gleaner Vol. 25 No. 7 August 2018
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out this month ... The
True Colour of the Sea
new short stories from Robert Drewe 1
David’s holiday reading
Well, I can’t share the happy snaps from my glorious holiday last month (I could actually, these days, courtesy of Apple, but it’s not the same as those slide nights of old). However, here’s some random observations on what I’ve been reading, on holiday and since, that I’d like to share: Adrian McGinty’s splendid ‘Sean Duffy’ crime series is set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Been around a few years, but I’ve only just got to them. I started with the sixth, and most recent (I’ve since read the first, and you could start anywhere). I found the title irresistible, Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly (nod to Tom Waits). And the book was too, first-rate dialogue, plotting, characterization, and a cool, laconic cynicism, totally right for the time and place of the ‘Troubles’. It’s a cracker of an opening, with Duffy digging his own grave as reward for solving the crime, and the standard holds from there. Dervla McTiernan’s The Ruin is also first-rate crime fiction set in Galway, Ireland, and a very good first novel. To call it a police procedural is to sell it short, such is the intricate plotting and interweaving of forensic policing with authentic characters, moral dilemmas and a rich sense of Ireland’s complex past. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer: again, a new author for me, but this American novelist has been around for more than twenty years (interestingly, The Wife (2003) has just been released as a film). I will read more of her. The Female Persuasion is witty, thoughtful and insightful, and full of brilliant, sharply observed life. It’s deliberately arch title begs the question of what kind of legacy second-wave feminism has left for contemporary young women. A coming-of-age story with a slightly improbable air of optimism at its end, and some glaring constraints of artifice in plot, this is nonetheless an incisive, thought-provoking, imaginative book for our times. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje: a wonderful writer, whose books are few and far between, so it’s great that Warlight doesn’t disappoint. Elegiac, and beautifully manipulative in the way it reveals a mysterious, concealed past, this is a story which thrills is it unravels its secrets. Only a craftsman of Ondaatje’s skill could carry it off. White Houses by Amy Bloom: is a short, but densely and intelligently written novel about a much-covered subject, the ‘White House’ of Franklin, and, more significantly, Eleanor Roosevelt. What gives it a unique, and fascinating perspective is that the ‘inside’ story is being told through another reallife person, Lorena Hicock—aide, close companion and sometime lover of Eleanor. I found the book a small miracle of compressed wit, at once moving and full of acerbic observation about politics and power. The True Colour of the Sea by Robert Drewe. I’ll never forget the excitement and thrill The Bodysurfers created more than thirty years ago. It was a superb collection of stories, that, almost in one book, turned our attention from the bush to the beach as the focus of Australian life. In August, we have a new collection of stories, where subjects big and small, comical and serious, are fleshed out with the ocean as setting, or participant, or giving us ‘true colour’ —vibrant and engaging Her Mother’s Daughter by Nadia Wheatley: I’m part-way through this absorbing, and very moving memoir. It’s an important document in Australian social history (both of Wheatley’s parents played significant media roles in, after World War 2, when they worked collaboratively together. But theirs was a profoundly unhappy marriage, and at the core of the book is a tribute to the mother who died young, and whose life she celebrates. Lastly, an invitation to come and hear Leigh Sales, on October 2nd, when she will mark the publication of her new book On any Ordinary Day with an event at the Seymour Centre (booking details in this newsletter, and on our website). Essentially a book about how ordinary people endure the unthinkable, (the subtitle: Blindsides, Resilience, and what Happens after the Worst Day of Your Life, tells it all), this is also a very personal story, and Sales brings her formidable journalistic skills, and great compassion and wisdom to her subject. David
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Australian Literature The Second Cure by Margaret Morgan ($33, PB)
A pandemic is racing through our world, changing people subtly but irrevocably. The first sign for some is losing their faith. For others it comes as violent outpourings of creativity, reckless driving & seeing visions. Scientist Charlotte Zinn is close to a cure when her partner becomes infected. Overnight her understanding of the disease is turned upside down. Should she change the path of evolution? As Australia is torn apart, reporter Brigid Bayliss works to uncover the dark truth behind the religious response to the outbreak. Brigid & Charlotte find themselves on the frontline of a world splintering into far left & far right, with unexpected power to change the course of history. But at what cost?
Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman ($30, PB)
At her prestigious private girls’ school, 15-year-old Ziggy Klein is confronted with an alienating social hierarchy that hurls her into the arms of her grade’s most radical feminists. Plagued by fantasies of offensive sexual stereotypes & a psychotherapist mother who thinks bum-pinching is fine if it comes from the heart chakra, Ziggy sets off on a journey of self-discovery that moves from the Sydney drag scene to the extremist underbelly of the internet to the coastal bohemia of a long-dissolved matriarchal cult. As PC culture collides with her friends’ morphing ideology & her parents’ kinky sex life, Ziggy’s understanding of gender, race, and class begins to warp.
Hey Brother by Jarrah Dundler ($30, PB)
Before leaving for war in Afghanistan, Shaun Black gives his little brother Trysten a mission of his own. Keep out of trouble. But with Mum hitting the bottle harder than ever & his dad not helping, Trysten responds the only way he knows how, with his fists—getting into a fight at school & lining up for another one with his uncle who’s come to stay. When the family receives news that Shaun will be home for Christmas, Trysten is sure that good times are coming. But when Shaun returns, Trysten soon realises he has a whole new mission—to keep Shaun out of trouble—and with his own blend of fury, resilience & deadpan humour, Trysten proves to be up to the challenge.
Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett
It’s the summer of 1968, and Evelyn Lynden is a woman at war with herself. Minister’s daughter. Atheist. Independent woman. Frustrated wife. Bitch with a bleeding heart. Following her conscientious-objector husband Lenny to the rural Eden of Evergreen Valley, California, Evelyn wants to be happy with their new life. Yet as the world is rocked by warfare & political assassinations, by racial discrimination & social upheaval, she finds herself disillusioned with Lenny’s passive ways—and anxious for a saviour. Enter the Reverend Jim Jones, the dynamic leader of a revolutionary church called Peoples Temple. As Evelyn grows closer to Jones, her marriage is just the first casualty of his rise to power. Meticulously researched & elegantly written, Woollett’s novel explores the allure of the real-life charismatic leader. ($33, PB)
Beneath the Mother Tree by D. M. Cameron ($33, PB)
On a small island, something sinister is at play. Resident alcoholic Grappa believes it’s the Far Dorocha, dark servant of the Faery queen, whose seductive music lures you into their abyss. His granddaughter Ayla has other ideas, especially once she meets the mysterious flute player she heard on the beach. Riley and his mother have moved to the island to escape their grief. But when the tight-knit community is beset by a series of strange deaths, the enigmatic newcomers quickly garner the ire of the locals. Can Ayla uncover the mystery at the heart of the island’s darkness before it is too late? Playing out in a unique & wild Australian setting, interweaving Indigenous history & Irish mythology, D.M. Cameron’s debut novel is a thrilling journey.
The Hunter & other stories of men by David Cohen
A property developer fears that a burgeoning ibis population will prevent the construction of a high rise apartment complex; a bus stop outside a dementia care facility in Düsseldorf suffers its own identity crisis; a young man’s new job requires him to pose as a woodcutter & wave at a trainload of tourists; an aging, reclusive archivist becomes locked in a strange battle of wills with a courier; a backpacker in Israel has a bizarre religious experience. In these award winning stories, David Cohen explores the oddities of human behaviour with wit, affection and startling brilliance. ($28, PB)
The Wounded Sinner by Gus Henderson ($19.95, PB)
Matthew’s father, Archie, is dying and he spends three weeks out of four caring for him in The Wounded Sinner , his grand, decaying family home. Whilst Matthew is away, Jeanie stays and works as a teacher and looks after their five children. Their eldest, Jaylene, is hitting adolescence and is challenging Jeanie’s self-image and burgeoning sense of identity. On a hot desolate day in the West Australian hinterland, Matthew’s car finally breaks down. Vince, whose own family is falling apart in unanticipated ways, stops to pick him up and, in amongst the chaos of their lives, an unlikely friendship is formed. Henderson’s unique and gritty debut shines a light on growing old, fidelity and identity—and the purpose of it all.
The True Colour of the Sea by Robert Drewe
An artist marooned on a remote island in the Arafura Sea contemplates his survival chances. A beguiling young woman nurses a baby by a lake while hiding brutal scars. Uneasy descendants of a cannibal victim visit the Pacific island of their ancestor’s murder. A Caribbean cruise of elderly tourists faces life with wicked optimism. The 11 stories in Robert Drewe’s new collection visit many varied coasts—whether a tense Christmas holiday apartment overlooking the Indian Ocean or the shabby glamour of a Cuban resort hotel. Relationships might be frayed, savaged, regretted or celebrated, but here there is always the life-force of the ocean—seducing, threatening, inspiring. ($30, HB)
Gleebooks’ special price $26.99 The Biographer’s Lover by Ruby Murray ($30, PB)
Why has no-one heard of Edna Cranmer? When a young woman is hired to write the life of an unknown artist from Geelong, she thinks it will be just another quick commission paid for by a rich, grieving family obsessed with their own history. But Edna Cranmer was not a privileged housewife with a paintbrush. Edna’s work spans decades. Her soaring images of red dirt, close interiors & distant jungles have the potential to change the way the nation views itself. Edna could have been an official war artist. Did she choose to hide herself away? Or were there people who didn’t want her to become famous? As the biographer is pulled into Edna’s life, she is confronted with the fact that how she tells Edna’s past will affect her own future.
Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko ($29.95, PB)
Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things—her hometown & prison. But now her Pop is dying & she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley. Kerry plans to spend 24 hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble—but then trouble is her middle name.
The Apology by Ross Watkins ($29.95, PB)
Adrian Pomeroy teaches English at a boys’ school ‘full of bullshit artists in blazers’. When he finds himself at the centre of an allegation that might end his career, his life starts to unravel in spectacular fashion. With a police investigation underway, Adrian turns to his detective brother for help, but Noel is battling crippling demons of his own. As the repercussions of this one accusation lead to the implosion of Adrian’s family, he can no longer ignore the secrets buried in his past.
Chaser Quarterly 13: The Art of the Steal
Divided into 7 sections, Chaser 13 gives you everything it takes to become a successful manager, from middling time-server all the way up to mediocre executive. It includes a guide to corporate slang, the history & philosophy of management theory, a narcissism checklist—do you have enough of it to be CEO, buzzwords to eliminate clear communication from your management style, and case studies to illustrate common management issues—leaving your armed with a free MBA from the Chaser Institute. ($19.95, PB)
The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn ($30, PB)
In Victorian England, the headstrong Elizabeth takes up her late father’s quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers & treachery that threatens her entire family. In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed ‘Spring 1886’ & a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons. In this spellbinding botanical odyssey Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched 19th century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips.
The Honourable Thief by Meaghan Anastasios
Istanbul, Turkey 1955 Benedict Hitchens, once a world-renowned archaeologist, is now a discredited—but still rather charming— shell of his former self. Once full of optimism & adventure, his determination to prove that Achilles was a real historical figure led him to his greatest love, Karina, on the island of Crete & to his greatest downfall, following the disappearance of an enigmatic stranger, Eris. He has one last chance to restore his reputation, solve the mystery of Eris & prove his Achilles theory. But it is full of risk—and possibly fatal consequences. Meaghan Wilson Anastasios weaves an action-packed tale of honour, passion, heroes & thieves across an epic backdrop of history. ($33, PB)
Now in B Format City Of Crows by Chris Womersley, $20
On D’Hill This month I’ve been reading some short novels by interesting authors out of the mainstream.The first is a debut novel by Olivia Laing who has written two non-fiction books The Lonely City and The Trip to Echo Spring (a fascinating look at writers’ relationship with alcohol). Crudo is one of a new genre of novel known as autofiction (think Chris Kraus) in which memoir is combined with fiction challenging the reader to untangle the ‘truth’ from ‘untruth’. Laing’s main character is Kathy Acker, who died over 20 years ago, but the novel is set during the summer of 2017. Acker and Laing become interchangeable. We learn from Google, for instance, that Laing did marry a poet 30 years her senior last year and yes, like Kathy and her new husband in the story, they honeymooned in Italy. The book is really about the personal and political as the woman wrestles with the horror of Trump and his dangerous rantings about North Korea, about the uncertainty of Brexit—Kathy/Olivia lives with the poet in London but has to go back to America to teach. Intertwined with these political considerations is her uncertainty about marriage when she has always treasured her independence. I loved the playful oddness of this book—and Laing is a marvellous writer. In the same genre is American writer Sheila Heti’s Motherhood, a wellwritten discourse on whether or not to have a child—a must for people in their thirties struggling with this issue—or just interested in new writing! Laing and Heti, along with the aforementioned Chris Kraus, whose new book Aliens and Anorexia is also autofiction, are at the forefront of a wonderful bunch of women and men writing new kinds of books and playing with genres as their forebears did before them—it must be said, the book is not only not dead, but thrillingly alive. Even odder than Crudo is Katharine Kilalea’s OK, Mr Field—a novel about a concert pianist whose hand is badly injured in an accident. On a whim he buys a house in South Africa which is a copy of a Le Corbusier. There ensues a strange and weirdly beguiling story as the man, known only as Mr Field, goes quietly mad from loneliness and sadness. So much is not said in this book and we are left to surmise why has his wife left him and how has the end of his piano playing career affected him. Field has become philosophical, asking the important questions like ‘what is a worthwhile way of spending time in life?’ Although this might sound like a difficult book, it is beautifully written and has a deeply satisfying ending. Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer prize-winner for fiction, Less, is about a heartbroken novelist, Arthur Less, travelling the world to avoid the wedding of his ex-boyfriend. Less is a wonderful character and well worth spending time with. I adored this lovely book. Next on the list is another American novel—A Weekend in New York by Benjamin Markovits which has been well reviewed. I’ll be back to Oz fiction next month as there are soooo many great new books coming out for Christmas. I shall do my best to read as many of them as I can. See you on D’Hill, Morgan
The Book of Ordinary People by Claire Varley
A grieving daughter navigates the morning commute, her mind bursting with memories pleading to be shared. A man made entirely of well-cut suits & strictly enforced rules swims his regular morning laps & fantasises about his self-assured promotion. A young lawyer sits in a fluorescent-lit office, typing indecipherable jargon & dreaming of everything she didn’t become. A failed news hack hides under the covers from another looming deadline, and from a past that will not relent its pursuit. And a young woman seeking asylum sits tensely on an unmoving train, praying that good news waits at the other end of the line. Claire Varley paints a magical portrait of 5 ordinary people, and the power of the stories we make of ourselves. ($33, PB)
The Changeling by Victor LaValle ($23, PB)
When Apollo Kagwa was a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares & a box labelled ‘Improbabilia’. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own, having fallen in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry & have a baby: so far so happy-ever-after. However, as the pair settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion & anxiety start to take their toll. Emma’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, until one day she commits an unthinkable act, setting Apollo on a wild & fantastical quest through a suddenly otherworldly New York, in search of a wife & child he no longer recognises. An epic novel for our anxietyridden times.
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff ($30, PB)
Ralph Boyd ‘s first glimpse of 9 year-old Daphne will be etched on his mind forever. An up-and-coming composer, Ralph is visiting the writer Edmund Greenslay at his riverside home in Putney to discuss a collaboration. In its colourful rooms & unruly garden, Ralph finds an intoxicating world of sensuous ease & bohemian abandon that captures the mood of the moment. But Ralph is 25 and Daphne is only a child, and even in the liberal 1970s a fast-burgeoning relationship between a man & his friend’s daughter must be kept secret. Years later, after a turbulent youth & a failed marriage, Daphne watches her 12 year-old daughter Libby mimic the gestures of adult sexuality, and is finally forced to confront her own childhood and its shocking truths.
New this month Granta 144: Generic Love Story, $25
The path to radical social change is never smooth—there are many questions to address. Who runs the discourse; who is excluded, and why? Is #metoo a flash in the pan? Will there be a backlash, and what might that look like? And most importantly, how do we ensure that this debate produces substantive change? Granta 144 is about gender: about what it means to be born a woman, and to become a woman. It’s about patriarchy, feminist values & all the ways in which our culture is creakily changing.
Orchid & the Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes ($30, PB)
The daughter of a cold, self-interested investment banker & a once formidable conductor, Gael is both bloody minded & contemptuous of those that exploit the weak—a sentiment engendered by her adolescence spent looking out for her vulnerable younger brother Guthrie in depressed post-crash Dublin. When her parents separate, Gael sets out into a world being remade in the image of greed and cuts a swathe through the leather-lined, coke-dusted social clubs of London, the New York gallery scene & birththroes of the Occupy movement. A modern-day bildungsroman, Orchid & the Wasp is a novel that chews through sexuality, class & contemporary politics.
Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky
Lilian Quick has looked up to her cousin Florence her whole life. Florence is everything Lilian is not—brave, adventurous, American. Lilian, forty, single & struggling as a pet portraitist in Toronto, has been watching Florence, who has become internet-famous as Eleven Novak, the face of a feminine-lifestyle empowerment brand. When Eleven comes to town on a sales tour, she welcomes her long-lost cousin with open arms & enrols in the Ascendency, Eleven’s expensive signature course in spiritual awakening & marketing. In just 3 months, Lilian’s life changes drastically & becomes everything she’s dreamed of. But is it everything she wants? And can she really trust Eleven? ($30, PB)
The Day the Sun Died by Yan Lianke ($33, PB)
One dusk in early June, in a town deep in the Balou mountains, 14 year-old Li Niannian notices something strange about his town. Instead of settling down for the night, the residents start appearing in the streets & fields. There are people everywhere—all dreamwalking, carrying on with their daily business as if the sun hadn’t gone down. And before too long, as more & more people succumb, in the black of night all hell breaks loose. Set over the course of one night, Yan Linake sets chaos & darkness against the sunny optimism of the ‘Chinese dream’ promoted by President Xi Jinping.
CoDex 1962 by Sjón ($33, PB)
Josef Loewe enters the world as a lump of clay—carried in a hatbox by his Jewish father Leo, a fugitive in WWII Germany. Taking refuge in a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the young woman who nurses him back to health and together they shape the clay into a baby. But en route to safety in Iceland, he is robbed of the ring needed to bring the child to life, and it is not until 1962 that Josef can be ‘born— only to grow up with a rare disease. Fifty-three years on, this disease leads him into the hands of a power-hungry Icelandic geneticist, just when science and politics are threatening to lead us all down a dark, dangerous road.
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler ($33, PB) Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her lif—when she was 11 and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at 21, the accident that would make her a widow at 41. At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others. So when she receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot and needs her help, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman—and her 9 year-old daughter, and her dog—will lead Willa into uncharted territory. Surrounded by new and surprising neighbours, she is plunged into the rituals that make a community, and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99 The Butcher’s Daughter by Victoria Glendinning
New from the twice winner of the Whitbread Biography award. It is 1535 and Agnes Peppin, daughter of a West Country butcher, leaves her family home in disgrace. Banished & forced to abandon her new-born infant, she is meant to live out her days cloistered behind the walls of the Shaftesbury Abbey. But as Agnes grapples with the complex rules & hierarchies of her new life, King Henry VIII has proclaimed himself the new head of the Church. Religious houses are being formally suppressed & the great Abbey is no exception to the purge. Free at last to be the master of her own fate, Agnes descends into a world she knows little about, using her wits & testing her moral convictions against her need to survive by any means necessary. ($35, HB)
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong ($30, PB)
Luo Guanzhong was a Chinese writer who lived probably during the 14th century, during the Yuan & Ming periods. This is a new translation & abridgement of one of the four classical Chinese novels—the epic story of the fall of the Han dynasty & rise of the Three Kingdoms. Part history & part legend, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms dramatises the lives of feudal lords & their retainers, recounting their personal & military battles, intrigues and struggles to achieve dominance for almost a 100 years.
The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon ($40, HB)
Phoebe Lin & Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn’t tell anyone she blames herself for her mother’s recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group—a secretive extremist cult—founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. His enigmatic past involves North Korea & Phoebe’s Korean American family. Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he’s tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing 5 people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.
Our Life in the Forest by Marie Darrieussecq
In the near future, a woman is writing in the depths of a forest. She’s lost the use of one eye; she’s down to one kidney, one lung. Before, in the city, she was a psychotherapist, treating patients who had suffered trauma—in particular a man, ‘the clicker’. Every 2 weeks, she travelled out to the Rest Centre, to visit her ‘half’, Marie, her spitting image, who lay in an induced coma, her body parts available whenever the woman needed them. As a form of resistance against the terror in the city, the woman flees, along with other fugitives & their halves. But life in the forest is disturbing—the reanimated halves are behaving like uninhibited adolescents. And when she sees a shocking image of herself on video, are her worst fears confirmed? A chilling dystopian novel about organ-trafficking, identity, clones & the place of the individual in a surveillance state. ($28, PB)
Of Men and Angels by Michael Arditti ($35, HB)
God’s vengeance on the wicked city of Sodom is a perennial source of fascination & horror. Michael Arditti’s new novel explores the enduring power of the myth in five momentous epochs. A young Judean exile transcribes the Acts of Abraham & Lot in ancient Babylon; the Guild of Salters presents a mystery play of Lot’s Wife in medieval York; Botticelli paints the Destruction of Sodom for a court in Renaissance Florence; a bereaved rector searches for the Cities of the Plain in nineteenth century Palestine; a closeted gay movie star portrays Lot in a controversial biblical epic in 1980s Hollywood. With its interrelated narratives & interwoven documents, abounding in characters as vivid as they are varied, from temple prostitutes & palace eunuchs, through fanatical friars & humanist poets, to Bedouin tribesmen, Russian exiles and, of course, angels, this is a novel of scope, insight & profound human sympathy.
Now in B Format Collected Stories by Susan Sontag, $23 Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner, $20 Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag, $20
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley ($30, PB)
To those who live there, Herot Hall is a paradise. With picket fences, gabled buildings, and wildflowers that seed themselves in ordered rows, the suburb is a self-sustaining community, enclosed & secure. But to those who live secretly along its periphery, Herot Hall is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, & motion-activated lights. Dylan & Gren live on opposite sides of the perimeter, neither boy aware of the barriers erected to keep them apart. For Dylan & his mother, Willa, life moves at a charmingly slow pace. They flit between mothers’ groups, playdates, cocktail hours, & dinner parties. Just outside the limits of Herot Hall Gren lives with his mother a former soldier who is determined to protect him from a world that sees him only as a monster. When Gren runs off with Dylan, he sets up a collision between worlds that echoes the Beowulf story—giving a sharp, startling currency to the ancient epic poem.
FASCINATING, ENGAGING, FRESH AND VITAL, THIS IS HISTORY — BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT.
Country by Michael Hughes ($30, PB)
After 25 years of conflict, the IRA & the British have agreed an uneasy ceasefire, as a first step towards lasting peace. But if decades of savage violence are leading only to smiles & handshakes, those on the ground in the border country will start to question what exactly they have been fighting for. When an IRA man’s wife turns informer, he & his brother gather their old comrades for an assault on the local army base. But the squad’s feared sniper suddenly refuses to fight, and the SAS are sent in to crush this rogue terror cell before it can wreck the fragile truce, and drag the whole region back to the darkest days of the Troubles. This powerful new Irish novel explores the brutal glory of armed conflict, & the bitter tragedy of those on both sides who offer their lives to defend the honour of their country.
The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man by Jonas Jonasson ($25, PB)
The Hundred Year-old Man’s sequel starts with a hot air balloon trip & three bottles of champagne. Allan & Julius are ready for some spectacular views, but they’re not expecting to land in the sea & be rescued by a North Korean ship, and they could never have imagined that the captain of the ship would be harbouring a suitcase full of contraband uranium, on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un. Soon Allan & Julius are at the centre of a complex diplomatic crisis involving world figures from the Swedish foreign minister to Angela Merkel & President Trump.
‘A novel that sets the standard for psychological thriller writing’ Jeffery Deaver
The Rules Of Seeing by Joe Heap ($30, PB)
Dawn O Porter Nova can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And as an interpreter for the Metropolitan Police, she can tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate. As Kate comes into focus and their unlikely friendship blossoms, Kate’s past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they both learn to see the world in a different way?
Prague Spring by Simon Mawer ($33, PB)
It’s the summer of 1968—of Prague Spring & Cold War winter. 2 English students, Ellie & James, set off to hitch-hike across Europe. Somewhere in southern Germany they decide, on a whim, to visit Czechoslovakia where Alexander Dubcek’s ‘socialism with a human face’ is smiling on the world. Meanwhile Sam Wareham, a first secretary at the British embassy in Prague, is observing developments in the country with a mixture of diplomatic cynicism & a young man’s passion. In the company of Czech student, Lenka Koneckova, he finds a way into the world of Czechoslovak youth, its hopes & its ideas. It seems that, perhaps, nothing is off limits behind the Iron Curtain. Yet the wheels of politics are grinding & the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev is making demands of Dubcek and the Red Army is massed on the borders. How will the looming disaster affect those fragile lives caught up in the invasion?
The Italian Chapel by Philip Paris ($16, PB)
Amid the turmoil of the Second World War, a group of Italian prisoners is sent to the remote Camp 60 on the tiny Orkney island of Lamb Holm. Through freezing conditions, hunger and untold hardships, this ragtag band of brothers must work together to survive. Among them is talented artist Domenico, who inspires his comrades to create a symbol of peace during a time of war, and by using their collectice talents they forge friendships that will last a lifetime. Out of driftwood and junk they build the Italian chapel: a testament to hope and beauty in a war-ravaged world. And when Italian POW Giuseppe and local woman Fiona develop feelings for each other, he decides to hide a secret token of his love in the chapel.
Cat Flap by Alan S. Cowell ($20, PB)
Dolores Tremayne, a successful business executive, travels overseas, part of her remains mysteriously behind in the family’s indoor cat, through whose eyes Dolores witnesses the shocking behaviour of her husband, stalled novelist Gerald Tremayne. In Germany, Dolores is conducting high-powered negotiations with a prestigious auto-maker, but back at home, her husband’s liaisons force him into ever more drastic exploits—and Dolores begins to wonder about the strange words and images that have begun to pop into her head, as if from nowhere.
Darkness & Company by Sigitas Parulskis
Lithuania, 1941, Vincentas has made a Faustian pact with an SS officer: in exchange for his own safety and that of his Jewish lover, Judita, he will take photographs—‘make art’—of the mass killings of Jews in the villages & forests of his occupied homeland. Learning of the pact that has kept her safe for so long, a disgusted Judita returns to her husband, surrendering herself to the ghetto, leaving Vincentas alone & trapped in his horrifying work.Through the metaphor of photography, Sigitas Parulskis lays bare the passivity & complicity of many of his countrymen during WW2 when 94 per cent of Lithuania’s Jewish population perished. ($20, PB)
Burning Cities by Kai Aareleid ($20, PB)
In a poetic historical saga, in which the fortunes of a small family parallel those of a small nation under Communism, Tiina revisits the first 2 decades of her life following the WW2, in Tartu, Estonia. The city, destroyed by Nazi invasion then rebuilt & re-mapped by the Soviets, is home to many secrets, and little Tiina knows them all, even if she doesn’t know their import. The adult world that makes up Communist society, is one of cryptic conversations, undiagnosed dread & heavy drinking. From the death of Stalin to the gradual separation of her parents, Tiina, as a young girl, experiences both domestic & great events from the periphery, and is, therefore, powerless to prevent the defining tragedy in her life—a suicide in the family.
The Green Crow by Kristine Ulberga
In a feminist One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, an institutionalized woman commits her life story to paper. She records, from the age of six, her earliest memories of a drunken & abusive father, the strange men her mother introduced to repair the family, the imaginary forest to which she would run for safety and, of course, the enormous talking green crow who appeared when she most needed him. The green crow is a conceited, boisterous creature who follows the novel’s nameless protagonist throughout her life, until the day that the crow’s presence begins to embarrass her. Confined to a tedious domestic life, she is desperate to hide the crow’s very existence. Failing to do so, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital. Can she repress and renounce her acerbic, sharp-beaked daemon—or learn to love herself, bird and all? ($20, PB)
THE WILDER AISLES
A new Martin Walker is always a delight, & his latest, A Taste for Vengeance, is no exception. Bruno, formerly chief of police in St Denis, has been promoted, & is now head of the whole Vézère Valley. He’s not entirely happy about this as he prefers the intimacy of small town policing. His new assistants, Juliette and Louis are a mixed blessing—Juliette quickly becomes one of the team but Louis is a bit of a troublemaker. Bruno’s horsey friend Pamela, has asked him to help with her new cookery school—which makes him more anxious than his new job. Especially when Monica Felder, a client for the new school disappears—and then her body and that of a man who seems to have many enemies are found. Felder’s husband—a retired British Major—also seems to have disappeared. A rumour starts up that the three are connected, and Bruno sets out to uncover a long buried secret, accompanied as always by some good red wine and great food. A couple of journalists get involved, including local scribe Phillippe Delaron, and Katherine—a pretty young English woman, who has signed up for the cookery class to try and get an inside scoop regarding the murders. Paris sticks their nose in, and Bruno’s off and on lover, Isabelle, comes to stay to assist in the investigation. Aside from the crimes, Bruno is concerned about the star of his beloved female football team. Paulette is pregnant and won’t say who the father is—and she has been tipped to be chosen for a major team. Thankfully, when all is resolved, Bruno along with his beloved dog, Balzac, return to cooking, hosting dinner parties and feeding the chooks. To quote the back cover: ‘A wish you were there read!’ A Bird in the Hand is Anne Cleeves’ (she of the Vera Stanhope and Shetland series) first published crime novel. Cleeves is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised and pleased to see this book back in print. I was also surprised and pleased to see that I have a few of these reprints to catch up on, as the fourth book is now available. The story revolves around a bird-watching group on the Norfolk coast. One of their best birders, Tom French, is found dead, his binoculars still around his neck. Elderly birdwatcher, George Palmer-Jones and his wife, Molly, decide to investigate the crime. From Norfolk, Scotland and the Isles of Scilly Isles, George and Molly seek for a motive—unrequited love, jealousy, or something else again. Was Tom the man everyone thought he was? Adam Anderson, a nervous young twitcher, with a very difficult relationship with his father, the local magistrate, hears of the murder and becomes distraught. His father, for once seeming to care, puts pressure on our senior investigators to help Adam cope. In due course their investigations turn up a potentially murderous competition between birders and twitchers. Birders make careful notes of the birds they observe, contributing to knowledge of our feathered friends; Twitchers on the other hand are only interested in finding rare birds and crossing them off their list. They will go anywhere, anytime to see a rarity. Needless to say there is not much love lost between these birdwatching clans. This is an entertaining read, with a bit of a twist at the end. I am looking forward to reading the others. The new Anne Tyler, Clock Dance, is set in a Pennsylvanian (not much of a) small town called Lark City. Willa aged eleven and sister Rita, six, live with their parents. Mom has problems, and Pop has given up trying to help—going about his teaching job with his head down. As the story begins Mom has driven off in the family car, leaving no note. As their father reassures them, she does return, and life goes on as usual—Mom with extreme highs and lows and disappearances. Willa grows up, goes to college where she discovers an interest in linguistics. She meets Derek, big man on campus, who insists they marry, although this means Willa has to give up her dreams of further study, and move to sunny California where she misses the cold and snow. They have two sons, Ian and Sean. When an accident causes Willa to review her life, she comes to the conclusion that she has always followed a path laid down by others, and with both sons having left home she feels quite lost. Then a phone call comes from a stranger in Baltimore where her son Sean has moved to. Callie has found Willa’s number on her neighbour’s refrigerator. Her neighbour, Denise, has been hospitalised after being shot. She was Sean’s partner and has a child, Cheryl—who Callie assumes to be Willa’s grandchild. Callie wants Willa to take care of Cheryl, and despite knowing she is not Cheryl’s grandmother, Willa heads to Baltimore. What follows is true Tyler country, with all the complications, hopes and regrets, love and redemption that can occur in families. In this strange community Willa finds that it is not too late to stop following the paths set by others and plot her own way in this new world she finds herself in. Wonderful stuff. I love Anne Tyler. She is so clever—she makes the small things of life valuable, she shows that there is a chance to change things, that having the knowledge and strength to do so can make new and surprising things occur in our lives. Janice Wilder
Careless Love: DCI Banks 25 by Peter Robinson
A young local student has apparently committed suicide. Her body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. She didn’t own a car. Didn’t even drive. How did she get there? Where did she die? Who moved her, and why? Meanwhile a man in his 60s is found dead in a gully up on the wild moorland. Post-mortem findings indicate he died from injuries sustained during the fall. But what was he doing up there? And why are there no signs of a car in the vicinity? As the inconsistencies multiply & the mysteries proliferate, Annie’s father’s new partner, Zelda, comes up with a shocking piece of information that alerts Banks & Annie to the return of an old enemy in a new guise. ($33, PB)
Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves ($30, PB)
Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves, who will run the case. Perez is facing the most disturbing investigation of his career. Is he ready for what is to come?
The Katharina Code by Jorn Lier Horst ($33, PB)
On 9 October each year CI William Wisting takes out the files on Katarina Haugen, who disappeared more than 2 decades before. Every year he looks at the papers from the unsolved case & visits her husband, Martin, who over the years has gone from prime suspect to good friend. But this year, his house stands empty; Martin Haugen is also missing. That same day Oslo investigator, Adrian Stiller, comes to see Wisting. He believes that the kidnap case he’s working on has ties to Haugen—placing Wisting in an impossible position where he is made to act as bait to bring in a man who has become one of his most trusted companions. Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter ($33, PB) Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. She’s a pillar of the sleepy beachside community of Belle Isle: a speech therapist, business owner & everybody’s friend. But when Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes & acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person—because she was. 30 years ago, before Andrea & before Belle Isle. 24 hours after her heroic actions at the mall Laura is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.. What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide?.
Tunnel Vision by Jimmy Thompson ($30, PB)
After narrowly avoiding a sticky end in LA, Danny & Zan escape to Vietnam to help out an old army mate of Danny’s and explore a new TV-writing project. But soon they become entangled in a web of mysteries: their friend is being poisoned, a government official’s daughter has disappeared, a mysterious body has been found in a canal, and there’s a bloodthirsty sun bear somewhere in the city. It all seems to revolve around one powerful man, and he has Danny & Zan in his sights. They’d better get on the front foot if they’re going to walk out of this mess. . The Sacco Gang by Andrea Camilleri ($22, PB) The Sacco brothers are free men with strong ideas about socialism & the State. One morning their father, Luigi Sacco, receives an anonymous letter from the local Mafia demanding protection money. Luigi tells the police of the extortion letters, but the police don’t know what to do: no one in the village has ever dared denounce the Mafia before. From that moment on, the Sacco brothers must defend themselves: from the Mafia & the forces of order, from their collaborators, from traitors & from the village’s leaders, as they are assailed by murder attempts, false accusations & false testimony. Based on a true story.
The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and other stories by Teresa Solana ($18, PB)
Statues decompose & stink out galleries, 2 old grandmothers are vengeful killers, and a prehistoric detective trails a triple murder that is threatening cave life as the early innocents knew it. A deeply dark and funny collection that includes prize-winning Connections, a sparkling web of Barcelona stories—connected by two criminal acts—that allows Teresa Solana to explore the darker side of different parts of the city and their seedier inhabitants.
A Baby’s Bones by Rebecca Alexander ($19, PB)
Archaeologist Sage Westfield has been called in to excavate a 16thcentury well, and expects to find little more than soil and the odd piece of pottery. But the disturbing discovery of the bones of a woman and new-born baby make it clear that she has stumbled onto an historical crime scene—one that is interwoven with an unsettling local legend of witchcraft and unrequited love. Yet there is more to the case than a 400-year-old mystery. The owners of a nearby cottage are convinced that it is haunted, and the local vicar is being plagued with abusive phone calls. Then a tragic death makes it all too clear that a modern murderer is at work.
Scrublands by Chris Hammer ($33, PB)
In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic & dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself. A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest & incidents leading up to the shooting don’t fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin can’t ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest’s deadly rampage.
Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante ($33, PB)
February, 1979—economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain. Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London’s toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: 2 bodies in as many days. The only link between the 2 victims is that the bodies were found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. 3 days later another murder occurs in the same area. Headlines scream serial killer & police incompetence, and, under immense pressure to catch the killer, Tennison uncovers something that leaves her doubting her own mind.
Redemption by Friedrich Gorenstein ($33, PB)
New Year’s Eve 1945 in a small Soviet town not long liberated from German occupation. Sashenka, a headstrong & self-centred teenage girl, resents her mother for taking a lover after her father’s death in the war, and denounces her to the authorities for the petty theft that keeps them from going hungry. When she meets a Jewish lieutenant who has returned to bury his family, betrayed & murdered by their neighbours during the occupation, both must come to terms with the trauma that surrounds them as their relationship deepens.
The Plotters by Un-su Kim ($30, PB)
Raised by Old Raccoon in The Library of Dogs, Reseng has always been surrounded by plots to kill—and by books that no one ever reads. In Seoul’s corrupt underworld, he was destined to be an assassin. Until he meets a trio of young women—a convenience store worker, her wheelchair-bound sister & a cross-eyed obsessive knitter—with an extraordinary plot of their own. Will the women save the day? Or will Reseng be next on the kill list? Who will look after his cats, Reading Lamp and Book Stand? Who planted the bomb in his toilet? How much beer can he drink before he forgets it all?
Vinyl Detective: Victory Disc by Andrew Cartmel
This time the search for a rare record ensnares our hero in a mystery with its roots stretching back to the Second World War. Three young RAF airmen played in a legendary band called the Flare Path Orchestra. When a precious record of their music turns up in the most unexpected place the Vinyl Detective finds himself hired to track down the rest of their highly sought-after recordings. But, as he does so, he finds that the battles of the last World War aren’t over yet—and can still prove lethal. ($17, PB)
Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg ($30, PB)
Transgender carpenter’s apprentice, Jack Sheppard, has fled his master’s house to become a notorious prison break artist, and Bess Munshi has escaped the draining of the fenlands to become a revolutionary mastermind. Together, they find themselves at the centre of a web of corruption leading back to the dreaded Thief-Catcher General—Or so we are told in a mysterious manuscript unearthed by one Professor R. Voth. Voth traces the origins & authenticity of the manuscript as Jack & Bess trace the connections between the bowels of Newgate Prison & the dissection chambers of the Royal College, in a bawdy collision of a novel about gender, love & liberation
A Brush with Death by Ali Carter ($20, PB)
Caught with his trousers down in Spire village graveyard, the unfaithful Alexander, Earl of Greengrass meets a gruesome end. Luckily pet portraitist Susie Mahl is on hand to sort things out. She’s been recently commissioned to paint Situp, the aristocratic ash grey deerhound at the village’s Glebe House, but as the newly appointed Pet Detective she discovers an unexpected nosey parker instinct—determinedly digging out the truth. A winsome murder mystery enriched with candid observations of the British social classes, observations on an artist’s craft, & a strong dose of good humour.
The Devil’s Half Mile by Paddy Hirsch ($30, PB)
New York, 1799. Justy Flanagan returns to his native city after having spent 5 years in Ireland fighting in the rebellion against the English to uncover the truth behind his father’s murder. Terrible rumours swirl in the dark underbelly of the nascent city; a young woman is murdered, a massive fraud threatens to destroy America’s economy, and the labyrinthine streets of New York hold danger at every turn. Justy is forced to choose: will he betray his father’s memory, compromise his integrity, and risk the lives of his closest friends, all in the name of justice? And is he willing to expose a plot that could change the balance of the New World forever?
The Fierce Country: True stories from Australia’s unsettled heart, 1830 to today by Stephen Orr ($27.95, PB)
The open spaces & isolated places outside Australia’s cities have unsettled us from first European settlement to today— often with very good reason. Stephen Orr has collected true stories that have shaped & continue to haunt the Australian psyche: mysteries, disappearances, mistreatment & murder. Fatal conflicts between an Aboriginal tracker & the police employers hunting his community. An itinerant conman picking up tips for the perfect murder from a famous novelist around a campfire on the Rabbit-Proof Fence. And that fateful day when Peter Falconio pulled over beside a desert highway. Orr charts an undercurrent of shifting cultural tensions as Australians find, lose & question who we are.
Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox
Just before Christmas 1908, Marion Gilchrist, a wealthy 82-year-old spinster, was found bludgeoned to death in her Glasgow home. The police soon fastened on a suspect—Oscar Slater, a Jewish immigrant who was rumoured to have a disreputable character. Slater had an alibi, but was nonetheless convicted & sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment in the notorious Peterhead Prison. 17 years later, convict William Gordon was released from Peterhead carrying a message concealed in a false tooth—addressed to the man Slater hoped could help him—Arthur Conan Doyle. A champion of the downtrodden, Conan Doyle turned his formidable talents to freeing Slater. Drawing from original sources including Oscar Slater’s prison letters, Margalit Fox gives a vivid account of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in Scottish history. ($35, PB)
Deal with the Devil by Grace Tobin ($35, PB)
What Mark & Faye Leveson have endured to discover the truth about the mysterious death of their son Matt is unfathomable. For the 10 years after Matt’s disappearance in September 2007, they tirelessly searched bushland for his body & doggedly pursued the man they believed responsible, Michael Atkins. Matt’s older boyfriend always denied involvement with their son’s disappearance, despite the compelling evidence stacked against him. Atkins was, in fact, a serial liar. But to expose his deceit & to find Matt’s body, the Levesons agreed in late 2016 to make a deal—Atkins received immunity from prosecution in exchange for revealing where he had buried Matt.
Loose Units by Paul F. Verhoeven ($35, PB)
Paul Verhoeven’s father, John, is an ex-cop who spent years embroiled in some of the seediest, scariest intrigues & escapades imaginable. Paul, however, is something of an artsy, sensitive soul who can’t understand why he doesn’t have the same heroism & courage as his dad. One day, John offers to spill his guts, on tape, for the first time ever, and try to get to the bottom of this difference between them. A goldmine of true-crime stories, showing John’s dramatic (and sometimes dodgy) experience of policing in Sydney in the 1980s follows. The crims, the car chases, the frequent brushes with death & violence, and the grey zone between what’s ethical & what’s effective—a high-octane adventure in learning what your father is really all about.
Trace: Who Killed Maria James? by Rachael Brown ($33, PB)
Every cop has a case that dug its claws in & would not let go. For detective Ron Iddles, it was his very first homicide case— the 1980 murder of single mother Maria James in the back of her Melbourne bookshop. Maria’s 2 sons, Mark & Adam, have lived in a holding pattern longer than Rachael Brown has been alive. When she learned that a crucial witness’s evidence had never seen daylight, the case began to consume her—just as it had Ron Iddles—so she asked for his blessing, and that of the James brothers, to review Maria’s case. In her investigation for the ABC podcast Trace, Rachael reviewed initial suspects, found one of her own, and uncovered devastating revelations about a forensic bungle & possible conspiracies that have inspired the coroner to consider holding a new inquest.
A Shrink in the Clink by Tim Watson-Munro
Drug lords, deviants, black widows, hit men, riot girls, mass murderers, psychos. Tim Watson-Munro has been a criminal psychologist for 40 years, and this book tells a riveting series of weird, funny & terrifying tales, revealing the warped minds behind crimes that shocked & intrigued Australia. Go to an underworld funeral of a master jewel thief who terrorised London. Meet ‘Chooka’ who was caught kissing the chicken of a shotgun-toting Mafia boss. Read a poem slipped to Tim by the Hoddle Street gunman after the massacre. Get up close with evil geniuses, terrorists, nuns on the run & natural born killers. Along the way WatsonMunro explains what triggers acts of madness in ordinary folks like you. This is an extraordinary and confronting journey into the shadows, and a brilliant insight into the shifting realities of the criminal mind. ($33, PB)
One Hundred Years of Dirt by Rick Morton ($30, PB)
Discover your next favourite
Social mobility is not a train you get to board after you’ve scraped together enough for the ticket. You have to build the whole bloody engine, with nothing but a spoon & hand-me-down psychological distress. Violence, treachery & cruelty run through the generational veins of journalist Rick Morton’s family. A horrific accident thrusts his mother & siblings into a world impossible for them to navigate, a life of poverty & drug addiction. This unflinching memoir in which the mother is a hero who is never rewarded, is a meditation on the anger, fear of others & an obsession with real & imagined borders. Yet it is also a testimony to the strength of familial love & endurance.
Hunting the Truth: Memoirs of Beate and Serge Klarsfeld ($40, HB)
Born on opposite sides of WW2: Beate grew up in the ruins of a defeated Weimar Germany; French Jewish boy, Serge, was hiding in a cupboard when his father was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. They met on the Paris Métro and fell in love, and became famous when Beate slapped the face of the West German chancellor—a former Nazi—Kurt Georg Kiesinger. For the past half century, Beate & Serge Klarsfeld have hunted, confronted, prosecuted & exposed Nazi war criminals all over the world, tracking down the notorious torturer Klaus Barbie in Bolivia & attempting to kidnap the former Gestapo chief Kurt Lischka on the streets of Cologne. They have fought relentlessly not only for the memory of all those who died in the Holocaust but also for modern-day victims of genocide & discrimination across the world written in their alternating voices, Beate & Serge Klarsfeld tell the thrilling story of a lifetime dedicated to combating evil.
Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal & Raging Egos by Clancy Sigal ($25, PB)
Napoleon’s Australia Terry Smyth In 1814, a French armada set sail for New South Wales to invade Sydney. And its inspiration and its fate were interwoven with one of history’s greatest love stories – that of Napoleon and Josephine. Out 20 August
The Football Solution George Megalogenis In a characteristically entertaining story, George Megalogenis reveals how football has been shaped by the nation that invented it and how the game we love, in turn, might help resolve Australia’s political impasse. Out 30 July
Clancy Sigal (who would later be the inspiration for Doris Lessing’s ‘Saul Green’) is just back from fighting in the WW2 & an abortive solo attempt to assassinate Hermann Goering at the Nurenburg trials. Charming his way into a job as an agent with the Sam Jaffe agency, Sigal plunges into a chaotic Hollywood peopled by fast women, washed-up screenwriters, wily directors & starstruck FBI agents trailing ‘subversives’. He parties with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Tony Curtis & an anxious Peter Lorre, and during the era of the Hollywood Blacklist is subpoenaed to testify before the HUAC. Will he give up the list of nine names, burning a hole in his pocket, to save his own skin? Hilarious, intimate & revealing: Sigal’s memoir reads like a forgotten hardboiled detective novel.
Gandhi 1915–1948: The Years That Changed the World by Ramachandra Guha ($70, HB)
Gandhi lived almost entirely in the shadow of the British Raj, which for much of his life seemed a permanent fact, but which he did more than anyone else to destroy, using revolutionary & inspirational tactics. In a world defined by violence on a scale never imagined before & by ferocious Fascist & Communist dictatorship, he was armed with nothing more than his arguments & example. Ramachandra Guha draws on many new sources to tell the story of Gandhi’s life, from his departure from South Africa to his assassination in 1948. A book with a Tolstoyan sweep, animated by Guha’s wonderful sense of drama & politics, it shows Gandhi as he was understood by his contemporaries & the vast, unbelievably varied Indian societies and landscapes which he travelled through & changed beyond measure.
Now in paperback or B format A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf by Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney, $25 The Finest Gold: Memoirs of an Olympic Swimmer by Brad Cooper ($33, PB)
The True Colour of the Sea Robert Drewe Australia’s master of the short story form – makes a gift of stories that tackle the big themes of life: love, loss, desire, family, ageing, humanity and the life of a art. Out 30 July
Endeavour Peter Moore No one has ever told Endeavour’s complete story before. Peter Moore sets out to explore the different lives of this remarkable ship, from the acorn that grew into the oak that made her, to her rich and complex legacy. Out 20 August
Read more at penguin.com.au
Munich, 1972. In the men’s 400-metre freestyle race, America’s Rick DeMont beats Australia’s Brad Cooper by 100th of a second. It’s the first electronic timing to deliver a win by such a close margin. The following day, DeMont is stripped of his medal in the world’s first swim doping disqualification. 3 days later, as the Black September terrorist attack is unfolding on the other side of the Village, Brad is presented with gold in a ‘farce of firsts’. Neither Brad nor the Olympics will ever be the same. Olympics glory, ignominy & industry aside, this is also an intimate account of the making of an athlete—Cooper’s childhood in 1960s Rockhampton, where his acid-tongued mother feeds a pining for her glamorous ex-pat days by holding Latin nights & smoking Craven ‘A’, via his parents’ vicious split, to an itinerant adolescence with his amnesiac, portent-driven father, where the only constant is the relentless search for training lanes as the pair pinball up & down Australia’s east coast.
Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home by Sisonke Msimang ($33, PB)
Sisonke Msimang was born in exile, the daughter of South African freedom fighters. This is the story of a young girl’s path to womanhood—a journey that took her from Africa to America and back again, then on to a new home in Australia. Frank, fierce and insightful, she reflects candidly on the abuse she suffered as a child, the naive, heady euphoria of returning at last to her parents’ homeland—and her disillusionment with present-day South Africa and its new elites.
Gorgeous Girl by Mary K. Pershall ($35, PB)
On the 10th of February 2017, there was a sentencing hearing for murder in the Victorian Supreme Court. The young woman in the dock, who sat quietly with her hands in her lap, had perfect skin and lightbrown hair tied back as neatly as a private school prefect’s. When the judge asked her to confirm her plea, the young woman answered in a clear and polite voice. ‘Guilty, your Honour.’ That killer is awardwinning children’s author Mary K. Pershall’s beloved daughter Anna. She is 28 years old, tall & beautiful, with an effervescent wit & a university degree in psychology. She also hears the voices of demons. After Anna finished uni, the voices became overwhelming & she attempted to silence them with alcohol & weed, with the abuse of her prescribed medication, & with ice. But the evil howling would not stop. Pershall brings a unique & insightful perspective to her daughter’s story, proving that a mother’s love—even in its darkest hour can shed light and provide hope to families in crisis.
Gainsborough: A Portrait by James Hamilton
Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88) lived as if electricity shot through his sinews & crackled at his finger ends. He was a gentle & empathetic family man, but had a shockingly loose, libidinous manner & a volatility that could lead him to slash his paintings. James Hamilton reveals the artist in his many contexts: the talented Suffolk lad, transported to the heights of fashion; the rake-on-the-make in London, learning his craft in the shadow of Hogarth; the society-portrait painter in Bath & London who earned huge sums by charming the right people into his studio. With fresh insights into original sources, Hamilton transforms Gainsborough, and enlightens the century that bore him. Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times, Sunday Times & Observer. ($23, PB)
Tears for Tarshiha by Olfat Mahmoud ($29.95, PB)
Peace activist, director of an international NGO, registered nurse, Olfat Mahmoud is a Palestinian refugee—a descendant of the Christian & Muslim people who fled Palestine in the period leading up to & after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Born in a refugee camp in Lebanon more than 60 years ago, her determination to help her people in their fight to return to their homeland led to a nursing career that has placed her at the front line of atrocious massacres & wars in the Middle East. Her extraordinary story is emblematic of the Palestinian plight, illustrating their continued survival & determination that has become an inconvenience to the international community. In 1949, David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel, stated that ‘we must do everything to ensure [the Palestinians] never do return...the old will die and the young will forget’. Olfat’s parents & grandparents never saw Tarshiha again—this book is part of her ongoing campaign to keep her people’s predicament in the public consciousness.
‘It is by turns heart-breaking and hilarious, cerebral and cheeky, and an incredibly important work.’ Fiona Wright
he Rapids, an extraordinary
debut, is a literary memoir
and cultural exploration of the condition of mania. Creative and courageous, it is a personal story peppered with film and literary criticism, as well as family history.
Travels in a Dervish Cloak by Isambard Wilkinson
Spellbound by his grandmother’s Anglo-Indian heritage & the exuberant annual visits of her friend the Begum, Isambard Wilkinson became enthralled by Pakistan as a teenager, eventually working there as a foreign correspondent during the War on Terror. Seeking the land behind the headlines, he set out to discover the essence of a country convulsed by Islamist violence. What of the old, mystical Pakistan has survived & what has been destroyed? His is a funny, hashish-and whiskyscented travel book from the frontline, full of open-hearted delight & a poignant lust for life. ‘A discursive, funny, moving portrait of Pakistan, one of the most opaque & difficult & complex of countries—a brilliant debut by a major new talent.’ William Dalrymple. ($30, PB)
Wild Land by Peter & Beverly Pickford ($80, HB)
Four years in the making, this ambitious journey is an epic and unprecedented portrait of some of the most untouched parts of our planet, and a timely message highlighting the urgent need for them to be preserved for the future of the planet, and a future on which humankind’s very survival is dependent.
Explore Australia 2019 ($60, HB)
Now in its 36th edition, Explore Australia covers more of the country than any other Australian guidebook. You’ll find details on over 700 regional towns, including information on local & nearby attractions, as well as markets & festivals. There’s also key information for every capital city & touring region, and suggested day trip itineraries. Discover the best this country has to offer with features on the best beaches, gourmet food & wine destinations, nature escapes, wildlife experiences, leisure & adventure holidays, Indigenous cultural experience and kid-friendly destinations.
South by Merlin Coverley ($20, PB)
Writers & artists, from Goethe & Poe, to Gauguin, Lawrence & Kerouac, were captivated by the South. Landscapes of ice & snow, sand & sea, have lured explorers southwards for centuries, often with fatal consequences. South follows in the footsteps of Cook, Scott, John Muir & others as they recount their journeys. Moving between geography & mythology, literature & history, Coverley looks at all things Southern , examining it as a symbol of freedom & escape, the South as the location of Northern visions of Utopia, and the South as the imagined site of decadence, poverty & backwardness.
‘Beresford charts a citizens’ revolt which brought the Adani mine monster to its knees.’ Bob Brown
dani and the War Over Coal exposes the full story behind
the proposed Adani Carmichael mine. From investigating Australia’s love of coal to the huge and ongoing #stopadani movement and more, this searing book reveals all.
w w w. n ews o u t h p u b l i s h i n g .co m
books for kids to young adults
Being a daughter of migrants, and the mother of a child that’s been bullied I feel that Cicada should be explored by those that are seeking a picture book that creates the opportunity for dialogue of unpleasant but important issues. Through beautiful simple images and sparse text readers are shown how cruel treatment towards those who may be ‘different’ can be so ugly, and so hurtful, but the ending could be viewed as how bullies are the ones who lose out in the end as they never see the beauty that resides in others and so remain trapped within their small, dark world. Unfortunately not everyone feels safe or courageous enough to speak up for themselves and so this book is like a voice for them and hopefully enough children (and adults) will be listening. Tania The release of Cicada is an opportune time to mention we still have some unframed limited edition giclee prints by Shaun Tan from his earlier work. Cost is $180 each, of which $20 will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
This book is about a cicada who works in a city with humans. The humans treat him like he’s nothing, or like he’s invisible just because he’s different. But the cicada is a beautiful creature and in the end he leaves the ugly dark city and goes to live in a beautiful colourful forest with other creatures like him. And he’s happy because he’s not like the humans, not a bully too. Zoe (age 7)
Richly textured, vividly hued digital collages illustrate this playful depiction of a boy’s imagination through a seemingly ordinary day. ‘Hello Nimesh, is school over?’ an unseen narrator asks a boy surrounded by classmates. ‘This is not a school,”’answers the boy cheerfully. ‘It’s an ancient cave, and shhhh! Or you’ll wake... the dragon!’ The following image reveals Nimesh’s imagined scenario: an endearing dragon in party shoes snoozes peacefully at a desk. On subsequent spreads, the question-andanswer format alternates everyday scenes with his wild, creative adventures: a school hallway becomes a shark-infested sea; an elderly neighbour on a park bench is actually a princess in a garden. In a final reversal, Nimesh responds with a happy dose of reality: this door doesn’t lead to a cave full of gold; it leads to home, where he’s greeted by his mother, dressed in a sari, and his father, in kurta pajamas. Stunningly detailed, this is a picture book you can’t help but linger over, savouring the beauty of the illustrations and young Nimesh’s imagination. Greatly admired by both Tania and me. Lynndy
Backyard by Ananda Braxton-Smith (ill) Lizzy Newcomb ($25, HB)
Tawny frogmouths still as wood/ with lamp-eyes lighting/ tiny movement everywhere. Haiku-sparse evocative text describes the wildlife a child notices in her suburban back yard as night draws in, while ceramic artist Newcomb’s illustrations bring to life the lush details of every creature. Nature and picture book combine to create a landscape familiar to many Australians, encouraging us to embrace afresh our environment. Lynndy
Deservedly acclaimed, this largely autobiographical story is illuminating, heartrending and uplifting. With her parents, 10-year-old Mia Tang migrated from China to the US where the family believed they would enjoy freedoms unknown back in China. Central to Front Desk is the relentlessly hard life Mia’s family endures managing a motel for a bitterly racist Chinese ex-patriate who exploits the newcomers ‘He said it like we were inventory—freely disposable, along with the washer and dryer.’ Mia is an indomitable resourceful child who refuses to allow prejudice, ignorance or family expectations daunt her. Instead, she initiates improvements; befriends the permanent residents of the motel; takes on the police when a guest’s car disappears, and changes the lives of her family and friends through heroic covert activism. The heartrending aspect of it is the blunt discrimination of this story set in the 1990s—even now those barriers persist. Despite all the setbacks, Mia shines: sometimes with humour, at times with determination. ‘Often during tough times, the first instinct is to exclude. But this book is about what happens when you include, when, despite all your suffering and your heartache, you still… look out at the world with fresh, curious eyes.’ Kelly Yang exhibited the same strength she attributes to Mia: she overcame poor English skills and went to college at the age of 13; became one of the youngest ever female Harvard law graduates, writer and columnist. Very highly recommended for ages 10-adult. Lynndy
Klutz Circuit Games: Book & Maker Kit ($30, BX)
The Klutz brand is a guarantee of high quality crafts and activities, all exhaustively pre-tested with children of ages relevant to each. In keeping with the emphasis on STEAM topics in schools, Klutz now has a range of Maker Lab kits, the latest of which is Circuit Games, for ages 8+. Lynndy
Cicada by Shaun Tan ($27, HB)
This has prompted tremendous intra-shop conversation amongst Gleestaff, which is a feature of the skill and universality Tan brings to all his books: interpretations are as abundant as the people who read them. Despite comments that this latest is more for adults than for children because of the text and the overriding greyness suggesting bleak despair, there are universal experiential issues that transcend age and ethnicity. Here are two opinions to consider, and when you buy a copy you’ll have your own comments for the inevitable discussion that ensues. Lynndy
Nimesh the Adventurer by Ranjit Singh (ill) Mehrdokht Amini ($30, HB)
Front Desk by Kelly Yang ($18, PB)
compiled by children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
Look Up! Numbers, Colours and Shapes in Architecture by Antonia Pesenti ($30, HB)
Alphabetical Sydney by Hilary Bell and Antonia Pesenti is an enduring bestseller in our Glebe shop: not only for locals who recognise all the landmarks and scenes, but also for overseas readers who can gain a very real flavour of our city from this lively rhyming book. Now architect/illustrator Pesenti follows her passion in her solo volume Look Up!—’...a selection of architectural wonders that draws our attention to numbers, shapes and colours in unique and fascinating ways. Carefully curated to include a broad range of buildings from around the world and from different eras, Look Up! not only introduces young children to numbers, colours and shapes, but also provokes discussion about architecture.’ See more than the facades through this boldly coloured exploration for ages 3+. Lynndy
The Quest for the Hiss-Paniola! 1 The Adventures of Jack Scratch by Craig Phillips ($18.45, PB; $30 HB)
By request from his daughter Craig Phillips created this graphic novel of cats... pirate-cats, wit and swashbuckling adventure with hints of Treasure Island and plenty of humour. There’s also Cap’n Catnip, great sailor (and great wimp), as well as Jack’s uncle Silver and his mighty galleon. Wake up your parrot, unsheathe your sword, and be prepared to bellow along in your best pirate-speak as Jack Scratch, diminutive feline hero, launches his precarious quest for the treasure of the Hiss-Paniola. This first of Phillips’ rollicking Jack Scratch series is bound to have readers agog for the next: The Curse of the Kraken! which is in progress. Lynndy
The novels of E Nesbit
The novels of E Nesbit have long been my default comfort reading—there’s something so reassuring and appealing about the naughtiness of the children, even though they nearly always try to be good. The author wrote over 60 books, and was a co-founder of the Fabian society. She was also one of the first writers to write stories for children that were neither didactic nor religious, and although all the books have a moral, they are never sanctimonious. Magic is a realm much visited in contemporary children’s literature, but in the books of E Nesbit magic occurs in the everyday world—usually after the characters have found an object, or sometimes a magical creature (most famously the Psammead in Five Children and It). This overlay of magic creates awkward and amusing situations for the children involved as they endeavour to work through their normal lives. Of course their absolute freedom and near complete neglect by the parents and guardians means they are at liberty, and at large, to have extraordinary adventures. Our colleague Elissa recommended The Enchanted Castle to me, and I loved it; it’s a brilliant example of the vagaries of the magical object—when children find magic ring that makes them invisible. My favourite is still Five Children and It, and I really like The Would-Be-Goods too. If you’ve never read E Nesbit, you should—and all the books are fun to read aloud too. Louise
Dragon: Build It Model & Book by Deborah Kespert ($26, PACK)
Imagine having your very own dragon in your room, wings spread in flight mode and realistic flames bursting from its jaws! The Build It Dragon Model and Book kit has everything you need to assemble your own dragon with an impressive 60cm wingspan, with the help of the simple instruction booklet that’s also filled with dragon facts. Dragons not your style? The Build It range also includes Dinosaur and Airplane: No glue or scissors needed, just press out the pieces and follow the step-by-step directions to create your enviable model. Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
A Guide to Native Bees of Australia by Terry Houston ($50, PB)
This book provides a detailed introduction to the estimated 2000 species of Australian bees. It describes the form & function of bees, their life-cycle stages, nest architecture, sociality & relationships with plants. It also contains systematic accounts of the five families & 58 genera of Australian bees. Photomicrographs of morphological characters & identification keys allow identification of bees to genus level. Natural history enthusiasts, professional and amateur entomologists and beekeepers will find this an essential guide.
The Secret Language Of Anatomy ($35, HB) by Cecilia Brassett, Emily Evans & Isla Fay
An initiation into the mysterious subject of anatomical terminology, this book reveals the body’s secret language by explaining the close relationship between human organs & structures & the evocative names given to them by anatomists. Beautifully crafted images illustrate 150 terms derived from the animal, food, place, plant, symbol, or other object that the body structure or function clearly resembles. Complete with a guide to prefixes & suffixes, medical students & practitioners, and anyone interested in the history of anatomy, the structure & function of the human body, medical etymology, and the history of language will find this a fascinating & accessible book.
Slow Down and Grow Something by Byron Smith with Tess Robinson ($40, PB)
Backyards, rooftops, courtyards & balconies are sprouting with herbs, ballooning with fruit & bursting with vegies across our urban landscapes. Growing your own lemongrass for a mojito or rhubarb to make jam isn’t just about producing food, rewarding though that is. It’s an antidote to the relentless pursuit to ‘do it all’. horticulturalist Byron Smith has created urban food oases in even the tiniest of plots—here he gives you the know-how to grow your favourite ingredients as well as killer recipes to make the most of your harvest.
My Asian Kitchen: Bao*Salad*Noodle*Curry*Sus hi*Dumpling* by Jennifer Joyce ($40, HB)
Bao buns, pho, sushi, poke bowls, gyoza, ramen & kimchi have devotees on every high street. Jennifer Joyce how easy it is to create these zingy, fresh, healthy flavours at home. From grilled sticky skewers & steak tacos, salads, rice bowls & dumplings, to prawn katsu bao & miso-glazed ribs, this is an adventure in the dazzling diversity of modern Asian cooking. Her simple recipes, no-nonsense explanation of ingredients, hand-drawn diagrams & beautiful photographs are all you need to start.
Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan ($45, HB)
Yasmin Khan journeys from the sun-kissed pomegranate stalls of Akka, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, via evergreen oases of date plantations in the Jordan Valley, to the fading fish markets of Gaza city to research a cuisine that has evolved over several millennia, through the influences of Arabic, Jewish, Armenian, Persian, Turkish & Bedouin cultures & civilisations that have ruled over, or lived in, the area known as ancient Palestine. From the colourful array of mezze dishes that make use of the region’s bountiful aubergines, peppers, artichokes & green beans; to slow-cooked stews of chicken & lamb flavoured with Palestinian barahat spice blends.
The Little Swedish Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
Rachel Khoo bid farewell to her Parisian kitchen & moved to Sweden in pursuit of love—and from there she shares over 100 delicious & seasonal Swedish recipes from her new little Scandi kitchen. Celebrating traditional fare, embracing local ingredients, exploring what the locals eat at home & offering her own fresh & delicious takes on Swedish recipes include Yellow pea soup with smoked sausage dumplings, Roasted butternut squash waffles, Praline & parsnip cake & Almond & lingonberry buns. ($50, HB)
Happy Never After by Jill Stark ($35, PB)
Jill Stark was living a dream. She had a coveted job as a senior journalist, she was dating a sports star, and she’d just achieved a lifelong ambition by publishing a bestseller. After years of crippling anxiety, striving for the fairytale ending, it finally seemed she’d found her ticket to contentment. But then it all started to go wrong. Getting everything she’d ever wanted plunged Jill into the darkest period in her life, where she struggled with acute anxiety and fell into a deep depression. In this forensic examination of our age of anxiety, Stark explores how we can unplug, keep calm, and find meaning in a frenetic world designed to drive us mad.
Out this month: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2019: A Practical Manual for JobHunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles ($33, PB) James Halliday Wine Companion 2019 (40, HB)
I’m really delighted by the Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. It’s full of sweet and savoury recipes from the famous London bakery Violet—and they’re surprisingly accessible. There are lots of variations on scones, both sweet, and cheesy, incredible looking party cakes, and lots of biscuity recipes. I made some chewy ginger snaps, they were delicious—with 14 ingredients- mainly different spices and molasses. There’s also a great recipe for cinnamon buns that don’t require yeast, and lots of different icing recipes, frangipani cream, and candied orange peel. Apart from the content, which is excellent, it’s also a very attractive book, with fab photos of the actual food- rather than of people eating it. I’m really enjoying this book, I think it may be my fave of the year. Louise I’m working my way through 3 books in a series called 100s of Household Hints/ Uses—for Bicarb, Lemons and Vinegar—in an attempt to deal with some of the trash and pollution I generate. While I can’t help but think that if we all start using these products instead of the plastic encased detergents we’re drowning in then the production of vinegar, bicarb & lemons will become major pollutants— but small steps. Speaking of which, these books are exactly that—100s of small easily realisable alternatives to addictive pollutants—it’s fun. Along the same lines, I’m looking forward to Hetty McKinnon’s new book (see below)—her previous books Community and Neighbourhood are both books I’ve cooked from a lot. Fantastic vegetarian feasts all. Viki
Family by Hetty McKinnon ($39.99, PB) Hetty McKinnon is back with more uncomplicated, hearty & healthy food powered by vegetables. These classic, multicultural dishes are the ones she serves around her own family table. Some are heirloom recipes passed on from her mother, others are old family favourites, and many are variations on much-loved comfort food, repackaged with a healthier outlook. Interlaced with tender family stories from around the world, Family shows you how to build a repertoire of crowd-pleasing, flavour-bursting vegetarian main meals.
Gleebooks’ special price $35 Fatherhood: Stories about being a dad by William McInnes ($30, PB)
William McInnes shares memories of his father & the memories he’s creating as a dad himself, with his own son & daughter. Like a friendly chat over the back fence, or the banter of a backyard BBQ, these tales will stir your own memories: of hot summer days & cooling off under the sprinkler while Dad works in the garden with the radio tuned to the sports results; that time Dad tried to teach you to drive—and then got out of the car & kissed the ground; or taking your own kids on a family road trip—the happy, the hilarious, the sad, bad, and the unexpectedly poignant moments.
Cancerland by David Scadden ($40, HB) Dr David Scadden, co-founder of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on immunology and oncology. Scadden, with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Michael D’Antonio paints a still rapidly changing landscape in the context of all too common stories of loss. From the diagnosis of his childhood friend’s mother to his poignant memories in the lab, he has seen the unknown world of cancer through the lens of a young boy, a classmate, a researcher, a friend, a doctor, and a neighbour, and his memoir opens a window into the science of medicine—humanising cancer while inspiring action that we all so desperately need. Journey Through Wine: An Atlas 56 countries, 100 maps, 8000 years of history
Wine has rolled its barrel from the shores of the Black Sea to the mountains of the Andes, following humans and their dreams. But just how did a Pyrenean grape variety end up in Uruguay? And by what means were grapevines able to reach Japan? This book goes back through time to retrace the grape’s conquest of the world, stopping in each winemaking country, from the oldest to the most recent, to discover wines past and present, while also looking to the future. ($70, HB)
FODMAP Friendly by Georgia McDermott
Georgia McDermott is one of the 15 per cent of Australians who suffer from IBS. A passionate home cook, she set out to find a way of managing her symptoms & discovered the low-FODMAP diet. Here she shares over 90 recipes that are not only delicious, but will help relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of an unsettled gut. Food for all occasions, from colourful salads & hearty dinners to gorgeous savoury bites & full-blown baking extravaganzas, these recipes—most vegetarian & sometimes pescetarian—are tried & tested to ensure that taste is never sacrificed to the pursuit of feeling well. ($35, PB)
Events r Calenda
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Event—6 for 6.30
Paul F. Verhoeven
Launch—6 for 6.30 Judith Beveridge
Best We in conv. with In this vital and i Peter Cochrane e White Australia r tions that shaped A ration for and co war have b popular m
15 Event—6 for 6.30
A Coveted Possession in conv. with Paul Ashton Before electricity brought us the gramophone, the radio and eventually the TV, the piano was central to family and community life. This is the intriguing cultural history of the piano in Australia.
Just Flesh in conv. with A terrible dread too The only bed left to bed and I was not r yet. Just Flesh & B anticipated conclu lar trilogy about Q
21 Event—6 for 6.30
22 Event—6 for 6.30
Siege in conv. with TBC This is Deborah Snow’s account of the Lindt Café siege on the 15th of December 2014. Her books draws he reader into a vortex of police missteps, extraordinary bravery and profound grief to reveal what happened during that awful day.
Napoleon’s Australia in conv. with TBC In the northern winter of 1814, a French armada set sail for New South Wales. The armada’s mission was the invasion of Sydney, and its inspiration and its fate were interwoven with one of history’s greatest love stories—that of Napoleon and Josephine.
206 in conv. with 2062 is the year have built machi as us. This is wha leading AI & rob predict. But when intelligent machin been successful, ho planet u
Loose Units in conv. with Tegan Higginbotham Part father-son story, part true crime, Loose Units is a race through the underbelly of policing as ex-cop John Verhoeven tells all to his son Paul about the crimes, the characters and the pitch-black humour.
14 Event—6 for 6.30
Sun Music Panel & Reading Judith Beveridge is one of Australia’s most acclaimed poets, taught in high schools and universities, winner of the NSW and Victorian Premiers’ Awards, a highly regarded critic, editor and teacher of poetry. Sun Music is a definitive edition of her bestknown & most important poems.
The Football Solution in conv. with Geraldine Doogue In a characteristically sweeping and entertaining story, George Megalogenis reveals how football has been shaped by the nation that invented it and how the game we love, in turn, might help resolve Australia’s political impasse.
Event—6 for 6.30
The Mess We’re In in conv. with Linda Mottram A tide of populism and xenophobia is sweeping the western world. But don’t panic, says Bernard Keane: things are also better than they seem to be. In this entertaining & occasionally maddening book, he points to how we can fix things—and also how Australia can lead the way.
28 Launch—6 for 6.30 Emily Booker
Square Eyes: Children, Screen Time & Fun Launcher: Kathy Lette Troubled by what her daughter was watching, and by how this made her feel as a parent, Emily Booker set out to learn more about children and television: listening not only to scholars and experts in the field, but to children themselves.
Shakespear in conv. w Ardent bibliophi writes about the q centuries to find S sonal library— in and libraries; in pens and partridge corridors o
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
WINTER SALE!!! upstairs at #49 Glebe Pt Rd
—6 for 6.30 ochrane
e Forget h Paul Daley illuminating book, examines how the racial preoccupaAustralia’s prepaommitment to the been lost to memory.
—6 for 6.30 Caro
10 Launch—6 for 6.30
Rachel & Ross Menzies
11 Launch—3.30 for 4
Curing the Dread of Death Launcher: TBC Death is not to be feared, and authors within this volume suggest that we cannot live fully without complete acceptance of the fragility & finiteness of life. The challenge is to discover pathways to death acceptance to enable a life of significance and meaning..
The Water Cart Launcher: Chris Sarra A narrative poem tracing an arc of Australian history that evolved from notes taken after a conversation with Wilcannia students & elders while the students were visiting a health care centre for community elders.
24 Event—6 for 6.30
h & Blood h John Bell ok hold in my belly. o me was my deathready for that—not Blood is the highly usion in the popuQueen Elizabeth I.
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062 Joel Werner by which we will ines as intelligent at the majority of botics experts now the quest to build nes has effectively ow will life on this unfold?
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re’s Library with TBC ile Stuart Kells quest taccross the Shakespeare’s permansions, palaces riverbeds, sheep e coops; and in the of the mind.
Hey Brother in conv. with Eleanor Limprecht Before leaving for war in Afghanistan, Shaun Black gives his little brother Trysten a mission of his own. Keep out of trouble. But when Shaun returns, Trysten’s new mission is to keep Shaun out of trouble. A compelling family drama of a tough kid from rural Australia.
Coming in September
Tue. 11:Tim Dunlop—The Future of Everything Thur. 20: Quentin Beresford in conv. with Stephen Long—Adani and the War Over Coal Thur 27: Robyn Williams inv conv. with Margaret Throsby—Turmoil And - in October, events with Leigh Sales and Gillian Triggs are coming. for more events go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings 13
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
After I finished Donna Leon’s latest novel, The Temptation of Forgiveness, which is set in the Venice of 2018 and features a woman doctor and a chemist, I picked up The Apothecary’s Shop by Roberto Tiraboschi—set in the Venice of 1118 and also featuring a woman doctor and a chemist. There, however, the similarity ends: Tiraboschi’s Venice is a city beset by lawlessness, famine, rats and filth, where the superstitious populace runs amok during Carnival, an earthquake has destroyed some buildings and swallowed a whole island, the Doge has died, and the Council—charged with electing the new ruler—is taking its time. The plot focuses on the household of wealthy merchant Tommaso Grimani, his wife Magdalena and her sister Costanza, their servant Nena and Nena’s son Alvise. The woman doctor, a rarity at the time, is Abella, whose self-taught knowledge of anatomy and physiology has been acquired from illegal vivisections. The apothecary Sabbatai is a pharmacist who compounds all his own concoctions. When Costanza disappears after visiting the local convent, Tommaso accuses Alvise of abducting and murdering her. Rough justice is meted out to suspects like Alvise, so ex-monk Edgardo, Tommaso’s scribe, who has been teaching Costanza to transcribe manuscripts, goes to work on the case and unmasks the real villain. The skilfully contrived atmosphere of menace and superstition is eerily pervasive, with perils lurking around every corner. A great page turner, even if you skip, as Granny did, some of the more gruesome details. I sometimes binge on authors, such as when I once read forty-two Trollope novels in a row. My present rave is Daniel Mendelsohn, whose memoir An Odyssey so impressed me (July Ganny). I’m now immersed in Waiting for the Barbarians, a selection of his essays, mostly from the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker. There’s an interesting essay about Avatar, and others, equally absorbing, about Spider-Man, Noel Coward’s Letters and Jonathan Franzen’s The Discomfort Zone. Two of my favourites first appeared in the New Yorker: Unsinkable on why we can’t let go of the Titanic, and Battle Lines about the Iliad. Best of all is the essay Epic Endeavours in which three novels are discussed: The Infinities by John Banville, which has Greek gods as its main characters, Zack Mason’s The Lost Books of the Odyssey in which Mason invents forty-four new chapters of that epic, and Ransom by David Malouf, in which Priam, the king of Troy, begs his arch-enemy Achilles to give him back his son’s corpse. Mendelsohn adds ‘By far the most profound and successful of these [three] is Malouf’s ... subtle and profoundly moving novel.’ Some critics seem to think Mendelsohn’s a smarty-pants, perhaps because he’s so phenomenally well-read. For this erudition his Dad is to blame, having told young Daniel early on that Maths is the only rigorous subject and the Classics are a soft option. Through his life’s work this son has surely made his father eat his words. Next on my reading list are two other Mendelsohn memoirs, Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million and The Elusive Embrace. When Salley Vickers was a child her father took her each Saturday to the local library, where Miss Blackwell the librarian introduced her to Narnia, Tom’s Midnight Garden and all the other treasures of children’s literature. In her latest novel, The Librarian, Vickers repays the debt. Her heroine, Sylvia Blackwell, is a young woman of the 1950s trying to revive a run-down children’s library. Blessed with a sunny, equable disposition, the fictional Miss Blackwell charms the local children into reading and makes friends with most of the adults—except for her grumpy neighbour Mr Collins and her malevolent boss Mr Booth. Two of the children she befriends are clever Sam and little Lizzy. She and Sam help Lizzy to pass the eleven-plus, thus gaining her entry to the Grammar School. Unfortunately, Sylvia falls in love with a married man, and his daughter Marigold teams up with Sam with unhappy results. What finally puts Sylvia’s happiness and her job in jeopardy is not the affair, but a fracas about a stolen book. The first part of this novel is written with the sort of artlessness that conceals art, while the second part is written in another tone altogether. Book lovers will rejoice in this delightful book, and the spirited speech at the end in defence of libraries, which are being closed all over England because of austerity budgets, will have them cheering. In 1993 when Madeleine St John’s The Women in Black came out, Bruce Beresford bought the film rights. In 2018 he has made the film—so now is the time to reread the original—handily issued by Text Classics for $12.95. It will put a big smile on your face. Sonia
The Mess We’re In: How Our Politics Went to Hell & Dragged Us with It by Bernard Keane
Bernard Keane explains how a perfect storm of historical developments has left us fearing that a Dark Age is fast approaching. How the triumphant economic philosophy of neoliberalism has failed us & provoked a backlash that is sweeping it aside. How the internet is rewiring our economies, our media, our culture & even our own brains. How politics has become a hollowed-out industry of self-interest rather than a public service. And how, together, they’ve unleashed a wave of anger & fear that has engulfed the world. But don’t panic, says Keane: things are also better than they seem to be. In this entertaining & occasionally maddening book, he points to how we can fix things—and also how Australia can lead the way. ($33, PB)
Napoleon’s Australia by Terry Smyth ($35, PB)
In the northern winter of 1814, a French armada set sail for NSW. The armada’s mission was the invasion of Sydney, and its inspiration. The Empress Josephine was fascinated by all things Australian. In the gardens of her grand estate, Malmaison, she kept kangaroos, emus, black swans & other Australian animals, along with 100s of native plants brought back by French explorers in peacetime. And even when war raged between France & Britain, ships known to be carrying Australian flora & fauna for ‘Josephine’s Ark’ were given safe passage. The conquest of Australia was on Bonaparte’s agenda for world domination, and detailed plans had been made for the invasion, and for how French Australia would be governed. How it all came together & how it fell apart is a remarkable tale—history with an element of the ‘What if?’ of how the tempestuous relationship between Napoleon & his empress could have affected the fate of the Great Southern Land.
Hell Ship by Michael Veitch ($33, PB)
The clipper ship, Ticonderoga, sailed from Liverpool in August 1852, crammed with poor but hopeful emigrants—mostly Scottish victims of the Clearances and the potato famine. On her horrific 3 month voyage, deadly typhus erupted, killing a quarter of the ship’s passengers & leaving many more desperately ill. Sharks, it was said, followed her passage as the victims were buried at sea. Panic struck Melbourne when the ghost ship arrived. Forbidden to dock at the gold-boom town, the ship was directed to a lonely beach on the far tip of the Mornington Peninsula, a place now called Ticonderoga Bay. James William Henry Veitch was the ship’s assistant surgeon, on his first appointment at sea, and among the volunteers who helped him was Annie Morrison. What happened between them on that terrible voyage is a testament to human resilience & love. Their great-great-grandson, Michael Veitch narrates one of the biggest stories of its day.
Australia’s First Spies by John Fahey ($35, PB)
Australia was born with its eyes wide open. Although politicians spoke publicly of loyalty to Britain & the empire, in secret they immediately set about protecting Australia’s interests from the Germans, the Japanese—and from Britain itself. John Fahey has combed the archives to compile the first account of Australia’s intelligence operations in the years from Federation to the end of WWII. He tells the stories of dedicated patriots who undertook dangerous operations to protect their new nation, despite a lack of training & support. He shows how the early adoption of advanced radio technology by Australia contributed to the war effort in Europe. He also exposes the bureaucratic mismanagement in WWII that cost many lives, and the leaks that compromised Australia’s standing with its wartime allies so badly that Australia was nearly expelled from the Anglo-Saxon intelligence network—offering a glimpse into the secret history of the nation.
The Football Solution: How Richmond’s premiership can save Australia by George Megalogenis
Football has always been Australia’s bellwether. But at a time when politics is increasingly conducted like sports—full of oneeyed tribalism, captain’s calls & policy dictated by the Newspoll scoreboard—football as an institution is more relevant than ever. And it’s Richmond that’s out in front of the pack. Before it could win the 2017 premiership, the club had to change how it thought about good leadership. By weaving together the game’s conflicted history, a sharp-eyed analysis of Richmond’s off-field turbulence & his own love of the Tigers, George Megalogenis reveals how Richmond found a new way to win—and how Australia might do the same. ($33, PB)
Griffith Review 61: Who We Are ($28, PB)
Australia’s population has virtually doubled since 1975, and in recent years the rules around migration have been altered significantly. Those who have chosen to make their home here in the past have changed Australia, and waves of new arrivals continue to transform the country. Yet the apparent certainties of Australia as a permanent settler society are giving way to the precarious churn of temporary migration. Griffith Review 61 gives voice to this changing reality, exploring the big issues of belonging, citizenship & participation, and teasing out how contemporary Australia might evolve.
Adani & the War Over Coal by Quentin Beresford
Coal is the political, economic & cultural totem for debates about climate change. Yet Australian politicians have had a love affair with coal, which has helped lock our politics—and our country—into the fossil fuel age. Quentin Beresford takes apart the pivotal role of the Adani Carmichael mine in the conflict over coal. He details the rise of a fossil fuel power network linking mining companies, mining oligarchs, the big four banks, right-wing think tanks, lobby groups, the conservative media & all sides of Australian politics. And on the other side, the huge social movement of #StopAdani uniting to try to save the Great Barrier Reef, native title rights & to fight the corrupt politics of coal. Looking into the social, environmental & economic elements of this big fight, as well as the background of Gautam Adani himself, Beresford tells the full story of one of the lightning rod issues of our time. ($35, PB)
Best We Forget: The War for White Australia, 1914–18 by Peter Cochrane ($35, PB)
In the half-century preceding WW1 there was a dramatic shift in the mindset of Australia’s political leaders, from a profound sense of safety in the Empire’s embrace to a deep anxiety about abandonment by Britain. Collective memory now recalls a rallying to the cause in 1914, a total identification with British interests & the need to defeat Germany. But there is an underside to this story—the belief that the newly federated nation’s security, and its race purity, must be bought with blood. Before the war Commonwealth governments were concerned not with enemies in Europe but with perils in the Pacific. Fearful of an ‘awakening Asia’ & worried by opposition to the White Australia policy, they prepared for defence against Japan—only to find themselves fighting for the Empire on the other side of the world. PM Billy Hughes spoke of this paradox in 1916, urging his countrymen—‘I bid you go & fight for white Australia in France.’ Peter Cochrane examines how the racial preoccupations that shaped Australia’s preparation for & commitment to the war have been lost to popular memory.
Australian Heist by James Phelps ($40, HB)
On 15 June 1862, a gang of bushrangers held up a gold escort at Eugowra, just east of Forbes, NSW. They escaped with a pile of cash and 77 kilograms of gold, worth about $10 million today. It remains the largest gold robbery in Australian history. James Phelps tells the full story of how Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall, John O’Meally, Johnny Gilbert, Henry Manns, Alexander Fordyce, John Bow and Dan Charters planned and executed the robbery—and what happened to all that gold.
This Whispering in Our Hearts Revisited by Henry Reynolds ($33, PB)
Listening to the whispering in his own heart, Henry Reynolds was led into the lives of remarkable and largely forgotten white humanitarians who followed their consciences and challenged the prevailing attitudes to Indigenous people. Revisiting this history, in this new edition Reynolds brings fresh perspectives to issues we grapple with still. Those who argue for justice, reparation, recognition and a treaty will find themselves in solidarity with those who went before. But this powerful book shows how much remains to be done to settle the whispering in our hearts..
Australia in the US Empire: A Study in Political Realism by Erik Paul ($49.95, HB)
This book argues that Australia is vital to the US imperial project for global hegemony in the struggle among great powers, and why Australia’s deep dependency on the US is incompatible with democracy & the security of the country. The Australian continent is increasingly a contestable geopolitical asset for the US grand strategy & for China’s economic & political expansionism. The election of Donald Trump to the US presidency is symptomatic of the US hegemonic crisis. The US is Australia’s dangerous ally & the US crisis is a call for Australia to regain sovereignty & sever its military alliance with the US. Political realism provides a critical paradigm to analyse the interactions between capitalism, imperialism & militarism as they undermine Australian democracy & shift governmentality towards new forms of authoritarianism.
Australians on the Western Front 1918 Volume II by David W. Cameron ($35, PB)
David W. Cameron draws on the diaries & letters of the Australian soldiers on the battlefields to recount the military successes & challenges of the Australian Army Corps, led by Lieutenant General John Monash, during a number of key battles, including the Battle of Hamel on 4 July; the Battle of Amiens on 8 August, and the Battle for Mont St Quentin & Peronne in September; culminating in the week-long battles for the Hindenburg Outpost Line & the Hindenburg Line itself, during which many Australian & American troops tragically lost their lives just as WW1 was finally drawing to a close. Ultimately, however, the breaking of the Hindenburg Line by Australian, Canadian, British & American troops delivered a crucial blow to the German army, who surrendered unconditionally to the Allies one month later.
Now in paperback: Warren Mundine in Black and White, $33
On Indignation by Don Watson ($15, PB)
Corrosive, mad & frequently fatal, indignation is a great destructive force in human affairs, and just as often a wellspring of mirth & merriment. Don Watson traces this seemingly ineradicable emotion in a journey that takes us, via his forebears, Flaubert & The Sopranos, from the Old Testament to Donald Trump. Trump’s pitch had less to do with offering voters money & security than with offering them vengeance. He exploited the anger we feel when we are slighted or taken for granted, turning the politics of a sophisticated democracy into something more like a blood feud. He promised to restore dignity, slay enemies, re-make the world according to old rites & customs. He stirred indignation into tribal rage & rode it into the White House. It was a scam, of course, but wherever there is indignation, stupidity & lies abound.
Cold Rush: The Astonishing True Story of the New Quest for the Polar North by Martin Breum
China, the US & Russia are militarizing the North pole sending submarines & ice-breakers, the ice continues to recede creating new trade routes & new opportunities for mining gas & oil— and a great game for territory & for resources unfolds against the destruction of the Arctic caused by climate change. Then, in 2017, The Kingdom of Denmark, through its colonial claim on Greenland, declared ownership of the entire European hemisphere of the Arctic—a claim that overlaps over 500 sq. km with Russia’s, who have planted a flag on the ocean floor underneath the North Pole. Journalist Martin Breum brings a decade of investigation to this secret story. He reports on researchers discovering Russian submarines beneath the ice, spy plane pilots flying over environmental research boats & uncovers the stories of the inhabitants of sleepy Greenland who are waking up to their new place in the universe between the great aggressive military powers of the world. ($40, HB)
How Fear Works by Frank Furedi ($40, HB)
Society is continually bombarded with the message that the threats it faces are incalculable & cannot be managed or contained. The ascendancy of this outlook has been paralleled by the cultivation of helplessness & passivity—heightening people’s sense of powerlessness & anxiety. As a consequence we are constantly searching for new forms of security, both physical & ontological. What are the drivers of fear, what is the role of the media in its promotion, and who actually benefits from this culture of fear? These are some of the issues Frank Furedi tackles following up on his 1997 book The Culture of Fear. He believes that through understanding how fear works, we can encourage attitudes that will help bring about a less fearful future.
The Four Flashpoints: How Asia Goes to War by Brendan Taylor ($30, PB)
China is rising fast. Kim Jong-un is engaging in territorial spats with the US president over nuclear missiles. Japan’s nationalist government is remilitarising, throwing off the constitutional constraints imposed at the end of WWII. Donald Trump is the first US president to have contact with Taiwanese leaders since the 1970s, and also the first to edge his finger so firmly towards the nuclear button over North Korea. Brendan Taylor examines the 4 Asian flashpoints that are most likely to erupt in sudden & violent conflict—the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, the South China Sea & the East China Sea. Drawing on history, contemporary sources & in-depth reports to weave an analysis both pertinent & chilling, he asks what the world’s major powers (and Australia) can do to avoid an eruption of war.
Rendezvous with Oblivion by Thomas Frank
What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? When, after 40 years of economic triumph, America’s winners persuade themselves that they owe nothing to the rest of the country? This is a collection of interlocking essays examining how inequality has manifested itself in US cities, in its jobs, in the way its people travel, and, of course, in its politics—where, in 2016, millions of anxious, ordinary people rallied to the presidential campaign of a billionaire who meant them no good. These accounts of folly & exploitation are unified by Thomas Frank’s distinctive voice & anti-orthodox perspective—capturing a society where every status signifier is hollow, where the allure of mobility is just another con game, and where rebellion too often yields nothing. ($28, PB)
The Perfect Weapon by David E. Sanger ($33, PB)
Cheap to acquire, easily deniable, and used for a variety of malicious purposes—from crippling infrastructure to sowing discord & doubt—cyberweapons are re-writing the rules of warfare. In less than a decade, they have displaced terrorism & nuclear missiles as the biggest immediate threat to international security & to democracy. David E. Sanger takes us from the White House Situation Room to the dens of Chinese government hackers & the boardrooms of Silicon Valley, piecing together a remarkable picture of a world now coming face-to-face with the most sophisticated & dangerous weapon ever invented.
Endeavour: The ship & the attitude that changed the world by Peter Moore ($35, PB)
Endeavour famously carried James Cook on his first great voyage, visiting Pacific islands, charting for the first time New Zealand & the eastern coast of Australia & almost foundering on the Great Barrier Reef. But Endeavour was there at the Wilkes Riots in London in 1768. During the battles for control of New York in 1776 she witnessed the bloody birth of the USA. As well as carrying botanists, a Polynesian priest & the remains of the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain, she transported Newcastle coal & Hessian soldiers. Peter Moore sets out to explore the different lives of this remarkable ship, from the acorn that grew into the oak that made her, to her rich & complex legacy.
The Circus: A Visual History by Pascal Jacob
Using artworks from the French National Library’s private collections, Pascal Jacob tells the story of travelling entertainers & their art & trade. From nomadic animal tamers of the Dark Ages to European jugglers & acrobats of the 1800s, from the use of the circus as Soviet propaganda to the 20th century Chinese performance art renaissance, this exhaustive history has an international scope. Jacob draws on both rare & famous artworks, including prints dating from the 13th century, and paintings by Picasso & Doré to show the circus to be a visual & physical masterpiece, constantly moving & evolving, and just as exciting an experience for audiences now as it was 1,000 years ago. ($60, HB)
Milk! by Mark Kurlansky ($33, PB)
According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera’s breast milk became our galaxy, ‘The Milky Way’. But while mother’s milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself. Mark Kurlansky traces the liquid’s diverse history from antiquity to the present, detailing its curious & crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics & economics.
The Archipelago: Italy Since 1945 by John Foot
Italy emerged from WWII in ruins. Divided, invaded & economically broken, it was a nation that some claimed had ceased to exist. John Foot chronicles Italy’s tumultuous history from the postwar to the present. He examines both the corrupt & celebrated sides of the country—from the silent assimilation of fascists into society after 1945 to the troubling reign of Silvio Berlusconi, and from the artistic peak of neorealist cinema to the celebration of Italy’s 150th birthday in 2011. Stories of trials, TV programmes, songs & football matches, moments of violence & beauty, epochal social transformation & suffocating continuities, tell a fascinating story of a country always marked by scandal but with the constant ability to re-invent itself. ($33, PB)
Cult of a Dark Hero: Nicholson of Delhi by Stuart Flinders ($55, HB)
In September 1857, a member of a religious sect killed himself on hearing the news that the object of his devout observance, Nikal Seyn, had died. Nikal Seyn was, in fact, John Nicholson—leader of the British assault that recovered Delhi at the turning-point of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The man called ‘The Lion of the Punjab’ has been dubbed ‘an imperial psychopath’ & ‘a homosexual bully’. However, his remarkable life of adventure lived on the very edge of the British Empire is also the story of how attitudes to race & Empire have changed. Using previously unpublished material—diaries of contemporaries & personal letters—Flinders considers his sexuality, his ambivalent attitude towards religion, his murderous thoughts towards the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab, John Lawrence, & reveals that, remarkably, the Nikal Seyni cult continued into the 21st century.
The Rise of Rome by Kathryn Lomas ($25, PB)
In the late Iron Age, Rome was a small collection of huts arranged over a few hills. By the 3rd century BC, it had become a large & powerful city, with monumental temples, public buildings & grand houses. It had conquered the whole of Italy & was poised to establish an empire. This book explores the development of Rome during this period, and the nature of its control over Italy, considering why & how the Romans achieved this spectacular dominance. From its complex forms of government, to its innovative connections with other states, Kathryn Lomas shows what set Rome apart. Examining the context & impact of the city’s dominance, as well as the key political, social & economic changes it engendered, this is crucial reading for anyone interested in Ancient Rome.
Now in B Format Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry, $23
Science & Nature
Made by Humans by Ellen Broad ($30, PB)
Who is designing AI? A select, narrow group. How is their world view shaping our future? Artificial intelligence can be all too human—quick to judge, capable of error, vulnerable to bias. It’s made by humans, after all. Humans make decisions about the laws & standards, the tools, the ethics in this new world. Who benefits. Who gets hurt. Elite data expert Ellen Broad explores our role & responsibilities in automation—roaming from Australia to the UK & the US, she talks to world leaders in AI about what we need to do next. This is a thought-provoking examination of humans as data & humans as the designers of systems that are meant to help us.
When Galaxies Collide by Lisa Harvey-Smith
Why is the Milky Way blue? Why isn’t a black hole dark? How many stars can you see with your naked eye? (9,000, but only half of that from any given point on Earth.) How much hotter are blue stars than red ones? (38,000 degrees vs 3,000.) Humans are the only known astronomers in the universe. When we look up at the night sky, we are linked to our ancestors. Away from city lights, we can see what generations of people before us have wondered at & weaved stories around. But all that will change. The Andromeda Galaxy is rushing towards us at 400,000 kilometres an hour. Lisa Harvey-Smith guides you to look at the night sky afresh—peering 5.86 billion years into the future to consider the fate of Earth & its inhabitants. Will the solution be to live in space? Will one of the other 100 billion planets spawn life? Watch this space. ($30, PB)
Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson ($30, PB)
Thor Hanson, award-winning author of Feathers & The Triumph of Seeds takes a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young. From honeybees & bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters & masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies & our very existence. They’ve given us sweetness & light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing. As informative & enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows why all bees are wonders to celebrate & protect. The Eastern Curlew by Harry Saddler ($30, PB) Every year around August, large flocks of Eastern Curlews leave their breeding grounds in the Arctic & embark on a perilous 10,000km journey to the coast of Australia. The birds cannot swim; if they become exhausted & fall into the ocean, they die. But it’s a journey they have taken for tens of thousands of years, tracing invisible flyways in the sky in what is one of the most spectacular mass migrations in the animal kingdom. Following the Eastern Curlew along its migratory path, award-winning nature writer Harry Saddler explores how these incredible birds have impressed themselves on the cultures of the countries they fly through, the threat to their survival posed by development, and the remarkable ways these birds & humankind may be entwined.
The Equations of Life: The Hidden Rules Shaping Evolution by Charles Cockell ($30, PB)
Why do gazelles have legs & not wheels? Why is all life based on carbon rather than silicon? Why do humans have eyes on the front of their heads? And beyond earth, would life—if it should exist—look like our own? In this groundbreaking new account of the process of evolution, Professor Charles Cockell reveals how nature is far more understandable & predictable than we would think. Refining Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Cockell puts forward a remarkable & elegant account of why evolution has taken the paths it has. The key is understanding how fundamental physical laws constrain nature’s direction & form at every turn. From the animal kingdom to the atomic realm, he shows how physics is the true touchstone for understanding life in all its extraordinary forms.
When the Uncertainty Principle Goes to 11: Or How to Explain Quantum Physics with Heavy Metal by Philip Moriarty ($25, PB)
While teaching at the University of Nottingham, physicist Philip Moriarty noticed that a surprising number of his students were heavily into metal music. Colleagues, too. What’s more, it turns out that heavy metal music is uniquely well-suited to explaining quantum principles—and in this book Moriarty explains the mysteries of the universe’s inner workings via drum beats & feedback. Discover how the Heisenberg uncertainty principle comes into play with every chugging guitar riff, what wave interference has to do with Iron Maiden, and why metalheads in mosh pits behave just like molecules in a gas. If you’re a metal fan trying to grasp the complexities of quantum physics, a quantum physicist baffled by heavy metal, or just someone who’d like to know how the fundamental science underpinning our world connects to rock music, this book will take you, in the words of a pioneering Texas thrash band, to A New Level. For those who think quantum physics is too mind-bendingly complex to grasp, or too focused on the invisibly small to be relevant to our full-sized lives, this funny, fascinating book will show you that physics is all around us.
Philosophy & Religion
Open to Reason: Muslim Philosophers in Conversation with the Western Tradition by Souleymane Bachir Diagne ($46, HB)
Through a rich reading of classical & modern Muslim philosophers, Souleymane Diagne explains the long history of philosophy in the Islamic world & its relevance to crucial issues of our time. From classical figures such as Avicenna to the 20th century Sufi master & teacher of tolerance Tierno Bokar Salif Tall, Diagne explores how Islamic thinkers have asked & answered such questions as, Does religion need philosophy? How can religion coexist with rationalism? What does it mean to interpret a religious narrative philosophically? What does it mean to be human & what are human beings’ responsibilities to nature? Is there such a thing as an Islamic state, or should Muslims reinvent political institutions that suit their own times? Diagne shows that philosophizing in Islam in its many forms throughout the centuries has meant a commitment to forward and open thinking.
NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS
With four premierships, 329 games and a Brownlow Medal, Sam Mitchell is a true AFL legend. Relentless is an extraordinary book – as honest, original and entertaining as Sam Mitchell himself.
In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since. A lyric first-hand account, this is a vivid portrait through five years of exile.
Autobiography of Solomon Maimon: The Complete Translation ($65, HB)
Born into a down-on-its-luck provincial Jewish family in 1753, Solomon Maimon quickly distinguished himself as a prodigy in learning. Even as a young child, he chafed at the constraints of his Talmudic education & rabbinical training. He recounts how he sought stimulation in the Hasidic community & among students of the Kabbalah—and offers rare & often wickedly funny accounts of both. After a series of picaresque misadventures, Maimon reached Berlin, where he became part of the city’s famed Jewish Enlightenment & achieved the philosophical education he so desperately wanted, winning acclaim for being the ‘sharpest’ of Kant’s critics, as Kant himself described him. This new edition restores text cut from the abridged 1888 translation by J. Clark Murray, Paul Reitter’s translation sensitive to the subtleties of Maimon’s prose while providing a fluid rendering for contemporary readers.With an afterword by Gideon Freudenthal.
God: A New Biography by Philip C. Almond ($50, HB)
The story of God is the story of a paradox. It is the drama of a transcendent, timeless being who, throughout history, has supposedly engaged with immanent & mortal creatures on a fallen & broken world of his own making. In this elegant new book, the sequel to his treatment of the Devil, Philip Almond reveals that whether in Judaism, Christianity or Islam God is seen to be at once utterly beyond our world yet at the same earnestly desiring to be at one with it. In the Christian chapter of this story the paradox arguably reaches its improbable zenith: in the fragile form of a human being the infinite became finite, the eternal temporal. Placing the narrative of divine presence within the wider history of ideas, Almond suggests that the notion of a deity has been the single greatest conundrum of medieval & modern civilization.
The Ethics of Authenticity by Charles Taylor ($32, PB)
Everywhere we hear talk of decline, of a world that was better once, maybe 50 years ago, maybe centuries ago, but certainly before modernity drew us along its dubious path. While some lament the slide of Western culture into relativism & nihilism & others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Charles Taylor calls on us to face the moral & political crises of our time, and to make the most of modernity’s challenges. Taylor restates the point which Hegel (and later Dewey) urged against Rousseau & Kant: that we are only individuals in so far as we are social—being authentic, being faithful to ourselves, is being faithful to something which was produced in collaboration with a lot of other people. The core of Taylor’s argument is a vigorous criticism of two intertwined bad ideas: that you are wonderful just because you are you, and that ‘respect for difference’ requires you to respect every human being, and every human culture.
Politics & Society: The Path to Change
In these conversations Dominique Wolton asks Pope Francis about his decision not to live at the grand Apostolic Palace, about his views on the future of Europe, all within the context of politics, society & the role of the Church. No subject is taboo, with paedophile priests, divorce, and the role of women in the church all coming into the discussion. The revelations include personal truths & stories from his early life never before made public. Recorded over the course of a year, these warm & human encounters freely address the major issues of our time: peace & war, politics & religion, globalization & cultural diversity, fundamentalism & secularism, Europe & migrants, ecology, inequalities in the world, ecumenism & inter-religious dialogue, the individual, family, time, trust & joy. ($33, PB)
The Expulsion of the Other by Byung-Chul Han
The days of the Other are over in this age of excessive communication, information and consumption. What used to be the Other, be it as friend, as Eros or as hell, is now indistinguishable from the self in our narcissistic desire to assimilate everything and everyone until there are no boundaries left. Byung-Chul Han argues that our times are characterized not by external repression but by an internal depression, whereby the destructive pressure comes not from the Other but from the self. It is only by returning to a society of listeners and lovers, by acknowledging and desiring the Other, that we can seek to overcome the isolation and suffering caused by this crushing process of total assimilation. ($28.95, PB)
A SHRINK IN THE CLINK Tim Watson-Munro
No one gets closer to Australia’s craziest characters than ‘Doc’ Tim Watson-Munro. An extraordinary journey into the shadows and a brilliant insight into the shifting realities of the criminal mind.
FODMAP Friendly Georgia McDermott Over 90 low-FODMAP recipes for all occasions that are not only delicious, but will help relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of an unsettled gut.
Psychology Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Medicine by Randolph Nesse ($45, HB)
Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Randolph Nesse asks why natural selection has left us with fragile minds at all. Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice & insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become excessive. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low mood prevents us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but it often escalates into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction & anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environments & our ancient human past. Nesse’s insights help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show new paths for relieving it.
Curing the Dread of Death (eds) R.E. & R.G. Menzies & L. Iverach
The awareness of our own mortality, arguably unique to humans, was famously described by William James as ‘the worm at the core’ of our existence. The lingering tension of death appears to pervade various cultural & religious practices, such as the meditative handling of skull-shaped bracelets in Tibetan Buddhism. This volume reviews the dread of death, and it’s management, from a broad range of perspectives covering philosophy, art, history, psychodynamic theory & social, developmental & clinical psychology—with one message shining through: Death is not to be feared, but may hold the key to living a vital, authentic life—that we cannot live fully without complete acceptance of the fragility & finiteness of life. The challenge is to discover pathways to death acceptance to enable a life of significance and meaning. ($29.95, PB)
The Rapids: Ways of looking at mania by Sam Twyford-Moore ($33, PB)
With reflections on artists such as Carrie Fisher, Kanye West, Robert Lowell, Delmore Schwartz, Paul Thomas Anderson and Spalding Gray, Twyford-Moore also looks at the condition in our digital world, where someone’s manic episode can unfold live in real time, watched by millions. His own story, told unflinchingly, is shocking & sometimes blackly comic. This is a fascinating exploration of the fragility of the mind, states of mania & how mental ill-health is treated in art & popular culture—Twyford-Moore’s insightfulness & skill as a writer make The Rapids a compelling read.. 17
a new kingsolver is coming I’ve just finished a proof of Unsheltered—Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel—scheduled for release in October. It’s made up of dual narrative threads, with each chapter linking by the use of a single, or a few, words at the end of a chapter, which then start the next one—a device I’ve always enjoyed in the Ahlberg’s Each Peach Plum Pear ... but I digress ... Unsheltered is a serious book, with serious themes. Set in the small town in America, in both 2016 and 1871— the main characters have the rather unreliable house they live in as the common thread. The 2016 inhabitant is Willa Knox—the wife of a professor. She been a journalist and is used to moving from place to place, but is now unemployed. As the novel opens, she has a husband, a father in law, a daughter, a son, and suddenly a new baby in the mix. Her family is strapped for cash, and juggling the labyrinth of the US medical system. In the same house 200 years before this lives Thatcher Greenwood, a progressive science teacher who has a new wife, a sister in law and a mother in law. Thatcher, who is fighting to bring the new theory of evolution to his school, is in fact one of the only characters I found really sympathetic, as is his neighbour Mary, who is based on Mary Treat— a 19th century biologist who corresponded with Charles Darwin. Willa’s family is fraught with simmering resentments, not helped by a tragedy early on in the novel that leaves her with her son’s child. Her daughter Tig is like a one woman Greek chorus, making sure everyone knows their own faults. Tig (short for Antigone) is nearly always right, and this makes for uncomfortable reading. Thatcher Greenwood is also always right, and that’s depressing too as no one wants to hear him. This is a tale for our times, the election of Trump is playing out in the background in one narrative stream, while the voice of enlightenment is trying to be heard in the other. Ultimately the book is about family, siblings and parents, and community—something that is lacking in Willa’s family—as the relentless Tig points out to her mother. This is not a cosy book but a compelling one. Louise
Cultural Studies & Criticism
Fabulous: The Rise of the Beautiful Eccentric by Madison Moore ($45, HB)
Madison Moore answers these questions in a timely and fascinating book that explores how queer, brown, and other marginalised outsiders use ideas, style, and creativity in everyday life. Moving from catwalks and nightclubs to the street, Moore dialogues with a range of fabulous and creative powerhouses, including DJ Vjuan Allure, voguing superstar Lasseindra Ninja, fashion designer Patricia Field, performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon, and a wide range of other aesthetic rebels from the worlds of art, fashion, and nightlife. In a synthesis of autobiography, cultural analysis, and ethnography, Moore positions fabulousness as a form of cultural criticism that allows those who perform it to thrive in a world where they are not supposed to exist.
The Unpunished Vice by Edmund White
For writer Edmund White each momentous occasion in his life came with books to match—Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past which opened up the seemingly closed world of homosexuality while he was at boarding school in Michigan; the Ezra Pound poems adored by a lover he followed to New York; the biography of Stephen Crane that inspired one of his novels. Blending memoir and literary criticism, this book is a compendium of all the ways reading has shaped White’s life and work. His friendships with giants including Michael Ondaatje and Joyce Carol Oates lead to fascinating insights into the lives of some of the world’s best-loved cultural figures—reading Henry James to Peggy Guggenheim in her private gondola in Venice, and phone calls at eight o’clock in the morning to Vladimir Nabokov who once said that White was his favourite American writer. ($30, PB)
Outnumbered by David Sumpter ($30, PB)
Our increasing reliance on technology & the internet has opened a window for mathematicians & data researchers to gaze through into our lives. Using the data they are constantly collecting about where we travel, where we shop, what we buy & what interests us, they can begin to predict our daily habits. Without understanding what mathematics can & can’t do, it is impossible to get a handle on how it is changing our lives. David Sumpter investigates the equations that analyse us, influence us & will (maybe) become like us, answering questions such as: Who are Cambridge Analytica & what are they doing with our data? How does Facebook build a 100-dimensional picture of your personality? What does the future hold as we relinquish our decision-making to machines? With interviews with those working at the cutting edge of algorithm research, including Alex Kogan from Cambridge Analytica, along with a healthy dose of mathematical self-experiment, Sumpter explains how mathematics & statistics work in the real world, and what we should & shouldn’t worry about.
What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culture Tully Barnett, Julian Meyrick & Robert Phiddian
When did culture become a number? When did the books, paintings, poems, plays, songs, films, games, art installations, clothes, and the objects that fill our daily lives become a matter of statistical measurement? When did experience become data? This book intervenes in an important debate about the public value of culture that has become stranded between the hard heads (where the arts are just another industry) and the soft hearts (for whom they are too precious to bear dispassionate analysis). It argues that our concept of value has been distorted and dismembered by political forces and methodological confusions, and this has a dire effect on the way we assess culture. Proceeding via concrete examples, it explores the major tensions in contemporary evaluation strategies, and puts forward practical solutions to the current metric madness. ($24.95, PB)
Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power by Stephen Greenblatt ($38, HB)
How does a truly disastrous leader—a sociopath, a demagogue, a tyrant—come to power? How, and why, does a tyrant hold on to power? And what goes on in the hidden recesses of the tyrant’s soul? As an ageing, tenacious Elizabeth I clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social & psychological roots & the twisted consequences of tyranny. What he discovered in his characters remains remarkably relevant today. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology & unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues & imagined how they might be stopped. In Tyrant, Stephen Greenblatt examines the themes of power & tyranny in some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays—from the dominating figures of Richard III, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth & Coriolanus to the subtle tyranny found in Measure for Measure and The Winter’s Tale.
Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier ($25, HB)
Social media is making us sadder, angrier, less empathetic, more fearful, more isolated & more tribal. In recent months it has become horribly clear that social media is not bringing us together—it is tearing us apart. Jaron Lanier draws on his insider’s expertise to explain precisely how social media works—by deploying constant surveillance & subconscious manipulation of its users—and why its cruel & dangerous effects are at the heart of its current business model & design. As well as offering 10 simple arguments for liberating yourself from its addictive hold, his witty & urgent manifesto outlines a vision for an alternative that provides all the benefits of social media without the harm.
On Sleep by Fleur Anderson ($15, PB)
Sleep-or lack of it-is asserting its silent influence on our world. Taking a hard look at our love-hate relationship with slumber, part-time insomniac Fleur Anderson ponders the big questions: Why can’t I sleep? Do politicians and other high-fliers ever admit they too are exhausted? Do they get enough sleep to make sensible decisions? Where is society heading, and why did I have that glass of cab sav?
Now in B Format Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, $23 Mortality by Christopher Hitchens, $20 Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online by Crystal Abidin ($36, PB)
From fashion Instagrammers in Australia, YouTube gamers in Sweden & beauty bloggers in the UK, to Mukbang eaters in South Korea, livestreamers in China & parody tweeters in India, the face of internet celebrity is rapidly diversifying & evolving. Crystal Abidin presents a framework for thinking about different forms of internet celebrity that have emerged in the last decade, looking at forms such as memes, transient virality, trending social media posts, accidental celebrity from controversy & bad publicity, and intentional selfbranded social media influencers. Looking at the wide spectrum of social media platforms, content genres & commercial formats, Abidin takes examples from the Global North & South with actors of diverse genders, age groups & cultural backgrounds, to look at key ideas about global cultures of internet celebrity.
2062: The World that AI Made by Toby Walsh
2062 is the year by which we will have built machines as intelligent as us. This is what leading AI & robotics experts predict. But what will this future actually look like? When the quest to build intelligent machines has been successful, how will life on this planet unfold? Toby Walsh considers the impact AI will have on work, war, politics, economics, everyday human life and, indeed, human death. Will robots become conscious? Will automation take away jobs? Will we become immortal machines ourselves, uploading our brains to the cloud? What lies in store for homo digitalis—the people of the notso-distant future who will be living amongst fully functioning artificial intelligence? In the tradition of Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus, 2062 describes the choices we need to make today to ensure that future remains bright. ($35, PB)
Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature by Stuart Kells
Millions of words of scholarship have been expended on the world’s most famous author and his work. And yet a critical part of the puzzle, Shakespeare’s library, is a mystery. For four centuries people have searched for it—in mansions, palaces & libraries; in riverbeds, sheep pens & partridge coops; and in the corridors of the mind. Yet no trace of the bard’s manuscripts, books or letters has ever been found. The search for Shakespeare’s library is much more than a treasure hunt—it bears upon fundamental principles of art, identity, history, meaning & truth. In a captivating exploration of one of literature’s most enduring enigmas, Stuart Kells follows the trail of the hunters, taking us through different conceptions of the library & of the man himself. ($35, PB)
Rewiring Education by John Couch ($38, HB)
Engineer John Couch shares the professional lessons he’s learned during his 50-plus years in education & technology— going behind Apple’s major research study, Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT), and its follow-up (ACOT 2), to highlight the powerful effects of the Challenge-Based Learning framework. Beyond Apple’s walls, he also introduces some of the most extraordinary parents, educators & entrepreneurs from around the world who have ignored the failed promises of memorization and, instead, utilize new science-backed methods & technologies that benefit all children—from those who struggle to honour students. Couch presents a bold vision for the future of education, looking at promising emerging technologies & how parents, teachers, & voters can ensure children are provided with opportunities & access to the relevant, creative, collaborative & challenging learning environments they need to succeed.
Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood, and Betrayal by Jonathan Green ($39.95, HB)
In the late 1980s & early 90s, the South Bronx had one of the highest per capita murder rates in America. As the use of crack cocaine surged, replacing heroin as the high of choice, dealers & gangs staked claims to territory & consumers through intimidation & murder, and families found themselves fractured by crime & incarceration. Chronicling the rise & fall of Sex Money Murder, one of the most violent gangs of its era, in this engrossing work of gritty urban reportage, Jonathan Green offers a visceral & devastating portrait of a NYC borough going down in flames, and of the detectives & prosecutors struggling to stem the tide of violence. Drawing on first-person interviews, police reports & court transcripts, Green gives an extraordinary perspective on modern-day America.
In Praise of Difficult Women by Karen Karbo
From Amelia Earhart to Carrie Fisher, this witty narrative explores what we can learn from the imperfect & extraordinary legacies of 29 iconic women who forged their own unique paths. Karen Karbo spotlights the spirited rule breakers who charted their way with little regard for expectations: Frida Kahlo, Nora Ephron, Hillary Clinton, Amy Poehler, Shonda Rhimes, & Helen Gurley Brown, among others. Their lives— imperfect, elegant, messy, glorious—provide inspiration & instruction for a new age of feminism. ($47, HB)
Tonight I’m Someone Else: Essays by Chelsea Hodson ($31, PB)
From graffiti gangs & Grand Theft Auto to sugar daddies, Schopenhauer, and a deadly game of Russian roulette, in these essays, Chelsea Hodson probes her own desires to examine where the physical & the proprietary collide. She asks what our privacy, our intimacy, and our own bodies are worth in the increasingly digital world of liking, linking & sharing. Starting with Hodson’s own work experience—which ranges from modeling to working on a NASA Mars mission—she expands outward, looking at the ways in which the human will submits, whether in the marketplace or in a relationship. Both tender & jarring, this collection is relevant to anyone who’s ever searched for what the self is worth.
Would Everybody Please Stop? Reflections on Life & Other Bad Ideas by Jenny Allen ($27, PB)
With her eagle eye for the absurd & hilarious, writer & performer, Jenny Allen, reports from the potholes midway through life’s journey. One moment she’s flirting shamelessly—and unsuccessfully—with a younger man at a wedding; the next she’s stumbling upon X-rated images on her daughter’s computer. She ponders the connection between her exhusband’s questions about the location of their silverware, and the divorce that came a year later. While undergoing chemotherapy, she experiments with being a ‘wig person’. And she considers those perplexing questions that we never pause to ask: Why do people say ‘It is what it is’? What’s the point of fat-free half-and-half ? And haven’t we heard enough about memes?.
2nd2ndJoseph 2ndHand Hand Hand Rows Rows Rows Banks’ Odyssey
The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768-1771 Volumes I & II Public Library of New South Wales with Angus & Robertson, Sydney (1962). 880pp, 80 b/w & 18 colour illustrations. Very Good Hardbacks & Slightly scuffed and marked Dust jackets. $250.00. Three Hundred and Fifty years ago this month, a young man took quill to paper and wrote the first entry in his journal of the sea voyage he was about to undertake: 25 August 1768. After having waited in this place ten days, the ship, and everything belonging to me, being all that time in perfect readyness to sail at a moments warning, we at last got a fair wind, and this day at 3 O’Clock in the even weigd anchor, and set sail, all in excellent health and spirits perfectly prepared (in Mind at least) to undergo with Chearfullness any fatigues or dangers that may occur in our intended Voyage. The young man was 25-year-old botanist, Joseph Banks (1743-1820). When the Royal Society persuaded the Admiralty to send Captain James Cook in HMS Endeavour to undertake an expedition to observe the transit of Venus, it recommended that ‘Joseph Banks … a Gentleman of large fortune … well versed in natural history’ should be permitted to join the expedition with his Suite’. Banks had a staff of eight, including fellow naturalist Daniel Solander and landscape and natural history artist Sydney Parkinson. Banks took along ‘a fine Library of Natural History Natural History … all sorts of machines for catching and preserving insects; all kinds of nets, trawls, drags and hooks for coral fishing.’ This journal relates his travels and adventures in Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia & the East Indies. The editor J. C. Beaglehole, includes a 120-page biographical sketch of the young Banks which details his life up to his election of President of the Royal Society. These volumes also contain maps and 80 black and white and colour plates of Sydney Parkinson’s botanical, zoological and ethnographical illustrations. Further Reading: Joseph Banks: A Life by Patrick O’Brian (1987). Upstairs at 49’s 2nd Hand Russia is the flavour of the month Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov & the Dream of a Russian America by Owen Matthews ($20, HB) Previous to the recent Russian raid on the US voting system (or not...not as Trump would(n’t) have it), at the dawn of the 19th century Russia was eyeing the prize of America’s Pacific Northwest coast. The Russian American Company, led by aristocratic adventurer Nikolai Rezanov, envisioned transforming fur-hunting stations on the Alaskan coast into the hub of a Pacific empire stretching from Siberia to California—across the endless Russian steppes, by sea to Alaska and down to San Francisco Bay. Despite being saddled with men who were unreliable, disorderly, dissolute and disease-ridden in 1806—just as Lewis & Clark were discovering the Columbia River to the north—Rezanov came very close to realising his dream. Newsweek’s Moscow bureau chief, Owen Matthews brings this story of mad colonial ambition to life with vivid first-hand accounts and his own experience travelling across Russia. To The Edge of The World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Railway by Christian Wolmar ($20, HB) ...later that century in May 1891, Tsar Alexander III sends his son to Vladivostok to lay the first stone of a vast Trans-Siberian railway line. Completed 26 years later, it was a huge engineering achievement, crossing 7 times zones & 5,750 miles. At great cost the railway modernised Russia, uniting a divided country. However it also sparked war with Japan in 1904, played a crucial role in the Russian civil war, when Trotsky used an armoured train to fight counter-revolutionary forces, and was the means by which exiles in their millions were sent to Siberian labour camps. Rail historian, Christian Wolmar, presents a complete exploration of the railway’s construction, and its impact on Russian society & relations with its neighbours. The Swans of the Kremlin: Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia by Christina Ezrahi ($35, PB) Ballet was a visible symbol of aristocratic culture in Russian society under the tsars, and after the October Revolution it, like all of the arts, fell under the auspices of Soviet authorities—who attempted to mold it to suit their revolutionary cultural agenda. But the two major troupes, the Mariinsky (later Kirov) and the Bolshoi, quietly but effectively resisted Soviet cultural hegemony and managed to maintain the classical forms and traditions of their rich artistic past—in the end becoming the showpiece of Soviet cultural achievement, captivating Western audiences during the Cold War period. Christina Ezrahi offers a fascinating glimpse into this collision of art and politics during the first 50 years of the Soviet period.
1918: The Fourth Horseman Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu & How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney ($23, PB)
In April 1918, Lieutenant Ernst Jünger, a German stormtrooper commander, fighting in Rossignol Wood, south of Arras, noted the toll taken upon his men by a mysterious disease. Several reported sick every day with flu-like symptoms. A relief battalion was ‘almost wiped out…We learned that the sickness was also spreading amongst the enemy; even though we, with our poor rations were more prone to it.’ An influenza virus, later to be called the Spanish Flu, had arrived on the Western Front. This was a pandemic that in three waves between 1918 to 1920, infected 500 million people—a third of the world’s population—and killed between 50 to 100 million people worldwide. It surpassed the death toll of both the First World War (18 million) and the Second World War (60 million) and probably the two combined. Yet how many people today have even heard of it? Laura Spinney’s engrossing book is a scientific detective story of the origins, the course, the human response to it and the legacy—a century later—of the worst pandemic of modern times. It is also a moving narrative of individual human tragedy on a worldwide scale. Why was it called the Spanish Flu? Even though the disease had reached Europe some weeks before, wartime censorship had limited the news of the pestilence. It was in non-combatant Spain that an uncensored press was able to report more fully on the epidemic. The name was given in May 1918 when the Spanish king, the prime minister and the entire cabinet were stricken with it. Since every country wished to disown origin of the mysterious malady, each coined their own term for it. In Madrid, it was known as the Naples Soldier, after a popular song. French military doctors called it Maladie onze—Disease 11. In Senegal it was Brazilian flu; in Brazil it was German flu. The Poles named it the Bolshevik Disease. Where did it originate? This is still debated, but there are three main locations: Kansas poultry farms, the Allied military camp at Étaples in northern France and possibly Shansi Province in China—given reports of a plague outbreak in 1917. The first case of Spanish Flu was recorded on 4 March 1918, when a military mess cook called Albert Gitchell in Camp Funston, Kansas, reported sick with a headache and fever. By the following day a hundred others had reported the same symptoms. What type of virus was it? Its official title is now Influenza A (H1N1). This refers to the two proteins found within the virus. Haemagglutinin is the key that allows the flu virus into living cells and Neuraminidase is the trigger that allows them to spread throughout the body. The puzzle of why the virus was so deadly was partly solved decades later with the recovery of preserved infected lung tissue from an Inuit victim at Brevig Mission, Alaska. The virus was reconstituted and underwent gene analysis. Results published in 2005 revealed that it was similar to the bird flu virus. It then mutated and jumped species. Its foreignness meant that the human immune system was particularly vulnerable and unprepared. The Three Waves of Virus, the modern methods of mobilisation needed for waging war—trains, ships, automobiles—all aided in the rapid distribution of the virus. By mid-April it had reached the Western Front, where three-quarters of French troops and half the British fell ill; 900,000 German soldiers were taken out of action. In April it also surfaced in South-East Asia, and in May, as it struck Spain, it was spreading through North Africa. By June it had reached China (perhaps for the second time). That was the first wave. By July the pandemic seemed to be on the wane. Between August to December 1918 the second—more deadly—wave arrived. Towards the end of the war, among weakened soldiers and undernourished populations, the flu reappeared and spread with terrifying speed. This was when the majority of the deaths occurred. It re-emerged in Sierra Leone, Boston, Warsaw, Petrograd (St Petersburg) and Archangel. Nor were India, South Africa or South-East Asia spared. A third wave affected the Southern Hemisphere throughout 1919–1920. Australia which had strict quarantine conditions in place throughout 1918, lifted the restrictions too soon and suffered some 12,000 deaths in 1919 –1920. The first wave of the virus saw the mild symptoms of ordinary flu—sore throat, headache, fever. Most of those who fell ill recovered. The virus of the second wave was far more lethal altogether. What began as the flu soon combined with bacterial pneumonia. Dizziness, lethargy, loss of hearing, coughing up blood. Dark, mottled reddish spots appeared on the cheekbones. Within hours the entire body had flushed from blue to black, commencing at the extremities of hands and feet and eventually reaching the torso. On 8 November 1918, the fellow poet Blaise Cendrars visited his friend Guillaume Apollinaire who had been taken ill. ‘Apollinaire lay on his back. He was completely black.’ Apollinaire died the next day. By 1920 the virus vanished almost as suddenly as it had arrived. One theory to explain this that it had mutated into a much less lethal strain. The reconstituted N1H1 virus is currently held in a high-security facility in Atlanta, Georgia, undergoing further study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their published guidelines for future outbreaks of the virus make predictably cheerful reading. One recommendation is that mandatory quarantine measures will only be enforced in the United States when the proportion of fatalities rises above 1% of the popula-
tion. Using 2017 US Census numbers, that means that over 32 million people would perish before quarantine measures were undertaken. Historical Footnote: Donald Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump died from Spanish Flu in New York City on 9 May 1918. He was 49. His early death meant that his rapidly growing fortune—made by running boarding houses, brothels and saloons in the Klondike—passed to his son Fred, who used it to start a New York property empire. The rest you know. Further Reading: The Great Influenza by John M. Barry ($34, PB)—A (very) detailed account (546pp.) that focuses primarily on the American experience of the flu; The Plague of the Spanish Lady by Richard Collier—Originally published in 1974, so somewhat dated. It remains valuable for the testimony of 1,700 flu survivors gathered together for this account. Out of Print but copies can be sourced. Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger—Jünger’s unflinching account of combat on the Western Front ($20, PB). Stephen Reid
The White Book by Han Kang ($20, PB)
In Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things—the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story— unfold in a powerfully poetic distillation. Illustrated with black & white photographs it is a meditation on a colour, on the tenacity & fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.
Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition (ed/tr)) Omid Safi ($45, HB) This collection traces a soaring, poetic, popular tradition that celebrates love for both humanity & the Divine as the ultimate path leading humanity back to God. Translator & poet Omar Safi brings together for the first time the passages of the Qur’an sought by the Muslim sages, the mystical sayings of the Prophet, and the teachings of the path of Divine love—read the writings of Jalal al-Din Rumi alongside passages by Kharaqani, Attar, Hafez of Shiraz, Abu Sa id-e Abi ‘l-Khayr, and other key Muslim mystics.
100 Poems by Seamus Heaney ($25, HB)
Seamus Heaney had the idea to form a personal selection from across the entire arc of his poetry—small yet comprehensive enough to serve as an introduction for all comers. He never managed to do this in his lifetime—but coinciding with the National Library of Ireland launching a major exhibition dedicated to Heaney’s life & work the project has been returned to, resulting in an intimate gathering of poems chosen and introduced by the Heaney family—a singular, accessible collection for new and younger readers.
Aqua Spinach by Luke Beesley ($24, PB)
Melbourne poet Luke Beesley’s third collection with Giramondo rounds out a trilogy of books interested in the affinities between poetry & other media—visual arts, music, and particularly in this collection, cinema. The poems blend observation, memory & anecdote, producing surrealistic imagery as they pivot & twist from image to image. They are infused with the atmosphere of surrealist cinema, mimicking the films’ focus on dreams, fragments & humour, while also speaking to the author’s quotidian Melbourne milieu.
Scribbled In The Dark : Poems by Charles Simic ($41, HB)
The latest volume of poetry from Charles Simic hums with the liveliness of the writer’s pen--Scribbled in the Dark brings the poet’s signature sardonic sense of humour, piercing social insight, and haunting lyricism to diverse and richly imagined landscapes. Peopled by policemen, presidents, kids in Halloween masks, a fortune-teller, a fly on the wall of the poet’s kitchen; on crowded New York streets, on park benches, and under darkened skies: the pages within toy with the end of the world and its infinity. Charles Simic continues to be an imitable voice in modern American poetry, one of its finest chroniclers of the human condition.
So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood Patrick Modiano, HB
Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature Jorge Luis Borges, HB
Hannah Arendt: The Conscious Pariah Anne C. Heller, HB
The Genius Of Judaism Bernard-Henri Levy, HB
Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter Diana Athill, HB
The Little Big Number: Why Save the Bankers? How GDP Came to Rule the World Thomas Piketty, HB and What to Do about It Dirk Philipsen, HB
Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays Cynthia Ozick, HB
Wait Till I’m Dead: Uncollected Poems Allen Ginsberg, HB
The Science of Shakespeare Dan Falk, HB
The Great Divide Joseph E. Stiglitz, HB
Badiou and Politics Bruno Bosteels, PB
Lenin on the Train Catherine Merridale, HB
True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy Kati Marton, HB
How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women Lindsey German, PB
27 Articles T. E. Lawrence, HB
How Men Age Richard G. Bribiescas, HB
Wild Things, Wild Places Jane Alexander, HB
The Wicked Boy Kate Summerscale, HB
Beloved Dog Maira Kalman, HB
The Arts Promote, Tolerate, Ban: Culture and Art in Cold War Hungary (eds) Cuevas-wolf & Poggi
In the fall of 1956, Hungarians led a successful rebellion against Soviet control. However, after only 10 days of freedom, the uprising was brutally crushed, and the Soviet-aligned minister Janos Kadar assumed power. Focusing on the Kadar era (1956–89), this book explores the political reforms & artistic experimentations under the regime’s authoritarian cultural policy: promote, tolerate, ban. Artists who complied with ideological mandates were financed by the state; those who didn’t could exhibit, but they received no monetary support; other artists were forced into exile. The book provides context for the vibrant debates behind the production of Cold War art and culture in Socialist Hungary & closes with the personal account of one of its main protagonists, the exiled Hungarian artist & critic Geza Perneczky. ($79, HB)
The Sistine Chapel: Paradise in Rome by Ulrich Pfisterer ($44, PB)
The art of the Sistine Chapel, decorated by artists who competed with one another & commissioned by popes who were equally competitive, is a complex fabric of thematic, chronological, & artistic references. 4 main campaigns were undertaken to decorate the chapel between 1481 & 1541, and with each new addition, fundamental themes found increasingly concrete expression. One theme in particular plays a central role in the chapel: the legitimisation of papal authority, as symbolized by two keys-one silver, one gold-to the kingdom of heaven. In unpacking this complex history, Ulrich Pfisterer reveals the remarkable unity of the images in relation to theology, politics & the intentions of the artists themselves, who included such household names as Botticelli, Michelangelo & Raphael.
Winslow Homer & the Camera: Photography & the Art of Painting by Goodyear & Byrd
19th century American painter, Winslow Homer (1836–1910) also maintained a deep engagement with photography throughout his career. This volume exposes Homer’s experiments with the camera & explores how the medium of photography & the larger visual economy influenced his work as a painter, watercolourist, & printmaker at a moment when new print technologies inundated the public with images. Photography offered Homer new ways of seeing & representing the world, from his early commercial engravings sourced from contemporary photographs to the complex relationship between his late-career paintings of life in the Bahamas, Florida & Cuba & the emergent trend of tourist photographym, and his understanding of the camera’s ability to create an image that is simultaneously accurate & capable of deception was vitally important to his artistic practice in all media. ($80, HB)
Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography by Paul Martineau ($110, HB)
In 1911 the French couturier Paul Poiret challenged Edward Steichen to create the first artistic, rather than merely documentary, fashion photographs. Steichen’s modernist approach was forthright & visually arresting. In the 1930s the photographer Martin Munkacsi pioneered a gritty, photojournalistic style. In the 1960s Richard Avedon encouraged his models to express their personalities by smiling & laughing. Helmut Newton brought an explosion of sexuality into fashion images & turned the tables on traditional gender stereotypes in the 70s, and in the 80s Bruce Weber & Herb Ritts made male sexuality an important part of fashion photography. Today, teams like Inez & Vinoodh & Mert & Marcus are reshaping the fashion photograph aesthetically, technically & conceptually. This survey of 100 years of fashion photography includes more than 300 photographs by the genre’s most famous practitioners as well as important but lesser-known figures, alongside a selection of costumes, fashion illustrations, magazine covers & advertisements.
Artists & Their Books, Books & Their Artists by Glenn Phillips & Marcia Reed ($90, HB) Ever innovative & predictably diverse in their physical formats, artists’ books occupy a creative space between the familiar 4-cornered object & challenging works of art that effectively question every preconception of what a book can be. Many artists specialise in producing self-contained art projects in the form of books, or they establish small presses, or they carry on a parallel practice in artists’ books. This book includes 80 important examples selected from the Getty.
Delacroix Drawings ($52, PB)
This handsome book provides new insight into Delacroix’s drawing practice, paying particular attention to his materials & techniques & the ways in which he pushed the boundaries of the medium. The 130 rarely seen drawings featured here include academic & anatomical studies, sketches from nature, & preparatory drawings related to many of Delacroix’s most renowned canvases, among them The Massacre at Chios & Liberty Leading the People.
Georg Jensen: Scandinavian Design for Living
In 1904 Danish silversmith Georg Jensen (1866–1935) founded one of the world’s most celebrated design companies. Famous for its signature silver tableware that combines gleaming sculptural forms with lush ornament, Jensen’s eponymous firm has stood at the forefront of domestic design for over a century by combining an innovative & experimental spirit with a commitment to traditional craftsmanship. Tracing the evolution of Georg Jensen silver from its place in the company’s initial emergence through its continuing role as a touchstone for the global identity of Danish design, this book examines the creative processes & business practices behind Jensen’s stunning domestic objects. ($85, HB)
Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour by David Coles ($50, HB)
Did you know that the Egyptians created the first synthetic colour; or that the noblest purple comes from a predatory sea snail? Throughout history, artist pigments have been made from deadly metals, poisonous minerals, urine, cow dung & even crushed insects. From grinding down beetles & burning animal bones to alchemy & serendipity, Chromatopia reveals the origin stories of over 50 of history’s most extraordinary pigments. Spanning the ancient world to modern leaps in technology, this is a book for the artist, the history buff, the science lover & the design fanatic.
Ways of Being: Advice for Artists by Artists
How do you be an artist? How do you become one in the first place, and what sort of advice should you heed along the way? Is art a ‘career’, or a vocation? Do you need a studio or a dealer, and how do you find one? Are artists too competitive? How do they come up with ideas, and what is the point of the private view? Does financial success—or the lack of it—change an artist? Based upon advice from a huge roster of artists, dealers & curators; and encompassing every stage—from early works, to debut shows & mid & late-career—this book answers all the key questions that every artist has at some point asked themselves. ($25, PB)
Homemade Perfume from Nature by Anya Mccoy ($30, PB)
Anya McCoy teaches readers how to extract the fragrance from any flower or plant step by step. Several different techniques are presented, allowing readers to choose their preferred method based on time and experience level. Then, they learn simple ways to craft that liquid gold into a customized 100% natural perfume, or a variety of other products such as body mist, massage oil & linen spray. At the end of the book, readers get a valuable guide to 45 common plants, with detailed notes on the scent profile plus recommended ratios & times for scent extraction—an incredible resource that gives readers practical tutorials to craft naturally perfumed products at home.
Sorolla and the Sea ($48, HB)
This volume brings together 24 works by Joaquin Sorolla, accompanied by Manuel Vicent’s text—offering a portrait of the Mediterranean sea—present in the painter’s oeuvre as the eternal longing for one’s childhood. A sea that evokes play, freedom & pleasure, but also bears witness to the struggle for survival: golden oxen in the middle of the waves pulling the fishing boats, drenched sailors carrying fish crates amid the swell, fishmongers waiting in the beach with their baskets held against their hips and mustard-coloured latin-rigs of boats pulling their nets in pairs.
The Perfect Man by Cristina De Middel ($85, HB)
In India, industrial revolution never really started and never really ended, but western standards,which defined this new perfect working man, were imposed and accepted in a society that already had a very elitist cultural structure. The results were confusing. De Middel tells the story of Doctor Ashok Aswani, who decided one day to go to the cinema instead of going to work. He saw a Chaplin movie four times, lost his job and started what would become the biggest festival homage to Chaplin in the world. Doctor Aswani would never be the perfect man because the perfect man works for his country’s greatness. The perfect man wakes up early to go to work and waves at his wife from the car as he heads towards the daily traffic-jam that would take him to his office. Charlot would never be the perfect man either. .
40 Years: Just Talking About Art by Michael Auping ($105, PB)
Michael Auping helped transform the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth into an internationally acclaimed institution. This book collects conversations with more than 40 of the artists he worked with, including Georg Baselitz, Louise Bourgeois, Ellsworth Kelly, Anselm Kiefer, Bruce Nauman, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, Kara Walker & Lawrence Weiner. His interviews are divided into thematic chapters such as Dimensions of Drawing, The Studio, Light and Space—and Auping’s probing & eloquent curiosity elicits illuminating & fascinating insights from his subjects, touching on every aspect of the artistic process.
Altitude Boo ks w i
BOOK EVENTS AT
Brandl & Schlesinger and Gleebooks Blackheath invite you to a literary afternoon tea. Loving Words: Letters of Nettie and Vance Palmer edited by Deborah Jordan is a selection of letters from one of the most important surviving courtship correspondences of any literary couple worldwide. Whimsical, lyrical, seductive, outspoken, confessional and tender, their letters in the heady days before World War 1 openly share their experiences in Melbourne, the Outback, Brisbane and London. In their letters they strive to make sense of chaperones and suffragettes, Aboriginal corroboree and environment, poetry and radical politics, and the affairs of the heart.
Authors Deborah and Sylvia will be in Blackheath to discuss their books and will be in conversation with Mark O’Flynn - local poet and author of The Last Days of Ava Langdon, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
SATURDAY 11Th AUgUST 2018
2.00pm for 2.30pm start ThE gEORgE BOUTIQUE hOTEL 194 great Western hwy, BLAckhEATh
Steph: A new Pat Barker, due in September: The Silence of the Girls is a powerful re-imagining of ancient times and battles fought It’s told through the life of Briseis whose city, Lynessus, falls to Achilles and his army. Briseis and the women of Lyrnessus are herded onto battleships and taken to their enemies’ encampment, where she is given to Achilles as part of the spoils in the sack of her city. Now slaves to the Greeks the women must endure a life of hardship, at the same time mourning the terrible loss of their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, their homes burnt to the ground, their wealth stolen. Though set in ancient times, this is a powerful and timely story—a reminder of those caught up in the wake of war, the silent casualties who’s lives, homes and freedoms are taken from them. I cried as I turned the last page.
$20 ($17 concession) includes afternoon tea
James: Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee—This is a debut memoir that charts Bri Lee’s journey through the Australian legal system. And what a journey! As a judges associate she must remain outwardly neutral— while we the readers are privy to not only the seemingly endless and devastating ways women experience ‘justice’, but also Lee’s deeply personal history that fuels the writing—which is breathtakingly good. This book will make you furious! And it should! It draws focus to an insidiously entrenched aspect of our society, confronting but essential to look at. The title refers to a legal doctrine that basically doesn’t allow the seriousness of a crime to be mitigated by a victim’s innate weakness. What if the victim is smart, angry and finds their own strength? With skill and courage Lee is able to invert this doctrine leaving us with a slither of hope! Victoria: It’s a fact…I read more in the winter. And thank heavens there are a lot of great books to read! Highlights have been…Warlight by Michael Ondaatje and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. I haven’t read Ondaatje for a while (the last being The English Patient) and this one didn’t disappoint. Set in post WWII London, Nathaniel and his sister are abandoned by their parents and put into the care of some interesting and sometimes dodgy characters. Years later Nathaniel wants to know why his parents did this…and who were they really…and what were they doing all that time? Think Le Carré and you might get a clue. Set in the here and now, Home Fire is the story of a Muslim family, two sisters and a brother, in London with a history they struggle to deal with on a day to day basis. Enter a young man, the son of a British politician who falls in love with one of the sisters and the difficulties start to unfold. This is a very timely novel and beautifully written.
Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer by Sylvia Martin paints an honest and moving portrait in which we see the daughter of Nettie and Vance Palmer, a talented woman in her own right, slowly brought down by war, family expectations, and psychiatric illness and the sometimes cruel ‘treatments’ common in the twentieth century.
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. QE 70: Dead Right—How Neoliberalism Ate Itself
and What Comes Next
2. Her Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir
3. Risking Together: How Finance is Dominating
Everyday Life in Australia
Bryan & Rafferty
4. Australia Reimagined
5. Tell Me I’m Okay: A Doctor’s Story
7. Run for Your Life
8. Eggshell Skull
9. Waiting for Elijah
10. The Coal Truth: The fight to stop Adani, defeat
the big polluters and reclaim our democracy
(ed) David Ritter
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. The Legacy of Beauregard
2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
3. And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can 4. Warlight 5. Less 6. The Shepherd’s Hut 7. Boy Swallows Universe 8. White Houses 9. The Other Wife 10. Asymmetry
Alison Whitelock Michael Ondaatje Andrew Sean Greer Tim Winton Trent Dalton Amy Bloom Michael Robotham Lisa Halliday
and another thing.....
What has Putin got on Trump? Is it blackmail, or is it just about money? Call me cynical but having read some of the many Trump books in the shop (even the occasional Trump camp offering—because like the ABC I’m prepared to be unbiased) I cannot think Trump’s bromance with Putin is just plain stupidity—which is why I lean toward the Trump continuing to blatantly use the Presidency to gold plate his billion dollar nest option. Read It’s Even Worse Than You Think by David Cay Johnson and tell me I’m wrong. On the lighter side, because sometimes all you can do is laugh, I’m happy to report there’s the balm of a new Doonesbury collection called #SAD! from G. B. Trudeau due in October—‘a clarifying collection of hot takes on the First Sociopath and his Randomly Capitalized, atrociously grammarized, horrably speld, (not to be missed double negatives), toxic tweeting from the Oval Office’. Pulitzer prize winner Trudeau has been skewering Trump’s many and varied iniquities since the 80s (collected in 2016’s YUGE!)—sometimes I wonder if he wonders if his lampooning hasn’t helped Trump rise from a mere greedy clown to Greedy Clown in Chief. Meanwhile I’m reading Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by digital pioneer, Jaron Lanier—which I encourage everyone with a social media account to read. Lanier likens today’s toxic digital environment to lead tainted paint—suggesting that you follow the path of the home renovator waiting for the lead-free to come on the market, and turn off all your accounts until it’s safe to turn back on. As he points out, from a completely technophilic non-paranoid position: ‘You can’t pay social media companies to help end wars and make everyone kind. Social media is biased, not to the Left or the Right, but downward. The relative ease of using negative emotions for the purposes of addiction and manipulation makes it relatively easier to achieve undignified results. An unfortunate combination of biology and math favours degradation of the human world. Information warfare units sway elections, hate groups recruit, and nihilists get amazing bang for the buck when they try to bring society down. The unplanned nature of the transformation from advertising to direct behaviour modification has caused an explosive amplification of negativity in human affairs.’ Except, perhaps, affairs of the heart like that of Trump and Putin. Viki
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August 2018 new releases from one of Australia's leading independent bookshops.