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Vol. 27 No. 1 February 2020
This month: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia by Victor Steffensen
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No Ordinary Summer Of course this would have been your regular end- of- summer ‘how good was that’ , Scomo style appreciation of a season where you can relax and read and read and contemplate the year just gone, and the one to come. But, oh no, this was no ordinary summer, as we all know now. Let me share just one story of ours: On the weekend before Christmas, I was scheduled to make with one of my regular trips to Gleebooks Blackheath, van loaded with 20 + cartons of books, many customer Christmas orders and essential stock. It was the peak of the fire danger in the upper Blue Mountains, and Blackheath was the town most threatened by the inferno in the Grose Valley, as the national parks fires spread. The homes of our staff members in Blackheath and nearby were threatened, and some had evacuated. The highway was closed and we couldn’t get through on the Saturday, so decided to go up first thing on Sunday. It was a very eerie feeling, travelling to, and arriving in, a town that was both empty (many had left) and alive with extraordinary activity as fire trucks (RFS and regular) screamed up and down the roads on the three ridges in Blackheath where people and property were most threatened. The atmosphere, physical and otherwise, was heavy and it seemed absolutely, almost offensively absurd to be opening a shop. And very soon thereafter we were advised to leave. I felt a strong sense of our irrelevance to things that really matter, at a time when we are normally front and centre to everyone’s attention. So, Christmas at Gleebooks was anything but usual, and certainly no bumper crop. Who knows what 2020 will bring, but we’re here, we’re keen, and there’s plenty of good new books, great events (in Glebe, Blackheath, Dulwich, as well as a very exciting Sydney Writers’ Festival in late April) and general all-round Gleebooks bonhomie. We’ll be working on organising book clubs, to take place on a regular basis upstairs at Glebe. We’ve been asked about offering this service for many years, and would love to hear from you if you’d be interested in taking part. James Ross, our events manager, and I would love an email (james@gleebooks. com.au or firstname.lastname@example.org) expressing interest, and we will outline our ideas of how it might work. We’re also interested in hearing from anybody who might have an interest in leading or moderating a group. It has been, as I said, a peculiar summer, to say the least, and my own reading time was much disrupted. But coming back to Elizabeth Strout and revisiting Olive Kitteridge in Olive Again only confirmed that she is one of the best writers around. These are connected stories, re-imagining characters from Strout’s other books. Rich, immersive, full of emotional connection, and yet so tough-minded. As good as Alice Munro, and that’s high praise indeed. And Le Carré’s Agent Running in the Field is just brilliant. I’m an irregular reader of crime and spy books (having said which, I’m loving Dervla McTiernan’s new Cormac Reilly Irish crime The Good Turn—due early March). But I am in awe of every aspect of Le Carré’s mastery of the genre. Agent Running is superb, and this from a writer aged 88. It is an anger-fuelled, but grimly humorous look at a riven Europe, through the eyes of a veteran ‘agent-runner’. Astonishing that Le Carré, more than 50 years on from The Spy Who Came in from the Cold could recreate that world so brilliantly. David Gaunt
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld ($33, PB)
Surging out of the sea, the Bass Rock has for centuries watched over the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries the fates of three women are linked—to this place, to each other. In the early 1700s, Sarah, accused of being a witch, flees for her life. In the aftermath of WW2, Ruth navigates a new house, a new husband & the strange waters of the local community. Six decades later, the house stands empty. Viv, mourning the death of her father, catalogues Ruth’s belongings & discovers her place in the past—and perhaps a way forward. Each woman’s choices are circumscribed, in ways big & small, by the men in their lives. But in sisterhood there is the hope of survival & new life.
No Neat Endings by Dominic Carew ($28, PB)
A young man can’t make love. A pedantic father spots a blemish in his new shorts & returns to the shop to demand their exchange. A girl rocks up to a Tinder date wearing a helmet. A man observes his brother’s rise to comic stardom with envy & angst. A father faces his 40th with mortal paranoia. A friend returns from Brazil to become embroiled in a drug-fuelled romp in a share house. These 19 short stories, pit their characters against the challenges of modern life, sex, love, work & the world. They succumb to their own vices, impulses, insecurities—and more often than not, have only themselves to blame.
Riptides by Kirsten Alexander ($33, PB)
December 1974. Abby Campbell & her brother Charlie are driving to their father’s farm on a dark country road when they swerve into the path of another car, forcing it into a tree. The pregnant driver is killed instantly. In the heat of the moment, Abby & Charlie make a fateful decision. They flee, hoping heavy rain will erase the fact they were there. They both have too much to lose. But they have no idea who they’ve just killed or how many lives will be affected by her death. Soon the truth is like a riptide they can’t escape, as their terrible secret pulls them down deeper by the day.
The Tiniest House of Time by Sreedhevi Iyer
Susheela Sastri & Sandhya Sastri are grandmother & granddaughter, but could have been born of the same atom. Sandhya visits her grandmother’s deathbed after having run away from her country, her family, her love & herself. She remembers her grandmother’s stories, of a lost time in Burma, and digs deep to find truth in it. The dying Susheela, impatient with her family’s pity, asks Sandhya to read to her. This opens up the past in both their lives, the family dynamics, the forbidden loves, the politics of who can be hated, when, and by whom…And what can they, as women of their times, actually do about it. A family saga, ranging across continents & decades seamlessly, from colonial Burma in the 1930s to nationalist Malaysia in the 1990s & beyond, to Hong Kong & Australia. ($29.95, PB)
Jane in Love by Rachel Givney ($33, PB)
At age 28, Jane Austen should be seeking a suitable husband, but all she wants to do is write. She is forced to take extreme measures in her quest to find true love—which lands her in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Magically, she finds herself in modern-day England, where horseless steel carriages line the streets and people wear very little clothing. She forms a new best friend in fading film star Sofia Wentworth, and a genuine love interest in Sofia’s brother Fred. She is also delighted to discover that she is now a famous writer—but as Jane’s romance with Fred blossoms, her presence in the literary world starts to waver. She must find a way to stop herself disappearing from history before it’s too late.
Cherry Beach by Laura McPhee-Browne ($30, PB)
Hetty & Ness, best friends since childhood, have left suburban Melbourne for the first time to live abroad. Hetty is the life of the party, Ness is a wallflower, hopelessly in love with her. In the student quarter of Toronto, the pair take a room in a share house full of self-assured creatives. Hetty disappears into barkeeping work and a whirlwind nightlife, while Ness drifts aimlessly. But when Ness finds a new love, new friends & a job—at last her life starts to make some sense. Meanwhile Hetty starts spectacularly to fall apart, in a mess of bad drugs & bad men. As winter freezes the lakeside city, the dark undercurrents of Hetty’s character become ever stronger, and Ness may lose the person she loves more than anyone else in the world.
The Sunken Road by Garry Disher ($30, PB)
At the height of the Great Depression, with farmers walking off the land & the city’s creeks lined with kerosene-tin shanties, a young mother is taken by a shark in the shallows at Henley Beach. Her grieving husband flees north with his baby son to the town of Pandowie, far from the treacherous ocean. In time, the boy will have a daughter—the wilful auburn-haired Anna Tolley. Nominated on its original 1996 release for the Man Booker Prize, The Sunken Road is Garry Disher’s proudest achievement. This moving, powerful novel set in the wheat and wool country of mid-north South Australia is at once the story of a region, a town and a people—and of one of the most memorable characters in Australian fiction.
Australian Literature Literature A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories by Sean O’Beirne ($28, PB)
A woman on a passenger ship in 1958 gets involved with a young, wild Barry Humphries. A man looks back to the 1970s & his time as a member of Australia’s least competent scout troop. In 1988, a teenage boy recalls his sexual initiation, out on the tanbark. In 2015, two sisters text in Kmart about how to manage their irascible, isolated mum. Then, in the near future, a racist demagogue addresses the press the day after his electoral triumph. As the cities heat up & lose their water, a lady from one of the ‘better suburbs’ makes every effort to get her family into an exclusive gated community.
The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel ($33, PB) After a shocking discovery, Grace Woods leaves her vast Australian sheep station & travels to tumultuous post-war Paris in order to find her true identity.While working as a mannequin for Christian Dior, the world’s newly acclaimed emperor of fashion, Grace mixes with counts & princesses, authors & artists, diplomats & politicians. But when Grace falls for handsome Philippe Boyer she doesn’t know that he is leading a double life, nor that his past might inflict devastating consequences upon her. As she is drawn into Philippe’s dangerous world of international espionage, Grace discovers both the shattering truth of her origins—and that her life is in peril. The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner
1945: After the thrill of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners during the Blitz, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back to her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risqué performance, she joins the misfit crew to escape her dreary future. At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger, so too do the risks the performers are driven to take. Until one desperate night. 1963: Unwanted child, Lucy, is rescued by a mysterious stranger & is welcomed into a family of ex-performers—but it gradually it becomes clear that they’re all hiding someing. ($30, PB)
Shirl by Wayne Marshall ($27, PB)
A lonely yowie emerges from the bush to attend the Desperate & Dateless Ball. Mysterious creatures descend from the sky to place a ban on footy. A shark named Bruce turns up in the local swimming pool. A fisherman enjoying a boys’ weekend on the Murray River finds perspective where he least expects it. Wayne Marshall’s warped & darkly comic collection skewers contemporary Australian society—particularly the crisis of masculinity & national identity.
Australian Poetry Case Notes by David Stavanger ($23, PB)
David Stavanger’s new colledction is a mix tape of free verse, lyric poetry, found text & flash fiction documenting lived mental health experience. Using observational humour & playing with the absurdist nature of institutional language, Stavanger interrogates the unreliable narration of diagnosis: in private, in public & in surrealist spaces where it becomes increasingly unclear who is under the microscope. In short character studies, informal experiments & longer sequenced poems this collection unpacks toxic masculinity & fatherhood, online & domestic tensions, the truth of confessional poetry, myths of ‘madness’ inherited by blood, and the canine as both avatar & familiar of the black dog. This is a poetic memoir for those who don’t believe the hype.
Boots by Nadia Rhook ($23, PB)
The past lives in every step. boots are here a symbol and a tool— a heel of feminine desire & a dirt-trodden shoe that cushions feet on paths to power & property, leaving trails of violence & pain. Memories jump & jar in these poems, loosening history from the grip of archives & footnotes to nourish the imagination, freeing me to speak back to my ancestors & the European men who co-created the edifices of 19th century colonisation. boots looks in mirrors & across seas to dream big. At its restless heart, it draws history closer to my body.
A History of What I’ll Become by Jill Jones ($23, PB) In the midst of change, this book comes with its own bewilderment, yielding, and accounting. Where does ‘I’ begin or where does ‘I’ become something else, as poet and poem constantly reshape each other? Jones speaks the world as she sees it, with a poetry negotiating the ancient mythic & the now, where boundaries are disordered & rearranged in a geography of emotions. It also pays homage to major influences in various, sometimes playful ways. This book is digressive, idiosyncratic, queer & challenging. At the same time it is rhythmic, lyrical & recuperative.
l l i H ’ D On As I write this in mid-January it looks like we may be coming out the other end of the terrible events of this summer. While millions of dollars have been pledged to the RFS and the main charities, Gleebooks has maintained its commitment to raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. So often with big tragedies such as this, the smaller charities lose donations as people understandably give their all to help the victims. I’ve also signed up as a donor to The Guardian Australia. I’ve been horrified by appalling fake news spread by News Ltd and right-wing social media—arsonists, the Greens lighting fires to prove a point about climate change, maps of the fires being doctored to make them look more widespread than is the case etc etc. It’s more important than ever that we support a free, fair and unbiased press and The Guardian vowed, well before this disaster, to stay on the climate change story as long as is necessary—which is going to be a very long time given the government’s attitude. According to Scotty from Marketing, we need only learn resilience and all will be well! Like many of us, I lay low and read a lot over my small break. Two debuts impressed: Braised Pork by An Yu, a Chinese writer (who doesn’t live in China) is a wonderfully evocative and contemporary tale set in Beijing and Tibet, about a young artist whose husband suddenly dies, leaving her questioning her life and her upbringing by her single mother and aunt. In beautiful language and incorporating elements of magical realism that really work, An Yu has written a tender story about love and family. My Dark Vanessa is an American debut by Kate Elizabeth Russell—a book for the #metoo movement. Vanessa, a 15 year old girl begins what she considers a ‘love affair’ with her teacher. She continues seeing him off an on through her 20s, always believing in his love for her, until another young woman accuses him of sexual harassment and wants Vanessa to back her up. Now in her early 30s, Vanessa has to question and confront the beliefs she has held onto for nearly 20 years about the ‘affair’. Written in the first person, this feels like an astonishing insight into the psychology of an abused woman. It reminded me of one of the stories in Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women. Not brilliant literature but extremely readable, at times very moving, and very topical. I’ve also read Irish author, Anne Enright’s wonderful book The Actress. A character study of a mother and daughter, this is a beautifully written (needless to say) story about a star of stage and screen, told from the daughter’s point of view. Wonderful. I loved it. The cover on my uncorrected proof, which will probably be on the finished book as well, is of a young Carrie Fisher watching her mother Debbie Reynolds from the wings of the stage. I read more but I don’t have the space here! Look out for my staff picks. 2020 is the 10th anniversary of gleebooks at Dulwich Hill. Watch this space for announcements of a celebratory kind.
See you on D’hill, Morgan
EVENT Marrickville Library and Gleebooks present:
Bri Lee in conversation with Fiona Wright Tuesday 3 March 6.30-7.30pm Marrickville Library Pavilion Hall
In celebration of International Women’s Day join acclaimed authors Bri Lee and Fiona Wright as they discuss Bri’s book Beauty, which explores body image, womanhood, self-worth, resilience and the need to confront our obsession with physical perfection.
Apeirogon by Colum McCann ($30, PB)
“SAVING MISSY WILL WARM – IF NOT COMPLETELY STEAL – EVEN THE HARDEST OF HEARTS." JOANNA NELL, AUTHOR OF THE SINGLE
LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE
A GUIDE TO SURVIVING AND THRIVING THROUGH YOUR DAUGHTER’S TEENAGE YEARS.
Rami Elhanan & Bassam Aramin live near one another—yet they exist worlds apart. Rami is Israeli. Bassam is Palestinian. Rami’s license plate is yellow. Bassam’s license plate is green. It takes Rami 15 minutes to drive to the West Bank. The same journey for Bassam takes an hour and a half. Rami’s 13 year-old daughter Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber while out shopping with her friends. Bassam’s 10 yearold daughter Abir was shot & killed by a member of the border police outside her school. There was a candy bracelet in her pocket she hadn’t had time to eat yet. The men become the best of friends.
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ($30, PB)
On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, 40 fishermen, including her father & brother, are lost to the waves, the menfolk of Vardø wiped out in an instant. Now the women must fend for themselves. 18 months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardø to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God & flooded with a mighty & terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs. Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm & the 1621 witch trials.
Agency by William Gibson ($33, PB)
AN ENTHRALLING STORY OF ONE WOMAN’S DETERMINED GRAB FOR FREEDOM AFTER WW2 FROM A TALENTED NEW AUSTRALIAN VOICE.
Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth ($20, PB)
Bergljot, is a magazine editor living in Lier, Norway. Mother to 3 adult children, she no longer speaks to her own parents & younger siblings. Her brother Bård gets in touch after a conflict erupts over cabins their parents have willed only to their other children, Astrid & Åsa. Bård is enraged by what he sees as an unfair division of inheritance. But Bergljot is less concerned with the cabins than with the fact that 23 years earlier she tried to tell her family about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father & her mother ‘refused to believe’. She sees their disinheritance as a final attempt to suppress the truth & a cruel insult to the grievously injured. Drily funny, at times devastating, Hjorth’s novel offers a clear-eyed story of a family’s doomed attempt to reconcile & the limits of forgiveness.
Sun-catcher by Romesh Gunesekera ($30, PB)
Ceylon is on the brink of change. But Kairo is at a loose end. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat & the religious right are flexing their muscles. Kairo’s hard-working mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyite father grumbles over the state of the nation between his secret flutters on horse races in faraway England. All Kairo wants to do is hide in his room & flick over second-hand westerns & superhero comics, or escape on his bicycle and daydream. Then he meets the magnetic teenage Jay—a budding naturalist & a born rebel. Jay keeps fish and traps birds for an aviary he is building in the garden of his grand home. He holds his beautiful, fragile mother in contempt, and his wealthy father seems fuelled by anger. As Jay guides Kairo from the realm of make believe into one of guns, girls & fast cars he begins to understand the price of privilege & embarks on a journey of devastating consequence.
Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah ($30, PB)
For two years, 28 year-old Kim Ayami has worked at Seoul’s only audio theatre for the blind. The theatre is shutting down leaving her future uncertain. Her last shift completed Ayami walks the streets of the city with her former boss late into the night. Together they search for a mutual friend who has disappeared. The following day, at the request of that same friend, Ayami acts as a guide for a detective novelist visiting from abroad. But in the inescapable, allconsuming heat of Seoul at the height of the summer, order gives way to chaos, the edges of reality start to fray, and the past intrudes on the present in increasingly disruptive ways. Bae Suah was born in Seoul in 1965. She studied chemistry at university & wrote her first short story as a way of practising her typing. Since 1993 she has published more than a dozen novels & short story collections. This is her first book to be published in the UK.
San Francisco, 2017. In an alternate time track, Hillary Clinton won the election & Donald Trump’s political ambitions were thwarted. London, 22nd century. Decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80% of humanity. A shadowy start-up hires a young woman named Verity to test a new product—a ‘cross-platform personal avatar’ that was developed by the military as a form of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, characters in the distant future are using technological time travel to interfere with the election unfolding in 2017.
Good Citizens Need Not Fear by Maria Reva ($30, PB)
A bureaucratic glitch omits crumbling apartment building in Ukraine, along with its residents, from municipal records. Maria Reva’s bitingly funny collection of stories, based around this building, span the chaotic years leading up to & immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union. As the benighted denizens of 1933 Ivansk Street weather the official neglect of the increasingly powerless authorities, they devise ingenious ways to survive—an agoraphobic recluse survives by selling contraband LPs, a delusional secret service agent in becomes convinced he’s being covertly recruited to guard Lenin’s tomb. Weaving the stories together is the chameleonlike Zaya: a cleft-lipped orphan in Little Rabbit, a beauty-pageant crasher in Miss USSR, a sadist-for-hire to the Eastern bloc’s newly minted oligarchs in Homecoming.
Good Dogs Don’t Make It to the South Pole by Hans-Olav Thyvold ($30, PB)
The Major, a WWII veteran, breathes his last. Watching over him are his wife & his faithful companion, Tassen, the story’s narrator, who is, by his own admission, a couch potato & a one-man dog. After the Major is gone, Tassen & Mrs Thorkildsen settle into their new life surrounded by books & stories of the 1911 race between Norway’s explorer Roald Amundsen & Britain’s Captain R.F. Scott to reach the South Pole. Visits to the local library & the bar next door provide all types of enlightenment. However, when Mrs Thorkildsen becomes ill, Tassen’s world begins to wobble.
Out this month Granta 150: There Must Be Ways to Organise the World with Language (ed) Sigrid Rausing ($25, PB) Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau ($25, PB)
Karl Bender, is a 30-something bar owner whose life lack lustre life changes when he stumbles upon a time-travelling wormhole. Along with best friend start up a business selling access to people who want to travel back in time to hear their favourite bands. It’s a great plan, until Karl accidentally sends Wayne to 980 Mannahatta instead of 1980. Looking for help, he finds prickly, overweight astrophysicist, Lena Geduldig, with whom he has an immediate connection. While they work on getting Wayne back, they’re unable to resist meddling with the past, which is when they alter the course of their lives—threatening their future together.
Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward ($35, HB)
Rachel and Eliza are hoping to have a baby. The couple spend many happy evenings together planning for the future. One night Rachel wakes up screaming and tells Eliza that an ant has crawled into her eye and is stuck there. She knows it sounds mad - but she also knows it’s true. As a scientist, Eliza won’t take Rachel’s fear seriously and they have a bitter fight. Suddenly their entire relationship is called into question. Love and Other Thought Experiments is as multi-faceted as a diamond; a true philosophical hoard.
International Inte rnational Literature
Actress by Anne Enright ($30, PB)
This is the story of Irish theatre legend Katherine O’Dell, as told by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs & lows on the stages of Dublin & London’s West End. Katherine’s life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings. But this romance between mother & daughter cannot survive Katherine’s past, or the world’s damage. As Norah uncovers her mother’s secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Then, fame turns to infamy when Katherine decides to commit a bizarre crime. Capturing the glamour of postwar America and the shabbiness of 1970s Dublin, this is a scintillating examination of the corrosive nature of celebrity, and an moving & disturbing novel about mothers and daughters and the men in their lives.
Cleanness by Garth Greenwell ($30, PB)
Bulgaria, a landlocked city in southern Europe, stirs with hope & impending upheaval. Soviet buildings crumble, wind scatters sand from the far south, and political protesters flood the streets with song. In this atmosphere of disquiet, an American teacher prepares to leave the place he’s come to call home, he grapples with the intimate encounters that have marked his years abroad, each bearing uncanny reminders of his past. A queer student’s confession recalls his own first love, a stranger’s seduction devolves into paternal sadism, and a romance with a younger man opens, and heals, old wounds. Each echo reveals startling insights about what it means to seek connection: with those we love, with the places we inhabit, and with our own fugitive selves.
Indelicacy by Amina Cain ($23, PB)
A cleaning woman at a museum of art nurtures aspirations to do more than simply dust the paintings around her. She dreams of having the liberty to explore them in writing, and so must find a way to win herself the time & security to use her mind. She escapes her lot by marrying a rich man, but having gained a husband, a house, high society & a maid, she finds that her new life of privilege is no less constrained. Not only has she taken up different forms of time-consuming labour—social & erotic—but she is now, however passively, forcing other women to clean up after her. Perhaps another & more drastic solution is necessary?
Greenwood by Michael Christie ($33, PB)
2038. On a remote island off the Pacific coast of British Columbia stands the Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral, one of the world’s last forests. Wealthy tourists flock from all corners of the dust-choked globe to see the spectacle—But even as they breathe in the fresh air & pose for photographs amidst the greenery, guide Jake knows that the forest is dying, though her bosses won’t admit it. 1908. 2 passenger locomotives meet head-on. The only survivors are 2 young boys, who take refuge in a trapper’s cabin in a forest on the edge of town. In 26 years, one of them, now a recluse, will find an abandoned baby—another child of Greenwood—setting off a series of events that will change the course of his life, and the lives of those around him. Structured like the rings of a tree, Christie’s book moves from the future to the present to the past, and back again, to tell the story of one family & their enduring connection to the place that brought them together.
The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin ($33, PB)
A Taiwanese immigrant family of 6 struggle to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father is employed as a plumber & repairman, while the mother, an unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When 10 year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected too, and she did not survive. Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighbouring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby’s death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins ($33, PB)
Lydia Quixano Pérez runs a bookstore in the Mexican city of Acapulco. One day a man enters the shop to browse & buys a few books—two of them her favourites. Javier is erudite. He is charming—he is also the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s journalist husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published he is killed and Lydia flees with her 8 year-old son Luca, soon find themselves miles & worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia & Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the US, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to? ‘A Grapes of Wrath for our times’—Don Winslow
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Vanessa Wye was 15 years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now 32 and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life—her great sexual awakening—as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many. ($30, PB)
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes ($33, PB)
Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed & Liam, their beautiful, talented wives & all their kids spend a lot of time together—birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie—who has the most money—insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much. Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, is concussed and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time—finally—to grow up?
The Hungry and the Fat by Timur Vermes ($33, PB)
Refugee camps in Africa are overflowing & Europe has closed its borders. The refugees have no future, no hope & no money to pay the vast sums now demanded by people smugglers. The only thing they have is time. Then an angel arrives from reality TV. When model & star presenter Nadeche Hackenbusch comes to film at the largest of the camps, one young refugee sees a unique opportunity: to organise a march to Europe, in full view of the media. Viewers are gripped as the vast convoy moves closer, but the far right in Germany is regrouping & the government is at a loss. Which country will halt the refugees in their tracks?
House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild ($30, PB)
The seat of the Trelawney family for over 800 years, Trelawney Castle was once the jewel of the Cornish coast. Each successive Earl spent with abandon, turning the house & grounds into a sprawling, extravagant palimpsest of wings, turrets & follies. But recent generations now live in isolated penury, unable to communicate with each other or the rest of the world. Three unexpected events will hasten their demise—the appearance of a new relation, an illegitimate, headstrong, beautiful girl; an unscrupulous American hedge fund manager determined to exact revenge; and the crash of 2008. A love story and social satire set in the parallel and seemingly unconnected worlds of the British aristocracy and high finance.
Independence Square by A. D. Miller ($33, PB)
Once a senior British diplomat in Kiev, Simon Davey lost everything after a lurid scandal. 12 years later, back in London, he is travelling on the Tube when he sees Olesya, the woman he holds responsible for his downfall. He first met her on an icy night during the protests on Independence Square. When Simon decides to follow Olesya, he finds himself plunged back into the dramatic days which changed his life forever. Independence Square is a story about corruption and personal and political betrayals. It is a story about where 21st century power really lies.
Voices in the Snow by Darcy Coates ($28, PB)
She can’t stop running. If she stops, they’ll find her and kill her. Clare wakes, bandaged & injured, in a stranger’s home. He tells her she was in a car crash. A vicious snowstorm has trapped them inside the historic manor he calls home. The phones don’t work. There is no way to leave, or even to call for help, until the snow melts. The stranger tends to her injuries & brings her food. But Clare doesn’t know if she can trust him. He promised they were alone in the house, but she sees and hears things that convince her something else is in the building. And as her memories of the hours before her accident begin to return, the things she saw & heard terrify her. What was The Stillness, and why was she running from it?
The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda ($20, PB)
On a stormy summer day in the 1970s the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party in their villa on the Sea of Japan. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only family member spared death. The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. Inspector Teru is convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident.
The Devil by Nadia Dalbuono ($33, PB)
A troubled young man, Andrea Borghese, is found dead in his parents’ apartment—the last people to see him alive were five Roman Catholic priests who were performing an exorcism on him. Detective Leone Scamarcio is unravelling. His partner’s baby is due any day. But what kind of world is this in which to raise a child? So the Borghesi case is a welcome distraction, and he finds himself in an ever-thickening plot of occult practices, murder, church corruption, government bribery, pharmaceutical dirty dealings, family secrets, and, of course, the mafia. To make things even more complicated, Scamarcio’s old flame, Aurelia, has returned to Rome, and Scamarcio is having trouble thinking straight.
The Holdout by Graham Moore ($33, PB)
15 year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open & shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed. Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever. Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect. The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?.
The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd ($33, PB)
When Elijah stumbles across 13 year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his 12 years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave. Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood. As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. But will either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood.
The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones ($19, PB)
A young expat, Lucy Fly, living in Tokyo is the chief-suspect of a murder investigation. As Lucy is interrogated by the police she reveals her past—a past which is dangerously ambiguous & compromising. Why did Lucy leave England for the foreign anonymity of Japan ten years before, and what exactly prompted her to sever all links with her family back home? She was the last person to see the murdered girl alive, so why is she not more forthcoming about the circumstances of their last meeting? As Lucy’s story unfolds, it emerges that secrets, both past and present, obsess her waking life
The Divinities by Parker Bilal ($20, PB)
2 bodies are found brutally murdered on a building site in Battersea & DS Calil Drake sees an opportunity to repair his reputation after a botched undercover operation. Working with a specialist consultant, forensic psychologist Dr Rayhana Crane, Drake’s investigations lead to their military service in Iraq & the destruction they witnessed there. With a community poised on the brink of violence and their lives on the line, Crane and Drake must work together to stop the killer before their vengeance is unleashed.
Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan ($30, PB)
Young doctor Joshua Ainsworth is found brutally murdered at his home in a picturesque Cambridgeshire village. Is his death connected to his private or professional life? Dr Ainsworth worked at an all-female detention centre, one still recovering from a major scandal a few years before. Was he the whistle-blower, or an instigator? As DS Ferreira & DI Zigic begin to painstakingly reconstruct Dr Ainsworth’s last days, they uncover yet more secrets & more suspects. But this isn’t the only case that’s demanding their attention—a violent criminal has been released on a technicality & the police force know he will strike again.
A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan ($20, PB)
In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community & a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would have motive & opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence? Detectives Esa Khattak & Rachel Getty from Canada’s Community Policing Unit are tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn’t worsen. But when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged. As Khattak & Getty work through a mounting list of suspects, they realise there’s far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought.
The Other People by C. J. Tudor ($33, PB)
Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word—‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again. Three years later, Gabe spends his days & nights travelling up & down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope. Fran & her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway—because Fran knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice.
The Janes by Louisa Luna ($30, PB)
On the outskirts of San Diego, the bodies of two young women are discovered. They have no names, no IDs, and no family looking for them. Fearing a human trafficking ring, the police and FBI ask Alice Vega to help find out who the Janes were-and find the other missing women. Alice Vega has a mind like a steel trap. Along with her partner Cap, she will stop at nothing to find the Janes before it is too late..
Into the Labyrinth by Donato Carrisi ($33, PB)
Samantha Andretti wakes up in a hospital bed. Samantha was abducted when she was thirteen, and kept prisoner for fifteen years. The man by her side, Dr Green, believes that Samantha’s memories contain the clues that will lead to the capture of her abductor. But why does she keep referring to a labyrinth? Outside the hospital, private investigator Bruno Genko does not have long to live. Bruno was assigned to Samantha’s case many years ago, and now it is his chance to make amends. Can Samantha be persuaded to go back into the labyrinth? And how did the man its the centre vanish so quickly?
The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths ($33, PB)
Dr Ruth Galloway has a new job, home & partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried—but only if Ruth will do the digging. Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths. Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?.
The Better Liar by Tanen Jones ($33, PB)
Estranged for a decade, sisters Leslie & Robin must reunite if they are to claim the fortune their father left them. Leslie desperately needs that money, but when she arrives at her sister’s apartment, she finds her body instead. Without Robin, she won’t see a penny, so Leslie needs another plan. Mary, an aspiring actress, spends her nights slinging beers at a seedy restaurant. She’d do anything to start her life over. When Leslie offers her a huge sum of money and the chance to be someone else—to be Robin—she takes it. But Robin’s life isn’t as straightforward as Mary thought it would be. And Leslie seems to have a few secrets.
The Devil Inside by D. L. Hicks ($30, PB) In a peaceful Victorian coastal town, a young woman is found brutally murdered, a piece of scripture held tightly in her hand. Local detective Charlotte Callaghan is put on the case, and she’s glad for the distraction—Gull Bay can be a hard place to keep a secret, and she’s holding on to a few. After Charlotte asks her brother, Father Joseph Callaghan, about the verse, her suspicions fall on his parishioners. Then a second victim is found, along with another biblical message. A dark betrayal is concealed within the small community. For Charlotte, there’s something personal about this case, something that threatens the very core of her beliefs. Can she unravel this mystery before it tears her town apart?
Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump by Neal Katyal ($23, PB)
Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal tells you everything you need to know about the impeachment process: its history, what it is & how it works, and lays out the impartial case for why Donald Trump must be impeached. No one is above the law. This belief is as fundamental as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—held sacred by Democrats & Republicans alike. But as Katyal argues, if President Trump is not held accountable for repeatedly asking foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, this could very well mark the end of US democracy.
Depraved Indifference by Gary Indiana
First published in 2001, this is the third of Gary Indiana’s crime trilogy. Inspired by the virtuoso con artistry of mother-and-son criminals Sante & Kenneth Kimes, Indiana follows Evangeline Slote, a dead ringer for Elizabeth Taylor ‘so compulsive she grifts herself when she runs out of other people’ through the circus of calamity that her compulsions invoke. Accompanied by her alcoholic husband Warren & fanatically devoted son Devin, moves from Las Vegas to Hawaii to Nassau in a maelstrom of forgery & fraud that constantly threatens to come undone. When Warren dies, Evangeline & her son embark upon an ever more brazen series of grifts, frauds, and crimes—concocting the scheme to end all schemes—which may take a murder to complete. ($29, PB)
Shark Arm by Roope & Meagher
An ex-boxer & petty police informer was efficiently disposed of—which should have been the end of it, had not a shark vomited up the victim’s arm in an aquarium & shone an unwelcome light into some very dark places. The guilty closed ranks & gradually, with intimidation, money, and the murder of a mate who they feared would betray them, they re-imposed their control & the light was turned off again. The memory of those events, and the terrible fear they inspired, kept those who knew the truth silent unto the grave. Phillip Roope & Kevin Meagher, having digested the entire cold-case police file, reveal a very different story: an extraordinary tale of high-class smuggling, a frantic cover-up and the truth behind one of the most infamous cases in Australia. ($33, PB)
Parisian Lives by Deirdre Bair ($30, PB)
In 1971 Deirdre Bair was a journalist & recently minted PhD who managed to secure access to Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett. He agreed that she could write his biography despite never having written—or even read—a biography herself. The next 7 years of intimate conversations, intercontinental research, and peculiar cat-and-mouse games resulted in Samuel Beckett: A Biography, which went on to win the National Book Award and propel Bair to her next subject: Simone de Beauvoir. The catch? De Beauvoir & Beckett despised each other—and lived essentially on the same street. While quite literally dodging one subject or the other, and sometimes hiding out in the backrooms of the great cafés of Paris, Bair learned that what works in terms of process for one biography rarely applies to the next. Her 7 ear relationship with the domineering & difficult de Beauvoir required a radical change in approach, yielding another groundbreaking literary profile. Drawing on her extensive notes from the period, including never-before-told anecdotes & details that were considered impossible to publish at the time, Parisian Lives gives us an entirely new window on the all-too-human side of these legendary thinkers.
Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times by Alan Walker ($40, PB)
Sunday Times Classical Music Book of the Year 2018, this book is based on 10 years of research & a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, Washington, D.C. Alan Walker’s monumental biography of the great Polish composer sets out to dispel the many myths & legends that continue to surround Chopin. In an intimate look into a dramatic life; Walker focusses on Chopin’s childhood & youth in Poland, and his romantic life with George Sand—bringing them into line with his latest scholarly findings. Written in highly readable prose, the book wears its scholarship lightly:—suited as much for the professional pianist as it is for the casual music lover.
Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption reunion by Robert Tickner ($33, PB)
Robert Tickner had always known he was adopted, but had rarely felt much curiosity about his origins. Born in 1951, he had a happy childhood - raised by his loving adoptive parents, Bert and Gwen Tickner, in the small seaside town of Forster, NSW. He grew with a fierce sense of social justice, and serving in the Hawke & Keating governments, he held the portfolio of minister for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander affairs—initiating the reconciliation process and the national inquiry into the stolen generations. During his time on the front bench, Tickner’s son was born, and this moved him at last to turn his attention to the question of his own birth. But he could not have anticipated learning of the exceptional nature of the woman who had brought him into the world, the deep scars that his forced adoption had left on her, and the astonishing series of coincidences that had already linked their lives. And this was only the first half of a story that was to lead to a reunion with his birth father & siblings.
Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener
At 25 Anna Wiener left her assistant job in New York publishing. to move to Silicon Valley to take up a job at a data analytics startup in San Francisco. She had a healthy income for the first time in her life. She felt like part of the future. But people were beginning to speak of tech startups as surveillance companies. Out of 60 employees, only 8 of her colleagues were women. Casual sexism was rife. Sexual harassment cases were proliferating. And soon, like everyone else, she was addicted to the internet, refreshing the news, refreshing social media, scrolling & scrolling & scrolling. Slowly, she began to realise that her blind faith in ambitious, arrogant young men from America’s soft suburbs wasn’t just her own personal pathology. It had become a global affliction. Uncanny Valley is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of our generation’s very own gold rush. ($28, PB)
Graham Greene: The Last Interview ($28, PB)
Graham Greene led and extraordinary life. The son of a Hertfordshire headmaster, he quickly discovered a love for writing, beginning a career that would last a lifetime. Greene’s fascination with global politics took him around the world, to places that would become the settings for many of his most famous novels—Mexico (The Power and the Glory), Sierra Leone (The Heart of the Matter), and Haiti (The Comedians)—among dozens of other far-flung locations. Graham Greene looks back on his life, and included in this volume several key interviews from throughout his long, fruitful career.
Judith Anderson: Australian Star, First Lady of the American Stage by Desley Deacon ($60, PB)
The Love That Remains by Susan Francis ($30, PB)
When she was a baby, Susan Francis was privately adopted from a doctor’s practice in Newcastle, NSW. After 20 years spent searching for her biological parents, 52-year-old Susan Hull unexpectedly meets the great love of her life—a goldminer named Wayne Francis. He is a gentle giant of a man, who promises Susan the world. Two years later, they throw in their jobs, marry & sell everything they own, embarking on an incredible adventure, to start a new life in the romantic city of Granada, where they learn Spanish & enjoy too much tapas. Enthralled by the splendour of a European springtime, the pair treasure every moment together. Until a shocking series of events alters everything.
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado ($33, PB)
Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing experience with a charismatic but volatile woman, this is a bold dissection of the mechanisms & cultural representations of psychological abuse. Each chapter views the relationship through a different lens, as Machado holds events up to the light & examines them from distinct angles. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek & Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film & fiction—all resulting in a powerful book that explodes ideas about what a memoir can do and be.
Sky Swimming: Reflections on auto/biography, people and place by Sylvia Martin ($25, PB)
Sylvia Martin’s reflections in Sky Swimming are meditations on the enigmas of love, family, ageing, memory, home & belonging. At the book’s heart is a mudbrick house built by 2 women on an ancient lava flow in the Warrumbungle Mountains, circling back to a childhood filled with music in Melbourne & an early career in the theatre. It fans out across the world to a family mystery in The Netherlands of the 1950s & a friendship in Montreal in the 1990s. Martin reflects on the process of writing feminist biography & the women from her biographies thread their way through the narrative alongside the people who have helped shape her life, often in unexpected directions.
Snakes and Ladders by Angela Williams ($33, PB)
It was no surprise that Angela Williams went to jail. A traumatic, violent upbringing saw to that. But after serving a short sentence for theft as a teenager, she worked hard to break the cycle. 13 years later Williams was studying, teaching, providing a stable home for her son, and finally feeling like she’d got her life together. Then she got hit by a postie bike. Police realised that Angela still had 10 months to go on the prison sentence she’d thought was in her distant past. However, Angela the 2nd time around she was no longer a scared, damaged 19 year-old, this time she knew how to speak up for herself & her fellow prisoners against a system of power, privilege & cruelty that controls the lives of Australia’s most vulnerable women & offers little hope for redemption. Her book reveals an astonishing true story of falling through the cracks, and what it takes to climb back out again.
The Hollywood Kid by Óscar & Juan José Martínez ($30, PB)
As a boy, Miguel Tobar fled a small town in El Salvador torn apart by warring guerrillas & US-backed death squads. As a teen in LA, he fought discrimination & beatings by joining a gang, MS-13. By the time the US deported him to San Salvador, the Hollywood Kid had joined a wave of US-bred gangsters, whose violence in concert with corrupt officials have in turn helped propel new waves of refugees. Óscar Martínez got to know the Hollywood Kid & met with him as he first turned on MS-13, killing gang members, and then in turn was assassinated by other gang members. Martínez and his brother, anthropologist Juan Martínez, tell the story of a violent life & death & of the geopolitical forces that propelled a country into becoming one of the most violent on earth.
A Delayed Life: The true story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus ($20, PB)
Born in Prague to a Jewish family in 1929, Dita Kraus has lived through the most turbulent decades of the 20th and early 21st centuries. In this memoir she writes on the horrors and joys of a life delayed by the Holocaust. From her earliest memories & childhood friendships in Prague before the war, to the Nazi-occupation that saw her & her family sent to the Jewish ghetto at Terezin, to the unimaginable fear & bravery of her imprisonment in Auschwitz & Bergen-Belsen, & life after liberation. Kraus writes unflinchingly about the harsh conditions of the camps & her role as librarian of the precious books that her fellow prisoners managed to smuggle past the guards. But she also looks beyond the Holocaust—to the life she rebuilt after the war—her marriage to fellow survivor Otto B. Kraus, a new life in Israel and the happiness and heartbreaks of motherhood.
Born in Adelaide in 1897, Judith Anderson was brought up by a determined single mother, and she parlayed her rich, velvety voice & ability to give reality to strong emotional roles into stardom on Broadway in the 1920s, and became recognised as a leading lady of the American stage under the directions of Guthrie McClintic in Hamlet and co-starring with Laurence Olivier & Maurice Evans in Macbeth. Ambitions and driven, Anderson toured extensively, made numerous highly praised appearances on TV, and, after her unforgettable role as Mrs Danvers in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, was a sought-after character actress in film, playing her last role as Vulcan High Priestess in Star Trek III at the age of 87. She had a stormy private life and two short marriages, which, she remarked, were ‘much too long’.
Flight Lines: Across the globe on a journey with the astonishing ultramarathon birds by Andrew Darby ($33, PB)
Andrew Darby follows the odysseys of two Grey Plovers, littleknown migratory shorebirds, as they take previously uncharted ultramarathon flights from the southern coast of Australia to Arctic breeding grounds. On these extraordinary flights they chance predators, typhoon weather and exhaustion before they can breed, and maybe return to familiar southern feeding grounds. But the greatest threat to these, and other long-distance migrants on the flyway, is China’s dragon economy, engulfing their vital Yellow Sea staging spots. Darby meets the dedicated people working to save these intrepid birds, from Russia to Alaska, and the rim of the Arctic Sea to the coasts of the Southern Ocean. Out of their hard-won science he finds hope for the birds, but his journey to understand this work & these birds almost ends when he is suddenly diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Then he finds science coming to his rescue too.
The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts
Siberia’s story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies & unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell. Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos—grand instruments created during the boom years of the 19th century, and humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood. How these pianos travelled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers & exiles. That stately instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle. ($33, PB)
Slam Your Poetry Miles Merrill and
‘Here is an exciting, engaging, instructive poetic playbook to usher in a new Australian slam generation.’ — Maxine Beneba Clarke
Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home by Matthew Kepnes ($42, HB)
Matthew Kepnes knows what it feels like to get the travel bug. Wanderlust is a powerful thing. After quitting his 9 to 5 job more than 10 years ago, he realized that living life meant more for him than simply meeting traditional milestones like buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. With almost nothing tangible to show for it after travelling over 500,000 miles & staying in 1,000 different hostels in 90 different countries, Kepnes has compiled his favourite stories & experiences in this travel manifesto to show a different side of life. His book is for travel junkies, the travel-curious, and anyone interested in what you can learn about the world when you don’t have a cable bill for a decade.
In Her Footsteps ($35, HB)
From the temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Egypt & Empress Dowager Cixi’s summer palace in Beijing, to the homes & meeting sites of suffragette heroes Sylvia Pankhurst & Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the creative workrooms of Frida Kahlo & Virginia Woolf, and the tennis courts where the Williams sisters first learned to play— Lonely Planet showcase female pioneers whose lives & actions continue to inspire today—as well as providing a travel guide to the places where they studied, lived, worked, reigned & explored.
‘A story of devastation, resistance and, ultimately, survival, every Australian should know.’ — Benjamin Law
Camping around Australia 4th ed ($50, PB)
With over 3200 campsites included across the country, particularly highlighting campsites in national parks and other green areas, the problem isn’t finding somewhere to camp—it’s deciding which one to choose. All of the information has been checked & updated by a team of researchers, including all campsite symbols such as free camping & dog-friendly campsites. Also included is a new symbol for wifi access & note which phone companies you will be most likely to get reception with. So whether you’re an urbanite wanting to get back to nature, a family wanting to spend quality time outdoors, backpackers wanting to see the real country or roadtrippers looking for budget accommodation, there’s no better guide for navigating Australia’s campsites.
A History of New York in 27 Buildings by Sam Roberts ($40, HB)
From the 700,000 or so buildings in New York, Sam Roberts selects 27 that, in the past 4 centuries, have been the most emblematic of the city’s economic, social & political evolution. He describes not only the buildings & how they came to be, but also their enduring impact on the city and its people & how the consequences of the construction often reverberated around the world. Roberts stretches the definition of buildings, to include the city’s oldest bridge & the landmark Coney Island Boardwalk. Others offer surprises—where the UN General Assembly first met; a hidden hub of global internet traffic; a nondescript factory that produced billions of dollars of currency in the poorest neighborhood in the country; and the buildings that triggered the Depression & launched the New Deal.
Now in B Format The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch, $20 Hiking with Nietzsche: Becoming Who You Are by John Kaag, $23
‘Summer Time explores ideas of time within the grand nostalgic mythology of Australian summer.’ — Books+Publishing
A N I M P R I N T O F U N SW P R E SS
books for kids to young adults
chosen by Liz & Elissa
The Feather by Margaret Wild (ill) Freya Blackwood
When a great feather drifts from the leaden sky, two children recognise its extraordinariness and take it to the village for protection. The villagers, however, want to encase it, upon which the feather loses its radiance. The children take it home and care for it through the night. In the morning it is again radiant, and when they set it free it leaves behind the first signs of blue sky and colour. Riffing on Emily Dickinson’s line, ‘Hope is the think with feathers that perches in the soul’, Margaret Wild’s new book offers an ambiguous ending that invites multiple interpretations about the effects of selflessness and kindness. ($17, PB)
Coming Home To Country by Bronwyn Bancroft
Run to the creek, perch on a rock, slip into clear crystal water. A visual and lyrical depiction of coming home to country by Bronwyn Bancroft, a proud Bundjalung Woman and Artist who has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for over three decades. ($25, HB)
fiction —8 & under
Me and My Boots by Penny Harrison (ill) Evie Barrow ($20, HB)
This is the first book staring Bronte, a fun-loving character who inadvertently challenges gender stereotypes through her everyday adventures. In this tale Penny Harrison, who grew up on a farm in centralwestern NSW, introduces Bronte’s family & friends, and Bronte who resoundingly rejects the label bossy boots—offering up alternative ways to describe assertive girls like herself. Tiger by Jan Jutte
When Josephine returns to town after a walk in the woods, a tiger strolls along with her—and she decides to take him home. And after their initial fright, the whole town that becomes very fond of Tiger. But however much they all love him, Tiger must return to the place where he belongs. And Josephine will take him there. Three-time winner of the Golden Brush Award [best illustrator], Jan Jutte’s pictures are radiant with Tiger & Josephine’s mutual affection. ($20, HB)
The Besties Show and Smell; The Besties to the Rescue by Felice Arena ($10, PB)
From the author and illustrator of the popular Sporty Kids books comes an exciting new beginner-reader series featuring Oliver & Ruby who have been besties forever. In To the Rescue they save a baby bird from Cutie Pie, the cat next door. In Show & Smell Ruby’s much looked forward to show & tell at school takes a whiffy turn.
Series: Evie and Pog by Tania McCartney
High in a treehouse live two very best friends. One is a six year old girl and one is a pug pup. And everyone knows them as Evie and Pog. So far there’s 2 volumes: Puppy Playtime! and Take Off!, with Party Perfect! to come in April. With 3 adventures per book and lots of silly pictures your early reader is sure to become an Evie & Pog fan. ($13, PB)
Danny Best #4: Watch This! by Jen Storer ($18, PB)
This is the fourth hilarious book about a legend named Danny Best. A collection of Awesome new stories including: The boy with the musical bum, rampaging dead dinosaurs, freaked-out ninjas in outer space and so much more!
Thirteen Secrets by Michelle Harrison
Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes ($16, PB)
This is the magical tale of a bold young chimney sweep & a remarkable tiger, a hypnotic ruby & a mystical land found across an ocean, through a storm. Fly never meant to end up in a cage with a maneating tiger. And though she’s sure she’s no princess, when the tiger addresses her as ‘your majesty’, she can’t help but vow to free him & return him home. But the bird-filled jungles & cloud-topped mountains of the tiger’s homeland are an ocean away. And not everyone wants the tiger—or Fly—to get there alive. Will Fly be able to fulfil her promise & become the queen her tiger knows her to be?
H is for Happiness by Barry Jonsberg ($17, PB)
Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly
This isn’t just about me. It’s also about my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my pen pal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish & Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people (with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish) who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it. Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little—odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to ‘fix’ all the problems of all the people (and pets) in her life. A laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully touching book.
fiction —8 to 12
In the finale to the 13 Treasures trilogy, Red is now living at Elvesden Manor under her real name, Rowan, and trying to put her terrible adventures behind her. But staying out of trouble isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. Haunted by awful dreams of Hedgewitch’s cottage—and of Eldritch, who swore revenge when she left him there to die—Red fears the fairy realm is about to draw her back in. Will she make it back, this time? Or will dark forces finally claim her? ($17, PB) Life is hard on the island of Sanlagita. To the west looms a vengeful mountain that threatens to collapse and bury the village at any moment. To the north, a dangerous fog swallows sailors who dare to venture out, looking for a more hospitable land. The women live in fear of the deadly mender’s disease, spread by the sharp needles they use to repair the men’s fishing nets. When Lalani Sarita’s mother pricks her finger and falls ill, she gives twelve year-old Lalani an impossible task—leave Sanlagita and find the riches of the legendary Mount Isa, which towers on an island to the north. Inspired by Filipino folklore Newbery Medal winner (for Hello, Universe) Erin Entrada Kelly’s new novel is about bravery, self-reliance and the choice between accepting fate or forging your own path. ($15, PB)
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 lessons on how to wake up, take action & do the work by Tiffany Jewell
Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation. Biracial writer and Montessori educator Tiffany Jewell offers 20 chaptes that build on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. Her book aims at the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically & emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves & also for their families, teachers & administrators. With this book, be empowered to actively defy racism to create a community (large and small) that truly honours everyone. ($17, PB)
Earth Heroes: Twenty Inspiring Stories of People Saving Our World
I Heart the World by Tania McCartney
Here are 20 inspirational stories to counter the sense of hopeless helplessness in the face of Climate Change. From Greta Thunberg & David Attenborough to Yin Yuzhen & Isatou Ceesay, each tale is a beacon of hope in the fight for the future of our planet, proving that one person, no matter how small, can make a difference. Featuring Amelia Telford, Andrew Turton & Pete Ceglinski, Bittu Sahgal, Chewang Norphel, David Attenborough, Doug Smith, Ellen MacArthur, Greta Thunberg, Isabel Soares, Isatou Ceesay, Marina Silva, Melati & Isabel Wijsen, Mohammed Rezwan, Renee King-Sonnen, Rok Rozman, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Stella McCartney, William Kamkwamba, Yin Yuzhen & Yvon Chouinard. With illustrations by Jackie Lay. ($20, HB)
Ready for a global adventure? Pack your passport and a sense of wonder as you travel our amazing world through the gorgeous pages of this book! Australian author, illustrator and editor Tania McCartney is your ticket to the breathtaking flora, fauna, people, sights and eye-popping wonders of our land, sea and sky. Make sure to pack your passport when you explore our amazing world through the pages of this book! ($30, HB)
The Toll by Neal Shusterman ($17, PB)
In the explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Arc of a Scythe series, it’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.
The Conference of the Birds: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children 5 by Ransom Riggs ($25, PB)
With his dying words, H—Jacob’s final connection to his grandfather Abe’s secret life—entrusts Jacob with a mission: deliver newly contacted ‘peculiar’ Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor, save the future of all ‘peculiardom’. With enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into this newest instalment of Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.
Food, Health & Garden The Power of Stretching by Bob Doto ($20, HB)
Massage therapist Bob Doto explains why we stretch & why it feels good. He illustrates the basic anatomy of stretching & gives general guidelines for performing stretches, then shows how to stretch every part of your body using 60 different stretches, with a colour-coded map of the regions of the body to use as a reference. Each stretch discussed includes an image, bulleted instructions, and helpful notes & tips. Another section helps you pinpoint the stretches that are right for you based on common occupational & sports activity profiles, along with common injury profiles.
Australian Rainforest Seeds: A Guide to Collecting, Processing & Propagation by Dunphy et al
This guide to rainforest seed propagation unlocks the secrets to growing 300 rainforest species. Providing specific information on how to sustainably collect, process & germinate seeds, this userfriendly book aims to support a growing movement of rainforest restoration. With invaluable information based on 30 years of research in northern NSW, users will find even difficult rainforest species delightfully easy to grow. In this time of bushfire & widespread deforestation, millions of trees are needed for restoration & every tree counts. ($50, PB)
Money School: Become financially independent and reclaim your life by Lacey Filipich ($30, PB)
Take control of how you spend your time & money to make them work for you—and get on the fast track to being financially independent & time rich. Lacey Filipich has been teaching the strategies & steps for financial independence for a decade through her education company, Money School. From maximising your income & cutting costs without big sacrifice, to property, shares & retirement funds, her book explains exactly how to build a passive income that will completely change your life. Vegan Bible by Marie Laforet ($50, PB) Learn how to make your own vegan cheeses, creams & milks, how to cook egg-free, dairy-free desserts, and how to prepare 100% vegan versions of some of the great classic dishes using ingredients that can be found in your local supermarket. As well as recipes for breakfasts, lunches, suppers & baby foods there are recipes for every occasion: birthdays, brunches, picnics, barbecues & family get-togethers. The book also provides illustrated step-by-step information on the key ingredients of the vegan diet: nuts, flax seeds, chickpeas, avocado; and there is a chapter outlining the essentials for vegan nutritional balance: where to find protein, calcium, vitamin B12 & mistakes to avoid.
Fast 800 Health Journal by Dr Clare Bailey ($30, PB)
This 12-week journal is the essential companion to Dr Michael Mosley’s bestselling The Fast 800 - an ideal aid for those wanting to fit the programme into busy lives. Perfectly sized so you can keep it to hand but with plenty of space to write in, this planner enables you to: plan your meals, record your calories and, factor in upcoming events, set yourself goals and reflect on the outcomes, track your activity levels, monitor your mood, eating and sleeping habits. With 15 delicious new recipes, and packed full of motivational tips and weekly reminders.
The NeuroGeneration by Tan Le ($33, PB)
Tan Le offers an exciting glimpse into the new brain technologies that sound like science fiction, but are quickly becoming reality. She shares fascinating stories from people whose lives have been transformed by these inventions: an endurance racer paralysed in a fall, who now walks thanks to neural stimulation & an exoskeleton; a man who drives a racing car with his mind; a musician who masters Bach faster with headphones that zap his brain with electrical currents. She reveals a dizzying array of technologies in development: helping people whose brains have been impaired by dementia, epilepsy, stroke & injury—like cranial stimulation to accelerate learning, or video games that may replace medications.
The Gardener’s Guide to Succulents by Misa Matsuyama ($27, HB)
This succulent guide of over 125 plants from 40 different genera of succulents & cacti includes information about: What each variety needs and where it thrives; Plant characteristics, with ratings on ease of growth & maintenance requirements; Ideas for group plantings & illustrated tips on indoor planting—accompanied with striking identification photos, rich in colour & contrast.
7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading by Louise Park ($25, PB)
Literacy is the single most important thing we can teach kids. If they can read, all other learning will follow. As a teacher, children’s author & leading educational consultant, Louise Park knows better than anyone how the goalposts have shifted over time. The road to literacy has never been smooth, but now there is the added challenge of digital distractions. Park shows how to make the most of both digital & traditional forms of reading, as well as setting out commonsense plans for making a reader of your child. Based on scientific research & presented in an accessible style for time-poor parents, these 7 simple steps will lead your Generation Alpha child to an irreplaceable love of reading.
Happy Salads: Australian Women’s Weekly
Inspired by the increasing popularity of salad bars & buildyour own convenience foods in supermarkets, this book is full of new & exciting salad combinations. Start with a Keeping it Simple: Easy weeknight one-pot rec- base of leaves or grains, add a protein & cooked or raw vegies, then top it off with a delicious dressing & topper for ipes by Yasmin Fahr ($30, PB) Why order a takeaway when you can throw together Miso- crunch. ($40, PB) Ghee Chicken Thighs with Roasted Radishes or Rigatoni with Meal Prep: Australian Women’s Weekly Crispy Prosciutto, Broccolini, Parm and Chilli Flakes in 20 For the time poor meal prepping is the best way to ensure minutes? And when you can cook it all in one pot, clean-up you eat well & don’t resort to fast food & takeaway. This is a breeze. This book features over 60 quick and easy, drool- book takes the same ingredients & makes 4 very different worthy one-pot dinners you can whip up in the time in takes meals for the week, minimizing your time in the kitchen— to have a glass of wine. making cooking as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4. ($35, PB)
Condiments by Caroline Widdnersson ($25, HB)
Too often, commercial condiments are loaded with extra salt, sugar, allergens & preservatives. From ketchup, sweet chilli sauce & taco seasoning, to peppery American hot sauce, sizzling Tunisian harissa, tangy Dijon mustard, as well as infused vinegars, aromatic spice blends, pickles & preserves, this book offers more than 90 simple recipes that show you step by step how to make your own condiments.
Thinking and Eating by The School of Life
With its every day ubiquity we can make the mistake of assuming that food is of little importance, or simply fuel, but what we eat & how we eat it has a significant impact on our psychological well-being. With over 150 recipes, this book shows how ingredients & dishes can be supporters of certain ideas, emotions & states of mind that best help us confront the challenges of existence. ($45, HB)
Events r Calenda
t! iss ou il! m t ’ Don ema or gle eekly f p u Sign ebooks w e. le at The g vents upd e m.au email eebooks.co @gl asims
mber! get free Reme and eclub t our shops, e l G a he Join t events held with every o t entry dit accrued Gleaner e re c 10% hase, and th r door. c you pur red to delive
Event—6 for 6.30
John Hockney Talk
The Hockneys: Never Worry What the Neighbours Think Fascinating insight into the lives of one of the world’s most famous artists and his family by youngest brother John, from growing up in the Second World War in Bradford through to their diverse lives across three continents.
Ten Doors Down in conv. with Deborah Snow Robert Tickner, Minister in both the Hawke & Keating governments, had a happy childhood, raised by his loving adoptive parents. It the birth of his son that moved him at last to turn his attention to the question of his own birth—leading to a reunion with his birth father and siblings Event—6 for 6.30
24 Launch—6 for 6.30 Miles Merrill & Narcisa Nociza
Event—6 for 6.30
Slam Your Poetry Part how to, part manifesto, this book provides step-by-step instructions & exercises that will inspire you to: Write a poem that pops; Rehearse like a winner; Wow your audience; Beat stage fright; Run a winning competition for your school or community group
David Crowe and Adele Ferguson
On the Record Join multi-award winning investigative journalists David Crowe and Adele Ferguson for a special event, On the Record. They’ll discuss the many facets of their craft—how they convince their sources to speak on the record, what motivates them, and how much trust is involved.
How Americ in conv. with This book is a ref an encyclopedic ra temporary and sys sons between the U 17 other econom stable liberal demo some more globa
19 Event—6 for 6.30
Griffith Review 67: Matters of Trust
Event— Jono Lin
Perfect Since our first an Panel: Ashley Hay, Teela Reid place one foot in our desire to walk and David Ritter damental changes The latest Griffith Review explores the transformation of so- minds. Jono Linee ciety through the way we interact transformation, a with institutions, in essays from top has made us mor emerging and established writers. us to learn, constr tion of time an Event—6 for 6.30
The Killing Streets: Uncovering Australia’s first serial murderer
In conversation with Jane Caro This is the compelling story of a city crippled by fear, a failing economy, a killer at large as panic abounds, is also the story of what happens when victims aren’t perfect and neither are suspects & when a rush to judgement replaces the call of reason..
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: email@example.com, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
Launch—3.30 for 4 Genevieve Gannon
The Mothers Two couples. One baby. An unimaginable choice. What if you gave birth to someone else’s child? A gripping family drama inspired by a real-life case of an IVF laboratory mix-up.
—6 for 6.30 Tiffen
—6 for 6.30 neen Talk
15 Launch—3.30 for 4 Vivian Bi
Dragon’s Gate in conv. with Jane Sydenham-Kwiet A coming-of-age tale of betrayal, suicide and a library of banned books during China’s Cultural Revolution. ‘... a fascinating story written from the heart and woven into a complex cultural and historical tapestry—a modern classic in the making.’— Robert Macklin
ca Compares Ross Gittins ference work with ange, offering constematic compariUnited States and mically advanced, ocracies, as well as al comparisons.
Motion ncestor rose up to front of another, has produced funs in our bodies & en investigates that and why walking re creative, helped ructed our percepnd much more
Event—6 for 6.30 Nick Cook
22 Launch—3.30 for 4
23 Launch—3.30 for 4
Coming Home to Country Launcher: Jack Bancroft Born in Tenterfield, northern New South Wales, Bronwyn Bancroft is a descendant of the Djanbun clan of the Bundjalung nation. has illustrated several award-winning books for children, this is her visual and lyrical depiction of coming home to country.
Honeypot Emcee Lee Wallace A series of stories shared fictional trickster character Miss B with Dr EPJ that cause him to grapple with his privilege as a man and as an academic—in the process gaining insights into patriarchy, class, sex, gender, and the challenges these women face.
Fighting for Our Lives in conv. with Hon. Michael Kirby This is the inspirational story of communities directly affected by the AIDS crisis. Against a harrowing backdrop of illness and death, fear and anger, hate and discrimination, they bravely took action.
29 Coming in March
E. Patrick Johnson
Event: Wed 4th—Donna Ward, She I Dare Not Name: A spinster’s meditations on life Event: Thur 5th—Andrew Wear, Solved! How other countries have cracked the world’s biggest problems and we can too
Launch: Fri 6th—Robin Grille, Inner Child Journeys Launch: Sat 7th—Vrasidas Karalis, Glebe Point Road Blues Event: Wed 11th—Sophie McNeill, We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know
Event: Wed 18th—Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, The Woman Who Changed Her Brain http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads with Sonia Lee
My first Good Reads for 2020 are two coming-of-age novels: Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls and The Offing by Benjamin Myers. The first was recommended by my daughter and I bought the second because a reviewer mentioned it in the same breath as A Month in the Country by J L Carr, one of my favourite books. Set in 1997, Sweet Sorrow features 16-year-old Charlie Lewis—one of a gang of rough boys at the local comprehensive. Charlie’s parents have separated, his mother taking his younger sister while he stays at home with his depressed dad. After making a half-serious suicide attempt, Charlie sabotages his GCSE by walking out of some of the papers. At a loose end in the summer, he stumbles upon a local production of Romeo and Juliet, in which Fran Fisher, a high achiever at a private school, is playing Juliet. With the help of Fran’s coaching, Charlie reluctantly agrees to take the part of Benvolio. Fran is his first love, ‘the brief, blinding explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly once it has burnt out’, with Shakespeare a tentative second, and Charlie is transformed by both. Myers’s The Offing is set in the aftermath of World War 2, when 16-year- old Robert Appleyard leaves his Durham mining village and makes his way to Robin Hood’s Bay. There he meets Dulcie, an eccentric older woman with whom he forms an unlikely friendship that profoundly affects their futures. Dulcie feeds him, gives him books, and puts into his head the surprising notion that he could possibly go to university. He looks back as a mature man on that life-changing summer. Dulcie had once been the lover of Romy Landau, a tragic German poet, and when Robert discovers Romy’s final unpublished collection, called The Offing, Dulcie is led to a posthumous message from the poet. The offing is ‘the distant stretch of sea where sky and water merge’, a perfect metaphor for Robert’s transition from adolescence to adulthood. Both novels are beautifully written and a joy to read. Now two books about land. In Mallee Country (Monash U.P.) Richard Broome, Charles Fahey, Andrea Gaynor and Katie Holmes tell a story of contrasts. First of how the Aboriginal people of the Mallee cared for it during the 50,000 years before European settlement and then of the changes made by European settlers, whose sheep and rabbits were followed by the flattening and burning of the land to allow wheat to be sown, with the resulting dust storms, salination, mice plagues and so on. While reading this book I picked up Wearing Paper Dresses, a powerful novel by Anne Brinsden about the troubled wife of a Mallee farmer and their two daughters Ruby and Marjorie. Reading the two books in tandem was illuminating. The settling of the Mallee lands was an environmental catastrophe. It destroyed the land and many of the settlers, the poet John Shaw Neilson being one victim. The final chapter tells of attempts to rectify some of these ills and cope with global warming as well. Wilding by Isabella Tree tells the inspirational story of how she and her husband Charlie Burrell transformed their 3,500 acre West Sussex estate Knepp from a failing farm to a thriving ecosystem by stocking it with grazing animals like longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies and fallow deer, stimulating new habitats and enriching the heavy clay soils with new life. The neighbours at first hated the straggly hedgerows and what they regarded as a proliferation of weeds but now they see a return of rare species such as purple emperor butterflies, peregrine falcons, turtle doves, nightingales and skylarks—all of which are declining in the rest of England. The Knepp project is now a leading light in conservation in the UK and serves as an inspiration to all of us. In the final chapter Tree says that global warming could be reduced if farmers stopped over-producing and if consumers stopped wasting food and learned to eat seasonal food grown locally. Anyone who is interested in words and enjoyed Between You and Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen, will love It’s Greek to Me by Mary Norris. As a girl Mary wanted to learn Latin but her Dad forbade her. While working as a copy editor at the New Yorker, she determined to recover some of the lost ground and learn Greek. Her benevolent employer came to the party and paid for her to learn both modern and classical Greek. In this book, which is thoroughly informative and frequently hilarious, she describes her college classes, her roles in Greek plays and her trips to Greece and finally to Cyprus, the birthplace of Aphrodite, where she skinny-dipped in the legendary pool of the goddess. She rejoices in language and has a lovely time imagining being Plato’s copy editor and translating one of his sentences as ‘WTF, Socrates?’ The book is full of such gems and I heartily recommend it. Sonia
AFA 8: Can We Trust America? A Superpower in Transition ($23, PB)
AFA 8 examines the changing status of the US as its dominance in the Asia-Pacific faces challenge from China & its ‘America First’ foreign policy marks a shift away from global engagement. Michael Wesley argues that a shift towards US unilateralism may pose a crucial dilemma for Australia. Felicity Ruby delves into the revealing history & future of Australia-US partnerships on intelligence & military surveillance. Brendan Taylor argues that the US role in Asia may not be as vital as we think. Kelly Magsamen offers insight into how the US sees its role in Asia into the future. John Blaxland on how to form meaningful & intimate ties with our Pacific island neighbours. Plus essays by Helen Clark, Nick Bisley, Jacinta Carroll & Christopher Kremmer.
Ten Rogues by Peter Grose ($30, PB)
From the grim docks of 19th century London to the even grimmer shores of the brutal penal colony of Norfolk Island, this tale has everything: defiance of authority, treachery, piracy and mutiny, escape from the hangman’s noose and even love. Peopled with good men, buffoons, incompetents & larrikin convicts Peter Grose brings to life the story of a small band of convicts who managed to escape the living hell of the Tasmanian penal colony of Sarah Island. Their getaway began by stealing the leaky & untested brig they had helped to build, and then sailing it across the Pacific from Tasmania to Chile with neither a map nor a chronometer. From the strong connection between the slave trade and convict ‘transportation’ to the possible illegality of the whole convict system, Ten Rogues shines a light into some dark and previously well-hidden corners of colonial history.
Fighting For Our Lives: The history of a community response to AIDS by Nick Cook ($40, PB) During the darkest years of the AIDS epidemic, marginalised communities—mostly gay men, sex workers & people who inject drugs—came together to form organisations that gave them a voice in the corridors of power. They built an unprecedented alliance with politicians & medical experts, a three-way partnership that made Australia’s response to AIDS one of the most successful in the world. Fighting For Our Lives captures the high-stakes drama of this extraordinary period & the stories of the people at the very centre of a life-or-death struggle. It is a gripping read, an important story, and one that must never be forgotten.
On Red Earth Walking: The Pilbara Aboriginal Strike, Western Australia 1946–1949 by Anne Scrimgeour ($39.95, PB)
In 1946 Aboriginal people walked off pastoral stations in WA’s Pilbara region, withdrawing their labour from the economicallyimportant wool industry to demand improvements in wages & conditions. Their strike lasted 3 years. Amid Cold-war fears of communist subversion in the north, the prominence of communists among southern supporters & the involvement of a non-Aboriginal activist, Don McLeod, complicated settler responses to the strike. Scrimgeour uses Aboriginal oral history to place Aboriginal actors at the centre of these events, foregrounding their agency & their experiences, and provides a lucid examination of the system of colonial control that existed in the Pilbara prior to the strike, and how these mechanisms were gradually broken down by three years of striker activism.
A Water Story: Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future by Geoff Beeson ($70, PB)
Water crises in Australia have already led to severe restrictions being applied in cities, drought ravaging farmlands, and the near-terminal decline of some rivers and wetlands. A Water Story provides an account of Australian water management practices, set against important historical precedents and the contemporary experience of other countries. It describes the nature and distribution of the country’s natural water resources, management of these resources by Indigenous Australians, the development of urban water supply, and support for pastoral activities and agricultural irrigation, with the aid of case studies and anecdotes. This is followed by discussion of the environmental consequences and current challenges of water management, including food supply, energy and climate change, along with options for ensuring sustainable, adequate high-quality water supplies for a growing population.
Gurgun Mibinyah: Yugambeh, Ngarahngwal, Ngahnduwal: A dictionary and grammar of Mibiny language varieties from the Tweed to the Logan rivers (ed) Margaret Sharpe ($34.95, PB)
Other dialects of this language exist down to the Clarence River, and west to Allora & Warwick. All varieties of the language, including the Mibinyah varieties, have dropped out of regular use in the area. However, there are rich written records dating from the 19th century into the first half of the 20th century. There are also audio recordings from some areas from the later 20th century. Speakers, partial speakers & ‘rememberers’ remain, and a few words are commonly used by local English speakers.
Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia by Victor Steffensen
Victor Steffensen developed a passion for traditional cultural & ecological knowledge from a young age, but it was after leaving high school that Victor met two Elders who became his mentors, particularly to revive cultural burning. Developed over many generations, this knowledge shows clearly that Australia actually needs fire—with burning done in a controlled manner—for land care and healing. is a powerful account from Indigenous land management expert Victor Steffensen on how the revival of Indigenous fire practices, including improved ’reading’ of country and undertaking ’cool burns’, could help to restore our nation. For every copy sold, publisher Hardie Grant will donate $1 to Firesticks, which empowers Indigenous fire management practitioners to revive cultural burning. ($30, PB)
Griffith Review 67: Matters of Trust (ed) Ashley Hay ($28, PB)
From our first experiences to our last, institutions structure our world—through education & medicine to politics, justice, civics & religion. But in recent years even the most entrenched of institutions are seemingly on the edge of implosion. Either through deliberate political attacks or as an effect of wider disruption, new social forces have issued a comprehensive challenge to the established order. Does this new uncertainty mark a profound loss of trust in how our society is organised & how it operates? Might this be an opportunity for thorough-going reform to regain lost legitimacy, or does it mark an end-point for a social structure that is no longer tenable in the 21st century? Can institutions adapt? Can trust be rebuilt? Or will new forms of social organisation eventuate from this gathering sense of crisis?
The Glebe Point Road Blues: In Prose & Verse by Vrasidas Karalis ($24.95, PB)
Vrasidas Karalis depicts the quirky microcosm of social outcasts & eccentric individuals with a metaphysical twist. This is the imaginative recreation of the experience of living on Glebe Point Road, in Sydney for over 30 years in prose & verse. Through the encounters of the unidentified writer with actual individuals, the narrative evokes unsuspected episodes & quirky moments from the lives of countless ordinary or sometimes extraordinary people, as fleeting snapshots depicting moments of compassion, love, evil & despair as well as death.
A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America by Philip Rucker & Carol Leonnig
For the past 3 years Rucker & Leonnig have chronicled in depth the ways President Donald Trump has reinvented the presidency in his own image, shaken foreign alliances & tested American institutions. Relying on scores of exclusive new interviews with firsthand witnesses & rigorous original reporting, they reveal the 45th President up close as he stares down impeachment—taking readers inside Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation & the Trump legal team’s scramble for survival, behind the curtains as the West Wing scurries to clean up the President’s mistakes & into the room to witness Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders & members of his Cabinet. ($30, PB)
Unfree Speech: The Threat to Global Democracy and Why We Must Act, Now by Joshua Wong & Jason Y. Ng ($20, PB)
While the adults stayed silent, 14 year-old Joshua Wong staged the first ever student protest in Hong Kong to oppose National Education—and won. Since then, he has led the Umbrella Movement, founded a political party, and rallied the international community around the anti-Extradition Bill protests, which have seen 2 million people take to Hong Kong’s streets. His actions have sparked worldwide attention, earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, and landed him in jail twice. Unfree Speech chronicles his path to activism, collects the letters he wrote as a political prisoner, and closes with a powerful & urgent call for all of us globally to defend our democratic values.
Destined for War: Can America and China escape Thucydides’ Trap? by Graham Allison ($25, PB)
Thucydides’ Trap is a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred 16 times. War broke out in 12 of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America, and both Xi Jinping & Donald Trump promise to make their countries ‘great again’, the 17th case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war. Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’ Trap is the best lens for understanding US–China relations in the 21st century. He shows how close we are to the unthinkable, but stresses that war is not inevitable—revealing how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past—and what painful steps the United States & China must take to avoid disaster today.
Archival Returns: Central Australia & Beyond by Barwick, Green & Vaarzon-Morel ($45, PB)
Place-based cultural knowledge—of ceremonies, songs, stories, language, kinship & ecology—binds Australian Indigenous societies together. Over the last 100 years or so, records of this knowledge in many different formats have been accumulating at an ever-increasing rate. Yet this extensive documentary heritage is dispersed, and in many cases, the Indigenous people who participated in the creation of the records, or their descendants, have little idea of where to find the records or how to access them. Some records are held precariously in ad hoc collections, and their caretakers may be perplexed as to how to ensure that they are looked after. This book explores the strategies & practices by which cultural heritage materials can be returned to their communities of origin, and the issues this process raises for communities, as well as for museums, galleries & other cultural institutions.
Convicts in the Colonies: Transportation Tales from Britain to Australia by Lucy Williams
In the eighty years between 1787 and 1868 more than 160,000 men, women and children convicted of everything from picking pockets to murder were sentenced to be transported beyond the seas . These convicts were destined to serve out their sentences in the empire’s most remote colony: Australia. Through vivid real-life case studies and famous tales of the exceptional and extraordinary, Convicts in the Colonies narrates the history of convict transportation to Australia from the first to the final fleet. ($37, PB)
Getting the Blues: The Future of Australian Labor by Nick Dyrenfurth ($29.95, PB)
In an unsparing take on what many are calling Labor’s unlosable election, Nick Dyrenfurth takes stock of the turbulent last decade of Australian politics and identifies what is really roiling our polity—economic insecurity, seismic cultural change and a shattering of faith in our democratic institutions. His candid account of the Rudd-Gillard years, the Shorten-era and the 2019 federal election, provides answers to the big questions confronting modern Labor: is it fundamentally broken? Or does the 128-year-old party have the willingness to change and renew itself? In attempting to answer these question, Dyrenfurth presents a bold, passionate blueprint for renewal.
Putin’s People by Catherine Belton ($35, PB)
The hacking of the 2016 US elections. The sponsorship of extremist politics in Europe. War in Ukraine. In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign to expand its influence and undermine Western institutions. Delving deep into the workings of Putin’s Kremlin, former Moscow correspondent, Katherine Belton, accesses key inside players to reveal how Putin replaced the free-wheeling tycoons of the Yeltsin era with a new generation of loyal oligarchs, who in turn subverted their country’s economy & legal system & expanded its influence in the West. The result is a chilling exposé of the KGB’s renaissance – a story that began long ago in the murk of the Soviet collapse when networks of operatives were able to siphon billions of dollars out of Russia & into the West.
Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump by Allison Stanger ($45, HB)
From the Revolutionary War to the Trump era misconduct by those in high places has always been dangerous to reveal. By challenging & exposing transgressions by the powerful, whistleblowers perform a vital public service—this episodic history brings to light how whistleblowing, an important but unrecognized cousin of civil disobedience, has held powerful elites accountable in America. From the corrupt Revolutionary War commodore Esek Hopkins (whose dismissal led in 1778 to the first whistleblower protection law) to Edward Snowden, to the dishonesty of Donald Trump, Allison Stanger reveals the centrality of whistleblowing to the health of American democracy. She also shows that with changing technology & increasing militarization, the exposure of misconduct has grown more difficult to do & more personally costly for those who do it.
Why Liberalism Works by Deirdre McCloskey
Liberalism is an optimistic philosophy that depends on the power of rhetoric rather than of arms—and on ethics, free speech & facts in order to thrive. Arguing for a return to true liberal values, this collection of essays develops, defends & demonstrates how embracing the ideas first espoused by 18th century philosophers like Smith, Locke, Voltaire & Wollstonecraft is good for everyone. McCloskey shows how the adoption of Enlightenment ideals has propelled the freedom & prosperity that define the quality of life in the Western world. In her view, liberalism leads to equality, but equality does not necessarily lead to liberalism—and the fixation of the left on inequality is misplaced & counterproductive. ($50, HB)
Science & Nature
We Fight Fascists: The 43 Group & the Forgotten Battle for Postwar Britain by Daniel Sonabend
A Scheme of Heaven: Astrology and the Birth of Science by Alexander Boxer ($40, HB)
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran & the Rivalry that Unravelled the Middle East by Kim Ghattas
Until the End of Time by Brian Greene ($50, HB)
In 1946 many Jewish soldiers returned to their homes in England imagining that they had fought & defeated the forces of fascism in Europe. Yet in London they found a revived fascist movement, inspired by Sir Oswald Mosley, stirring up agitation against Jews & communists. Feeling that the government, the police & even the Jewish Board of Deputies were ignoring the threat, 43 Jewish servicemen met together & set up a group that tirelessly organised, infiltrated meetings, and broke up street demonstrations to stop the rebirth of the far right. The group included returned war heroes; women who went undercover; and young Jews, such as hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, seeking adventure. Not just a gripping story of a forgotten moment in Britain’s postwar history, this is also a timely lesson in how to confront fascism, and how to win. ($40, HB)
When did the extremism, intolerance & bloodletting of today displace the modern Middle East’s cultural promise & diversity? Kim Ghattas argues that the turning point can be located in the toxic confluence of 3 major events in 1979: the Iranian revolution; the siege of the Holy Mosque in Mecca; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Before this year, Saudi Arabia & Iran had been working allies & twin pillars of US strategy in the region—but the radical legacy of these events made them mortal enemies, unleashing a process that transformed culture, society, religion and geopolitics across the region for decades to come. Drawing on a sweeping cast of characters across 7 countries over 40 years, Ghattas shows how this rivalry for religious & cultural supremacy has fed intolerance, suppressed cultural expression, encouraged sectarian violence, birthed groups like Hezbollah & ISIS and, ultimately, upended the lives of millions. ($33, PB)
Marie-Antoinette: The Making of a French Queen by John Hardman ($50, HB)
Horoscopes are generally considered to be pseudoscience today, but they were once a cutting-edge scientific tool. Alexander Boxer examines a treasure trove of esoteric classical sources to expose the deep imaginative framework by which—for millennia—we made sense of our fates. Astrology, he argues, was the ancient world’s most ambitious applied mathematics problem, a grand data-analysis enterprise sustained by some of history’s most brilliant minds, from Ptolemy to al-Kindi to Kepler. He explores the extraordinary subtleties of astrological ideas & tells the stories of their inventors & most influential exponents—and puts them through their paces using modern data sets, finding that the methods of today’s scientists are often uncomfortably close to those of astrology’s ancient sages. Humans are pattern-matching creatures, and astrology is our grandest pattern-matching game. Brian Greene takes readers on a breathtaking journey from the big bang to the end of time & invites you to ponder meaning in the face of this unimaginable expanse. He shows us how, despite the universe’s tendency toward entropy, remarkable structures form- planets, stars & galaxies provide islands in a sea of disorder; biochemical mechanisms animate life; neurons, information & thought give rise to complex consciousness, which in turn creates cultures & their timeless myths & creativity. Through a series of nested stories Greene provides a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed—while always keeping his eye on one central question: What does it all mean?
Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics by Gregory J. Gbur ($45, HB)
The question of how falling cats land on their feet has long intrigued humans. In this playful history, physicist & cat parent Gregory Gbur explores how attempts to understand the cat-righting reflex have provided crucial insights into puzzles in mathematics, geophysics, neuroscience & human space exploration. The result is an engaging tumble through physics, physiology, photography & robotics to uncover, through scientific debate, the secret of the acrobatic performance known as cat-turning, the cat flip, and the cat twist— the finer details of which still inspire heated arguments. Like all cat behaviour, the more we investigate, the more surprises we discover.
Who was the real Marie-Antoinette? She was mistrusted & reviled in her own time, and today she is portrayed as a lightweight incapable of understanding the events that engulfed her. In this new look at this famously ‘out of touch’ queen John Hardman redresses the balance & sheds fresh light on Marie-Antoinette’s story, showing how she played a significant but misunderstood role in the crisis of the monarchy. Drawing on new sources, he describes how, from the outset, she refused to prioritize the agBetter Planet: Forty Big Ideas for a Sustainable gressive foreign policy of her mother, Maria-Theresa, bravely took Future (ed) Daniel C. Esty ($50, HB) over the helm from Louis XVI after the collapse of his morale, and, when revolution The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change & the adoption of broke out, listened to the Third Estate & worked closely with repentant radicals to give the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through the UN have highthe constitutional monarchy a fighting chance. lighted the need to address critical challenges such as the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, water shortages & air polYellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance lution. But partisan divides, regional disputes & deep disagreeafter Communism by Jelena Subotic ($61, HB) ments over core principles have made it nearly impossible to chart As part of accession to the European Union East European states a course toward a sustainable future. This practical, bipartisan call were required to adopt, participate in, and contribute to the esto action offers fresh thinking & forward-looking solutions from environmental thought tablished Western narrative of the Holocaust. This requirement leaders across the political spectrum. The book’s 40 essays cover such subjects as ecology, created anxiety & resentment in post-communist states: Holoenvironmental justice, Big Data, public health & climate change—focussing on moving caust memory replaced communist terror as the dominant narratoward sustainability through actionable, bipartisan approaches based on rigorous analytitive. Influencing the European Union’s own memory politics & cal research. legislation in the process, post-communist states have attempted to reconcile these 2 memories by appropriating the memory, Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science symbols & imagery of the Holocaust to represent crimes of communism, and using (eds) Ronald Numbers & Kostas Kampourakis Holocaust remembrance as a political strategy to resolve their contemporary ‘ontoA falling apple inspired Isaac Newton’s insight into the law of gravlogical insecurities’ about their identities, about their international status, and about ity—or so the story goes. Why do such stories endure as explanations their relationships with other international actors. of how science happens. Brushing away popular misconceptions What We Did in Bed: A Horizontal History this book gives a clearer picture of great scientific breakthroughs by Brian Fagan & Nadia Durrani ($45, HB) from ancient times to the present. In addition, a number of broad It is only in the modern era that the bed has transformed into a generalizations about science go under the microscope of history: private, hidden zone, and its rich social history has largely been the notion that religion impeded science, that scientists typically forgotten. Louis XIV ruled France from his bedchamber. Winadhere to a codified scientific method, and that a bright line can be ston Churchill governed Britain from his during WWII. Traveldrawn between legitimate science & pseudoscience. The book debunks the widespread lers routinely used to bed down with complete strangers, and belief that science advances when individual geniuses experience ‘Eureka!’ moments & whole families shared beds in many preindustrial households. suddenly comprehend what those around them could never imagine. Science has always Tutankhamun was buried on a golden bed, wealthy Greeks were been a cooperative enterprise of dedicated, fallible human beings, for whom context, colsent to the afterlife on dining beds, and deceased middle-class laboration & sheer good luck are the essential elements of discovery. ($32, PB) Victorians were propped up on a bed in the parlour. Brian Fagan & Nadia Durrani look Wildhood by Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers at the endlessly varied role of the bed through time—a place for sex, death, childbirth, Teenagers—behind the banter, the tediously repetitive games and storytelling, and sociability as well as sleeping. clicks, the shouting and screaming, the fast living, and the strutting The Nine Hundred by Heather Macadam ($35, PB) and preening lie the rules of the entire animal kingdom. In this revOn March 25, 1942, nearly 1000 young, unmarried Jewish womelatory investigation of human and animal adolescence and young en boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia, believing they were going adulthood Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers examto work in a factory for a few months. Instead,they were sent ine the four universal challenges that every adolescent on our planet to Auschwitz—their government paid 500 Reichsmarks (about must face on the journey to adulthood—how to be safe, how to 160) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labour. Heather navigate hierarchy, how to court potential mates, and how to leave Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extenthe nest. Safety, status, sex & survival. ‘A treasure trove of sciensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, tific exploration and practical implications for how we understand witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees. and support youth.’—Daniel J. Siegel ($35, PB)
Philosophy & Religion
The Good State by A. C. Grayling ($35, HB)
As democracies around the world show signs of decay, the issue of what makes a good state, one that is democratic in the fullest sense of the word, could not be more important. To take just one example— by the simplest of measures, neither Britain nor the US can claim to be truly democratic. The most basic tenet of democracy is that no voice be louder than any other. Yet in our ‘first past the post’ electoral systems a voter supporting a losing candidate is unrepresented, their voice unequal to one supporting a winning candidate, who frequently does not gain a majority of the votes cast. A. C. Grayling makes the case for a clear, consistent, principled & written constitution, and sets out the reforms necessary—like addressing the imbalance of power between government & Parliament, imposing fixed terms for MPs, introducing proportional representation & lowering the voting age to 16 (the age at which you can marry, gamble, join the army & must pay taxes if you work).
Chinese Thought: From Confucius to Cook Ding by Roel Sterckx ($23, PB)
We are often told that the 21st century is bound to become China’s century. Never before has Chinese culture been so physically, digitally, economically or aesthetically present in everyday life in the Western world. But how much do we really know about its origins and key beliefs especially compared to the many histories of Western philosophy? Roel Sterckx takes the reader through centuries of Chinese history, from Confucius to Daoism to the Legalists. With evocative examples from philosophy, literature & everyday life, he shows us how the ancient Chinese have shaped the thinking of a civilization that is now influencing our own.
Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal by Heather Widdows ($55, PB)
The demand to be beautiful is increasingly important in today’s visual & virtual culture. Rightly or wrongly, being perfect has become an ethical ideal to live by, and according to which we judge ourselves a success or failure. Heather Widdows explores the changing nature of the beauty ideal, showing how it is more dominant, demanding & global than ever before. Arguing that our perception of the self is changing, she shows that more & more, we locate the self in the body. Nobody is firm enough, thin enough, smooth enough, or buff enough-not without significant effort & cosmetic intervention. To understand these rising demands, it is necessary to recognize their ethical aspect & seek out new communal responses.
Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being by Agustin Fuentes ($45, HB)
Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine & hope? Philosophers, theologians, social scientists & historians have offered explanations for centuries, but their accounts often ignore or even avoid human evolution. Evolutionary scientists answer with proposals for why ritual, religion & faith make sense as adaptations to past challenges or as by-products of our hyper-complex cognitive capacities. But what if the focus on religion is too narrow? Anthropologist Agustin Fuentes argues that the capacity to be religious is actually a small part of a larger & deeper human capacity to believe. Why believe in religion, economies, love? In this fascinating intervention into some of the most common misconceptions about human nature, this book employs evolutionary, neurobiological & anthropological evidence to argue that belief-the ability to commit passionately & wholeheartedly to an idea-is central to the human way of being in the world.
New Testament: A Translation by David B. Hart
David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of etsi doctrina non daretur, as if doctrine is not given. Reproducing the texts’ often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability & unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers. The early Christians’ sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values & priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable & decent. To live as the New Testament language requires, he writes, Christians would have to become strangers & sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. ($53, PB)
Stranger Things and Philosophy ($33, PB) (eds) Jeffrey A Ewing & Andrew M Winters
From the deepest recesses of the Upside Down, its tunnels snaking beneath the local bookstores of Hawkins, Indiana, this collection of philosophical musings on Stranger Things considers many of the ideas that come up in the show such as: What are the moral implications of secret government projects? What is the nature of friendship? Does scientific research need to be concerned with ethics? What might it be like to experience the world from the perspective of the Mind Flayer? Is it possible to understand the metaphysics of the Upside Down?
Psychology Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe by Hugo Mercier ($55, HB)
In this lively & provocative book, Hugo Mercier demonstrates how virtually all attempts at mass persuasion—whether by religious leaders, politicians, or advertisers—fail miserably. Drawing on recent findings from political science & other fields ranging from history to anthropology, Mercier shows that the narrative of widespread gullibility, in which a credulous public is easily misled by demagogues & charlatans, is simply wrong. Mercier uses the latest findings from experimental psychology to show how each of us is endowed with sophisticated cognitive mechanisms of open vigilance. Computing a variety of cues, these mechanisms enable us to be on guard against harmful beliefs, while being open enough to change our minds when presented with the right evidence. Even failures—when we accept false confessions, spread wild rumours, or fall for quack medicine—are better explained as bugs in otherwise well-functioning cognitive mechanisms than as symptoms of general gullibility.
Physical Intelligence: The Science of Thinking Without Thinking by Scott Grafton
Everything we do, from changing a lightbulb to navigating unknown terrain relies on physical intelligence, our oldest & most important form of cognition. Physical intelligence was the key development in human evolution; thinking evolved first & foremost so we could do things. It has been the key to our survival against all the odds for so long that it has become instinctive, and continues to underpin our every action. Neuroscientist, doctor & keen climber, Scott Grafton takes a journey to explore the hidden depths of this silent, ruthless intellect we all possess. Drawing on the latest scientific discoveries & research, experiences with patients & his own gripping stories of survival in the wilderness, Grafton explains the science behind our most overlooked ability & takes a fascinating & vital look at how we could & should use it better. ($33, PB)
The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age by Claudia Hammond ($30, PB)
This book draws on ground-breaking research Claudia Hammond collaborated on—The Rest Test—the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, which was completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. Much of value has been written about sleep, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. And, as the survey revealed, how much rest you get is directly linked to your sense of well-being. Counting down through the top ten activities which people find most restful, Hammond explains why rest matters, examines the science behind the results to establish what really works and offers a roadmap for a new, more restful and balanced life.
How the Brain Lost its Mind ($30, PB) by Allan Ropper & Brian David Burrell
In 1882, Jean-Martin Charcot was the premiere physician in Paris, having just established a neurology clinic at the infamous Salpetriere Hospital, a place that was called a ‘grand asylum of human misery’. Many of Carcot’s patients had neurosyphilis (the advanced form of syphilis)—a driving force behind the overflow of patients in Europe’s asylums, known as ‘the great imitator’ since its symptoms resemble those of almost any biological disease or mental illness, and the perfect lens through which to peel back the layers to better understand the brain & the mind. Yet, Charcot’s work took a bizarre turn when he brought mesmerism—hypnotism— into his clinic, abandoning his pursuit of the biological basis of illness in favour of the far sexier & theatrical treatment of female ‘hysterics’, whose symptoms mimic those seen in brain disease, but were elusive in origin. This & a general fear of contagion set the stage for Sigmund Freud, whose seductive theory, Freudian analysis, brought sex & hysteria onto the psychiatrist couch, leaving the brain behind. This book tells this rich story, and raises a host of philosophical & practical questions.
The Political Psyche by Andrew Samuels
Andrew Samuels shows how the inner journey of analysis & psychotherapy & the passionate political convictions of the outer world are linked. He brings a psychological perspective to bear on public themes such as the market economy, environmentalism, nationalism & anti-Semitism. Setting in motion a two-way process between depth psychology & politics, he also lays bare the hidden politics of the father, the male body & of men’s issues generally. He offers an international survey into what analysts & psychotherapists do when their patients/clients bring overtly political material into the clinical setting—the respondents revealing their own political attitudes, destabilizing any preconceived notions about the political sensitivity of analysis & psychotherapy. With a new introduction by Samuels.($81.99, PB)
Past, future, present Tessa Hadley’s most recent book, Late in the Day, describes a four-way relationship between two sets of friends; firstly two schoolgirl friends and then the two young men they fall in love with, then when the couples marry each other it’s a book about the friendship between them as couples, and individuals, then when one of them dies, the four become a triangle—with predictable (but still surprising) results. Her 2015 novel, The Past, is about four siblings, three sisters and a brother, who meet for a summer holiday in the old vicarage they have all inherited from their grandparents. The house is old and dilapidated, set in an idyllic country village, there are streams and woods, and other cottages dotted around. Each of the sisters is clearly defined and recognisable, a radical, an actress and a maths teacher, with defined roles in the family group, and well worn grooves in their relationships with each other. Their brother arrives, with a new wife, and his daughter from a previous marriage, and alliances disassemble and reassemble again. You enter into this adult family group, with a few extras, and then journey back in time to when the siblings were children, on a trip with their mother, who is returning home to her parents’ home in the vicarage, after discovering her husband’s infidelity. Even the minor characters in this book are incredibly vivid—the vicar, his wife, a village real estate agent, all finely drawn and believable. The past is with us, Hadley seems to be saying, and long ago actions can have repercussions today, even if we aren’t fully aware of them, then or now. This is a terrific, mesmerising book, and one that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it. Louise
Cultural Studies & Criticism Spinoza’s Overcoat: Travels with Writers & Poets by Subhash Jaireth ($30, PB)
The works of Franz Kafka, Marina Tsvetaeva, Mikhail Bulgakov, Paul Celan, Hiromi Ito, Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza & others ignite in Subhash Jaireth the urge to travel (both physically & in spirit), to the places where such writers were born or died or wrote. In each essay he achieves a new emotional plane revealing enticing connections. As a novelist, poet, essayist & translator born into a multilingual environment, Jaireth truly understands the power of words across languages & their integral connections to life of the body & the spirit. Drawing on years of research, translation & travel he offers illuminations of loss, mortality & the reverie of writing.
The Medicine: A Doctor’s Notes by Karen Hitchcock
What happens when a doctor kills a patient? Are GPs overprescribing antidepressants? Does ‘female Viagra’ work? What role can psychedelics & cannabis play in treating pain? What is sickness, and how much of it is in our heads? Dr Karen Hitchcock takes us to the frontlines of everyday treatment, turning her acute gaze to everything from the flu season to dementia, plastic surgery to the humble sick day. In an overcrowded, underfunded medical system, she explores how more of us can be healthier, and how listening carefully to a patient’s experience can be as important as prescribing a pill. These essays show Hitchcock to be one of the most fearless & illuminating medical thinkers of our time—reasonable, insightful & deeply humane. ($30, PB)
Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader by Vivian Gornick ($23, PB)
From a reporter in 1970s New York, to a feminist negotiating love & independence, to a writer in the jubilant sanctity of older age—Vivian Gornick finds versions of herself in the characters of literature each time she re-opens the page. She finds solace in the contradictory figures of D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, assesses womanhood in Colette, and reflects on Marguerite Duras’s The Lover; she revisits Great War novels by J.L. Carr & Pat Barker, uncovers the psychological complexity in Elizabeth Bowen, and soaks in Natalia Ginzberg, ‘whose work ... made me love life more’. And when two erratic, highly strung cats enter her life, she discovers Doris Lessing’s Particularly Cats.
Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different by Chuck Palahniuk Chuck Palahniuk shares stories and generous advice on what makes writing powerful and what makes for powerful writing. With advice grounded in years of careful study and a keenly observed life, Palahniuk combines practical advice and concrete examples from beloved classics, his own books, and a”kitchentable MFA” culled from an evolving circle of beloved authors and artists, with anecdotes, postcards from the road, and much more. ($35, HB)
Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy
In his sophomore year of college, Mark Zuckerberg created a simple website to serve as a campus social network. But the site caught on like wildfire, and soon students nationwide were on Facebook. Today, Facebook is nearly unrecognizable from Zuckerberg’s first, modest iteration. It has grown into a tech giant, the largest social media platform & one of the most gargantuan companies in the world with over 2.23 billion global users. Love it or hate it, there is no denying the power & omnipresence of Facebook in daily life. In light of growing scandals surrounding electioninfluencing ‘fake news’ accounts, the mining of its users’ personal data, and growing discontent with the actions of its founder & CEO, Chief tech writer for Newsweek Steven Levy, offers the complete history of one of the world’s most controversial & successful companies. ($35, PB)
Social Media & Social Work: Implications & Opportunities for Practice by Megele & Buzzi Social media blurs the boundary between the online & offline worlds, and brings ethical & practical challenges for social workers. Using real-life examples, this book provides helpful principles that can be adapted & applied in practice & education. It enables practitioners & students to consider the ethics & assess the impact of social media on their professional conduct, and their ability to maintain public confidence. ($45, PB)
The Best American Magazine Writing 2019
From the pages of the Atlantic and the New Yorker, writers and critics discuss prominent political figures: Franklin Foer’s American Hustler explores Paul Manafort’s career of corruption; Jill Lepore recounts the emergence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and Caitlin Flanagan & Doreen St. Felix reflect on the Kavanaugh hearings and #MeToo. Ben Taub speaks to Eric Sullivan about pursuing a career as a reporter, alongside Taub’s piece investigating how the Iraqi state is fueling a resurgence of ISIS, and much more ($36, PB)
How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality by Adam Rutherford ($30, PB)
Race is real because we perceive it. Racism is real because we enact it. The appeal to science to strengthen racist ideologies is on the rise—and increasingly part of the public discourse on politics, migration, education, sport & intelligence. Stereotypes & myths about race are expressed not just by overt racists, but also by well intentioned people whose experience & cultural baggage steer them towards views that are not supported by the modern study of human genetics. Even some scientists are uncomfortable expressing opinions deriving from their research where it relates to race. Yet, if understood correctly, science & history can be powerful allies against racism, granting the clearest view of how people actually are, rather than how we judge them to be. Adam Rutherford offers the ultimate anti-racism guide for data-lovers everywhere.
The Ferrante Letters: An Experiment in Collective Criticism by Sarah Chihaya et al ($50, PB)
Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels found an audience of passionate readers around the world. Inspired by Ferrante’s intense depiction of female friendship & women’s intellectual lives, 4 critics embarked upon a project that was both work & play: to create a series of epistolary readings of the Neapolitan Quartet that also develops new ways of reading & thinking together. In a series of intertwined, readings of Ferrante’s work & her fictional world, Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Katherine Hill & Jill Richards strike a tone at once critical & personal—a way of talking about literature that falls between the seminar & the book club. Their letters make visible the slow, fractured & creative accretion of ideas that underwrites all literary criticism & also illuminates the authors’ lives outside the academy. This is an improvisational, collaborative & cumulative model for reading & writing with others—a collective criticism.
The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour
In surrealist artist Paul Klee’s The Twittering Machine, the bird-song of a diabolical machine acts as bait to lure humankind into a pit of damnation. Leading political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour argues that this is a chilling metaphor for relationships with social media. Former social media executives tell us that the system is an addiction-machine. Like drug addicts, we are users, waiting for our next hit as we like, comment, and share. We write to the machine as individuals, but it responds by aggregating our fantasies, desires and frailties into data, and returning them to us as a commodity experience. Through journalism, psychoanalytic reflection and interviews with users, developers, security experts and others, Seymour probes the human side of this machine, asking what we’re getting out of it, and what we’re getting into. ‘If you really want to set yourself free, you should read a book — preferably this one.’ — Observer’s Book of the Week. ($28, PB)
The Relationship is the Project: Working with communities by Kate Larsen et al ($30, PB)
There is increasing demand on artists, institutions & organisations to work well in community-engaged contexts, but few resources or training opportunities are currently available to develop the sector’s capacity in this area. The breadth of the advice shared in this non-academic, practitioner-led book includes insights into the ethics & logistics of working in community contexts—from collaboration & leadership to platforming & duty of care. Contributors include Genevieve Grieves about working in First Nations contexts; Caroline Bowditch on access & disability; Dianne Jones, Odette Kelada & Lilly Brown on racial literacy; Ruth De Souza & Robyn Higgins on cultural safety in the arts; as well as Esther Anatolitis, Adolfo Aranjuez, Paschal Berry, Lenine Bourke and many others.
Inclusive Education for the 21st Century Theory, policy and practice by Linda Graham
Placing a student on the autism spectrum in a busy classroom with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones & an aide to deal with the inevitable meltdowns is often done in the name of ‘inclusion’, but this is integration & not inclusive. How can teachers & schools create genuinely inclusive classrooms that meet the needs of every student? Research evidence indicates the strategies that make schools inclusive for students with disability benefit all students. Yet many schools are still operating under 20th century models that disadvantage students, especially those with disability. This book provides a rigorous overview of the foundational principles of inclusive education, and the barriers to access & participation. With chapters from leading experts from Australia & the UK, it addresses common issues in both primary & secondary schools. Underpinned throughout by research evidence, it is designed to assist educators to develop the deep knowledge required to make inclusive education a reality in all schools. ($70, PB)
Lectures on Dostoevsky by Joseph Frank
Joseph Frank (1918–2013) was perhaps the most important Dostoevsky biographer, scholar, and critic of his time. His never-before-published Stanford lectures on the Russian novelist’s major works provide an unparalleled and accessible introduction to some of literature’s greatest masterpieces. Presented here for the first time, these illuminating lectures begin with an introduction to Dostoevsky’s life and literary influences and go on to explore the breadth of his career-from Poor Folk, The Double, and The House of the Dead to Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Written in a conversational style that combines literary analysis and cultural history, Lectures on Dostoevsky places the novels and their key characters and scenes in a rich context. This volume also includes Frank’s favourite review of his Dostoevsky biography, Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky by David Foster Wallace, originally published in the Village Voice. ($54, HB)
Language & Writing
Slam Your Poetry: Write a Revolution by Miles Merrill & Narcisa Nozica ($28, PB)
20 years after Merrill introduced poetry slams to Australia, there’s a national competition with a live audience of 20,000 people, and it’s taught in schools across the country. With tips from stars of the Australian poetry slam scene, including Maxine Beneba Clarke, this book provides step-by-step instructions & exercises that will inspire you to: 1. Write a poem that pops 2. Rehearse like a winner 3. Wow your audience 4. Beat stage fright 5. Run a winning competition for your school or community group—a book to help teachers, students & wannabe spoken word artists of all ages slam like a pro.
A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order by Judith Flanders ($35, HB)
While the order of the alphabet itself became fixed very soon after our letters were first invented, its use to sort & store & organize proved far less obvious. To many of our forebears, the idea of organizing things by the alphabet rather than by established systems of hierarchy lay somewhere between unthinkable & disrespectful. Any order that placed archangel after angel & God after them both would have been tantamount to blasphemy. Judith Flanders uncovers the story of the gradual triumph of alphabetical order, from its early days as a possible sorting tool in the Great Library of Alexandria in the third century BCE to its current decline in our age of Wikipedia & Google. Along the way meet characters like the great collector Robert Cotton, who denominated his manuscripts with the names of the busts of the Roman emperors surmounting his bookcases (the sole known copy of Gawain and the Green Knight, now in the British Library, is still identified as Cotton Nero A.x), to the unassuming 16th century London bookseller who ushered in a revolution by listing his authors by ‘sirname’ first.
2nd Hand Rows
Special Correspondent of The Times The Jack Manton Collection Roger Hudson (Editor) William Russell The Folio Society, London. 1996. Second Printing. Gilt and black pictorial boards. Top edge tinted brown. xxvii, 426pp., b/w illus., maps, index. Fine Copy in lightly scuffed Slipcase. $35 William Howard Russell (1820–1907), was the first modern war correspondent. In fact, he almost single-handedly invented the art. Russell covered numerous major conflicts: from The Crimean War (1853–56) where his graphic descriptions of the misery and incompetence of the British campaign against Russia roused outrage and led to military and civil reforms, particularly in the care of war casualties to The Indian Rebellion (1857); The American Civil War (1861-65); The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and The Zulu War (1879). His writings inspired the work of Florence Nightingale. Russell was once described as: ‘a vulgar low Irishman, sings a good song, drinks anyone’s brandy and water and smokes as many cigars as a Jolly Good Fellow. He is just the sort of chap to get information, particularly out of youngsters.’ His descriptions of individuals involved in the various conflicts were also memorable. In March 1861, Russell was invited to The White House to meet President Abraham Lincoln: ‘A tall, lanky, lean man with an irregular gait, long pendulous arms, hands of extraordinary proportion. From a great black mass of hair rose the strange, quaint face and head covered with its thatch of wild hair. The impression produced by his flapping and wide ears may be removed by the appearance of kindness and sagacity of his face…The eyes dark, full, deeply set are penetrating, full of an expression of tenderness…’ Adventure Stories from The Strand Geraldine Beare (Compiler) The Folio Society, London. 1995. First Edition. Green cloth with black and gilt lettering to front, black lettering to gilt panels on spine. Illustrated on front cover. Top edge tinted green. xix, 329pp., b/w illustrations. Introduction by Tim Heald. Illustrations by David Eccles. Slightly sun faded spine in a lightly scuffed Gold Slipcase. Near Fine. $25 If you enjoy—as I do—stories such as Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines and Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, then you will enjoy this short story collection culled from The Strand monthly magazine (1891–1950) very much. This collection includes stories by Kipling, Conan Doyle, HG Wells, Richmal Crompton, Sinclair Lewis & Graham Greene Edgar Wallace. In The Adventure of the Snowing Globe an impulse Christmas present purchase sees the buyer transported to a land of dragons and princesses. The Purple Terror finds the deadly nature used in revenge against colonial oppressors. Code No. 2 sees the breaking of a nefarious code cunningly hidden within a single room. Within these tales of derring-do, there are numerous spies, thieves, explorers, soldiers & rogues. Several self-sufficient female protagonists feature, and they were all different from one another, but all interesting and talented and courageous in their various ways.
Postcard from Turkey
Mehmet Güntekin, proprietor of Istanbul’s Muhsin Kitap bookshop, methodically unpacked and examined the contents of six neatly tied yellow plastic bags arranged in a shallow crescent around his knees. ‘It is the best part of the job’, he told me, ‘...not knowing what one will find’. An earlier discovery—a French first edition of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot—had caught my eye in the shop window amid an exotic clutter of leather-bound classics, potboilers, old maps, photographs, movie posters and other ephemera. ‘I can’t sell it online’, Mehmet lamented, ‘...the major websites won’t accept Turkish bank accounts.’ Priced at 5000tl (about A$1300) even online Mehmet’s Beckett would not be a quick seller but he had plenty of other treasures to tempt passers-by heading uphill to Taksim Square or to the massive and controversial waterfront developments below. The quality and range of Mehmet’s stock was impressive reflecting Turkey’s rich literary culture and a keen curatorial eye. I had seen this passion for books in every city and town I visited in Turkey—from referential museum-goers shuffling from one calligraphic marvel to the next, to the throngs browsing bookstalls at train and bus stations for the latest releases (from Attwood to Žižek). As a bookseller perhaps the most heartening experience of my holiday was chancing upon a multi-story mall in Ankara occupied exclusively by bookshops packed with students from a nearby university—oh, that that should happen again in Glebe! The excitement of these Ankara students was palpable and, like Mehmet awaiting his next great discovery at Muhsin Kitap, further testimony to the power and value of books and of Turkey’s ongoing love-affair with them.
This apocalyptic Summer—Blackheath evacuated (twice) from threatening fires— has called for even more distracting, eclectic reading than usual. These are all books to be dipped into and enjoyed, piecemeal.
Me by Elton John ($36.99, HB) Some years ago, I was asked by a customer to find a biography of pop musician, Elton John. A book with the title Rocket Man seemed promising. It turned out to be David Clary’s biography of American inventor, Robert Goddard (1882–1945), the brilliant, eccentric 1930s rocket pioneer. Well worth reading by the way. Now, here is the book that customer really wanted. This memoir from the other ‘Rocket Man’: London-born, Reginald Dwight himself. His stage name of Elton John was taken from his mentor, English blues singer, Long John Baldry (not John Lennon—as a recent film would have you believe). There is a popular form of rock star auto/biography that falls into the ‘too much star and not enough rock’ category. We usually learn every personal detail of the artist and very little about the creation of the incredible music we love. Me is an example of this genre. Elton is unfailingly generous and sweet concerning his long-term friendship with lyricist Bernie Taupin—however, their unique musical creativity is dismissed with ‘I can’t explain it and I don’t want to explain it.’ Thus, classic albums such as Honky Chateau and Madman Across the Water are given just a couple of paragraphs each. But, as compensation, we are given an unsparingly honest look at the man behind the glittery facade. A painful childhood recounted when he recalls his mother’s emotional neglect and his father’s sudden rages. A suicide attempt at 20. Years of musical struggle on the British pub circuit and later as a backup to Lee Dorsey and Patti LaBelle. His meeting with Bernie Taupin—‘the brother I never had’—in 1967. The Eurovision Song Contest. The 1970 success of Your Song (which this 14 yo. played endlessly in 1971) that launches Elton into fame. Numerous episodes of comic absurdity and outrageous antics and outrageous spending follow—which help to lighten the darker accounts of alcoholism, drug addiction, and Elton’s underlying torment and guilt concerning his sexuality. His sudden, ill-fated marriage to German-born sound engineer, Renate Blauel is recounted with honesty and sensitivity. Also recalled (I had forgotten this) is the notorious 1987 media-created ‘Rent Boy Scandal’ involving the allegations of ‘American Barry’ who claimed Elton’s participation in sex orgies with a ‘vice ring’ of underage boys. He successfully sued the London Sun newspaper 17 times over what were later found to be false accusations. His pacey memoir ends with a knighthood awarded, a happy marriage to his ‘soulmate’, establishing an AIDS Foundation, and a final three year long, world tour. Time to play all those albums again. As I write this, Elton John is touring Australia and has pledged a $1Million Dollar donation to the bushfire relief fund. Thank You, Sir Elton.
Tiberius with a Telephone: The Life & Stories of William McMahon by Patrick Mullins ($60, HB)
The wicked wit of then Opposition Leader, Gough Whitlam, provides the perfect title to this biography of William McMahon, Australia’s 20th Prime Minister. Gough’s 1972 quip, summed up perfectly the ceaseless scheming and political intrigue that was a hallmark of McMahon’s career. Short and gnome-like in appearance, McMahon was called by many—including my teenage self—‘Billy Big Ears’. He had to overcome both hearing and speech disabilities—a stutter and lisp. The portrait Mullins paints in this extremely engaging biography of the man dubbed ‘Australia’s worst Prime Minister’ is clear eyed, critical, but not unsympathetic. McMahon’s administrative talents are noted, as are his lengthy ministerial experience and his qualities of persistence and tenacity in adversity. However his capacity for political self-harm, dishonesty and deceit cannot help but be highlighted—his leaking of Cabinet decisions to journalists to bolster his political fortunes while Treasurer was infamous. When he finally attained the Prime Ministership, McMahon inherited a divided and dispirited party. Relations with the coalition Country Party leaders were poisonous over trade and tariff issues, and his leadership was actively undermined by his own colleagues. Following his political defeat in 1972, McMahon’s time was consumed with attempting to complete a multi-volume memoir ‘masterpiece’ that would vindicate his political life and restore his reputation. His appeals to publishers and the numerous ghost-writers he employed—who laboured in vain to give shape to a vast, sprawling, unreliable manuscript—provide some black comedy. The great work remains unpublished. The scope and detail of this biography are even more impressive given it was written without the cooperation of the McMahon family or access to the McMahon Papers, which are still under seal in the National Library, Canberra. Why? Perhaps the memoirs manuscript really is the ‘bombshell’ that McMahon promised.
Murder in the Bookshop by Carolyn Wells ($23, HB)
Phillip Balfour, renowned rare book collector, is found dead—with an 18th century silver skewer in his back—at New York’s esteemed John Sewell’s secondhand bookstore. Also discovered missing is an extremely rare, valuable book annotated by Button Gwinnet—one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Sus-
pects aplenty, a ruthless abduction and a second murder, provide a challenging case for investigator, Flemming Stone. First published in 1936, this was the 43rd of the Flemming Stone novels by prolific—and unjustly neglected—crime author Carolyn Wells (1862–1942).
Rasputin by Douglas Smith ($30, PB) When the historical figure of Russian religious mystic, Grigory Rasputin (1869– 1916) is portrayed by two of my favourite actors—Christopher Lee in 1966 and Alan Rickman in 1996—this lengthy, detailed biography of the so-called ‘mad monk’ whose actions helped cause the overthrow of the Romanov Imperial dynasty is required reading. Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill ($35, PB)
I’m about half way through this complete re-evaluation of the notorious 1969 TateLaBianca murders. A tense falling out with interviewee Vincent Bugliosi, famed prosecutor and author of Helter Skelter (1974), the so-called definitive account, provides an entertaining opening. O’Neill’s ceaseless investigations—over two decades—provide glimpses of Manson’s Hollywood contacts, political surveillance, police misconduct, legal cover-ups. Each question posed seems to spawn a dozen more. I’m glad to see that the theory blaming the lyrics of the Beatle’s White Album for sparking Manson’s ideas of a coming ‘race war’ and serving as the inspiration for the murders themselves, has been dismissed. Stephen Reid
The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem: From Baudelaire to Anne Carson ($25, PB) In the century-and-a-half since Charles Baudelaire, Emma Lazarus, Oscar Wilde & Ivan Turgenev spread the notion of a new kind of poetry, tthe prose poem—this ‘genre with an oxymoron for a name’—has attracted & beguiled many of our most beloved writers. Editor Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs the history of the prose poem by selecting the essential pieces of writing—by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory & comic—which have defined and developed it at each stage, covering a great chronological sweep & international range. Wayward by Katharine Coles ($32, PB) Katharine Coles brings big questions into small spaces in her 7th book—moving the reader at mind-speed through brief meditations on love, marriage & family; the permeable boundaries of the self, death & perception. Though her subjects are deeply serious, Coles’ main tools for addressing them include her wry wit & agile intelligence, which, taking nothing for granted, she deploys to examine our basic assumptions about the world & our experience within it. As always, she uses technical skill to move her thinking in many directions—at once.
Seam: Poems by Tarfia Faizullah ($29, PB)
This collection weaves beauty with violence, the personal with the historic as it recounts the harrowing experiences of the 200,000 female victims of rape & torture at the hands of the Pakistani army during the 1971 Liberation War. As the child of Bangladeshi immigrants, Tarfia Faizullah in turn explores her own losses, as well as the complexities of bearing witness to the atrocities these war heroines endured—discovering the profound yet fragile seam that unites the fields, rivers & prisons of the 1971 war with the poet’s modern-day hotel.
The Problem of the Many by Timothy Donnelly
If The Cloud Corporation is, as John Ashbery called it, the poetry of the future, here, today’, then Timothy Donnelly’s 3rd collection, is the poetry of the future yet further pressed to the end of history. In astonishingly textured poems powerful & adroit in their negotiation of a seeming totality of human experience, Donnelly confronts—from a contemporary vantage—the clutter (and devastation) that civilization has left us with, enlisting agents as far flung as Prometheus, Flaming Hot Cheetos, Jonah, NyQuil & Alexander the Great. ($36, PB)
Oblivion Banjo: The Poetry of Charles Wright This capacious new selection spanning multi-award winning Charles Wright decades-long career, showcases the central themes of his poetry: ‘language, landscape, and the idea of God’. No matter the precise subject of each poem, on display here is a vast and rich interior life, a mind wrestling with the tenuous relationship between the ways we describe the world and its reality. ($75, HB)
Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus Margaret Atwood, PB
Now $18.95 Collected Nonfiction, V2: Selections from the Memoirs and Travel Writings Mark Twain, HB
Collected Nonfiction, V1: Dis Mem Ber and Other Selections from the AutoStories of Mystery & Suspense biography, Letters, Essays, and Joyce Carol Oates, HB Speeches Mark Twain, HB
Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life Diarmaid MacCulloch, HB
The Temptation of Forgiveness Donna Leon, HB
The Ten-Year Nap Meg Wolitzer, PB
The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien, HB
Debriefing: Collected Stories Susan Sontag, HB
The Private Lives of the Tudors : Uncovering the Secrets of Britainas Greatest Dynasty Tracy Borman, HB
Four Princes: Henry VIII, Francis I, Gibraltar: The Greatest Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent Siege in British History John Julius Norwich, HB Roy & Lesley Adkins, HB
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty Eric Metaxas, HB
Every Word Is a Bird We Teach to Sing Daniel Tammet, HB
Dangerous Mystic: Meister Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European Eckhart’s Path to the God Within Joel F. Harrington, HB and American Deep Establishment Yanis Varoufakis, HB
The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan Perlmutter & Loberg, HB
How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit Witold Rybczynski PB
An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood, HB
Thoughts Are Not The Enemy Jason Siff, PB
The Arts Odd Roads to be Walking: 156 Women Who Shaped Australian Art ($75, HB) by Paul Finucane & Catherine Stuart
While the life journeys of many artists can be described as ‘odd roads’, few were as original as the those of the pioneering women artists of the late 19th & 20th centuries. As these richly talented women gathered around their easels & shared their dining tables, their courage, energy & generosity shone through. This lavishly presented publication explores the extraordinary lives of these women & in the process celebrates their individual & collective contributions to the shaping of modern Australian art. Featuring more than 300 magnificent illustrations & the biographies of 156 women, it showcases art as diverse as the exquisite botanical drawings of Ellis Rowan (1848–1922) to the striking graphic works of Kerry Giles (Kurwingie) (1959–1997).
Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dali ($80, HB)
Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) was one of the most important artists of the Barbizon School, his modernity evident in his varied subjects—from peasant themes to landscapes to nudes—and his anti-academic, rough paint application. This book examines the international range of artists whom he influenced. Millet was an artistic hero for Vincent van Gogh, whose treatment of numerous motifs—including The Sower & Starry Night—was directly inspired by the older artist. Van Gogh even painted a remarkable series of 21 copies after Millet’s work while living in the south of France in the final year of his life. Other artists on whom Millet had a profound impact include Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Winslow Homer, and, in the 20th century, most notably Edvard Munch and Salvador Dalí.
Patterns in Art: A Closer Look at the Old Masters ($65, HB)
Intricate lace collars. Elaborately laid floor tiles. Delicately carved & modelled cornices & capitals. These are among the details of decorative art that the Old Masters lovingly rendered in their paintings, to establish a setting, convey a portrait subject’s social status, or sometimes just enliven a scene. Together these details—so easy to overlook in the imposing harmony of draftsmanship, colour, and composition that makes up a great painting—form a veritable history of ornament. This book plucks these decorative motifs from the background of paintings by masters like Rubens, Memling & Filippo Lippi, and places them side-by-side with the original paintings, providing a resourcer & a revelation.
How to Read a Suit: A Guide to Changing Men’s Fashion from the 17th to the 20th Century by Lydia Edwards ($50, PB)
The ideal tool for anyone who has ever wanted to know their Chesterfield from their Ulster coat, each entry in this lavishly illustrated volume includes annotated colour images of historical garments, outlining important features & highlighting how styles have developed over time, whether in shape, fabric choice, trimming, or undergarments. Learn how garments were constructed & where their inspiration stemmed from, as well as how menswear has varied in type, cut, detailing & popularity according to the occasion & the class, age & social status of the wearer. This is the ultimate guide for students, researchers, and anyone interested in historical fashion.
Joyful Mending: Visible Repairs for the Perfectly Imperfect Things You Love! by Noriko Misumi ($25, PB)
Noriko Misumi teaches you her philosophy of mending and reusing items based on the age-old Japanese concepts of mindfulness and Wabi Sabi (an appreciation of old and imperfect things). Repair any kind of fabric that is torn, ripped or stained-whether knitted or woven. Work with damaged flat or curved surfaces to make them aesthetically pleasing again. Create repairs that blend in, as well as bold or whimsical visible repairs. Darn your handmade or expensive gloves, sweaters and socks to make them look great again!
Landscape Painting: The Complete Guide by Richard Pikesley ($70, HB)
Richly illustrated with over 300 colour images, this book emphasises the importance of observation, and advises on how to ‘learn’ the landscape; it teaches the rudiments of drawing, and develops confidence & technical understanding of the subject; it explains colour mixing on the palette, & how colour works in nature & is affected by sunlight. Also included is a guide to the materials, equipment & techniques of the landscape painter. Finally, there is advice on presenting, framing & displaying your work, and how to find exhibition opportunities.
Hannah Ryggen: Woven Manifestos ($105, HB)
Originally trained as a painter, Hannah Ryggen began weaving on a standing loom on her self-sufficient farm on the West coast of Norway. She challenged the formal traditions of Norwegian 17th- and 18th-century textile folk art, combining figurative & abstract elements. She also experimented with & developed colours using local plants & other materials she foraged. Her tapestries tackled the social issues of the time, from the atrocities of war to the abuse of power. She created work in direct response to Hitler, Franco & Mussolini & made powerful statements of support to the victims of Fascism & Nazism. This book features about 25 of Ryggen’s signature tapestries including Etiopia (Ethiopia), Drommedod (Death of Dreams), and Vi lever pa en stjerne (We Are Living on a Star).
Sidney Nolan: The Artist’s Materials by Paul Dredge ($65, PB)
Working in factories from age fourteen, Sydney Nolan began his training spray painting signs on glass, which was followed by a job cutting & painting displays for Fayrefield Hats. Such employment offered him firsthand experience with commercial synthetic paints developed during the 1920s & 1930s. In 1939, having given up his job at Fayrefield in pursuit of an artistic career, Nolan became obsessed with European abstract paintings he saw reproduced in books & magazines. With little regard for the longevity of his work, he began to exploit materials such as boot polish, dyes, secondhand canvas, tissue paper & old photographs, in addition to commercial & household paints. He continued to embrace new materials after moving to London in 1953. Oil-based Ripolin enamel may have been Nolan’s preferred paint, but this study reveals his equally innovative use of nitrocellulose, alkyds & other diverse materials.
Against the Avant-Garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Contemporary Art, and Neocapitalism by Ara H. Merjian ($89, HB)
Recognized in America chiefly for his films, Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975) in fact reinvented interdisciplinarity in post-war Europe. Pasolini self-confessedly approached the cinematic image through painting. But his relationship to the aesthetic experiments of his own age was fraught. Ara H. Merjian demonstrates how Pasolini’s campaign against neocapitalist culture fuelled his hostility to the avant-garde. An atheist indebted to Catholic ritual; a revolutionary Communist inimical to the creed of 1968; a homosexual hostile to the project of gay liberation: Pasolini refused the politics of identity in favour of a scandalously paradoxical practice, one vital to any understanding of his legacy. Merjian examines these paradoxes through case studies from the 1960s & 70s, concluding with a reflection on Pasolini’s far-reaching influence on post-1970s art. He reconsiders the Pasolini’s multifaceted work, as well as the fraught politics of a European neo-avant-garde grappling with a new capitalist hegemony.
Josef Frank: Villa Carlsten ($59, HB)
Between 1924 and 1936, Austrian architect Josef Frank built five holiday homes on the Falsterbo Peninsula in southern Sweden—conceived as summer houses for friends & relatives of Frank’s Swedish wife. In 2016, Villa Carlsten, the smallest of the Falsterbo Villas, underwent an extensive restoration. A particular part of Villa Carlsten’s charm is its scale—everything is of smaller dimensions than one would expect. Despite its intricate layout, however, Villa Carlsten is also one of Frank’s most accessible homes, and the design is full of wit, combining comfort with modern refinement. The photos in this book highlight the home’s qualities & relationship with its surroundings, and the book includes an essay by Michael Bergquist, who realized the renovation & places Villa Carlsten in context with the other Falsterbo Villas & Frank’s broader work.
Kathe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics ($70, HB)
German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is known for her unapologetic social & political imagery; her representations of grief, suffering & struggle; and her equivocal ideas about artistic & political labels. This volume explores her most creative years, roughly the late 1890s to the mid-1920s providing a bird’seye view of Kollwitz’s sequences of images as well as the interrelationships among prints produced over multiple years. The meanings & sentiments emerging from Kollwitz’s images are not, as is often implied, unmediated expressions of her politics & emotions. Rather, Kollwitz transformed images with deliberate technical & formal experiments, seemingly endless adjustments, wholesale rejections & strategic regroupings of figures & forms—all of which demonstrate that her obsessive dedication to making art was never a straightforward means to political or emotional ends.
Happy Homemade Sew Chic by Yoshiko Tsukiori
This book features 20 flexible sewing patterns that boast authentic Japanese style. Sew-your-own pants, tops, dresses & skirts—with simple lines making these garments perfect for women of all ages & all sizes. This book includes a complete western-sized sewing pattern for each of the 20 designs that is easily adjusted to fit your body form. The understandable, concise diagrams & simple instructions allow you to create a unique style with ease & confidence. ($30, PB)
what we're reading
Jonathon: Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Judy: Here We Are by Graham Swift—This as a very English novella—spare prose, Moshfegh—I loved the way this played on emotion compressed. It concerns the life of one small boy, removed to the countryideas of writing and narration to ask what we side during the London Blitz. As if by magic, his impoverished and difficult life is become in all the stories we tell. An elderly transformed, though he remains the same haunted, solitary little boy. The price of widow moves to a small town with her dog. his new easeful and beautiful life is the loss of any real relationship with his mother. Her mind grinds in circles of self-talk and He is shown the intricacies of magic and, indeed, becomes a magician. He teams up narration—all bunctious and pitch black... with a born showman and, abracadabra!, the perfect, beautiful assistant answers his you want to laugh along, but she gets mean. advertisement. The trio are ever so successful during the summer seaside seasons of When she discovers evidence of a murder in a forest near her house, she takes it the 1950s, right up to the moment that the magician makes himself disappear. Life upon herself to solve the case, writing herself into an amateur detective story within goes on, but he is never seen again. The story unfolds beautifully. Fate really does the novel. Moshfegh’s clear prose gives you a brilliantly eerie space to ponder just look like sleight of hand; a series of arrivals and disappearances. (Due March 2020). what her investigation might reveal. (Due April 2020) Viki: Berlin Finale by Heinz Rein—This is a most fantastic companion to one of my favourite ever books, Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone (or Alone in Berlin if you read it under its uninspired UK Chole: Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner— translation). Also written in the immediate aftermath of WW2, Berlin Finale follows the citizens of In its opening chapters, this novel could have come from the pen of Berlin as the bombs fall on their thousand year Reich, and the allies close in on the German capital. Many Jonathan Safran Foer or a son of Philip Roth. Beginning in the third Berliners, still in thrall to the Nazi propaganda machine (either because they remain true believers, person, you immediately sympathise with Toby Fleishman, the or are afraid to attract the ever watchful eye of the SS or Gestapo) are ready to fight to the last man, altruistic hepatologist who has been abandoned by his mercenary ex-wife Rachel and left with the care of his two children. The language woman and child, while the resistance are conducting dangerous conversations and attempted conversions to undermine Hitler’s desire to take every German with him to the grave. A bestseller is at first dripping with Toby’s maleness—his gloomy sense in post war Germany, the book was ‘revised and improved’ by Rein in 1980. This new translation of obligation and hen-peckedness is only marginally cheered by his has a few clunky moments I blame on the lack of editorial and proofing at publishers these days, discovery of internet dating and the many opportunities this entails. but that aside, I loved it. In these post-truth days, the de-nazification process is a schooling in how But through the subtle insertion of a narrator who slowly to talk those in utter denial off a ledge, into acceptance and maybe even action. metamorphoses from an omniscient being to Libby, an actual first person, you slowly realise the extent to which you’ve been sucked in by Toby. Libby was (the past tense being important here) a magazine writer who made her career profiling men after discovering that ‘this was the only way to get someone to listen to a woman...Trojan horse yourself into a man, and people would give a shit about you’. After years of struggling with the exact same impossible balancing act of kids, work and sanity that Toby is now faced with, Libby is now an invisible stay-at-home parent, still Trojan-horsing herself into the lives of men because that is her how she survives. Through Libby, we also learn some of Rachel’s story, and it becomes clear that the eponymous Fleishman is not one but two, and both of them are in trouble. The Fleishmans’ New York lifestyles are ludicrously expensive and the expectations of their children are outrageous. It is only when his eleven-year-old daughter is expelled from summer camp for sexting that Toby realises how much beyond his control things have become: ‘He’d forgotten something essential about life, which was to make sure his children understood his values. No matter how many times you whispered your values to them, the thing that spoke louder was what you chose to do with your time and resources. You could hate the Upper East Side. You could hate the five-millon-dollar apartment. You could hate the private school, which cost nearly $40,000 per kid per year in elementary school, but the kids would never know it because you consented to it. You opted in.’ This struck me as an illuminating observation that middle-class parents everywhere should consider as they drive their SUVs to the private schools they don’t believe in. Despite all this, Fleishman is in Trouble is not a didactic book. The narrative device is brilliant without being tricky and in the end my sympathies were with everyone and the binds they have unwittingly placed themselves in. Whereas previously, as Libby discovered, only ‘mens’ humanity was sexy and complicated’, Brodesser-Akner has well and truly Trojan-horsed these ideas. Everyone is sexy. Everyone is complicated. Everyone is in trouble.
Sing: Tune into the benefits of music and find your voice by Rosie Dow ($15, PB)
Singing delivers a host of physical & emotional benefits including lower heart pressure, increased aerobic exercise, improved breathing, posture, mind-set, confidence & selfesteem—whether you do it alone or in a choir. Singing teacher Rosie Dow examines the culture and history of singing, why we sing, the mechanics of sound, what it is to sing, how to take control of your voice and get creative. The book also tackles how to exercise your inner instrument & overcome your fear of singing.
Experiencing Mahler: A Listener’s Companion by Arved Ashby ($70, HB)
Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) took the symphony, one of the most abstract and tradition-bound genres in Western music, and opened it to the widest (and wildest) span of human experience. He opened it to themes of love, nature, the world’s chasmic depth at darkest midnight, making peace with death, resurrection, seeking one’s creator, being at one with God - just to mention a few of his themes. Mahler’s music is experiential in the sense that it contradicts textbook ideas of style, taste, structure, orchestration, and musical language, abandoning musical politesse for a more radical undertaking. Musicologist Arved Ashby takes readers into the seeming chaos of Mahler’s work to investigate the elements which make each work an experiential adventure which defines the symphonic genre in a new way.
Foreground Music: A Life in Fifteen Gigs by Graham Duff ($48, PB)
Graham Duff describes music performances that range from a Cliff Richard gospel concert he attended at the age of 10, to the 14 year-old Duff’s first rock show, where the Jam played so loudly he blacks out, to a Joy Division gig that erupted into a full-scale riot. Duff goes on pub crawls with Mark E. Smith of the Fall, convinces Paul Weller to undertake his first acting role, and attempts to interview Genesis P. Orridge of Throbbing Gristle while tripping on LSD. He captures the energy & power of life-changing gigs, while tracing the evolution of 40 years of musical movements and subcultures. But more than that, it’s an honest, touching, and very funny story of friendship, love, creativity & mortality—illustrated with photographs and ephemera from Duff’s private collection.
How Did Lubitsch Do It? by Joseph McBride
Orson Welles called Ernst Lubitsch (1892–1947) a giant whose talent & originality are stupefying. Lubitsch won the admiration of his fellow directors, including Alfred Hitchcock & Billy Wilder, whose office featured a sign on the wall asking, How would Lubitsch do it? Joseph McBride analyzes Lubitsch’s films to consider the full scope of his work & its evolution in both his native & adopted lands. Expressed obliquely, through sly innuendo, Lubitsch’s risqué, sophisticated, continental humour circumvented the strictures of censorship in such masterworks as Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner & To Be or Not to Be. McBride’s analysis of these films brings to life Lubitsch’s wit & inventiveness & offers revealing insights into his working methods. ($55, PB)
Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music & Dance in New York, 1840–1917 by Dale Cockrell
Musicologist Dale Cockrell traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime & jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music & dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s spirited dives, where men & women, often black & white, mingled freely—to the horror of the elite. Cockrell recreates this ephemeral underground world by mining tabloids, newspapers, court records of police busts, lurid exposes, journals & the reports of undercover detectives working for social-reform organizations, who were sent in to gather evidence against such low-life places. ($43.95, HB)
Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music by Richard Crawford ($62.95, HB)
NYC native & gifted pianist George Gershwin blossomed as an accompanist before his talent as a songwriter opened the way to Broadway. He composed a long run of musical comedies, many with his brother Ira as lyricist, but his aspirations reached beyond commercial success. Able to appeal to listeners on both sides of the purported popular-classical divide, in 1924, just 25, he bridged that gap with his first instrumental composition, Rhapsody in Blue, premiered by Paul Whiteman’s jazz orchestra, as the anchor of a concert entitled An Experiment in Modern Music. From that time forward his work as a composer, pianist, and citizen of the Jazz Age made him in some circles a leader on America’s musical scene. Drawing extensively from letters & contemporary accounts, Richard Crawford traces the arc of Gershwin’s short life, blending colourful anecdotes with a discussion of Gershwin’s unforgettable oeuvre.
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The Top 30—2019 1. Dark Emu
2. Boy Swallows Universe 3. No Friend But the Mountains
Trent Dalton Behrouz Boochani
4. The Testaments
5. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference 6. Less: A Novel
Greta Thunberg Andrew Sean Greer
7. The Overstory
8. Too Much Lip
9. The Weekend
11. 488 Rules for Life
12. Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume One 1978-1986 13. Sapiens
Helen Garner Yuval Noah Harari
14. Any Ordinary Day
15. Normal People
16. Simple 17. The Anarchy
Yotam Ottolenghi William Dalrymple
18. Australia Day
19. The Dutch House
21. How to Lose a Country
22. The Runaways 23. The Erratics
Fatima Bhutto Vicki Laveau-Harvie
24. The Body: A Guide for Occupants 25. City of Girls 26. The Library Book 27. Three Women 28. Agent Running in the Field 29. On Fairness 30. Grand Union
Bill Bryson Elizabeth Gilbert Susan Orlean Lisa Taddeo John le Carré Sally McManus
and another thing.....
Welcome to Gleaner 2020. Like the PM, I was fortunate enough to be overseas when the fires were burning and the smoke was thick in Sydney. Although Europe was unseasonably warm which suited the tourists, and I imagine fire and flood are probably looming uncomfortably close, as an Australian abroad I experienced a new form of cultural cringe with much comment about our coal-loving, offshore processing, climate change denying nation. Sure there are plenty of countries not doing their share when it comes to refugees and emissions reduction—but I can tell you, that sounds pretty hollow as a defence if you say it even once. Good to see Dark Emu at the top of the best seller list for 2019—it may be late in the game, but we have to start somewhere. The link I’ve put on the front cover to ABC RN’s list of bush fire charities is pretty comprehensive—please dig deep. Meanwhile I’ve changed my best book of 2019 to Berlin Finale by Heinz Rein which I finally had time to read over the hols—fascinating history, and utterly relevant to the situation the world finds itself in today. I also ripped through American Dirt by Jeanne Cummins one recent hot and sleepless night. A middle class Mexican bookseller with a carteloffending journalist husband is hurled, with her 8 year old son, into the stream of refugees heading to ‘el norte’ when her family is massacred. Cummins’ intention is to individualise and humanise the so-called Trump ‘caravans’ of rapists and criminals—and she does it very well. All the violence happens off the page—and this lack of sensationalising the horror makes it even more gripping. Using a middle class protagonist, who herself has to confront her own previous eye-averting complicity is a masterful move. No one leaves their home, comfortable or otherwise, unless they are forced to. For some lighter reading I’ve been immersed in word-smith Samuel Delany’s marvellous autobiography, The Motion of Light on Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village which I’m enjoying immensely. And because I don’t want it to end, I’ve ordered Deirdre Bair’s book Parisian Lives (released this month) about her relationships with Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir—replacing the East Village for the streets of Paris. Next month, at long last, Mantel is back with The Mirror and the Light!! Viki
For more February new releases go to:
Main shop—49 Glebe Pt Rd; Ph: (02) 9660 2333, Fax: (02) 9660 3597. Open 7 days, 9am to 9m Thur–Sat; 9am to 7pm Sun–Wed Sydney Theatre Shop—22 Hickson Rd Walsh Bay; Open two hours before and until after every performance Blackheath—Shop 1 Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd; Ph: (02) 4787 6340. Open 7 days, 9am to 6pm Blackheath Oldbooks—Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd: Open 7 days 10am to 5pm Dulwich Hill—536 Marrickville Rd Dulwich Hill; Ph: (02) 9560 0660. Open 7 days, Tue–Sat 9am to 7pm; Sun–Mon 9 to 5 www.gleebooks.com.au. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com