ($30, PB)
When a young writer dies before completing his first novel, his teacher, Jake, (himself a failed novelist) helps himself to its plot. The resulting book is a phenomenal success. But what if somebody out there knows? Somebody does. And if Jake can’t figure out who he’s dealing with, he risks something far worse than the loss of his career.
Double Down by Max Allan Collins ($19, PB)
In the aftermath of a bloody heist, Nolan and Jon find themselves flying home to count their ill-gotten gains—but a skyjacker taking the same flight has other plans. Meanwhile, in Des Moines, someone is offing members of the Mob-connected DiPreta family and the Mob thinks maybe Nolan can make it stop. Maybe he can—for a six-figure fee. Originally published as two separate novels (and unavailable in bookstores for 40 years!), Double Down finds Nolan and Jon pursuing the American dream in their inimitable criminal fashion. Nolan is one of MWA Grand Master Max Allan Collins’ most unforgettable characters, & Double Down is Nolan at his hard-boiled, larcenous best.
The Soul Breaker by Sebastian Fitzek ($30, PB)
The Soul Breaker doesn’t kill his victims. What he does is much worse. He leaves them paralysed & completely catatonic. His only trace: a note left in their hands. There are 3 known victims when suddenly the abductions stop. Meanwhile, a man has been found in the snow outside an exclusive psychiatric clinic. He has no recollection of who he is, or why he is there. When the weather forces the clinic into lockdown, the head psychiatrist is found trembling, naked and distraught, with a slip of paper in her hands—it seems the Soul Breaker has returned. And with the clinic cut off from the world, no one is able to get in—or out.
The Bourne Treachery by Brian Freeman ($30, PB)
3 years ago, Jason Bourne embarked on a mission in Estonia with his partner & lover—Treadstone agent codenamed Nova. Their job was to rescue a Russian double agent, recently been smuggled out of St. Petersburg. They failed. Their charge died at the hands of a shadowy assassin. 3 years later Nova is gone, killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Bourne is awaiting his next assignment when his handler brings him shocking news.The Estonian mission was a set up. The double agent is still alive, deep in hiding from the Russian State Intelligence Agency. In order to find her, Bourne will have to face the errors of his past—and the death of the woman he loved. With the body count rising he comes to the inevitable conclusion that some secrets should stay buried.
Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams ($30, PB)
What if your mother had been writing to a serial killer? Michael Reave, known as The Red Wolf, has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal & ritualistic murders of countless women. Exjournalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide & discovers hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades. When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like Reave’s victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather. If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.
1979 by Val McDermid ($33, PB)
1979. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom & she needs something explosive for the boys’ club to take her seriously. Soon Allie & fellow journalist Danny Sullivan are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland. They risk making powerful enemies—and Allie won’t stop there. When she discovers a home-grown terrorist threat, Allie comes up with a plan to infiltrate the group & make her name. But she’s a woman in a man’s world— and putting a foot wrong could be fatal. First in a new series.
The Cellist by Daniel Silva ($33, PB)
Once Russia’s richest man, Viktor Orlov is now in exile in London, where he is waging a crusade against the kleptocrats who have seized control of the Kremlin. When he is killed by documents contaminated with a deadly nerve agent, the police determine they were delivered by a prominent investigative reporter. This reporter vanishes hours after the killing & MI6 concludes she is a Moscow Centre assassin. But Gabriel Allon believes his friends in British intelligence are dangerously mistaken. His search for the truth will take him to Geneva, where a private intelligence service is plotting an act of violence that will plunge an already divided America into chaos.
The Orchard Murders by Robert Gott ($30, PB)
In 1944, in the outer-Melbourne suburb of Nunawading, a brutal triple murder heralds the return of a long-forgotten cult. A man named Anthony Prescott has declared himself the Messiah & there are those who believe him & who are ready to kill in his name. Inspector Titus Lambert of the Melbourne Homicide unit, whose detectives are over-stretched, requests the discreet assistance of Helen Lord & Joe Sable, once members of his unit, now private inquiry agents. The investigation is more perilous than any of them realise, and will have tragic consequences.
Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante ($33, PB)
A coffin is dug up by builders in the grounds of an historic convent— inside is the body of a young nun. In a city as old as London, the discovery is hardly surprising. But when scratch marks are found on the inside of the coffin lid, Detective Jane Tennison believes she has unearthed a mystery far darker than any she’s investigated before. But her superiors dismiss it as an historic cold case, and the Church seems desperate to conceal the facts from the investigation. Tennison must pray she can uncover the truth before it’s buried forever.
Resistance: A Graphic Novel by Val McDermid (ill) Kathryn Briggs ($35, HB)
It’s the summer solstice weekend, and 150,000 people descend on a farm in the northeast of England for an open-air music festival. At first, a spot of rain seems to be the only thing dampening the fun— until a mystery bug appears. Before long, the illness is spreading at an electrifying speed and seems resistant to all antibiotics. Can journalist Zoe Meadows track the outbreak to its source, and will a cure be found before the disease becomes a pandemic?
The Inheritance by Gabriel Bergmoser ($30, PB)
Maggie is hiding out in a sleepy North QLD tourist town, trying to stay under the radar, when she stumbles across a dangerous drug cartel. Anyone else might back away, but Maggie is no ordinary girl. She’s got skills, as well as plenty of secrets to keep, burdens to carry—and anger to burn. When she has to get out of town fast she heads towards Melbourne, where she just might find the answers that she needs—answers about her family and who she really is. With a bent cop for a dubious ally, the police tracking her and furious bikers on her trail, Maggie is in deep trouble.
Northern Spy by Flynn Berry ($33, PB)
A producer at the Belfast bureau of the BBC, Tessa is at work one day when the news of another IRA raid comes on the air. As the anchor requests the public’s help in locating those responsible for this latest attack—a robbery at a gas station—Tessa’s sister appears on the screen pulling a black mask over her face. The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa knows this is impossible. However, when the truth of what has happened to her sister reveals itself, Tessa will be forced to choose: between her ideals and her family.
The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh ($33, PB)
They call him the King of Death Row. Randal Korn has sent more men to their deaths than any district attorney in the history of the United States. When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is found murdered in Buckstown, Alabama, a corrupt sheriff arrests the last person to see her alive, Andy Dubois. It doesn’t seem to matter to anyone that Andy is innocent. Everyone in Buckstown believes Andy is guilty. He has no hope of a fair trial. And the local defense attorney assigned to represent him has disappeared. Hot shot New York lawyer Eddie Flynn travels south planning to destroy the prosecutor’s case, find the real killer and save Andy from the electric chair. But the murders are just beginning. Is Eddie Flynn next?
The Doll by Yrsa Sigurdardottir ($33, PB)
A quiet mother & daughter fishing trip—they catch nothing except a broken doll. The mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. That evening, she posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead & the doll has disappeared. Several years later and Detective Huldar is on a boat in rough waters, searching for possible human remains. However, identifying the skeleton they find on the seabed proves harder than initially thought, and Huldar must draw on psychologist Freyja’s experience to help him. Dead Money by Srinath Adiga ($30, PB) A stock market trader in Hong Kong desperate to pay off a fiftythree-million-dollar gangster debt. A mysterious suicide bomber in Mumbai under the spell of a dangerous myth. A banker in Amsterdam waging a lone battle to avert a global catastrophe. Three men whose disparate journeys are connected by a dizzying chain of causes and effects from Afterlife Dollars. A product based on Chinese mythology that promises happiness in the next world, yet has a devastating effect on this one. As the characters grapple with their individual moral dilemmas, their choices will affect the rest of humanity.
Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham ($33, PB)
Alice is a police officer undercover in a psychiatric ward. They were meant to be safe on Fleet Ward: psychiatric patients monitored, treated, cared for. But one of their number has been found murdered. Was it a fellow patient? A member of staff? Or did someone come in from the outside? DC Alice Armitage is methodical, tireless, and she’s quickly on the trail of the killer. The only problem is, Alice is a patient too.
Operation Jungle by John Shobbrook ($33, PB)
In the late 1970s, criminal mastermind John Milligan & his associates conspired to import heroin into Far North QLD via a remote mountain top airdrop. In a story that is stranger than fiction, it took them three trips through dense jungle to locate the heroin, but they only recovered one of the two packages. When narcotics agent John Shobbrook took on the investigation of this audacious crime, codenamed ‘Operation Jungle’, his career was on the rise within the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. What he discovered unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that not only destroyed his own career, but led to the disbanding of the Narcotics Bureau.
CSI Told You Lies: Giving victims a voice through forensics by Meshel Laurie ($35, PB)
The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) is a world-renowned centre of forensic science, which has led major recovery operations from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami to the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires to the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, plus high profile homicide cases, including the Frankston Serial Killer, the murders of Eurydice Dixon & Aya Maasarwe, and the arrest of convicted serial killer Peter Dupas. Meshel Laurie goes ‘behind the curtain’ at VIFM, interviewing the Institute’s roster of forensic experts about their daily work, plus homicide detectives, defence barristers & families of victims as they confront their darkest moments.
American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson
Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners & hundreds of books— sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least 2,000 cases in his 40-year career. Known as the ‘American Sherlock Holmes’, Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of the greatest—and first—forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence & deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural. Kate Winkler Dawson captures the life of the man who spearheaded the invention of myriad new forensic tools, including blood-spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests & the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. ($23, PB)
Prison Break by Mark Dapin ($33, PB)
On a Sunday afternoon in 1980, armed robber Gregory David Roberts abseiled down the front wall of a maximum-security prison in broad daylight. He spent a decade on the run in West Asia before writing his own legend in the bestselling semi-autobiographical novel, Shantaram. In the late 90s, Melbournebased drug dealer & gangster David McMillan became the only Australian ever to escape from the so-called ‘Bangkok Hilton’ in Thailand. And in 1999, armed robber John Killick was airlifted out of a maximum-security prison by his beautiful Russian-born girlfriend—after she hijacked a helicopter with a machine gun. With unprecedented access to ex-prisoners, prison officers and police, as well as ASIO files and witnesses, Mark Dapin brings to life a hidden criminal world of prison brutality, courage and legend.
Blessed: The Breakout Year of Rampaging Roy Slaven by John Doyle ($33, PB) TIM DEAN
‘In the battle of our genes, our minds, our souls, which wins? Hate and love, good and evil, right and wrong. Let Tim Dean unlock the mystery of being human. There are some thinkers just made for our times: Dean is one of them.’ Stan Grant
M A R YA M M A S T E R
‘Maryam is a brilliantly funny writer for kids . . . This original story of hers is an absolute joy.’ David Walliams An exhilarating and life-affirming story that follows twelveyear-old Ana on a wild roller-coaster of life and death, kindness and cruelty, ordinary and extraordinary.
F E L I C I T Y C A S TAG N A A page-turning novel about a complicated friendship; a road trip through NSW in a stolen car; the stories that define us; and two funny, sharp, adventurous young women who refuse to be held back any longer.
Whether training Rooting King to another Melbourne Cup victory, commentating the Olympics or hobnobbing with the country’s upper crust, Rampaging Roy Slaven has lived an extraordinary life. But even some of the greatest men come from humble beginnings. Before he shot to fame as Australia’s most talented sportsman, he was just another kid in Lithgow, trying to avoid Brother Connor’s strap & garner the attention of Susan Morgan from the local Catholic girls school. Blessed follows one year in the life of the boy who would become Rampaging Roy Slaven, a boy who, even at the age of fifteen, knew he was destined for greatness—but had to get through high school first.
Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing by Lauren Hough
As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the US Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. The cult took her all over the globe but it wasn’t until she finally left for good that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond ‘The Family’. Along the way, she’s loaded up her car & started over, trading one life for the next. In this book, as she sweeps through the underbelly of America—relying on friends, family & strangers alike—she begins to excavate a new identity even as her past continues to trail her & colour her world, relationships & perceptions of self. ($33, PB)
Muddy People: A Memoir by Sara El Sayed ($30, PB) JENNIFER MILLS ‘A haunting and intimate examination of violence, alienation, dislocation and possession, and the need to reckon with the past. The Airways is a masterful novel: Mills writes prose of rare distinction.’ Julie Koh
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All In by Billie Jean King ($35, PB)
Journeying from a blue-collar childhood to shatter tennis’s exclusive country-club culture, Billie Jean King goes behind the scenes of the pro tennis tour, through her 5 years as the top-ranked woman in the world, her 20 Wimbledon championships, her 39 grand-slam titles, and her watershed defeat of Bobby Riggs in the famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’. King also describes the high personal price of public greatness, and how she struggled to live authentically—the challenges she grappled with beneath the mask of fame, including entrenched sexism, an eating disorder & struggles with her sexual identity until her ‘outing’ by a former lover led her to embrace her true self.
Fox and I by Catherine Raven ($33, PB)
Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father & an indifferent mother. She worked as a ranger in national parks, at times living in her run-down car on abandoned construction sites, or camping on a piece of land in Montana she bought from a colleague. She put herself through college, eventually earning a PhD in biology & building a house on her remote plot. Yet she never felt at home with people. Except when teaching, she spoke to no one. One day, she realised that a wild fox that had been appearing at her house was coming by every day precisely at 4.15. He became a regular visitor, eventually sitting near her as she read to him from The Little Prince or Dr Seuss. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphise animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself—and he became her friend. But friends cannot always save each other from the uncontained forces of nature.
Black Spartacus by Sudhir Hazareesingh
After the abolition of slavery in 1793, Toussaint Louverture, himself a former slave, became the leader of Haiti’s black population, the commander of its republican army and eventually its governor. During the course of his extraordinary life he confronted some of the dominant forces of his age—slavery, settler colonialism, imperialism and racial hierarchy. Hazareesingh shows that Louverture developed his unique vision & leadership not solely in response to imported Enlightenment ideals & revolutionary events in Europe & the Americas, but through a hybrid heritage of fraternal slave organisations, Caribbean mysticism & African political traditions. Above all, he retrieves Louverture’s rousing voice and force of personality, making this a most engaging, and most complete, biography of Louverture. ($23, PB)
Soos is coming of age in a household with a lot of rules. No bikinis, despite the QLD heat. No boys, unless he’s Muslim. And no life insurance, not even when her father gets cancer. Soos is trying to balance her parents’ strict decrees with having friendships, crushes & the freedom to develop her own values. With each rule Soos comes up against, she is forced to choose between doing what her parents say is right and following her instincts. When her family falls apart, she comes to see her parents as flawed, their morals based on a muddy logic. But she will also learn that they are her strongest defenders. A hilarious memoir of growing up & becoming yourself in an Egyptian Muslim family.
28: A memoir of football, addiction, art, masculinity and love by Brandon Jack ($30, PB) Continually told he was born with footballing blood, Brandon Jack has spent his life uncertain of the relationship he holds with the games he’s played. Now a writer & musician, he reflects upon the years spent pursuing what felt like an inevitability—the footballing life. Unique & darkly poetic, filled with relentlessly driven diary entries, vivid details of life at the fringe, and memories of binge-drinking into oblivion as an escape during his playing days at the Sydney Swans, 28 is a portrayal of the sporting psyche in a way that has never been done before.
After the Tampa by Abbas Nazari ($33, PB)
In 2001, Abbas Nazari’s parents could stay & face the Taliban’s persecution in their homeland, or seek security for their young children elsewhere. Their desperate search for safety took them on a harrowing journey from the mountains of Afghanistan to a small fishing boat in the Indian Ocean, crammed with more than 400 other asylum seekers. When their boat started to sink, they were mercifully saved by a cargo ship, the Tampa. However, one of the largest maritime rescues in modern history quickly turned into an international stand-off, as Australia closed its doors to them. 20 years after the Tampa affair, Abbas Nazari tells his amazing story, from living under Taliban rule, to spending a terrifying month at sea, to building a new life at the bottom of the world.
Burning Man: D. H. Lawrence on Trial by Frances Wilson ($50, HB)
History has remembered him, and not always flatteringly, as a nostalgic modernist, a sexually liberator, a misogynist, a critic of genius, and a sceptic who told us not to look in his novels for ‘the old stable ego’, yet pioneered the genre we now celebrate as auto-fiction. But where is the real Lawrence in all of this, and how 100 years after the publication of Women in Love, can we hear his voice above the noise? Delving into the memoirs of those who both loved & hated him most, Frances Wilson follows Lawrence from the peninsular underworld of Cornwall in 1915 to post-war Italy to the mountains of New Mexico, and traces the author’s footsteps through the pages of his lesser known work. Wilson’s triptych of biographical tales present a complex, courageous & often comic fugitive, careering around a world in the grip of apocalypse, in search of utopia.
The Suitcase by Frances Stonor Saunders ($40, HB)
Ten years ago, Frances Stonor Saunders was handed an old suitcase filled with her father’s papers. ‘If you open that suitcase you’ll never close it again,’ warned her mother. Her father’s life had been a study in borders—exiled from Romania during the war, to Turkey then Egypt and eventually Britain, and ultimately to the borderless territory of Alzheimer’s. The unopened suitcase seems to represent everything that had made her father unknowable to her in life. So begins this captivating exploration of history, memory and geography, as Frances Stonor Saunders unpicks her father’s and his family’s past.
Heading South: Far North Queensland to Western Australia by Rail by Tim Richards ($30, PB)
Freelance travel writer and Lonely Planet guidebook contributor Tim Richards decides to shake up his life by taking an epic rail journey across Australia. Jumping aboard iconic trains like the Indian Pacific, Overland & Spirit of Queensland, he covers over 7,000 kilometres, from the tropics to the desert and from big cities to ghost towns. Richard’s journey is one of classic travel highs and lows—floods, cancellations, extraordinary landscapes & forays into personal & public histories—as well as the steady joy of random strangers encountered along the way.
The Arbornaut: A life discovering the eighth continent in the trees above us by Meg Lowman
From climbing solo hundreds of feet into Australia’s rainforests to measuring tree growth in the northeastern United States, from searching the redwoods of the Pacific coast for new life to studying leaf-eaters in Scotland’s Highlands, from a bioblitz in Malaysia to conservation planning in India to collaborating with priests in Ethiopia’s last forests Meg Lowman launches you into the life & work of a field scientist and ecologist. A pioneer in her field, Lowman invented one of the first treetop walkways, she is a tireless advocate for the earth and has spent decades educating citizens across the globe. ($33, PB)
The Hero’s Way: Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna by Tim Parks ($35, PB)
In the summer of 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy’s legendary revolutionary hero, was finally forced to abandon his defence of Rome. Against all odds, he was determined to turn defeat into moral victory. On the evening of 2 July, riding alongside his pregnant wife Anita, he led 4,000 hastily assembled volunteers out of the city to continue the struggle for national independence in the countryside. Hounded by both French & Austrian armies, the garibaldini marched hundreds of miles through Umbria and Tuscany, then across the Appenines, Italy’s mountainous spine, until, after 32 exhausting days of skirmishes & adventures, 250 survivors boarded fishing boats on the Adriatic coast in an ill-fated attempt to reach the independent Republic of Venice. This story is brought vividly to life by Tim Parks, who in the blazing summer of 2019, together with his partner Eleonora, followed Garibaldi & Anita’s arduous journey—a fascinating portrait of Italy past & present, and a celebration of determination, creativity, desperate courage and profound belief.
Explore Australia 2022 ($45, PB)
Now in a flexibound format for in-car use, Explore Australia 2022, the 38th edition, includes details on over 700 regional towns across the country, including information on local & nearby attractions, as well as markets & festivals. There’s also key information for every capital city & major touring region, plus suggested daytrip itineraries. With features on the best beaches, gourmet food & wine destinations, wildlife encounters, adventure holidays & Indigenous cultural experiences, along with new updates & information on Australian tourism in 2022.
Great World Wonders: 100 Remarkable World Heritage Sites by Michael Turtle
Michael Turtle offers a curated guide to the best UNESCO World Heritage sites around the globe, each with a fascinating tale and insight into our shared humanity. From icons like the Egyptian Pyramids & the Taj Mahal, to undiscovered gems like gold mines & ancient rock paintings, this is a beautiful collection & exploration of the best (and sometimes worst) of history. Featuring stunning photography, this is not just a source of travel inspiration, it’s an incredible journey through the amazing story of our world. ($45, HB)
Rewild: Stories & Inspiration for the Modern Adventurer by Doron & Stephanie Francis
This is a book that encourages you to leave behind the stress of the 9-to-5 grind, and embrace the simple pleasures found in the pounding waves, a roaring campfire or a star-filled sky. Its message is that nature can transform your life, and doing that isn’t as difficult as you think. Starting with a how-to guide with helpful tips & illustrations, from how to choose & set up camp to brewing the perfect campfire coffee & enjoying the outdoors without leaving a trace. This is followed by compelling accounts from everyday adventurers—people all around the world who’ve embraced the outdoors on their terms. Some have gone on epic adventures: sold their belongings and lived in a van, trekked through the Himalayas or biked across continents. Others simply found new ways of seeing the world around them: cleaned up a beach, learned how to forage or adopted a rewilding lifestyle. ($30, PB)
books for kids to young adults
chosen by rachel
Mammoth by Anna Kemp ($25, HB)
An Ice Age mammoth finds himself in a modern day city—and he’s not at all sure what to make of this huge, gleaming forest. Strange birds in the sky, strange beetles on the ground and strange, shouty cavemen. Is he the only mammoth in the WORLD? An endearing story about finding your herd and a place to trumpet wildly from.
Margaret’s Unicorn by Briony May Smith ($28, HB)
Margaret’s whole world changes when her family moves to a cottage by the sea to be near her grandma. One evening, she spots a mist over the water—or is it clouds, maybe? No, they’re unicorns descending onto the shore! They vanish as quickly as they’d appeared, but accidentally leave behind a baby, tangled in the weeds. Margaret, lonely and in need of a friend, brings him home. Somewhere by Jeanne Willis and Anastasia Suvorova ($25, HB) Oscar is tired of his parents asking questions, so he decides to escape to the bottom of the garden—and disappears into Nowhere—a world of imagination where he can do exactly as he pleases! But after a day of getting muddy, having adventures and building his own camp, he starts to feel, well, just a little lonely. But just when Oscar is starting to lose Who Fed Zed? by Amelia McInerney hope, a little ginger cat appears to show him the way. And, in the end, the real adventure is the journey back to some- Zed the fish is white and red. His poo hangs down in where even more special—home. one long thread. The main thing, though, is what Fred said, ‘NEVER, EVER FEED ZED BREAD.’ A darkly comic story about a pet in peril that pays homage to classic picture books such as Fish Out of Water.
Comparrotives (A Grammar Zoo Book) by Janik Coat ($22, BD)
In this oversize board book, young readers learn about comparative adjectives via a very humorous parrot—from noisy and noisier, to messy and messier, to happy and happier when it finally finds a friend. As with the previous books in the series, Comparrotives features touch-and-feel novelty elements which make the comparatives concept easy and fun to learn.
Have You Seen My Friend? by Jo Dabrowski
Have you seen my friend? He was sitting right there. And then he disappeared. Like magic. With clever flaps, snappy text and a bright and bold use of collage, this cheeky board book from Jo Dabrowski tells a hilarious tale of friendship, determination and the importance of always having a trick up your sleeve. ($18, BD)
Families Can by Dan Saks ($13, BD)
Families who cook together and families who sing together, families with lots of members and families with a special few, families who live together and families who live separately--for all families. Celebrate the differences that make each family unique and the similarities and love that connect us all together.
How to Say Hello by Sophie Beer
Don’t feel like hugging today? No worries! We can say hello with a smile, a wave or even a high five! The 4th book in Sophie Beer’s feel-good series is all about consent for little readers. As is Beer’s signature style, How to Say Hello takes big concepts and nestles them in clear yet playful narratives— helping children in establishing boundaries as they navigate relationships. ($17, BD)
Wilam: A Birrarung Story by Andrew Kelly & Aunty Joy Murphy
Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly joins award-winning picture book duo Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy to tell the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s beautiful Yarra river, from its source to its mouth; from its pre-history to the present day.
The Story of Australia by Don Watson ($33, HB)
Don Watson presents a modern history of our nation for both children & adults—from the ancient lands of Gondwana, through human settlement, colonisation & waves of migration, to the challenges facing our diverse nation today. Each era is brought to life in a series of beautifully illustrated spreads that capture a particular event or development—or give a snapshot of ordinary Australians at the time. Watson covers the familiar & iconic—Burke & Wills, Ned Kelly & the Eureka Stockade—but also the lesser known, such as Daisy Bates & the Coniston massacres. Each chapter ends with a profile of a person, from the oldest Australian ever discovered, Mungo Woman, to pop icon Kylie Minogue.
Inner Workings: The Extraordinary Insides of Ordinary Things ($28, HB)
Story Doctors by Boori Monty Pryor ($25, HB)
What would you find if you cut a pocket watch, fireworks, a golf ball, a beehive, or even a merry-go-round in half? Something extraordinary, of course! In this book you’ll get an inside look—literally—at the remarkable structures & mechanisms inside everyday objects with bold, cross-section illustrations of toilets, ice cream machines, Rubiks cubes, calculators, pool tables, bowling alleys, food, vending machines & so much more! The perfect book for young budding inventors, engineers & scientists. (9-12).
Storyteller Boori Monty Pryor travel from the first footsteps through 80,000+ years of strength, sickness & immense possibility. From the very first stories & art, to dance, language & connection with the land, Boori offers a powerful, deeply rich account of Australia’s true history, drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, and on his generous instinct to teach and heal.An exquisitely illustrated celebration of the power of storytelling to unite us, how nature connects us, and the wonderful truth that the medicine needed for healing lies within us all.
Shot in the Arm! Big Ideas that Changed the World #3 by Don Brown ($20, HB)
Beginning with smallpox & concluding with an overview of the COVID-19 pandemic, Don Brown traces the evolution of vaccines and examines deadly diseases such as measles, polio, anthrax, rabies, cholera, and influenza. Narrated by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who popularized inoculation in England in the early 18th century, the book covers the science behind how our immune systems work, the discovery of bacteria, and major achievements from scientists like Louis Pasteur, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek & Edward Jenner, the ‘father of immunology’. Brown also tackles the public & political response to vaccination throughout history, addressing head-on the anti-vaccination movement and debunking false claims that vaccines cause autism.
Norse Myths ($35, HB)
Read about Thor, the god of thunder & how he once disguised himself as a bride to seek revenge on a giant & retrieve his powerful hammer—Mj lnir, and how Sif, the goddess of fertility had her long golden hair cut off by Loki, the trickster god. Each myth is told with thrilling immediacy, in language that is easy for children to understand, while retaining the awe, majesty & intrigue of the original tales. With stunning illustrations by multi-award winning artist Katie Ponder that breathe new life into each story.
How To Be An Artist ($30, HB)
With more than 30 activities designed to encourage & stimulate even the most reluctant artist, this book from Dorling Kindersley gets the creative juices flowing. From mark making to woodwork, photography to sculpture, there’s a project for every art-aficionado to get stuck into. Famous artist pages teach children about the pioneers of artistic movements, such as Albrecht Durer, Frida Kahlo & Yayoi Kusama. From the basics, such as composition & perspective, to the trickier techniques of illusion & paper engineering, this art activity book for kids has it all.
Michelle Obama (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Young Michelle Obama grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a close-knit family. She loved school, achieving As, and worked hard to blaze trails at the universities of Princeton and Harvard. Then, at the beginning of her legal career, she met Barack Obama. As first lady, she used her platform to advocate for women and girls and continues to inspire many with her powerful voice, and bestselling books. This book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of Obama’s life. ($20, HB)
6 to 8
The Hat Full of Secrets by Karl Newson ($17, HB)
Henry’s got a secret—a big one! Grandpa suggests he should keep it under his hat— and he’s got just the hat for the job. When Henry puts it on he discovers that Grandpa has some secrets of his own! But what of Henry’s secret? Will he finally put it under his hat? Illustrated by Wazza Pink.
The Long Way Home by Corrinne Averiss ($17, HB)
Rachel has had to put her fabulous Bookclubs, Rhymtime and Storytime on hold or on Zoom as we go to press. To keep updated on all things Gleebooks Kids join our mailing list by emailing email@example.com or follow @madhatters_gleeparty on Instagram
Nanu & Otto are off on a climbing adventure to the top of Lion Mountain! Otto is a born explorer, just like his grandma, who is brave & bold and can’t resist the urge for adventure. But Nanu is having a forgetting day. She forgets her backpack & the name of the mountain—then she forgets the way home. Can Otto remember all the things Nanu taught him about being a great elephant explorer and guide the expedition home?
Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent by Pippa Curnick ($20, HB) Paris Takes Over the World by Kyla May ($15, PB)
Discovered in the Unknown Wilderness when she was just a baby, Indigo Wilde was adopted by World-Famous Explorers, Philomena & Bertram, who are always off adventuring. Indigo & her little brother, Quigley, live at 47 Jellybean Crescent, a crazy & colourful house full of magical creatures that her parents have taken in over the years. In this first outing a highly dangerous new arrival goes missing, the race is on to catch it before disaster strikes.
1st in a new series. Paris is 10 years old & is off to visit her favourite city, PARIS! While she is there, she meets a girl named Amelie who has lost her dog, Eclair. Can Paris help Amelie trace her steps through the landmarks of the city to find the lost pup?
Tiger Warrior 1: Attack of the Dragon King by M. Chan ($15, PB)
When Jack’s grandpa gives him a magical jade coin, Jack finds himself caught in an ancient battle between good & evil. For he is the new Tiger Warrior, and it’s up to him to save the world! Luckily, he has the spirits of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac to help him. Fans of Adam Blade & Percy Jackson will love this cast of magical animal zodiac creatures, deadly demons & spine-tingling spirits, this series is for.
When Days Tilt by Karen Ginnane ($17, PB)
Shockingly Good Stories by R. A. Spratt
Piranhas on the run, stolen sandwiches, chocolate waterfalls and so much more! From R.A. Spratt, bestselling author of Friday Barnes, comes this collection of 20 short stories perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, David Walliams & Paul Jennings. Featuring fractured fairytales told by none other than Nanny Piggins, previously unpublished Friday Barnes mysteries and a bunch of other hilarious and highly original tall tales. Perfect for bedtime, a long car ride, distraction in the doctor’s waiting room, or lifting the lockdown blues!
The Supreme Lie by Geraldine McCaughrean
15-year-old Gloria is maid to Afalia’s tyrannical Head of State, Madame Suprema. When the country is hit by unprecedented flooding, Madame Suprema runs away, fearing she will be blamed for the crisis. To cover up this cowardly act, Gloria is made to step into Madame Suprema’s shoes & is thrust into a world of corrupt & desperate politicians. As Gloria becomes aware of the forces toying with her every move, she must take decisions that could save, or end, thousands of lives—darkly funny commentary on our present times. ($15, PB)
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan ($16, PB)
Jubilee is an elite cellist, works in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, while she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley’s parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them. Jubilee & Ridley meet at a comic convention prom, and fall hard— too bad their parents are at each other’s throats. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?
8 to 12
It’s 1858. There are two queens on the throne. Victoria reigns over London—but London has a secret shadow city, called Donlon, where another queen, the Green Witch, rules her own domain—time. Ava, a 14-year-old Londoner, feels trapped by the limited life of a young Victorian woman & by her watchmaking apprenticeship with her father. Her world is turned upside down when she discovers that the body in her mother’s grave is not her mother, but a stranger. When Ava goes in search of her real mother & her true identity, she is thrust into the dark world of Donlon & must battle to save those she loves & the future of both worlds Rainfish by Andrew Paterson ($17, PB) Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Aaron lives with his mum & older brother in a small under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn ($15, PB) town on the edge of a rainforest in tropical Far North Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England QLD. He’s sick of being the little brother, so when he in 1902. She hasn’t got much to do since the death of her meets Damon he’s keen to impress him. But Damon beloved father—until she crosses paths with 12-year-old suggests they break into the church he can’t back out. Belgian immigrant Hector Perot & discovers a dead body When the police knock on the door, Aaron finds himon the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number self hiding the truth in a tangle of lies. And before of suspects grows & the murder threatens to tear the town long his deep sense of guilt & fear of being found out apart, Aggie & her new friend need their deductive skills & have convinced that he is responsible for the terrible rainstorms and floods that devastate the town. a little help from their friends to solve the case.
The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith
Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for his country . . . until he meets Hana. Hana hasn’t been the same since the day she was buried alive in a collapsed trench during a bomb raid. She wonders if it would have been better to have died that day . . . until she meets Taro. A song will bring them together. The war will tear them apart. Is it possible to live an entire lifetime in eight short days? ($16, PB)
Henry Hamlet’s Heart by Rhiannon Wilde ($20, PB)
Henry Hamlet doesn’t know what he wants after school ends. It’s his last semester of year 12 & all he’s sure of is his uncanny ability to make situations awkward. Luckily, he can always hide behind his enigmatic best friend, Len. They’ve been friends since forever, but where Len is mysterious, Henry is clumsy; where Len is a heart-throb, Henry is a neurotic mess. Somehow it’s always worked. That is, until Henry falls. Hard. For the last person he imagined. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron ($17, PB)
Briseis has power over plants. Flowers bloom in her footsteps & leaves turn to face her as though she were the sun. She & her adoptive mothers hide this power, but when Briseis inherits an old house from her birth mother she finally has the space & privacy to test her powers. As she brings the rambling garden back to life, she finds she has also inherited generations of secrets. A hidden altar to a dark goddess, a lineage of witches stretching back to ancient times, and a hidden garden overgrown with the most deadly poisonous plants on earth. And Briseis’s long-departed ancestors aren’t going to let her rest until she accepts her place as the keeper of the terrible power that lies at the heart of the Poison Garden.
Goldilocks: Wanted Dead or Alive by Chris Colfer ($23, PB) 8-12s Brontë by Manuela Santoni ($26, PB) Y/A Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson ($17, PB) 8-12s The Leak by Kate Reed Petty & Andrea Bell ($27, PB) 8-12s Agent 9: Flood-a-Geddon! by James Burks ($22, PB) 8-12s
Food, Health & Garden
Pajama Pilates by Maria Mankin & Maja Tomljanovic ($30, HB)
Improve posture & core strength using a kitchen counter, stretch out your legs using the dining table, and tone your arms using the edge of the bathtub, plus so much more in these 40 easy-to-follow Pilates-based workouts & exercises designed to tone muscles, release tension, and increase flexibility. Simple to follow & with no special equipment required Pilates instructor Maria Mankin will keep you fit in lockdown.
Foodology: A food-lover’s guide to digestive health & happiness by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed
Explaining the process of digestion and how the food we eat influences the way we feel, Saliha draws on the latest science and her own experiences as both a doctor and a cook, to bring the subject to life. From childhood memories of devouring Indian street food to why munching on a jam doughnut brings gastronomic happiness, Saliha also offers 50 new, simple, delicious and mostly vegetarian recipes to help you explore your gut health and find your own gastronomic happiness.. ($45, HB)
Garden Like a Nonno: The Italian Art of Growing Your Own Food by Jaclyn Crupi ($25, HB)
Jaclyn Crupi uncovers the secrets of the green-thumbed nonnos from their no-nonsense approach to life to their zero waste gardening. Whether you have a tiny balcony or a sprawling backyard, you’ll be growing your own fruit & veg in no time with a little guidance from the nonnos. Featuring gardening tips & tricks, recipes for pickling & preserving your produce, plus classic nonno sayings, Garden Like a Nonno will help you to get in touch with your inner Italian. La dolce vita awaits.
Halliday Wine Companion 2022 ($40, PB)
The Halliday team, now led by Tyson Stelzer in the role of chief editor, share their extensive knowledge of wine through detailed tasting notes with points, price, value symbol and advice on best-by drinking, as well as each wine’s closure and alcohol content. The book provides information about wineries and winemakers, including vineyard sizes, opening times and contact details.
Wine Science: The Application of Science in Winemaking by Jamie Goode ($65, HB)
This revolutionary book is the only in-depth reference to detail the processes, developments & factors affecting the science of winemaking. Jamie Goode explains the background to the various processes involved & the range of issues surrounding their uses. He reports on the vital progress in winemaking research & explains the practical application of science with reference to the range of winemaking techniques used around the world, as well as viticultural practices, organics & ecology & lifestyle influences. This fully revised & updated third edition includes new sections on managing vineyard soils, vine disease & the vineyard of the future.
Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen
Based on the courses at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School, this book reveals the lost art of making creamy butter & yoghurt, keeping a few hens in the garden, home-curing & smoking bacon, and foraging for food in the wild. Rediscover the flavours of all-time favourites such as traditional stuffed roast chicken, figgy toffee pudding, and freshly baked scones with strawberry jam. Darina also offers lots of thrifty tips for using up leftovers in delicious ways. Essential reading for urban & rural dwellers alike, this is the definitive modern guide to traditional cookery skills. ($80, HB)
Basic Basics Kitchen Hacks and Hints by Glynn Christian ($27, PB)
This handbook collects over 300 of food journalist Glynn Christian’s ‘gosh-factor’ hacks, explaining how best to handle garlic, why dull pasta is better, how to judge a Pavlova, how to make the frilly crusts on Portuguese egg tarts and why it should be ‘thumbs-up’ on kitchen knives. There’s a better way to roast nuts, a simpler way to bone small fish, a more reliable way to wok and a ban on foil tents. Plus frozen olives to keep a straight-up martini ice-cold.
Eat Like a Luchador by Monica Ochoa
Monica ‘Centellita’ Ochoa, with the licensing support of the Legends of Lucha Libre, includes a brief introduction on the culture of lucha libre, favourite Mexican dishes from lucha’s most celebrated luchadores/luchadoras from around the globe (Solar, Super Astro, Penta Zero M, Lady Maravilla), fun stories and facts on championship details, family legacies, and those symbolic masks, and 100+ full-color photos and illustrations of food and family. This must-have collection of recipes from iconic lucha libre legends will delight, inform, and entertain.. ($35, HB)
That Noodle Life by Mike & Stephane Le
These 75 recipes go way beyond spaghetti & ramen. Inspired by the noodle- and macaroni-crazed cuisines of Asia, Italy, and the global melting pot, dig into comfort noodles: Really Savory Sunday Sauce with Tagliatelle & French Onion Mac & Cheese. Quick weeknight noodles: Flash-Fried Ribeye with Crispy Chow Mein & Stay in Tonight Sesame Chili Oil Noodles. Sexy Date Night Noodles: Double Lobster Chitarra, Miso Clam Linguine, Bone Marrow & Beef Brisket Pho. Plus recipes for making noodles from scratch. ($50, HB)
La Vita è Dolce by Letitia Clark ($50, HB)
Featuring over 80 Italian desserts, Dolce showcases Letitia Clark’s favourite puddings inspired by her time living in Sardinia—whether you’re looking for something fruity, nutty, creamy, chocolatey or boozy. From a joyful Caramelised Citrus Tart to a classic Torta Caprese, and complete with anecdotes & beautiful location photography throughout.
Flavours of Greece by Rosemary Barron
First published in 1991, this book has never gone out of print. This is a celebration of Greek food regarded as the most authentic and authoritative collection of recipes. Rosemary Barron provides over 250 regional and national specialities, from the olives, feta and seafood of mezes, to delicate lemon broths to hearty bean soups, grilled meats and fish, baked vegetables and pilafs to the fragrant, gooey honey pastries. Greek cooking offers seasonal food perfect for informal eating with family, friends and entertaining. ($53, PB)
Imaginative Possession: Learning to live in the Antipodes by Belinda Probert ($27, PB)
Belinda Probert, a migrant from England sets out to question in words & action how well she understands the landscapes she has seen & the people that have shaped them. She takes with her a set of writers who have asked the same questions to test their words against her own emerging views. Wondering how a nation of immigrants can fully settle here she bought a property in the ‘country’ so she could observe it more closely, and learn to garden differently. Trees fell on her, ants bit her, bowerbirds stole her crops, but from the exercise she discovered much more about soil, trees, water, animals & protecting herself from fire emergencies—and learnt to see the ancient heritage all around us, and rural industries that have destroyed & created so much.
Take One Fish: The New School of Scale-toTail Cooking and Eating by Josh Niland
With 60 recipes from 15 global varieties of fish, this cookbook will take you on a gustatory journey—from elaborate to easy, small to large and—always—scale to tail. Josh Niland unpacks each of the 15 fish to reveal their true culinary potential, from swordfish cotoletta to pot au feu, to tuna mapo tofu to an ethereal raw flounder. Celebrate the drips, crunchy bits, burnt edges & imperfections that are so central to Josh’s mission—to get more people having fun with fish ingenuity every day. ($55, HB)
Every Night of the Week by Lucy Tweed
Some days you want to cook; other days the goal is simply ‘food in mouths’. Welcome to Every Night of the Week, a cookbook for people who don’t like hard-and-fast recipes, by food and recipe writer, stylist and Instagram genie Lucy Tweed. ($35, PB)
Jane Austen’s Table by Robert T. Anderson
From picnicking on Box Hill and supper at the Netherfield Ball, to Mrs. Bennet’s family dinners and strawberry picking at Donwell Abbey, food plays a valuable role in Jane Austen’s novels. Including recipes such as Netherfield White Soup, Box Hill Picnic Pies, General Tilney’s Hot Chocolate, and Summer Berry Delice, this beautiful collection of over 70 recipes provides an irresistibly charming experience of Austen’s novels like no other. Immerse yourself in Austen’s world and all the pomp and charm of the eighteenth century with detailed notes and essays featured throughout. ($35, HB)
Simply Raymond by Raymond Blanc ($55, HB)
In lockdown chef Raymond Blanc opted for the simple dishes that evoked the happy memories, provided the connection to those he could not be with—recipes that were neither a challenge nor fussy, with ingredients that were easily-available and needed only basic kitchen equipment. Recipes include: Cod Cassoulet with Chorizo and Mixed Beans; A Quick Ratatouille; Cauliflower and Red Lentil Dhal; White Onion Soup; Beetroot Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon; Salade Nicoise; Tartiflette; Strawberry & Mascarpone Tart.
Design in a Frame of Emotion by Hannah Beachler
Hannah Beachler is known as an award-winning production designer, but she tells an audience that she considers herself to be more of a story designer. As film stills & concept art from a few of those stories—Moonlight, Miles Ahead, Creed, Lemonade, and Black Panther—flash across a screen, Beachler engages in a meandering conversation with Jacqueline Stewart & Toni L. Griffin about set building & curation, urban design, location scouting, Afrofuturism, fictional histories & Black feminist narratives, and illustrates her role—a designer behind on-screen tableaux that provide not only visual feasts of artistry & imagination, but also intimate spaces of emotion, humanity, and constructed memory. ($28, PB)
‘The definitive guide to producing, telling, showing, and making Australia.’
Patrick White’s Theatre: Australian Modernism on Stage, 1960–2018 by Denise Varney
One of the giants of Australian literature & the only Australian writer to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Patrick White received less acclaim when he turned his hand to playwriting. Denise Varney offers a new analysis of White’s 8 published plays, discussing how they have been staged & received over a period of 60 years. From the sensational rejection of The Ham Funeral by the Adelaide Festival in 1962 to 21st-century revivals incorporating digital technology, these productions & their reception illustrate the major shifts that have taken place in Australian theatre over time. Varney unpacks White’s complex & unique theatrical imagination, the social issues that preoccupied him as a playwright & his place in the wider Australian modernist & theatrical traditions. ($45, PB)
A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away by Paul Hirsch ($35, PB)
This is a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most influential films of the last 50 years by Paul Hirsch, a film editor who worked on more than 40 features. Starting with his work on Carrie, Hirsch gives insight into the production process, touching upon casting, directing, cutting, and scoring. Part film-school primer, part paean to legendary directors & professionals, Hirsch looks at the decisions that went into creating memorable & iconic scenes & offers fascinating portraits of filmmakers, stars & composers.
Tara June Winch
‘This superb cultural history is as stylish as the images of France and Frenchness that it so brilliantly interrogates.’ Frank Bongiorno
Cast a Diva: The Hidden Life of Maria Callas by Lyndsy Spence ($50, HB)
Much of Maria Callas’s life was overshadowed by her fiery relationship with Aristotle Onassis, who broke her heart when he left her for Jacqueline Kennedy, and her reputation was marred by legendary tantrums on and off the stage. However, little is known about Callas the woman; a girl who was brought up between New York and Greece, and who was forced to sing by her emotionally abusive mother. She left her family behind in Greece for an International career and was feted by royalty and Hollywood stars. A self-made woman, she fought sexism to rise to the top, but there was one thing she wanted but could not have: a happy private life. Fame provided celebrity and riches, but her last days were spent as a recluse in her Paris apartment, listening to her old recordings and addicted to prescription drugs. The first biography in over 15 years of Maria Callas, and the first to portray her as a feminist icon rather than a bitchy diva.
‘Raw and engaging, Reynolds and Clements have rescued this forgotten hero from obscurity.’
Free: A Life in Images & Words by Sergei Polunin ($99, HB)
The early life path of Ukraine-born Sergei Polunin was akin to a dancer’s fairytale. A precocious talent. Ballet training in Kiev. Admission to the Royal Ballet School in London at 13. First solo performance at the Royal Ballet at 19. In this autobiographical book, Polunin presents a stunning selection of photographs from his life & work, but also takes his readers behind the scenes, through his own unique voice sharing the emotional highs & lows of his journey. Along the way, he recounts why he quit alcohol & drugs, why he once took steroids, and the time he laughed so hard on stage that he forgot the dance steps.
Bad Boy Boogie: The true story of AC/DC legend Bon Scott by Jeff Apter ($33, PB)
Bon Scott was once asked if he was AC or DC. ‘Neither,’ he grinned, ‘I’m the lightning flash in the middle.’ And that’s how he lived his life. No one had the same skill with lyrics as Bon, who called his words ‘toilet poetry’, his ‘dirty ditties’. He could also vividly depict life on the road, best heard in the AC/DC classics ‘Long Way to the Top’ and ‘Highway to Hell’. Bon was always the joker in the AC/ DC pack. He’d happily pose for a photograph with a joint dangling from his lips or be interviewed in cut-off shorts with a banana provocatively stuffed into his waistband. Anything to elicit a laugh. The off-stage stories surrounding Bon are legendary. After spending a lively couple of days with Bon, Ol’ 55 singer Jim Manzie said, ‘My rock-and-roll education was pretty much complete.’ This is the first biography to focus on Bon’s remarkable gifts as a lyricist, frontman and rascal. In short, the real Bon Scott.
‘The Education of Young Donald Trilogy is a masterpiece.’
Now in B Format Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar by Oliver Craske, $23
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
My family gave me Watsonia: A Writing Life by Don Watson, a collection of his best writing, which I’ve been reading slowly all year, savouring his take on Australian and American politics and other issues, while relishing his limpid style. He says in his foreword that he could walk a few miles in the time he takes to choose the best word or phrase to put in a sentence—and it shows. My favourite article, first published in the Monthly, is Leaders and Dung Beetles, a comparison between John Cain, a recently deceased former premier of Victoria, much admired for his integrity and self-restraint, and our present government, about whom ‘integrity’ and ‘self-restraint’ are not words that readily come to mind. Cain was resolutely against casinos and poker machines, but they all happened once he resigned. He was very frugal with public money, always flew economy class and never indulged in boozy lunches. A dying breed of politicians? There are also excerpts from Watson’s writings on Paul Keating, who fell out with him over his Recollections of a Bleeding Heart to Watson’s lasting regret. Another favourite, also from the Monthly, is Watson’s ‘letter’ to Tony Windsor, another honest politician from the same mould as John Cain. Ian Dunt is one of my favourite guests on Late Night Live and I thoroughly enjoyed his latest book How to Be a Liberal. He covers liberalism from the time of the 17th century Levellers, and gives clear and succinct descriptions of the progress of the concept to the present day. He is good on John Stuart Mill and utilitarianism and even better on J. M. Keynes, who believed in public spending to alleviate recessions, and Friedrich Hayek, with his disciples Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, who believed in leaving the economy to the jiggerypokery of the market and keeping governments out of people’s lives. Dunt is distressed by Brexit and the porkies that were told to get people to vote Leave. As he and others have predicted, the Troubles look like starting up again in Northern Ireland. As regards the pandemic, it took hold because at first Boris Johnson thought he could wait to achieve herd immunity, but when he caught the virus, he discovered that the National Health Service, which had been denied proper funding for years, was essential for treating the afflicted as well as for managing vaccine delivery. Johnson’s own life was saved by immigrant nurses and doctors, ironical, as opposition to the EU’s immigration policy was the basis of the Leave campaign. With the pandemic upon us Keynes is for now back in fashion, but no doubt we’ll be back to austerity as soon as our governments resume counting their beans. Mary Zournazi, Australian philosopher, and Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury, were also guests on Late Night Live discussing their book Justice and Love: A Philosophical Dialogue. Williams and Zournazi had been discussing these topics for some time and their dialogues are now published with a foreword by Ben Okri—which alone is worth the book’s price. It has a marvellous cover featuring a pen and ink drawing titled ‘The Judgment of Solomon’ by Bartolomeo Passarotti. The theologian and the philosopher aren’t at loggerheads like the two mothers in the Solomon story but are usually in respectful agreement, and they don’t propose simplistic solutions to complex problems. They discuss the war in Syria, Brexit (Williams was in the 48% who voted Remain), global warming, refugees, ISIS, and the proliferation of populist leaders who undermine the judiciary and the free press. They agree that such polarisation leads to injustice and we need to listen to each other more, even to people with whom we disagree profoundly. Rowan Williams thanks two of his students for providing a youthful perspective, and Mary Zournazi thanks Christos Tsiolkas, fellow atheist and child of Greek Orthodox parents, for his insights. I loved this little book. And now for something completely different: Low Expectations by Stuart Everly-Wilson. Set in Western Sydney in 1975, it features as its hero and narrator Devon Destri, aged 15 and living with his single mother. Devon pretends to be dumb in both senses of the word so that he can stay in his school’s remedial class where nothing is expected of him. Because he has a disability, the ‘normals’ call him Spaz and beat him up, so he frequently wags school. He has friends: Big Tammy, his neighbour Krenek who teaches him to read, and the hairdresser who cuts his hair to look like David Bowie’s and dyes it red—a bad look on the school bus that lands him in hospital. His favourite book is Great Expectations but only his friends know he can read. There’s some secret about his father but his mother and Krenek will never tell him. What I like about this story is that Devon learns from his mistakes, gradually loses his abrasiveness, and even when he does unwise things we’re always on his side. I gave Low Expectations to a young friend going to hospital for an operation and I’m in his good books for life! Sonia
The Accidental Prime Minister by Annika Smethurst ($40, HB)
Nine months after the spill that catapulted him to the prime ministership, Scott Morrison won the 2019 election, shocking politicians & political pundits (and, quite possibly, himself). Yet, unlike his predecessors, little was really known about the former marketing man whose hard-nosed political instincts & ‘daggy dad persona’ saw him become the 30th Australian PM. Taking us from his childhood, as the son of a local policeman, to a meeting that would lead to marriage to his teenage sweetheart, Annika Smethurst covers the personal & the political. There are questions about Morrison’s early business career & his preselection that, when answered, paint a clearer picture of the man leading our country & give greater insight into how he won the ‘miracle’ election.
The Women of Little Lon: Sex workers in nineteenth century Melbourne by Barbara Minchinton
Sex workers in 19th-century Melbourne were judged morally corrupt by the respectable world around them. But theirs was a thriving trade, with links to the police & political leaders of the day, and the leading brothels were usually managed by women. While today a popular bar & a city lane are famously named after Madame Brussels, the identities of the other ‘flash madams’, the ‘dressed girls’ who worked for them & the hundreds of women who solicited on the streets of the Little Lon district of Melbourne are not remembered. Who were they? What did their daily lives look like? What became of them? Drawing on the findings of recent archaeological excavations, rare archival material & family records, historian Barbara Minchinton brings the fascinating world of Little Lon to life. ($33, PB)
An Insider’s Plague Year by Peter Doherty ($33, PB)
As citizens & governments around the world suddenly became acutely dependent on the capacity of scientists to understand & recommend appropriate public health policy responses to the COVID19 pandemic, Peter Doherty & his team were at the forefront. In this book he systematically provides a deep understanding of the virus and of the numerous areas of knowledge that have been brought together in the fight against it. Rendering complex medical & scientific issues accessible & providing a fascinating glimpse into how health experts have worked with governments to control & manage the challenge, Doherty also turns his mind to what we can hope for in the months & years ahead, considering even larger questions about the pivotal role of science in our lives.
Power Play: Breaking Through Bias, Barriers and Boys’ Clubs by Julia Banks ($35, PB)
Having won the ‘unwinnable’ seat that secured the Coalition Government majority in 2016, Julia Banks shocked Australia when she announced she would stand as an independent MP in 2018, having experienced a toxic workplace culture in the country’s centre of power—at every level, forced to navigate through the bias, barriers & boys’ clubs that aim to silence women or deter them from leadership roles. Her book reveals the unvarnished realities of any workplace where power disparities & gender politics collide: from the unequal opportunities, casual sexism & systemic misogyny, to pressures around looks, age & family responsibilities, and the consequences of speaking out. Banks shares personal stories, practical advice, and a resounding argument for why women aren’t the problem—but why more women in decision-making positions will help us find the solution..
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea by Michael Veitch
In the thick of WWII, during the first week of March 1943, Japan made a final, desperate lunge for control of the South West Pacific. In the ensuing Battle of the Bismarck Sea, a force of land-based Australian & American planes attacked a massive convoy of Japanese warships, a devastating victory was won & Japan’s hopes of regaining the initiative in New Guinea destroyed. More importantly for Australians, the victory decisively removed any possibility that Australia might be invaded by Japanese forces. It was, for us, one of the most significant times in our history—a week when our future was profoundly in the balance. Michael Veitch tells the riveting story of this crucial moment in history—how the bravery of young men and experienced fighters, renegades and rulefollowers, overcame some of the darkest days of WWII. ($33, PB)
Griffith Review 73: Hey, Utopia! by Ashley Hay
Coined by Sir Thomas More in the 16th century, the word ‘utopia’ is a play on the Greek for no place & good place. But is an ideal society unattainable—or optimal? This edition of Griffith Review visits utopias old & new, near & far, to explore the possibilities & pitfalls of imagining a better future. From Plato’s Republic to Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, JG Ballard’s High Rise & the failed countercultural dreams of the 1960s, utopian thinking has long influenced how we see the world. Where will it take us next? And do we even want to go there? What do our visions of utopia look like today? How can we disentangle the practical realities from the pipe dreams? What are the dangers of utopianism? How do questions of sustainability, gender equity & economic justice shape our visions of an ideal society, new politics, different ways of life? ($28, PB)
Tongerlongeter: First Nations Leader and Tasmanian War Hero ($35, PB) by Henry Reynolds & Nicholas Clements
Leader of the Oyster Bay nation of south-east Tasmania in the 1820s & 30s, Tongerlongeter & his allies led the most effective frontier resistance ever mounted on Australian soil. They killed or wounded some 354—or 4 per cent—of the invaders of their country. His brilliant campaign inspired terror throughout the colony, forcing Governor George Arthur to launch a massive military operation in 1830—the infamous Black Line. Tongerlongeter escaped but the cumulative losses had taken their toll. On New Year’s Eve 1831, having lost his arm, his country, and all but 25 of his people, the chief agreed to an armistice. In exile on Flinders Island, this revered warrior united most of the remnant tribes & became the settlement’s ‘King’—a beacon of hope in a hopeless situation. This is a book about a war hero, his people, and his allies, men and women who fought the longest, in proportion the bloodiest, and among the most consequential wars in Australia’s history.
God Save the Queen: The strange persistence of monarchies by Dennis Altman ($28, PB)
When he was deposed in Egypt in 1952, King Farouk predicted that there would be 5 monarchs left at the end of the century— the kings of hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades, and of England. But while the 20th century saw the collapse of monarchies across Europe, many democratic societies have remained monarchies. Is monarchy merely a feudal relic that should be abolished, or does the division between ceremonial and actual power act as a brake on authoritarian politicians? In an era of autocratic populism, does constitutional monarchy provide some safeguards against the megalomania of political leaders? Is a President Boris potentially more dangerous than a Prime Minister Boris? Dennis Altman suggests that monarchy deserves neither the adulation of the right nor the dismissal of the left.
Long Half-Life: The Nuclear Industry in Australia Sharing Responsibility: The History & Future of Protection from Atrocities by Luke Glanville by Ian Lowe ($34.95, PB)
Australia has been directly involved in the nuclear industry for more than a century. In this book Ian Lowe tells the social & political history of Australia’s role, from the first discovery of radioactive ores in 1906 to contemporary contentious questions. Should the next generation of submarines be nuclear powered? Can nuclear energy help to slow global climate change? Do we need nuclear weapons for defence? Should we store radioactive waste from nuclear power stations in our region? This is a timely & riveting account of the political, social & scientific complexities of the nuclear industry, revealing the power of vested interests, the subjectivities of scientists & the transformative force of community passion.
Our Exceptional Friend: Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States by Emma Shortis ($33, PB)
Australians are told that we have two choices in this world: the United States, or China. Emma Shortis challenges the old assumption that we have no option other than to submit to one global power at the expense of another, and asks Australians to really examine why it is that we welcome American dominance. In this, our 70th year of the Australia–US alliance, historian Shortis argues it’s time to take a fresh & unflinching look at our special relationship, and examine whose interests it really serves. We don’t have to make a binary choice between subservience to an increasingly broken democracy & abandoning the alliance. There are other options. How can we make it better for us, and make the world a better place for it?
The Ferals that Ate Australia by Guy Hull ($35, PB)
Isolation was once the impenetrable barrier that protected Australia and its unique fauna. But a little over 200 years ago a foreign power took possession & brought with it the foreign animals that now dominate the country’s ecosystem. Since that time, around 10 per cent of Australia’s endemic terrestrial mammalian species have become extinct. Today Australia is dealing with the damage caused by all hard-hoofed animals, domestic and feral. Yet the bigger feral story is the ravages of acclimatisation, caused as new settlers tried to make the colony more like their homeland & released the rabbit, the fox, the hare, feral cats, common mynas, starlings, sparrows, redfin perch, and the many other invasive species that have brought native Australia to its knees. Guy Hull details this history & the modern strategies that are—hopefully—reclaiming the country for our native fauna & its human population.
New ‘In the National Interest’ $19.95 each Who Dares Loses: Pariah Policies by Wayne Errington & Peter van Onselen
This book suggests alternative sources of revenue and spending reforms. In addition, it examines the limited debates over welfare, Medicare and public broadcasting.
Tides that Bind: Australia in the Pacific by Richard Marles
ALP Deputy Leader Richard Marles implores us to step up our support for and commit to building better relationships with our friends in the Pacific, assisting their development and securing peace in the region.
Easy Lies & Influence by Fiona McLeod
Fiona McLeod, a practising Senior Counsel and Chair of the Accountability Round Table, tells us what corruption can do, and why it’s imperative that we address it.
Politics, Protest, Pandemic: The year that changed Australia by Eddy Jokovich & David Lewis
2020 was one of the most dramatic years in human history, shaped by the coronavirus pandemic that influence society in so many different ways, combining health, politics, economics, business & education into the one sphere—and that proved to be difficult for many governments around the world to manage. This book is the story of the year in Australian federal politics, told through a collection of extended political essays from the New Politics Australia podcast series. ($29.95, PB)
Luke Glanville looks at the duty of nations to protect human rights beyond borders, why it has failed in practice, and what can be done about it. The idea that states share a responsibility to shield people everywhere from atrocities is presently under threat. Despite some early 21st century successes, including the 2005 UN endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect, the project has been placed into jeopardy due to catastrophes in such places as Syria, Myanmar, and Yemen; resurgent nationalism; and growing global antagonism. Glanville seeks to diagnose the current crisis in international protection by exploring its long and troubled history. With attention to ethics, law, and politics, he measures what possibilities remain for protecting people wherever they reside from atrocities, despite formidable challenges in the international arena. ($60, HB)
Daughters of Kobani: The Women who took on the Islamic State by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
In 2014, an all-female militia faced off against ISIS in the little northeast Syrian town of Kobani. By then, the Islamic State had swept across the country, spreading terror as the civil war burned all around it. From that unlikely showdown in Kobani emerged a fighting force that would wage war against ISIS across northern Syria alongside the US. In the process, these women would spread their own political vision, determined to make women’s equality a reality by fighting—house by house, street bystreet, city by city—the men who bought & sold women. Drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon introduces the women fighting on the front lines, determined to not only extinguish the terror of ISIS but also prove that women could lead in war & must enjoy equal rights come the peace. ($33, PB)
The Sins of the Sheikh by Tom Steinfort ($35, PB) Dubai is feted internationally as a beacon of modernity- glittering skyscrapers, a cultural melting pot, even a new player in the space race. The city’s ruled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, an all-powerful multi-billionaire who counts the Queen and Donald Trump as friends. His kingdom’s progressive propaganda defies a medieval underbelly. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the Sheikh’s own palace, where numerous women have now risked their lives by sounding the alarm about what’s really going on in the United Arab Emirates. Tom Steinfort has spent years uncovering the sins of Sheikh Mohammed, and the disturbing reality of life in Dubai. He shares the stories of those who have experienced the horror first hand, and trusted him to raise the alarm.
Economics Without the Boring Bits by Tejvan Pettinger ($25, PB)
Where does wealth come from? How is it different from money? Does division of labour mean that the best people are hired to do the job? Does government intervention prevent or create crises? What is the most effective way to protect the environment? This is a clear, comprehensive and richly anecdotal guide to debt, finance, trade, money, taxation, supply, demand and all the other big issues that worry us all yet relatively few truly understand.
The World: Brief Introduction by Richard Haass ($28, PB)
Today’s headlines generate more questions than answers. Should the United States attack North Korea and Iran or negotiate with them? What are the implications of climate change and what should be done about it? Are tariffs a good idea? What do we owe refugees and others who want to enter our country? Should democratic countries promote democracy and human rights elsewhere? What can be done to stop terrorism? Are the United States and China heading for a second cold war-and, if so, what can be done to head it off? President of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, provides you with the essential background needed to answer these & other critical questions.
Going With The Boys by Judith Mackrell ($45, HB)
On the front lines of WW2, a contingent of female journalists were bravely waging their own battle. Barred from combat zones & faced with entrenched prejudice & bureaucratic restrictions, these women were forced to fight for the right to work on equal terms as men. Judith Mackrell follows 6 remarkable women as their lives and careers intertwined: Martha Gellhorn, who outscooped her husband Ernest Hemingway on D-Day by travelling to Normandy as a stowaway on a hospital ship; Lee Miller, who went from being a Vogue cover model to the magazine’s official war correspondent; Sigrid Schultz, who hid her Jewish identity & risked her life by reporting on the Nazi regime; Virginia Cowles, a ‘society girl columnist’ turned combat reporter; Clare Hollingworth, the first journalist to report the outbreak of war; and Helen Kirkpatrick, the first woman to report from an Allied war zone with equal privileges to men.
Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Serhii Plokhy ($50, HB)
For more than 4 weeks in the autumn of 1962 the world teetered. The consequences of a misplaced step during the Cuban Missile Crisis could not have been more grave. Historian Serhii Plokhy tells the riveting story of those weeks, tracing the tortuous decision-making & calculated brinkmanship of John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev & Fidel Castro, and of their advisors & commanders on the ground. More often than not, Plokhy argues, the Americans & Soviets simply misread each other, operating under mutual distrust, second-guesses & false information. Despite all of this, nuclear disaster was avoided thanks to one very human reason—fear. Drawing on the impressive array of primary sources, including the recently declassified KGB files, Plokhy gives a fast-paced & unforgettable new account of the Cold War’s most perilous moment.
Rivers of Power by Laurence C. Smith ($23, PB)
Most of our greatest cities stand on river banks or deltas, and our quest for mastery has spurred staggering advances in engineering, science & law. Rivers & their topographic divides have shaped the territories of nations & the migration of peoples, and yet—as their resources become ever more precious—can foster cooperation even among enemy states. And though they become increasingly domesticated, they remain a formidable global force—these vast arterial powers promote life but are capable of destroying everything in their path. From ancient Egypt to our growing contemporary metropolises, Laurence C. Smith reveals why rivers matter so profoundly to human civilization, and how they continue to be indispensable to our societies & wellbeing.
The Shortest History of War by Gwynne Dyer
Gwynne Dyer chronicles the advent of warfare in the first cities; the rise of inequality & tyranny as humans multiply; the 1000year classical era of combat until the firearm & the Thirty Years’ War, which changed everything. He traces how the brief interlude of limited war before the popular revolutions of the 18th century ushered in total war—and how the devastation was halted, for now, by the shock of Hiroshima. Vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the role of war in the long human story—and how we can stop it from dominating our future. ($25, PB)
The Confidence Men by Margalit Fox ($35, HB)
Imprisoned in a remote Turkish POW camp during WW1, two British officers, Harry Jones & Cedric Hill, cunningly join forces. To stave off boredom, Jones makes a handmade Ouija board & holds fake séances for fellow prisoners. One day, an Ottoman official approaches him with a query: could Jones contact the spirits to find a vast treasure rumoured to be buried nearby? Jones, a lawyer, and Hill, a magician, use the Ouija board—and their keen understanding of the psychology of deception—to build a trap for their captors that will lead them to freedom. Chronicling a profound but unlikely friendship, this is a nonfiction thriller featuring strategy, mortal danger & even high farce.
Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping by Klaus Muhlhahn ($41.95, PB)
China has had a long history of creative adaptation & it would be a mistake to think that its current trajectory began with Deng Xiaoping. In the mid-18th century, when the Qing Empire reached the height of its power, China dominated a third of the world’s population. Then, as the Opium Wars threatened the nation’s sovereignty & the Taiping Rebellion ripped the country apart, China found itself verging on free fall. In the 20th century China managed a surprising recovery, rapidly undergoing profound economic & social change, buttressed by technological progress. A dynamic story of crisis and recovery, failures and triumphs, Making China Modern explores the versatility and resourcefulness that has guaranteed China’s survival in the past, and is now fuelling its future.
Now in B Format Philip And Alexander by Adrian Goldsworthy, $25
Science & Nature
How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch by Harry Cliff ($35, PB)
Inspired by Sagan’s famous line, ‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe’, Harry Cliff begins his exploration of the nature of the universe by burning an apple pie to see what he can learn of its chemical makeup, before setting out in pursuit of answers to these bigger questions and others even more ambitious: Where does matter come from? Why does the universe exist? Cliff ventures to the largest underground research facility in the world, where scientists look into the heart of the Sun using the most elusive of particles, the ghostly neutrino. He visits CERN in Switzerland to behold the ‘Antimatter Factory’, where this stuff of science fiction is manufactured daily (and we’re close to knowing whether it falls up). Cliff illuminates the history of physics & chemistry that brought us to our present understanding—and misunderstandings—of the world, while offering listeners a front row seat to the dramatically unfolding quest to unlock, at long last, the secrets of our universe.
In Plain Sight: An investigation into UFOs and impossible science by Ross Coulthart ($35, PB)
Ross Coulthart has been intrigued by UFOs since mysterious glowing lights were reported near New Zealand’s Kaikoura mountains when he was a teenager. The 1978 sighting is just one of thousands since the 1940s, and yet research into UFOs is still seen as the realm of crackpots & conspiracy theorists. In 2020, however, after decades of denial, the US Department of Defence made the astonishing admission that strange aerial & underwater objects frequently reported & videoed by pilots & tracked by sensors are real, unexplained & pose a genuine national security concern. Coulthart speaks to witnesses, researchers, scientists, spies & defence & intelligence officials & insiders, and what he finds suggests that the world is on the cusp of extraordinary technological breakthroughs & cultural revelations.
The New Breed: How to Think About Robots by Kate Darling ($45, HB)
The robots are here. They make our cars, they deliver fast food, they mine the sea floor. And in the near-future their presence will increasingly enter our homes & workplaces—making human-robot interaction a frequent, everyday occurrence. What will this future look like? What will define the relationship between humans & robots? In a deeply original analysis of our technological future & the ethical dilemmas that await us, robot ethicist, Kate Darling, shows that in order to understand the new robot world, we must first move beyond the idea that this technology will be something like us. Instead, she argues, we should look to our relationship with animals. Just as we have harnessed the power of animals to aid us in war & work, so too will robots supplement rather than—replace—our own skills & abilities.
Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder
Edith Widder grew up wanting to become a marine biologist. But after complications from surgery caused her to go temporarily blind, she became fascinated by light, and her focus turned to bioluminescence. On her first visit to the deep ocean, she turned off the lights on her diving suit and witnessed breathtaking explosions of bioluminescent activity. Widder takes you deep into the mysteries of the oceans as she investigates one of nature’s most widely used forms of communication—revealing a dazzling menagerie of creatures, from microbes to leviathans—many never before seen or, like the giant squid, never before filmed. ($35, PB)
Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory & Myth by Patrick Nunn ($30, PB)
The traces of much of human history & that which preceded it lie beneath the ocean surface; broken up, dispersed, often buried & always mysterious. Patrick Nunn sifts the facts from the fiction, using the most up-to-date research to work out which submerged places may have actually existed versus those that probably only exist in myth. He examines the presence of ancient lands, submerged beneath the waves in a time that even the longest-reaching folk memory can’t touch. Such places may have played important roles in human evolution, but can only be reconstructed through careful geological detective work. Exploring how lands become submerged, whether from sea-level changes, tectonic changes, gravity collapse, giant waves or volcanoes, helps determine why, when and where land may disappear in the future, and what might be done to prevent it.
The Secret Body by Daniel M. Davis ($35, PB)
See how super-resolution nano-scopes are revealing hitherto hidden operations within our cells & opening up new ways of manipulating the immune system; how human embryos can now be preserved alive long enough to see how genetic abnormalities can be corrected during the early stages of foetal development; how light is being used to excite pathways in the brain allowing us to understand & manipulate thoughts & feelings. Daniel M. Davis takes you to the frontier of medical research & reveals stunning recent advances that are changing our understanding of how human body works, how we combat & prevent disease and how we understand what it means to be human.
It starts with science.
Philosophy & Religion
How We Became Human by Dr Tim Dean ($35, HC)
Over thousands of years, humans have developed mechanisms to help us live together in ever-larger social groups. We developed a set of ‘moral emotions’ such as empathy, guilt & outrage, as well as a tendency to favour people in our in-groups & a propensity to punish perceived wrongdoers. Our culture also evolved, giving us powerful tools like religion & politics that could expand community sizes & maintain moral order. While these mechanisms served our ancestors well, though, our evolved sense of right & wrong is out of step with the modern world. Social media can turn outrage into an addiction, gender equality is still hampered by caveman thinking, and implicit bias turns to explicit oppression. How do we separate what’s natural from what’s right? How can we reshape our thinking to thrive in the modern world? Philosopher Tim Dean charts the evolution of morality from the first humans to today, to show how we can turn towards a better future.
Christians by Greg Sheridan ($33, PB)
From the historical Jesus & his disciples through to the present day, Greg Sheridan has written a compelling case for the truth & importance of Christianity in our lives. He presents a strong argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament, meets the living Jesus there, explores the extraordinary personality of Paul, celebrates Mary’s activism & examines the magnificent richness of John. He examines where Jesus can be found in popular culture, and introduces a range of fascinating Christians today—talking to Christian leaders, Pentecostal, Catholic, Evangelical & others, in Australia, the US and Britain. He explores the journey of those who have been guided by faith, such as Gemma Sisia, whose school in Tanzania has transformed the lives of thousands of children, and the dynamic Chinese Christians pursuing their beliefs under harsh restrictions.
On Love and Tyranny: The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt by Ann Heberlein ($40, HB)
Hannah Arendt dedicated her life to thinking through the most fundamental & difficult of human problems: totalitarianism, exile, the nature of love & the moral problem of evil. But these were not only philosophical concerns for Arendt—they were also personal. In this immersive new biography, Ann Heberlein shows how Arendt’s groundbreaking work was intimately formed by turbulence in both the wider world & her own personal experience. Tracing Arendt’s flight from Hitler’s GermaEmpire of Ants ny & then occupied France, as well as the intensity of her friendSusanne Foitzik & Olaf Fritsche ($33, PB) Ants have been walking the Earth since the age of the dinosaurs. ships & loves, Heberlein develops a sharply detailed, complex Today there are one million ants for every one of us. The closer you portrait of Arendt as an involved witness to the crises of her time get to ants, the more human they look: they build megacities, grow & an essential thinker for all time. crops, raise livestock, tend their young & infirm, and even make The Last Man Takes LSD: Foucault & the End vaccines. They also wage war, enslave rivals & rebel against their of Revolution oppressors. From fearsome army ants, who stage 12-hour hunting by Dean Mitchell & Zamora Daniel ($40, HB) raids where they devour thousands, to gentle leaf-cutters gardenIn May 1975, Michel Foucault took LSD in the desert in southing in their peaceful underground kingdoms, every ant is engiern California. He described it as the most important event of neered by nature to fulfil their particular role. Biologist Susanne his life which would lead him to completely rework his HistoFoitzik has travelled the globe to study these master architects of Earth. With journalist ry of Sexuality. His focus now would not be on power relations but on Olaf Fritsche, Foitzik invites you deep into her world—in the field and in the lab. the experiments of subjectivity, and the care of the self. Through this lens he would Sentient by Jackie Higgins ($35, PB) reinterpret the social movements of May 68 & position himself politically in France Jackie Higgins assembles a menagerie of zoological creatures to in relation to the emergent ant-totalitarian & anti-welfare state currents. He would understand what it means to be human. Through their eyes, ears, also come to appreciate the possibilities of autonomy offered by a new force on skins, tongues and noses, the furred, finned & feathered reveal how the French political scene that was neither of the Left nor the Right- neoliberalism. we sense & make sense of the world, as well as the untold scientific revolution stirring in the field of human perception. The harlequin Bald: 35 Philosophical Short Cuts mantis shrimp can throw a punch that can fracture aquarium walls by Simon Critchley ($34.95, HB) but, more importantly, it has the ability to see a vast range of col- This volume brings together 35 essays, originally published in ours. The ears of the great grey owl have such unparalleled range the Times, on a wide range of topics, from the dimensions of & sensitivity that they can hear 20 decibels lower than the human Plato’s academy & the mysteries of Eleusis to Philip K. Dick, ear. Meet the star-nosed mole’s miraculous nose, the four-eyed Mormonism, money & the joy & pain of Liverpool Football spookfish, as well as the bar-tailed godwit, the common octopus, giant peacocks, chee- Club fans. Critchley writes with honesty about the state of tahs and golden orb-weaving spiders. Each of these extraordinary creatures illustrates world as he offers philosophically informed & insightful conthe sensory powers that lie dormant within us. Higgins explores this evolutionary herit- siderations of happiness, violence & faith. Stripped of inaccesage and, in doing so, enables us to subconsciously engage with the world in ways we sible academic armatures, these short pieces bring philosophy out of the ivory tower and demonstrate an exciting new way to never knew possible. think in public. Ice Rivers by Jemma Wadham ($45, HB) Jemma Wadham has devoted her career to the glaciers that covers Time of the Magicians: The Great Decade of one-tenth of the Earth’s land surface. Today, however, these ‘ice Philosophy, 1919–1929 by Wolfram Eilenberger rivers’ are in peril. High up in the Alps, Andes and Himalaya, once- The year is 1919. Walter Benjamin flees his overbearing father indomitable glaciers are retreating; in Antarctica, meanwhile, thin- to scrape a living as a jobbing critic. Ludwig Wittgenstein signs ning ice sheets are releasing meltwater to sensitive marine food- away his inheritance to teach schoolchildren in a provincial webs, and may be unlocking vast quantities of methane stored deep Austrian village, seeking spiritual clarity. Martin Heidegger beneath them. The potential consequences for humanity are almost renounces his faith & aligns his fortunes with the phenomenounfathomable. Prompted by an illness that took her to the brink of logical school of Edmund Husserl. Ernst Cassirer sketches a death and back, in Ice Rivers Wadham recalls twenty-five years of new schema of human culture at the back of a cramped Berlin expeditions around the globe, revealing why the glaciers mean so tram. The stage is set for a great intellectual drama, which will unfold over the next much to her—and what they should mean to us. As she guides us from the Alps to the decade. The lives and thought of this quartet will converge and intertwine as each Andes, the importance of the ice to crucial ecosystems and human livelihoods becomes gains world historical significance, between them remaking philosophy. Eilenberger tells the story of this revolution in Western thought through the remarkable & turbuclear—our lives are entwined with these coldest places on the planet. lent lives of its four protagonists. ($50, HB)
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Psychology / Personal Development Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created our Mental Health Crisis by James Davies ($40, HB)
A Life in Words: Collected writings from Gallipoli to the Melbourne Cup by Les Carlyon
In Britain alone, more than 20% of the adult population take a psychiatric drug in any one year. This is an increase of over 500% since 1980 & the numbers continue to grow. Yet, despite this prescription epidemic, levels of mental illness of all types have actually increased in number & severity. Using a wealth of studies, interviews with experts & detailed analysis, Dr James Davies argues that this is because we have fundamentally mischaracterised the problem. Rather than viewing most mental distress as an understandable reaction to wider societal problems, we have embraced a medical model which situates the problem solely within the sufferer & their brain.
‘He’s been called Australia’s Damon Runyon, but that tag is far too limiting to do him justice. Certainly his turf stories are usually character-driven gems. But read him on Anzac Cove, or Bradman, or Ted Whitten, or any part of the essence of this country. He writes with gritty elegance.’ Harry Gordon. Les Carlyon became editor of The Age at 33, and went on to become editor in chief of The Herald & Weekly Times. He won two Walkley Awards and the coveted Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award across a career where he covered everything from Don Bradman to Paul Keating, from Flemington to Flanders, from Henry Lawson to Clive James. ($40, HB)
Second Innings: On men, mental health and cricket by Barry Nicholls ($25, PB)
Antigone Kefala: New Australian Modernities (eds) Elizabeth McMahon & Brigitta Olubas
Set partly in the present, Second Innings includes flashbacks through five decades of life and focuses particularly on the lives of the men across the generations of Barry Nicholls’ own family, and tells the story of Nicholls’s journey from teacher to print journalist to broadcaster. He shows what can happen when long-term unresolved anxiety takes hold & demonstrates the value of finding compassionate and understanding medical professionals who provide a path toward the light when all seems lost. As Greg Chappell helps show Nicholls, in life there is always a second innings.
Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself by Lisa Marchiano ($37, PB)
Motherhood is the true hero’s journey—which is to say that it can be as harrowing as it is joyful, and enlightening as it is exhausting. For Jungian psychoanalyst Lisa Marchiano, this journey is not just an adventure of diaper bags and parent-teacher conferences, but one of intense self-discovery. In Motherhood, Marchiano draws from a deep well of Jungian analysis and symbolic research to present a collection of fairytales, myths, and fables that evoke the spiritual arc of raising a child from infancy through adulthood. Divided into 3 major segments similar to the stages of a hero’s initiatory journey, (Descent, Sojourn & Return), Motherhood charts how events like pregnancy, the calamities of childhood, and the empty-nest experience are all parts of an odyssey to which every mother receives an invitation.
Retreat: The Risks and Rewards of Stepping Back from the World by Nat Segnit ($35, PB)
Mindfulness and meditation are all the rage. Wellness tourism, yoga breaks, meditation apps, and spiritual boot camps have been booming—religious and secular, entry-level to hardcore. Retreat investigates this human obsession, mining neuroscience, psychology and history to reveal why we seek solitude, what we get out of it, and what is going on in our brains and bodies when we achieve it. What has it meant to the world’s great thinkers, and what does it mean, in our age, as an activity we pay for? Nat Segnit has felt the pull of solitude and the fear of it, as well as the warmth of company. To answer these questions, he has been on retreats around the world and met yogic scholars, cognitive and social scientists, religious leaders, philosophers and artists.
Letters To My Weird Sisters: On Autism & Feminism by Joanna Limburg ($33, HB) An autism diagnosis in midlife enabled Joanne Limburg to finally make sense of why her emotional expression, social discomfort and presentation had always marked her as an outsider. Eager to discover other women who had been misunderstood in their time, she writes a series of wide-ranging letters to four ‘weird sisters’ from history, addressing topics including autistic parenting, social isolation, feminism, the movement for disability rights and the appalling punishments that have been meted out over centuries to those deemed to fall short of the norm.
The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World by Joe Keohane ($35, HB)
In our cities, we barely acknowledge one another on public transport, even as rates of loneliness skyrocket. Online, we carefully curate who we interact with. In our politics, we are increasingly consumed by a fear of people we’ve never met. But what if strangers, long believed to be the cause of many of our problems, were actually the solution? Joe Keohane discovers the surprising benefits that come from talking to strangers, examining how even passing interactions can enhance empathy, happiness & cognitive development, ease loneliness & isolation, and root us in the world, deepening our sense of belonging. Witty, erudite & profound, Keohane’s book will make you reconsider how you perceive & approach strangers, showing you how talking to strangers is not just a way to live, it’s a way to survive.
Now in B Format Attached: Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you by Amir & Hel Levine, $20
From the force of her poetic imagery and the cadences of her phrases and her sentences to the large philosophical and historical questions she poses and to which she responds, Kefala has generated in her writing new ways of living in time, place and language. Across six collections of poetry and five prose works, themselves comprising fiction, non-fiction, essays and diaries, she has mapped the experience of exile and alienation alongside the creativity of a relentless reconstitution of self. Kefala is also a cultural visionary. From her rapturous account of Sydney as the place of her arrival in 1959, to her role in developing diverse writing cultures at the Australia Council, to the account of her own writing life amongst a community of friends and artists in Sydney Journals (2008), she has reimagined the ways we live and write in Australia. ($35, PB)
Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm by Robin DiAngelo
Author of White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo identifies many common racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm. These patterns include rushing to prove that we are ‘not racist’; downplaying white advantage; romanticizing Black, Indigenous and other peoples of colour; pretending white segregation ‘just happens’; expecting BIPOC people to teach us about racism; carefulness; and shame. She challenges the ideology of Individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment and accountability. ($35, PB)
House of Fiction by Phyllis Richardson ($28, PB)
From the gothic fantasies of Walpole’s Otranto to post-modern takes on the country house by Kazuo Ishiguro & Ian McEwan, Phyllis Richardson guides us on a tour through buildings real & imagined to examine how authors’ personal experiences helped to shape the homes that have become icons of English literature. We encounter Jane Austen drinking ‘too much wine’ in the lavish ballroom of a Hampshire manor, discover how Virginia Woolf’s love of Talland House at St. Ives is palpable in To the Lighthouse, and find Evelyn Waugh remembering Madresfield Court as he plots Charles Ryder’s return to Brideshead. Drawing on historical sources, biographies, letters, diaries, and the novels themselves, Richardson opens the doors to these celebrated houses while offering candid glimpses of the writers who brought them to life.
Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
On 10 June 2020, the scholar James Nwoye Adichie died suddenly in Nigeria. In this tender & powerful essay, expanded from the original New Yorker text, his daughter, a self-confessed daddy’s girl, remembers her beloved father—a tribute to a long life of grace and wisdom, the story of a daughter’s fierce love for a parent, and a revealing examination of the layers of loss and the nature of grief. ($15, PB)
Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul? Essays by Jesse McCarthy ($45.95, HB)
McCarthy reinvigorates the essay form as a space not only for argument but for experimental writing that mixes & chops the old ways into new ones. In Notes on Trap, he borrows a conceit from Susan Sontag to reveal the social & political significance of trap music, the drug-soaked strain of Southern hip-hop. In The Master’s Tools, the relationship between Spanish painter Diego Velázquez and his acolyte-slave, Juan de Pareja, becomes the lens through which Kehinde Wiley’s paintings are viewed, while To Make a Poet Black explores the hidden blackness of Sappho and the erotic power of Phillis Wheatley. Essays on John Edgar Wideman, Claudia Rankine & Colson Whitehead survey the state of black letters. In his title essay, McCarthy takes on the question of reparations, arguing that true progress will not come until Americans remake their institutions in the service of true equality.
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Introducing Locust Summer
by David Allan-Petale ‘Few novels have such quiet authority and insight into pasts and futures, nostalgia and grief.’ Toni Jordan ‘Authentic, true, and moving – this book made me want to hug my kids, my wife, my parents, and never let them go.’ Benjamin Hobson
The First Time I Thought I Was Dying by Sarah Walker ($30, PB)
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We live in a world that expects us to be constantly in control of ourselves. Our bodies and minds, though, have other ideas. In this debut collection of essays artist and writer Sarah Walker wrestles with the awkward spaces where anatomy meets society—body image and Photoshop, phobias and religion, sex scenes and onstage violence, death and grief. Her writing is at once specific and universal as she mines the limits of anxiety, intimacy and control. Sharpwitted & poignant, her essays explores our unruly bodies and asks how we might learn to embrace our own chaos.
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The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio ($30, PB)
Right after the election of 2016, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand & embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants—and to find the hidden key to her own. Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting & powerful personal narratives to bring to light remarkable stories of resilience, madness & death. She finds the singular characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless labourers. The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects. And through it all she grapples with the her own questions of love, duty, family & survival. National Book Award finalist.
British explorer Wilfred Thesiger’s life story reads like a boy’s-own adventure. Born in 1910 in Addis Ababa, the son of Britain’s High Commissioner in Ethiopia, he was educated at Eton and Oxford (where he studied history and represented the university at boxing). He returned to Africa briefly in 1930 to attend the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie (at the personal invitation of the Emperor) and again in 1933 to lead an expedition to Ethiopia’s Awash River region for the Royal Geographical Society. With the outbreak of war Thesiger fought with the Abyssinian resistance against the occupying Italians and later served in Syria and other battle fronts of the North African Campaign. Thesiger attained the rank of Major in the British Army and his heroic service was recognised with a DSO. After the war Thesiger travelled across Arabia, lived for several years in the marshes of Iraq, and then travelled on to Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Northern Pakistan, French Western Africa, Kenya and beyond. He wrote several very successful books about his travels which established his reputation as the greatest explorer of his day starting with Arabian Sands (1959), an account of his perilous crossing of the ‘Empty Quarter’, the vast desert of southern Arabia. This was followed by The Marsh Arabs (1964), an account of Thesiger’s life in the now lost marshlands of northern Iraq. Both books became best sellers and were marked by a winningly matter-of-fact prose style, an authoritative command of the region’s history, a deep understanding of local cultures, and a clear love of the peoples and lands he describes. Thesiger was also a gifted self-taught photographer and these books and those that followed are richly illustrated with his extraordinarily evocative and beautiful black and white photographs (Thesiger’s huge photographic archive can be viewed online at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford). Wilfred Thesiger was a complicated contradictory figure—a man from great privilege (his uncle, Frederic Viscount of Chelmsford, was Viceroy of India) who was most at home amongst the poor and often marginalised peoples of foreign lands; an inspiring leader seemingly indifferent to personal danger and capable of heroic deeds who lived much of his life with his mother; an austere remote loner with an artist’s eye for the poetry and beauty of the exotic places and peoples he encountered. Thesiger died relatively recently in 2003 but his larger-than-life story seems closer to those of his heros—Burton and Lawrence—from the heroic period of exploration at the height of the British Empire. Arabian Sands (1959, first edition, no jacket, light foxing but otherwise good tight clean copy) $25 The Marsh Arabs (1964, first edition, moderate wear to jacket, short gift inscription to front free-endpaper, otherwise tight and clean) $25 Desert, Marsh and Mountain: The Life of a Nomad (1979, first edition, excellent tight clean copy in near fine dust jacket) $30
A World Out of Reach: Dispatches from Life under Lockdown (ed) Meghan O’Rourke ($26.95, PB)
When the coronavirus outbreak came to the West, The Yale Review began asking writers to think out loud on the page about the unfolding international crisis, to capture the immediacy of a swiftly changing global pandemic. This crisis has mostly been told through the voices of journalists, scientists, and politicians, but in this collection, poets, essayists, scholars, and health care workers provide a more intimate and diverse account. Ranging from high matters of policy to ancient history to personal stories of how individuals were surviving their days, this vivid compilation presents a first draft of one of most tumultuous periods in modern history.
Rein Gold by Elfriede Jelinek ($34, PB)
Originally written as a libretto for the Berlin State Opera, Elfriede Jelinek’s Rein Gold reconstructs the events of Wagner’s epic Ring cycle and extends them into the present day. Brunnhilde diagnoses Wotan, father of the gods, to be a victim of capitalism because he, too, has fallen into the trap of wanting to own a castle he cannot afford. In a series of monologues, Brunnhilde and Wotan chart the evolution of capitalism from the Nibelungen Saga to the 2008 financial crisis. ‘In Rein Gold Jelinek reimagines the characters of Brunnhilde & Wotan & transposes them into the context of modernity. She delivers an impassioned expose of the discontents of capitalism. Her musical thought is interwoven with myth, politics & Wagnerian motifs. Gitta Honegger’s excellent translation allows us to experience the intense flow of her characters’ streams of consciousness entangled in greed & alienation.’—Xiaolu Guo.
The Letters of T. E. Lawrence (ed) Malcolm Brown $25, HB T.E. Lawrence is perhaps best know for his legendary exploits with the Arabs during WW1, and for his books, Seven Pillars of Wisdom & The Mint. But was also a great letter writer and in this collection, published in 1988, Malcolm Brown’s research led him to many letters of historic value embargoed until the late 1960s. Lawrence’s correspondents include Mr & Mrs George Bernard Shaw, Lady Astor, E. M. Forster, Roberts Graves, John Buchan, Noel Coward, Lord Trenchard & Winston Churchill as well as many friends form the ‘rank & file’. The Last of the Nuba by Leni Riefenstahl In her post-Nazi second life the infamous Leni Riefenstahl was the first white woman to obtain permission from the Sudanese Government to study the Nuba. Between 1962 & 1969 she lived intermittently among these mysterious tribes, in remote valleys of Central Sudan, studying them at close quarters, taking photographs which now constitute a permanent record of their way of life—this book provides a lasting memoiral to these, the most peace-loving people of Africa. $85, HB
The Atlas of AI by Kate Crawford ($41.95, HB)
What happens when artificial intelligence saturates political life and depletes the planet? How is AI shaping our understanding of ourselves and our societies? Drawing on more than a decade of original research, award-winning science and technology scholar Kate Crawford reveals how AI is a technology of extraction: from the energy and minerals needed to build and sustain its infrastructure, to the exploited workers behind ‘automated’ services, to the data AI collects from us. She persuasively argues that this network is fueling a shift toward undemocratic governance.
Life After Life by Raymond Moody $27, PB After by Bruce Greyson $35, PB The Harvard Medical School defines death as: ‘An irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or an irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead.’ Dr Raymond Moody’s astonishing, bestselling book on what he termed human Near Death Experiences (NDEs) was published in 1975. I read it with the fascination of an 18-year-old teenager exploring—what seemed then—an inevitable but very distant outcome. Abstract and dismissible. Now – to quote from (and slightly alter) a Charles Dickens, Christmas Story: ‘Time, leaning easily upon his scythe, and with whom I have the pleasure of an acquaintance of some four- and sixty-years duration’ - leads me to re-read Dr Moody’s work with rather more serious attention. Also, a recent book by Dr Greyson, who has been investigating the NDE phenomena over four decades. Both Moody and Greyson taught at the University of Virginia. Along with Ian Stevenson (1918–2007) the Chair of Psychiatry, who, since the mid-1960s, had also been studying these unexplained experiences. Stevenson had filed them under categories such as: ‘deathbed visions’, ‘out of body experiences’ and ‘apparitions’. A meeting of the trio to establish a formal scientific structure for NDE investigation led to the eventual establishment of The International Association for NearDeath Studies in 1978. I now ponder afresh: If the mind (or consciousness) is what the brain does, can consciousness exist independent of its physical being? Is death really the final journey of one’s conscious self? A typical NDE seems to involve some or all of the following: The subject ‘being dead’; a feeling of stillness; an out-of-body experience often a dispassionate observation of their surroundings; a sense of extreme peace or joy. A journey through a dark realm to a bright, welcoming light. Encounters with deceased relatives or friends or a ‘being of light’—personified by a stranger or an angel. Scenes from one’s past are shown—a kind of ‘life review’. Glimpses are seen of groups of happy, welcoming people. A beautiful landscape, exquisite music and colours. Then, the experiencer either realises or is told that it is not yet time and a return to life is necessary. Often for some specific purpose or to complete a task. These survivors return with an increased appreciation of the value of life. Recall a 1994 episode of the TV series X-Files entitled One Breath. In it, FBI agent and medical doctor Dana Scully (played by the wonderful Gillian Anderson) lies comatose in a hospital bed and undergoes an NDE. (Remember it?) In this mental state she is visited by people from her past including her deceased father who offers her encouragement to continue living. Scully is guided back to life by a mysterious, benevolent stranger—a ‘Nurse Owens’—when Scully regains consciousness and requests to speak to her carer, she is told there is no ‘Nurse Owens’ on staff. Yet how does one prove that these NDEs are something more than mere hallucinations? Or perhaps a self-created mirage of the mind, that commences when we approach death—to reduce the trauma of dying? Also, if one returns to life having undergone these unique perceptions, was one really dead to begin with? Disturbingly, Dr Greyson has also collected accounts of terrifying NDEs. These range from feelings of torment and despair to hellish dimensions populated by evil entities. Likewise, other NDE travellers encounter dark voids of eternal nothingness. All these NDE’s could simply be explained as a creation of cultural conditioning. Then how do we explain the—numerous—NDE’s of young children with no prior knowledge of the phenomenon? Are these experiences, as Greyson suggests, a possible transition stage between one form of consciousness and another? ‘NDEs may be triggered by electrical or chemical changes in the brain that permit the mind to experience separating from the body at the moment of death. There is no inherent conflict between a physical and nonphysical understanding of NDEs.’ Or, our consciousness may simply be a form of energy. If so, we can stop searching for afterlife proof: ‘Since energy can be transformed from one form to another but is neither created or destroyed.’ Thank you, First Law of Thermodynamics—although, ending up as a mass of disordered energy does not sound too appealing (to me at least). Questions, questions. What is awaiting us? NDE’s may remain, for now, stubbornly inexplicable. However, author Mary Roach, another NDE investigator, offers a calm suggestion: ‘I recommend you enjoy life and not worry too much about the ‘after’ bit, and keep in mind that one day altogether too soon, bad luck or genetics will hand you the answer.’ Stephen Reid
On 1984: A Biography D.J. Taylor, HB
W Was $40
Essential Essays: Culture, Politics &the Art of Poetry Adrienne Rich, HB
What to Read and Why Francine Prose, PB
I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown NY in the 1980s Peter McGough, HB
Life isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols as remembered by 150 of his closest friends Ash Carter & Sam Kashner, HB Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline Loretta Lynn, HB
Smash! Green Day, The Offspring, Bad Religion, NOFX & the ‘90s Punk Explosion Ian Winwood, HB
Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie Nejib, HB
Cover Me : The Stories Behind the Serving the Servant: Greatest Cover Songs of All Time Remembering Kurt Cobain Ray Padgett, HB Danny Goldberg, HB
Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction Alec Nevala-Lee, HB
Cezanne’s Parrot Amy Guglielmo (ill) Brett Helquist, HB
The Europeans Orlando Figes, HB
Sag Harbor The Oresteia: Agamemnon, Women Colson Whitehead, PB at the Graveside, Orestes in Athens Aeschylus (tr) Oliver Taplin
Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng, HB
Empire of Horses: The First Nomadic Civilization Einstein’s War: How Relativity and the Making of China Triumphed Amid the Vicious John Man, HB Nationalism of WWI Matthew Stanley, HB
American Messiahs: False Prophets of a Damned Nation Adam Morris, HB
The Heartbeat Of Wounded Knee: Indian America from 1890 to the Present David Treuer, HB
Women at War in the Classical World Paul Chrystal, HB
Great State: China & the World Timothy Brook, HB
Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past Sarah Parcak, HB
Galileo: And the Science Deniers Mario Livio, HB
Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From & Why Dean Burnett, HB
Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way David Barrie, HB
Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics Talithia Williams, HB
Elegy Landscapes: Constable & Turner & the Intimate Sublime Stanley Plumly, HB
Ten Americans: After Paul Klee
Why on Earth Would Anyone Build That : Modern Architecture Explained John Zukowsky, HB 21
The Gallery of Miracles and Madness by Charlie English ($35, PB)
In the first years of the Weimar Republic, the German psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn gathered a remarkable collection of works by schizophrenic patients that would astonish & delight the world. The Prinzhorn collection, as it was called, inspired a new generation of artists, including Paul Klee, Max Ernst & Salvador Dali. What the doctor could not have known, however, was that these works would later be used to prepare the ground for mass-murder. Soon after his rise to power, Hitler—a failed artist of the old school—declared war on modern art. The Nazis staged giant ‘Degenerate Art’ shows to ridicule the avant-garde, and seized & destroyed the cream of Germany’s modern art collections. This action was mere preparation, however, for the even more sinister campaign Hitler would later wage against so-called ‘degenerate’people, and Prinzhorn’s artists were caught up in both..
Terry O’Neill: Every Picture Tells a Story
‘I was walking up the Miami Beach boardwalk to the Fontainebleau Hotel where Sinatra was staying... I just reached out with the letter in my hand and he took it. He opened it, read it... turned to his security men and said, “this kid’s with me.” I never found out what Ava said to him in that letter. From that moment on, I was part of his inner circle.’ From the morning he spent with Faye Dunaway at the pool in Beverly Hills, to walking around Vegas with Sean Connery dressed as James Bond, a chance encounter with Bruce Springsteen on the Sunset Strip, to taking Jean Shrimpton to a doll hospital—these are the stories behind the images as only Terry O’Neill can reveal. ($60, HB)
Photographers on the Art of Photography (ed) Charles Moriarty ($40, HB)
20 celebrated photographers discuss how they got started, as well as their favoured techniques, motivations, inspirations & greatest accomplishments. Interviews from: Ed Caraeff (music); Terry O’Neill (celebrity portraiture); Norman Seeff (music); Johnathan Daniel Pryce (fashion); Douglas Kirkland (Hollywood); Gerd Ludwig (National Geographic); Slava Mogutin (queer fine art); Jerry Schatzberg (fashion, film, music, portraiture); Tim Flach (wildlife); Richard Phibbs (fashion, commercial, portraiture); Eva Sereny (Hollywood, celebrity portraiture); Sue Flood (wildlife); Tom Stoddard (photojournalism); Steve McCurry (culture, wildlife).
Hiroshige: Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces ($65, HB)
This collection of prints, first published in the 1850s, contains images of each of Japan’s provinces—an ambitious project that captured a crucial moment in Japan’s history, a decade before the Meiji Restoration would open the doors to industrialisation & Western influence. The vertical presentation allows Hiroshige to experiment with perspective—his sweeping panoramas of the beautiful countryside combine the illusion of distance. In addition to these glorious landscapes, Hiroshige’s depictions of busy urban centres provide a rare insight into daily life in the Edo era. This beautiful slip-cased edition includes 2 volumes: a complete set of 70 prints & a separate booklet that provides an introduction to Hiroshige’s life & art as well as descriptive captions of the prints.
William Klein: Painted Contacts ($80, HB)
Working at the nexus of painting & photography, William Klein conceived this original series when he was in the process of reviewing other photographers’ contact sheets for a film he was making. Referencing the age of film photography, when photographers selected images by circling individual negatives on a contact sheet with brightly coloured grease pencils, Klein’s works invent a new kind of art object that organically marries painting & photography. The resulting pieces are enormous mural-sized works in which bold, kinetic colour frames & reframes enlarged blackand-white images from throughout his career.
Robby Müller—Polaroids—Flora ($70, HB)
Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller (1940–2018) was one of the greatest pioneers in modern film history. This book celebrates the Polaroids taken by this daring ‘master of light’. This delicate, printed collection shows Müller’s sensitivity to light & his attraction to nature motifs. Each snapshot of flowers, insects & trees sparkles like a jewel, exposing such minute details as a translucent petal or a miraculous close-up of a stamp.
140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth ($15, HB) Kostas Stasinopoulos & Hans Ulrich Obrist
Through 140 drawings, thought experiments, recipes, activist instructions, gardening ideas, insurgences & personal revolutions, artists who spend their lives thinking outside the box guide you to a new worldview; where you and the planet are one. Featuring Olafur Eliasson, Etel Adnan, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Judy Chicago, Jane Fonda & Swoon, the Black Quantum Futurism Collective, Vivienne Westwood, Cauleen Smith, Marina Abramovic, the Karrabing Film Collective, and many more.
Illustrating the Antipodes: George French Angas in Australia and New Zealand 1844-1845 ($65, HB)
As a young man in the 1840s George French Angas (1822–1886) journeyed to Australia & New Zealand, where he excelled at capturing the minute detail of plants & people, objects & landscapes. The bush was his studio—he captured these transient moments opportunistically in pencil sketches, before working them into fine watercolours & finally into lithographs. Angas’s place in art history has been blurred, even stymied, by his choice of medium—lithographs—and his delicate watercolours have rarely been seen since the 1840s, until now. In this fully illustrated volume, Philip Jones has used Angas’ sketches, watercolours, lithographs and journal accounts to retrace his Antipodean journeys in vivid detail.
Frances Burke: Designer of Modern Textiles by Nanette Carter & Robyn Oswald-Jacobs
From the late 1930s to 1970, Frances Burke’s designs achieved a prominence unparalleled in Australia before or since. Displaying imagery & colours from native flora, marine objects, Indigenous artefacts & designs of pure abstraction, Burke’s innovative fabrics remain fresh & appealing, distinctive & evocative of Australia. In New Design, her fabric showroom & interior design consultancy, Burke presented modern furniture by emerging local designers of the postwar period. Drawing on regular visits to the US, UK, Europe, Japan & Taiwan she became an authoritative advocate for modern design. She also collaborated with leading architects & interior designers, including Robin Boyd, her fabrics making arresting contributions to influential modern buildings. ($70, HB)
Growing up Modern: Childhoods in Iconic Homes by Julia Jamrozik & Coryn Kempster
What was it like to grow up in a Modernist residence? Did these radical environments shape the way that children looked at architecture later in life? The oral history in this book paints a uniquely intimate portrait of Modernism. The authors conducted interviews with people, who spent their childhood in radical Modernist domestic spaces, uncovering both serene and poignant memories. The recollections range from the ambivalence of philosopher Ernst Tugendhat, now 90 years old, who lived in the famous Mies van der Rohe house in Brno (1930) to the fond reminiscing of the youngest daughter of the Schminke family, who still dreams of her Scharoundesigned ship-like villa in Loebau (1933). The book offers a unique, private and often refreshing perspective on these icons of the avant-garde. ($90, HB)
Sashiko for Making & Mending: 15 Simple Japanese Embroidery Projects by Saki Iiduka ($25, HB)
This book shows you how to use sashiko stitching to mend rips, repair things like fraying cuffs, embellish napkins & create original accessories. Repair high quality items you already own instead of replacing them with cheaper ‘fast fashion’ alternatives. It has instructions for 15 handmade items, including indigo pouches, a rustic linen book cover Breezy, multipurpose cotton stoles, a simple, elegant tote bag and so much more!
52 Weeks of Socks: Beautiful Patterns for Year-round Knitting ($30, PB)
This whimsical book contains a beautiful pair of socks for every week of the year. That’s 52 sock patterns contributed by 46 leading knitwear designers from across the world, suitable for knitters of all abilities. Each uses different yarns and techniques, including projects with stunning stitch definition and classic slippers for beginners. From sole to toe, these easy-to-follow patterns will sweep you up with stunning photography and styling that evokes the inspiring Nordic landscape and slow living.
Embroidered Animals by Yumiko Higuchi
From elegant birds to adorable rabbits & wonderfully simple sheep, the 25 motifs & patterns in this book offer both a modern flair & an organic true-to-nature style. The whimsical animal designs—ranging from wild wolves, cheetahs & giraffes to cuddly & cute bears, cats, dogs, monkeys & pigs—can be incorporated into any of the sewing projects included, such as bags, pillows, bookmarks & sachets, so that beginner & experienced embroiderers can mix & match patterns according to their own interest & skill. ($38, PB)
what we're reading
Stephen—The Blighted Road by Anna McCormac: An historical novel from a debut author. Set in England between 1618 and the 1670s it focuses on the journey and fates of Orla Warner and Abigail Midwinter against the backdrop of both plague and the notorious witch hunts that took place in the mid-17th Century. The premise of the book intriguingly suggests that the origin of the witchcraft hysteria can be found in an outbreak of rye ergot. This is a fungus blight that thrives in a cold Winter followed by a wet Spring. Ergot forms hallucinogenic drugs—similar to LSD—in bread. Those stricken with ergot poisoning might suffer from delusions, paranoia, physical spasms, hallucinations. Anna McCormac has crafted her botanical research into the narrative to provide a gripping sequence of events— fear and hysteria of an Essex village confronting mysterious illnesses and childbirth deaths that lead to accusations of witchcraft. America in the Time of Covid by Lawrence Wright—A Pulitzer Prize winning author’s chronicle of the first year of COVID within the United States. The death toll keeps mounting: ‘Some of them were well known. Terence McNally, the playwright…Ellis Marsalis, a jazz pianist who fathered not only a musical family but a generation of New Orleans musicians…Charley Pride was the first black singer in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Phil Spector was a legendary music producer, who died in prison after being convicted of murder. Most of the victims were elderly, or minorities or confined, so their losses were not so visible. One has to wonder how the nation might have responded had the victims been younger, whiter, richer or better known.’ Victoria: Still Life by Sarah Winman— I was only going to write one sentence...I didn’t want this book to end...but that wouldn’t be fair to those who want to know more. Set in both Florence and London and spanning 40 years (1944–1980) you will read about wonderful characters and love each one of them. A life-changing, chance meeting between Evelyn, an art historian and Ulysses, a soldier, in Florence during the war takes you on a journey through these people’s lives that is heart-warming and moving.
Johnathon: This Life by Martin Hägglund—This is an account of life that doesn’t depart life to find meaning—to either faith in a knowing God, an ascetic renunciation of the world or liberal autonomy. Hägglund instead goes deeper into our lives. He develops a materialist ethics from our deep attachment to our singular life projects, relationships and places in both society and the natural world. His opening discussion of both Martin Luther’s and C.S. Lewis’ inability to overcome grief at the death of their loved ones in their deep Christian faiths is a profound model for this—faith does not give them an out from these very singular loving relationships, the finality of death instead draws them more deeply into them. An elegant reading experience that will get you rethinking ethics 101.
Sonia—If ever there was a book made for the movies it’s The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson. It has everything—a bunch of competitive scientists, a battle over patents, a nail-biting race to be first, and to cap it off, two amazing women who win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020. Isaacson centres his book on Doudna and her team from The University of California, Berkeley, who isolated CRISPR-Cas9, which disarms viruses by slicing up their DNA. CRISPR is a system evolved by bacteria over billions of years to fend off invading viruses. Doudna and her colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier saw that CRISPR could be adapted to edit genes in other organisms, including humans. The paper that made them famous was published in 2012, when Charpentier was working at Umea University in Sweden, and by 2020 twenty human trials were under way for medical applications of their technique for conditions like cancers and a congenital form of blindness. Credit must be given to Spanish scientist Francisco Mojca who first spotted CRISPR in bacteria in salt ponds in the 1990s and knew that it was important. He couldn’t get funding, but two French food scientists in 2007 used CRISPR to vaccinate bacteria against viruses, finding it a useful tool in the global yoghurt industry. Virginijus Siksnys, a Lithuanian biochemist, also added to the understanding of CRISPR, but couldn’t get any journals to publish his papers. Some of the questions now being asked are: if we could use this technique to rid future generations of diseases like Huntington’s Disease, Sickle Cell Anaemia, HIV and schizophrenia, and if we could make our grandkids resistant to future coronaviruses, would it be ethical to do so? The theme of the book is genetic destiny, a very large question indeed.
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Ange: If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha—TA debut novel following five women who are all struggling to make ends meet in contemporary South Korea. For them plastic surgery is the norm, if not an expectation, and if you are ugly it is only because you cannot afford beauty. Faced with misogyny, discrimination, and the weight of tradition, we are given a slice of each woman’s life. The characters are so vibrant and complex I felt certain their story continued long after I turned the final page. Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh— Do not read this book if you fear growing old. Moshfegh is back again with a new twisted tale. This time we follow Vesta Gul through her dull but dreamlike twilight years. When she comes across a cryptic message in the woods, her slowly deteriorating mind struggles to comprehend her past, present, and future. An interrogation into the lies we tell ourselves and how they come back to haunt us.
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and another thing.....
Ah, the good old days of swine flu paranoia! I apologise for last month’s front cover—I might have jinxed the ‘opening up’ by advertising our events programme so brazenly. This month there are no events listed as everything is up in the air while we wait to see how long lockdown will be extended—keep an eye on gleebooks.com.au and sign up for our weekly email for breaking news. For now I’m back walking the streets of Glebe and Forest Lodge, hand delivering books to those who are obeying lockdown—and hopefully losing some of that COVID side effect, the extra kilos from all that baking! Last month’s magazine had gone to press before I heard the sad news that Janet Malcolm had died on June 16. My (without qualification) favourite non-fiction author, I’ve read and re-read all her books. It started with The Crimes of Sheila McGough, an attractive American imported hardcover I picked up twenty years ago (don’t ever knock judging a book by its cover). This sent me back to all her previous books, and forward into a search every six months to check for upcoming titles. There’s a wonderful collection of short pieces about her by New Yorker writers, editors, proofers and friends on the New Yorker website: A crooked dress, a rude remark, an unbalanced gesture, a tale told twice and told differently—from these incongruities, she could unravel the story of a life, and she did so with immense intellectual gravity, with a profound sense for the dramatic tension between revelation and concealment, intimacy and loneliness ... combine the manner of Mitchell and Ross with the material of a George Steiner or Hannah Arendt. She helped pull the thinking brow of this magazine up without altering the fluidity of its writing fingers. All the writers quote favourite moments and sentences, which, given the fact that on every page just about every line is worth writing down and studying, is not an easy task. One line that has always stood out for me is the first line of her essay about Jacques Lacan The Seven-Minute Hour: ‘For an ordinary literate person, reading the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan is like being trapped in a cave whose entrance is blocked by a huge rock.’ In one sentence she both positions herself with you in the cave, while implying that she may be able to help you escape. And that ‘huge rock’, perfectly positioned at the end of the sentence like a thunderous full stop, just makes me laugh. Vale Janet Malcolm. I hope you’re all keeping well—if lockdown continues the next issue may be a double September/October. I will keep you posted. Viki
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