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Vol. 25 No. 4 May 2018
this month from
The Australian/Vogel Winner is ... The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady
Even before I knew anything about Granddad Les, Wally and me sometimes dared each other to see how close to the knackery we could get. It was way out in the bottom paddock, and Dad had banned us from going further than the dam. Wally said it was because the whole paddock was haunted. He said he could see ghosts wisping in the grass like sheets blown from the washing line. But even then I knew for sure that was a lie. Ten-year-old Cub lives with her parents, older brother Cassie, and twin brother Wally on a lonely property bordering an abandoned cattle farm and knackery. Their lives are shadowed by the infamous actions of her Granddad Les in his yellow weatherboard house, just over the fence. Although Les died twelve years ago, his notoriety has grown in Cub’s lifetime and the local community have ostracised the whole family. When Cub’s estranged aunt Helena and cousin Tilly move next door into the yellow house, the secrets the family want to keep buried begin to bubble to the surface. Having been kept in the dark about her grandfather’s crimes, Cub is now forced to come to terms with her family’s murky history. ($30, PB) Emily O’Grady co-edits Stilts Journal, and is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing at QUT, where she also works as a Sessional Academic.
The Great Pink Hunter: Outrageous tales of life in the advertising jungle by Grahame Bond
Kevin Hunter, a crass Australian advertising exec turned renowned tribal art collector, travels to the wilds of the mythical island of Malaka with his personal biographer, to find the mysterious Gopi people—a reclusive tribe of brilliant artists & retired pygmy headhunters. To achieve cut through with the native tribes, Kevin has taken to wearing bright pink safari suits, his first rule of advertising being ‘Have a point of fuckin’ difference!’ Having had little contact with Westerners, the Gopi elders are both impressed and envious of this wealthy, honey tongued philistine & they give Hunter creative control over their tribal art & artists. With unlimited power, Kevin Hunter, the frustrated creative, commercialises the Gopi’s traditional art to make it ‘more accessible’, thus sending the artists in a direction that threatens to destroy thousands of years of tribal culture. Hunter then takes his ‘new wave primitive’ brand, along with the Gopi artists, to New York City with disastrous consequences. ($33, PB)
Big Rough Stones by Margaret Merrilees
They surged across King William Street, around and up onto the bronze Boer War horseman at the corner of North Terrace. Ro linked arms with the woman next to her. ‘Take the toys from the boys’, they sang. The hero almost disappeared under a festoon of women, but clung valiantly to his rifle, bronze upper lip stiff. It was his horse who looked most horrified. Meet Ro at thirtysomething. She is committed to cures for every ill from monogamy to orange armpit fungus. Her ambitions are passionate, her energy boundless, her intentions generally good. Thirty years later, are the edges any smoother? ‘You thought feminism would stop violence against women’, said Julia. ‘And that would stop war. And stop people trashing the Earth. You tried’. ‘Not alone,’ said Ro modestly. ‘I had help.’ This is a story of community, friendship, sisterhood, and the coming of age that continues all our lives. ($32.95, PB)
Australian Poetry The Hijab Files by Maryam Azam ($24, PB)
Maryam Azam’s poems take the mysteries of the hijab as their object of scrutiny. Though shamed & angered by the prejudice towards Muslims the scarf arouses, Azam is also aware of its sensuality & allure, and the power & protection it offers. In A Brief Guide to Hijab Fashion, Miss Khan Takes off her Hijab & Places I’ve Prayed, she reflects on the rich possibilities of the scarf, the moral values it embodies, and the commitment required to maintain these values in a secular society. In another section, Wallah Bro, she examines the tensions young Muslims experience when negotiating the technology of modern dating. Azam’s style, simple, direct & informed with humour, frames as it reveals, showing how ritual confers dignity on gestures & objects.
Flood Damages by Eunice Andrada ($24, PB)
Eunice Andrada explores themes associated with immigration & inheritance, through the figure of a young Australian Filipina woman, whose family has been irreparably damaged by deportation, violence & illness. The wounds inflicted by these events, political & personal, are felt most keenly in & through her body—‘your blood sings of the scattered histories/ that left you here’—and in a dramatic use of language, influenced by the rhythms of prayer, which expresses pain & anger with passionate intensity. A performance poet, Andrada combines the theatrical qualities of voice & image in this, her first published collection, affirming the female body as a site of vulnerability & power.
Australian Literature The Making of Martin Sparrow by Peter Cochrane
Martin Sparrow is already struggling when the Hawkesbury’s great flood of March 1806 lays waste to him & his farm. Luckless, lovelorn & deep in debt, the ex-convict can either buckle down & set about his agricultural recovery, or he can heed the whispers of an earthly paradise on the far side of the mountains—a place where men are truly free—and strike out for a new life. But what chance of renewal is there for a man like Sparrow in either the brutal colony or the forbidding wilderness? The decision he makes triggers a harrowing chain of events & draws in a cast of extraordinary characters, including Alister Mackie, the chief constable on the river; his deputy, Thaddeus Cuff; the vicious hunter, Griffin Pinney; the Romany girl, Bea Faa; and the young Aboriginal men, Caleb & Moowut’tin, caught between war & peace. ($33, PB)
A Sand Archive by Gregory Day ($30, PB)
Seeking stories of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a manual from a minor player in the road’s history, FB Herschell. It is a volume unremarkable in every way, save for the surprising portrait of its author that can be read between its lines: a vision of a man who writes with uncanny poetry about sand. And as he continues to mine the archive of FB Herschell— engineer, historian, philosopher—it is not the subject, but the man who begins to fascinate. A man whose private revolution among the streets of Paris in May 1968 begins to change the way he views life, love, and the coastal landscape into which he was born.
Nagaland by Ben Doherty ($29.95, PB)
The diary arrived addressed to me, bearing a message: We live forever through our stories. Tell ours. And so began the author’s journey into the life and legends of the Naga—a forgotten people living in the far north-east of India, struggling to survive in the modern world. This is the story of Augustine & of the Naga people. It is a love story, desperate & damned, destined for tragedy; forged & upheld against the wishes of family & the dictates of culture, with a backdrop of violence & reprisals amidst the brutality of communal conflict. Alongside this is the telling of Augustine’s childhood story, growing up in the beautiful mountain state of Nagaland where the traditional way of life, loyalties & beliefs collide with modern imperatives that, for many, lead inexorably to poverty, dislocation, drug addiction, disease & despair.
Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader ($33, PB)
London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book—an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires & ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. This is a story about power—it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling & turbulent world of the early 14th century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary & conditional it is.
The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo ($33, PB)
In 1970s Melbourne, 22-year-old Italian migrant Antonello is newly married and working as a rigger on the West Gate Bridge, a gleaming monument to a modern city. When the bridge collapses one October morning, killing 35 of his workmates, his world crashes down on him. In 2009, Jo and her best friend Ashleigh are on the verge of finishing high school and flush with the possibilities for their lives thereafter. But when a night of drinking at a party results in a terrible tragedy, Jo’s future is set on a radically different course. Drawing on true events of Australia’s worst industrial accident The Bridge is a profoundly moving novel that examines class, guilt, & moral culpability.
Flames by Robbie Arnott ($30, PB)
A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his 23 year-old sister, Charlotte—who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire. The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief & love & the bonds of family, tracing a journey across the southern island that takes us full circle. Flames is spellbinding in its descriptions of nature & its celebration of the power of language.
Meanjin A-Z: Fine Fiction 1980 to now (ed) Jonathan Green ($30, PB)
Think of an Australian writer and chances are that at some time or another they’ve had short fiction published in Meanjin. In this treasure trove Meanjin past & present you’ll read Tim Winton, David Malouf & recent work by Jennifer Mills. In between you’ll find John Kinsella, Eliot Perlman, Elizabeth Jolley, Nicholas Jose, Bruce Pascoe, Melissa Lucashenko, A.S. Patric and many more.
Bohemia Beach by Justine Ettler ($30, PB) Catherine Bell, a famous concert pianist, is struggling to hold on to her career. After a disastrous show in Copenhagen, she is about to attempt her first concert performance without alcohol in Prague when her marriage implodes, her terminally ill, Czech-born mother goes missing from her London hospital, and a much needed highly paid recording deal falls through. Cathy finds herself coping in the only way she knows how: grasping a glass of forbidden pre-performance champagne and flirting with Tomas, a stranger in a Prague nightclub. While her therapist Nelly advises her to abstain, Cathy’s relationship with drink, and Tomas, draws her deep into a whirlpool of events as mysterious, tense and seductive as Prague itself. In writing as controlled as Cathy’s lack thereof, Ettler references Wuthering Heights, drawing the reader into the Cathy’s predicament in a compelling story of addiction, passionate love and the power of art. The Last Of The Bonegilla Girls by Victoria Purman ($30, PB)
1954: When 6 year–old Hungarian Elizabeta arrives in Australia with her family, she is hoping to escape the hopelessness of life as a refugee in post–war Germany. Her first stop is the Bonegilla Migrant Camp on the banks of the Murray in rural Victoria, a temporary home for thousands of new arrivals. There, Elizabeta becomes firm friends with the feisty Greek Vasiliki; quiet Italian Iliana; and the adventurous Frances, the daughter of the camp’s director. The Bonegilla girls rush together towards a life that seems full of promise, even as they cope with the legacy of war & the oppressive nature of family tradition. So when a ghost from the past reaches out for Elizabeta & threatens to pull her back into the shadows, there is nothing that her friends wouldn’t do to keep her safe.
The Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning ($30, PB)
In 2016, fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy & Wilhelm, when her grandfather is dying. With only weeks left together, her grandparents begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the ‘Paris of the East’: beautiful local Li & Viennese refugee Romy form a fierce friendship. But the deepening shadows of WW2 fall over the women as Li & Romy slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession & the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced separate ways as Romy doubts Li’s loyalties. After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. As she peels back the layers of their hidden lives, she begins to question everything she knows about her family—and herself.
Lovesome by Sally Seltmann ($30, PB)
It’s 1995 & 21 year-old Joni Johnson is fresh out of art school. Working at French restaurant, Harland, feels as romantic as she is herself. Harland’s owner, Lucy, and chef, Dave, make her evenings both entertaining & complicated. By day, Joni sets up her easel in her backyard bungalow, turns on her music & paints. But when Joni’s best friend, Annabelle, arrives on the doorstep one night ecstatic in love, everything changes. The life Joni has built for herself seems lacklustre in comparison to Annabelle’s rising star. And when Annabelle makes a beeline for the one man who seems interested in Joni, it looks unlikely that their friendship will survive.
New Text Classics by Thea Astley, $12.95 each Drylands (intr. Emily Maguire) A Kindness Cup (intr. Kate Grenville) Multiple Effects of Rainshadow (intr. Chloe Hooper) Reaching Tin River (intr. Jennifer Down) The Chaser Quarterly 12: Official History of Australia ($19.95, PB)
On 26 January 1788 a bunch of old white men arrived in Australia & started ruining it for everyone. 240 years later, Australia is a completely different country, still being ruined by old white men. The Chaser Quarterly has compiled a diverse array of Australia’s least eminent historians in this definitive account of the white, male perspective on history. As such, even though it completely ignores most of the people & cultures that went into making Australia the nation it is today, it will no doubt be studied in schools for generations to come. Perfect reading for anyone who wants a reason to be angry at white men in Australia.
The Art of Friendship by Lisa Ireland ($30, PB)
Libby and Kit have been best friends ever since the day 11 year-old Kit bounded up to Libby’s bedroom window. It’s almost 20 years since Libby moved to Sydney, but they’ve remained close, despite the distance and the different paths their lives have taken. So when Libby announces she’s moving back to Melbourne, Kit is overjoyed—it doesn’t matter that she and Libby now have different... well, different everything, actually, or so it seems when they’re finally living in the same city again. Or does it?.
l l i H ’ D n O
Holidays are never long enough, are they? I’m back from the very beautiful island of Tasmania (no wonder everyone wants to move there) where I holidayed but also attended a very informative and enjoyable book industry conference. In between the many sessions about the book business were lots of writers telling us about their new books. We are truly blessed with so many fantastic Australian writers and here’s a sample of some of their presentations in what amounted to a miniwriters’ festival. A hilarious session involved two writers—Robbie Arnott (Flames, May) and Katherine Collette (The Helpline, September) pitching their books Gruen-style. They were both really brilliant and funny, and both books sound great. The Helpline is a feel-good story featuring a very funny, horrifically self-centred lead character, and will be enjoyed by those looking for something light and endearing. Flames is a well-written literary fiction set in Tasmania employing different points of view and modes of storytelling to great effect. People who have read this say it’s fantastic. Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe (July) looks really exciting. Trent is a journalist, an erudite and funny speaker who based his novel on his extremely strange childhood in Brisbane where his babysitter was a major criminal. I’ve dipped into it and the writing is excellent. It’s next in line in my triage of books to read. Chris Hammer is another debut writer who talked about Scrublands (July) which people are saying could well be the new The Dry—a very Australian crime novel. At the splendid conference dinner the keynote was delivered by Kon Karapanagiotidis, author of The Power of Hope: Or, How Community, Love and Compassion Can Change Our World (July). Kon gave an incredibly intelligent, political, personal and moving speech. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. While the #MeToo movement wasn’t exactly the talk of the town, there were a lot of strong women who had a lot to say, none more-so than in the session chaired by Allen & Unwin publisher Jane Palfreyman. Jane is publishing three brilliant young women this year…the new wave of feminism embodied by the wonderful Clementine Ford, whose follow-up to the bestselling Fight Like a Girl is Boys will be Boys (October) about how we can bring up boys differently. Incredibly impressive was lawyer Bri Lee with her memoir Eggshell Skull (June) in which she chronicles her time as a district court Judge’s Assistant working mainly on domestic violence and child abuse. The work led Bri to confront her own childhood abuse and the result is a book that promises to be remarkable. Teacher (July) by Gabbie Stroud is a memoir about her experience of being a burnt-out teacher in Queensland—a book which is much more than an exposé or criticism of the education system, and which is bound to enrage parents and teachers alike. All three writers spoke about their lives and experiences with heart and soul and the session ended in hugs and tears. More next month about books coming out later in the year. See you on D’Hill, Morgan
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje ($30, PB)
1945: London is still reeling from the Blitz & years of war. 14 year-old Nathaniel & his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents—left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced & less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends—men & women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined to protect, & educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel & Nathaniel. But are they really what & who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time—a journey through reality, recollection & imagination.
The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse ($30, PB)
Carcassonne 1562: 19 year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: ‘She knows that you live’. But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive. Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou & Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood & the conspiracy darkens further. Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power.
White Houses by Amy Bloom ($28, PB)
In 1933, President Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt took up residence in the White House. With them went the celebrated journalist Lorena Hickok—Hick to friends—a straight-talking reporter from South Dakota, whose passionate relationship with the idealistic, patrician First Lady would shape the rest of their lives. Told by the indomitable Hick, White Houses is the story of Eleanor & Hick’s hidden love, and of Hick’s unlikely journey from her dirt-poor childhood to the centre of privilege & power. From Washington, DC to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan’s Washington Square, Amy Bloom’s new novel is filled with fascinating back-room politics, the secrets & scandals of the era, and explores the potency of enduring love.
Granta 143: After the Fact (ed) Sigrid Rausing
Britain is leaving the European Union. Donald Trump is the president of the US. Palmyra’s monuments have been destroyed by ISIS. The Antarctic shelf is breaking up. The warnings, the debates, the arguments & the elections have all given way to reality. What happens on the ground once the news cycle moves on? How do we understand what we’ve done, and why? Don McCullin & Charles Glass return to a ruined Palmyra; Gavin Francis & Esa Aldegheri cross four Syrian borders on a motorbike; Jason Cowley on Harlow, a former ‘Mark One New Town’ where he grew up; Ben Rawlence on climate change relocation programmes. And more. ($25, PB)
Evening Descends Upon The Hills by Anna Maria Ortese ($20, PB)
Anna Maria Ortese (1914-1998) is one of the most celebrated & original Italian writers of the 20th century. Neapolitan Tales brought her widespread acclaim in her native country when it was first published in 1953 and won the prestigious Premio Viareggio. These lively stories helped inspire Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, and was championed by Italo Calvino, who was her Italian editor. The stories & reportage collected in this volume form a powerful portrait of ordinary lives, both high & low—family dramas, love affairs, and struggles to pay the rent—set against the crumbling courtyards of the city & the dramatic landscape of Naples Bay in the aftermath of WW2.
The Chandelier by Clarice Lispector ($47, HB)
In a body of work renowned for its potent idiosyncratic genius, The Chandelier in many ways has pride of place. ‘It stands out,” her biographer Benjamin Moser noted, ‘in a strange and difficult body of work, as perhaps her strangest and most difficult book.’ Of glacial intensity, consisting almost entirely of interior monologues—interrupted by odd and jarring fragments of dialogue and action—the novel moves in slow waves that crest in moments of revelation. As she seeks freedom via creation, the drama of Virginia’s isolated life is almost entirely internal: from childhood, she sculpts clay figurines with ‘the best clay one could desire: white, supple, sticky, cold. She got a clear and tender material from which she could shape a world. How, how to explain the miracle...’ While on one level simply the story of a woman’s life, The Chandelier’s real drama lies in Lispector’s attempt ‘to find the nucleus made of a single instant ... the tenuous triumph and the defeat, perhaps nothing more than breathing.’
Who Is Rich? by Matthew Klam ($28, PB)
Every summer, a once-sort-of-famous cartoonist named Rich Fischer leaves his wife and two kids behind to teach a class at a week-long arts conference in a charming New England beachside town. One of the attendees this year is a 41 year-old painting student named Amy O’Donnell. Amy is a mother of three, unhappily married to a brutish Wall Street titan who commutes to work via helicopter. Rich and Amy met at the conference a year ago, shared a moment of passion, then spent the winter exchanging inappropriate texts and emails and counting the days until they could see each other again. Now they’re back. ‘This is a tantalizing novel—acute and smart and stark, but mostly it’s unrelentingly funny about a large number of very inappropriate things. It’s one of those rare books: you open it, then you’re up all night. I was.’— Richard Ford
The Madonna of The Mountains by Elise Valmorbida ($30, PB)
1923. Maria Vittoria is embroidering a sheet for her dowry trunk. Her father has gone to find her a husband. It’s Springtime, when a betrothal might happen—there are no eligible men in this valley or the next one, but her father will not let her marry just anyone, and, despite Maria’s years, she is still healthy. Her betrothed will see all that. He’ll be looking for a woman who can do the work. And the Lord knows Maria will need to be able to work. Fascism blooms as crops ripen, the State craves babies just as the babies cry for food. Maria faces a stony path, but one she will surely climb to the summit. In this elegant novel you will touch the mulberry leaves cut finer than organdie, and feel the strain of a woman attempting to keep her family safe in the most dangerous of times.
Painter to the King by Amy Sackville ($30, PB)
This is a portrait of Diego Velazquez, from his arrival at the court of King Philip IV of Spain, to his death 38 years and scores of paintings later. It is a portrait of a relationship that is not quite a friendship, between an artist and his subject. It is a portrait of a ruler, always on duty, and increasingly burdened by a life of public expectation and repeated private grief. And it is a portrait of a court collapsing under the weight of its own excess.
House of Gold by Natasha Solomons ($33, PB) The Goldbaums’ influence reaches across Europe. They are the confidants & bankers of governments & emperors. Little happens without their say-so & even less without their knowledge. But Greta Goldbaum has no say at all in who she’ll marry. While power lies in wealth, strength lies in family. Greta’s union with cousin Albert will strengthen the bond between the Austrian & the English branches of the dynasty. It is sensible & strategic. Greta is neither. Defiant & unhappy, she is desperate to find a place that belongs to her, free from duty & responsibility. But just as she begins to taste an unexpected happiness, the Great War is looming & even the Goldbaums can’t alter its course. For the first time in 200 years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides. The House of Goldbaum, along with Europe herself, is about to break apart. Babylon by Yasmina Reza ($35, HB) Winner of the Prix Renaudot, this literary novel about a murder, by the author of the plays Art and God of Carnage, straddles the line between the tragic & the absurd. Elisabeth, a pensive, memory-laden science professional in a long & tender marriage, has barely befriended their younger neighbour when in a fit of blind pain over a scornful scolding the man kills his beloved wife. Elisabeth is drawn, out of sympathy, to help her sad friend cover up his crime. Her account of her unaccountable impulse moves into a quick-moving, canny police procedural— humour and sorrow, life. Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park ($30, HB) The world is hushed, cloaked in snow. Transport has ground to a halt, flights cancelled & roads treacherous. Yet Tom must venture out into this transformed landscape to collect his son Luke—sick & stranded in his student lodgings. During this solitary journey from Belfast to Sunderland by car & boat, Tom reflects on his life—the beloved wife he leaves behind, labouring to create the perfect Christmas & mend their family’s cracks with seasonal cheer; the son he is driving towards, yet struggles to connect with; the countless small disappointments of his photography career; and the absence that is always there as a voice in his head his other son, Daniel. David Park vividly presents the inner life of a man grappling with existence’s challenges—meditating on marriage, masculinity, parenthood and ambition, his novel encapsulates, with its exquisitely nuanced depiction of human experience, the unsolved mystery at the heart of our lives. Now in B Format & Paperback The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, $20 Red Sky at Noon by Simon Sebag Montefiore, $23 A Column of Fire by Ken Follett, $33 To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, $19 I’d Die for You: And Other Lost Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, $23
Ponti by Sharlene Teo ($30, PB)
2003, Singapore. Friendless & fatherless, 16-year-old Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress & now a hack medium performing séances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, an unlikely encounter develops into an intense friendship & offers Szu a means of escape from her mother’s alarming solitariness. 17 years later, Circe is struggling through a divorce in fraught & ever-changing Singapore when a project comes up at work: a remake of the cult seventies horror film series Ponti—the project that defined Amisa’s short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a past that threatens her conscience. Told from the perspectives of all 3 women, Ponti is about friendship and memory, about the things we do when we’re on the cusp of adulthood that haunt us years later.
A mysterious, thrilling and funny new adventure from bestselling Australian picture book creators Kerry Brown and Lucia Masciullo
Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey ($33, PB)
Jen’s 15-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police draw a blank. The once-happy, loving family return to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely—refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on. As Lana stays stubbornly silent, Jen desperately tries to reach out to a daughter who has become a stranger.
Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir
Eleven days after the execution of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour is dressing for her wedding to the King. She has witnessed at first hand how courtly play can quickly turn to danger and knows she must bear a son— or face ruin. This new queen must therefore step out from the shadows cast by Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn—and in doing so, can she expose a gentler side to the brutal King? Historian Alison Weir draws on new research to paint a compelling portrait of Jane Seymour—a woman driven by the strength of her faith and a belief that she might do some good in a wicked world. ($30, PB)
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney ($20, PB)
Frances is a cool-headed & darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend & comrade-in-arms is the beautiful & endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances & Bobbi catch the eye of well-known photographer, Melissa. Drawn into Melissa’s world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. But their flirtation gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances’s friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult & unhappy father, and finally, terribly, with Bobbi. Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures & dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.
Muriel Spark Reprinted $23 each The Comforters; Robinson; The Ballad of Peckham Rye; The Bachelors; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; The Girls of Slender Means; Memento Mori; The Mandelbaum Gate West by Carys Davies ($20, PB)
Addled by grief after the death of his wife, and prompted by reports of colossal animal bones found in Kentucky, John Cyrus Bellman sets off on a quest, leaving behind his only daughter, Bess, to be cared for by her aunt. While Bellman ventures farther into the wilderness, forging an uneasy fellowship with his guide, a Native American boy, Bess traces her father’s path on maps at the local library and keeps out of the way of their peculiar neighbour Elmer Jackson. West is a micro masterpiece about love, reckless determination and yearning for the unknown.
The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop ($30, PB)
As the sun begins to set over Louisiana one October day in 1943, a young black man faces the final hours of his life: at midnight, 18 yearold Willie Jones will be executed by electric chair for raping a white girl—a crime some believe he did not commit. In a tale taut with tension, events unfold hour by hour from the perspectives of nine people involved. They include Willie himself, who knows what really happened, and his father, desperately trying to reach the town jail to see his son one last time; the prosecuting lawyer, haunted by being forced to seek the death penalty against his convictions, and his wife, who believes Willie to be innocent; the priest who has become a friend to Willie; and a mother whose only son is fighting in the Pacific, bent on befriending her black neighbours in defiance of her husband. In this powerful novel, Elizabeth Winthrop explores matters of justice, racism and the death penalty in a subtle and profoundly affecting way. Her kaleidoscopic narrative allows the read to inhabit the lives of her characters and see them for what they are—complex individuals, making fateful choices we might not condone, but can understand.
The most extraordinary boy The most extraordinary novel
PRECISION: AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF THE MODERN WORLD, YET IS INVISIBLE, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez ($33, PB)
Juan Gabriel Vasquez’s novel takes the form of personal & formal investigations into two political assassinations— the murders of Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914, the man who inspired Garcia Marquez’s General Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of the charismatic Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the man who might have been Colombia’s JFK, gunned down on the brink of success in the presidential elections of 1948. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vasquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since.
In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne ($33, PB)
For Selvon, Ardan & Yusuf, growing up under the towers of Stones Estate, summer means what it does anywhere: football, music, freedom. But after the killing of a British soldier, riots are spreading across the city, and nowhere is safe. While the fury swirls around them, Selvon & Ardan remain focused on their own obsessions, girls & grime. Their friend Yusuf is caught up in a different tide, a wave of radicalism surging through his local mosque, threatening to carry his troubled brother, Irfan, with it. Guy Gunaratne’s blistering debut captures the nuance of black experience on the streets of London.
You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld ($30, PB)
A married woman flirts with a man she meets at parties by playing You think it, I’ll say it, putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he’s thinking about their fellow guests. But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. The Nominee sees Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist she has sparred with over the years. In Gender Studies, a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for what turns out to be all the wrong reasons. In stories that show how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves Sittenfeld skewers contemporary mores with a dry wit.
THE WILDER AISLES
What is there to say about the wonderful Donna Leon that hasn’t been said. When reading her books, I feel like a member of an extended family—I know Guido, Paola, Chiara and Raffi at least as well as my own family. I love it when Commissario Guido Brunetti looks to the classics for help, and in his latest investigation, The Temptation of Forgiveness, it is to Sophocles’ Antigone that Brunetti turns. When a university colleague of Paola’s, Professoressa Crosera, calls to see Brunetti he is surprised. At first, the uncomfortable Crosera is reluctant to speak, but after a prolonged silence, with no prompting from the policeman, she finally says that she is very worried because she thinks her son is using drugs. The reasons she gives for thinking this seem like normal teenage behaviour to Brunetti—but he assures her he will do what he can. Things get more complicated when Tullio Gasparini, the professor’s husband, is found unconscious on a ferry wharf in the early hours of the morning. He has severe head wounds, and Brunetti doesn’t know whether he was attacked or fell. Is there a connection between the attack on Tullio and his wife’s suspicions about her son. There follows mysterious informants, underground deals, secret scams. His colleague, Commissario Claudia Griffoni and the wonderful Signorina Elettra, Brunetti’s own informant in the Questura, assist him in his investigations. Donna Leon never lets me down, and Guido Brunetti along with Salvatore Montalbano are the two fictional detectives I would love to meet— over a plate of linguine con vongole and a glass of vino. Heaven! Ragnar Jónasson is a Nordic Noir author new to me. Whiteout, which I have just read, is not his first book—in fact it is the last in the Dark Iceland series. I suppose you can’t help but miss a few authors in the landslide of Nordic crime books—but now I’ve discovered this Icelander, Jónasson, I am keen to read his others. I like his character—local policeman, Ari Thor Aronson, and as always with the Scandi Noirs—the landscape, with its wild weather-whipped wind and snow, feels almost is a large character in the narrative. The story starts with Asta Karadottir visiting a house in the northern town of Kalfshamarvik— somewhere she had spent time when younger. She’s not sure she’s done the right thing in coming, but it is too late to turn back—and she is more or less welcomed by the residents—Thora and her brother Oskar, who look after the house, and the owner Reynir, a business man who is rarely there as he lives down south. Asta is given her old room, and falls fully clothed onto the bed to sleep. Two days before Christmas a girl’s body is found at the bottom of a cliff and Ari Thor is called in by his old boss Tomas, who has also relocated down south, to use his local knowledge in the investigation. This is the same spot where another woman and a child were found dead twenty-five years before. With winter closing in, snow falling all about, Ari Thor and Tomas must work hard to find out what happened. Tomas is anxious to get home for Christmas Eve so he arrests a local and takes off, deeming the job done. However, Ari Thor is not so sure, and he continues his investigation—with surprising results. This is a very atmospheric novel that I really connected with. The other books in the series are Snowblind, Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture. I’m headed for Snowblind next. And if you haven’t caught up with two other Icelandic authors I like (mentioned on the back of Jónasson’s book)—Arnaldur Inðridason & Yrsa Sigurðardóttir—I highly recommend you do. ‘Every mother is a woman with a past’ reads a quote from the back cover of Elisa Lodato’s debut novel An Unremarkable Body—and her character Katherine Lowan is no exception. On a February day in 2012, Katherine’s daughter, Laura, goes to visit her mother—who like her, lives alone. She finds her mother’s body at the foot of the stairs. This causes her to relive her past, and what she knows of her mother’s. There is a post-mortem and each chapter is named after the body part examined. As the past is unveiled, Laura learns about her parents—about their difficult marriage, about the terrible circumstances of her brother’s birth, about Jenny, who came to help after the birth—and about Helen—Katherine’s best friend since school days. Gradually Laura discovers that her mother did not live the life she wanted. She was dominated by her mother—never allowed to be the person she felt she should have been. Her marriage was a disaster from the beginning, even though it produced Laura and Christopher. And Katherine is also dominated by her friend Helen. The two are inseparable, until they go to different high schools—Katherine’s mother doesn’t like Helen’s influence, and refuses to let Katharine to go to the same grammar school as Helen. However, they remain close—the true nature of their relationship a secret to Laura. Laura herself is trying to deal with the chaos of her past. She had become involved with David at college, even though he was with someone else—and later, when she meets Tom, she can’t stop from being unfaithful, thus almost ending the one good relationship she has. I enjoyed this story about people and their complicated lives—trying to find the strength and courage to live the life they were meant to live. Janice Wilder
The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong ($33, PB)
Yu-jin is a good son, a model student and a successful athlete. But one day he wakes up covered in blood. There’s no sign of a break-in and there’s a body downstairs—a body he knows. Knowing he will be accused if he reports the body he decides to investigate the murder, and reading diaries, and looking at his own past and childhood—back to the night he lost his father and brother, and even further than that—he discovers what happened.
The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir ($30, PB)
This is the chilling message threatening murders is found in a school’s time capsule, 0 years after it was buried. But surely, if a 13 year-old wrote it, it can’t be a real threat. Huldar suspects he’s been given the investigation simply to keep him away from real police work. He turns to Freyja to help with the psychology of the child who hid the note. But the discovery of the letter coincides with a string of macabre events: body parts found in a garden, followed by the murder of the man who owned the house. His initials mentioned in the message. Time is running out to identify the writer, the victims & the killer, before further deaths come.
A Guide For Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow
What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to inhabit adult bodies & wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had stolen their lives? Fresh out of rehab, ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde has found a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother & sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder & missed opportunities is revealed to him. ($30, PB)
Twisted Prey by John Sandford ($33, PB)
A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the US Senate, where Lucas Davenport had predicted she’d fit right in. He was also convinced that she’d been responsible for 3 murders, though he’d never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again. He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he’s heard rumours that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she’s made from it, to be very...useful. Pinning these rumours down is likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous..
We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard
As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village & starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Newly appointed DS Joaquin Morales barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the investigation. On Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide & the truth lingers in murky waters—so DS Morales reaches for a large whisky. ($20, PB)
Help I Am Being Held Prisoner by Donald E. Westlake
It isn’t easy going to jail for a practical joke. Of course, this particular joke left 20 cars wrecked on the highway and two politicians’ careers in tatters—so jail is where Harold Künt landed. He’s just trying to keep a low profile in the Big House. He wants no part of his fellow inmates’ plan to use an escape tunnel to rob two banks. But it’s too late; he’s in it up to his neck—a neck that may just wind up in a noose. ($17, PB)
Beside the Syrian Sea by James Wolff ($18, PB)
Jonas is a spy with a problem. His quiet life spent writing reports for British intelligence is turned upside-down when his father is kidnapped by ISIS, and he soon finds himself dangerously out of his depth in Beirut, struggling to put into action the most audacious plan imaginable. As events hurtle towards a confrontation with the kidnappers, and the British government realises the full horror of what he is planning, Jonas is forced to decide how far he is willing to go to see his father again.
The Restless Coffins by M. P. Wright ($18, PB)
1969, Bristol. Bajan ex-cop & reluctant PD, Joseph ‘JT’ Tremaine Ellington is still trading in cash & favours, lending a helping hand to those too scared to go to the police or anyone trying to stay one step ahead of them. When he receives a telegram informing him that his sister, Bernice has been murdered he wants to make the long journey back to his home on the island of Barbados to pay his final respects and to settle his late sister’s affairs. But To do so, he must accept a ticket from his shady cousin, Vic, on condition he travels to New York first, where Vic is building himself a criminal empire in Harlem. JT soon discovers that Vic is the American end of an operation that stretches back to Barbados, and that Vic’s business partner is Conrad Monroe, the man responsible for the death of JT’s wife and daughter. And as JT finds himself embroiled in the world of drugs, bent law, voodoo and the bitter legacy of slavery, he must return to the island of his birth and face the demons of his past.
American By Day by Derek B. Miller ($33, PB)
Chief Inspector Sigrid IdegOrd has to leave her native Norway for America where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. It is election season, 2008, and Sigrid is plunged into a US where race & identity, politics & promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life. To find her older brother, she needs the help of the local police who appear to have already made up their minds about the case. Working with—or, if necessary, against—someone actually named Sheriff Irving ‘Irv’ Wylie, she must negotiate the local political minefields & navigate the back woods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further. The Pharmacist’s Wife by Vanessa Tait ($30, PB) When Rebecca Palmer’s new husband opens a pharmacy in Victorian Edinburgh, she expects to live the life of a well-heeled gentlewoman. But her ideal is turns to ashes when she discovers her husband is not what he seems. As Rebecca struggles to maintain her dignity in the face of his infidelity and strange sexual desires, Alexander tries to pacify her so-called hysteria with a magical new chemical creation. A wonder-drug he calls heroin. While curiously observing his wife’s descent, Alexander’s desire to profit from his invention leads him down a dangerous path where he discovers that even the most promising experiments can have unforeseen and deadly consequences Live and Let Fry by Sue Williams ($30, PB) For Cass Tuplin, proprietor of the Rusty Bore Takeaway (and definitely not an unlicensed PI), it’s weird enough that her neighbour Vern’s somehow acquired a lady friend. But then he asks Cass to look into the case of the dead rats someone’s dumped on Joanne’s doorstep. She’s barely started when Joanne goes missing, leaving hints of an unsavoury past. Then a PI from Melbourne turns up asking questions about Joanne’s involvement in a fatal house fire—and before you can say ‘unauthorised investigation’ Cass is back on the case. Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea ($33, PB) The Girl of Sugar Beach is about to become the most watched documentary in television history. The ten-part true-crime serial centres on the burning question—did Grace Sebold really murder her boyfriend, or is she the victim of a shocking miscarriage of justice? Grace has spent the last 10 years in prison, and now she’s reaching out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a final, desperate attempt to prove her innocence. The series becomes a ratings smash—and Sidney a celebrity in her own right. Yet by delving deeper into Grace’s past, Sidney is uncovering layer after layer of deception—and she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career, even her life.
Friends and Traitors by John Lawton ($30, PB)
1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is on an unwanted ‘Grand Tour’ with his brother Rod & family—Paris, Sienna, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam. After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years—Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who wants to come home. Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to de-brief Burgess—but the agent is gunned down the whole plan unravels & Troy finds himself a suspect.
Angel in the Shadows by Walter Lucius ($33, PB)
After investigating what appeared to be a simple hit-and-run, journalist Farah Hafez became caught up in a web of crime & corruption that led to her kidnap. Detained in Russia, she was forced to pledge her allegiance to a terrorist group on camera. Now sought by international security & members of the criminal class alike, she flees to Jakarta to continue her investigation while her friends & allies attempt to clear her name from across the globe. If Farah is ever going to regain her freedom, she needs to discover the root of the evil that bought her here. The problem is that discovering this might cost Farah her life. The Greater Good by Tim Ayliffe ($30, PB) Battered war correspondent John Bailey is a man living on the edge. He’s haunted by nightmares of being kidnapped and tortured in Iraq and he’s drinking too much to drown the memories. When a beautiful prostitute is found murdered in her luxury Sydney apartment, Bailey is ordered to cover the story. One of the victim’s clients, a key advisor to the Defence Minister, is chief suspect in her murder and he’s on the run. When he contacts Bailey, claiming to have information that will bring down the government, the stakes become deadly. A ruthless CIA fixer turns up, followed by a murderous Chinese agent hot on his trail & Bailey has the story of a lifetime, that he may not live to tell. Nightfall Berlin by Jack Grimwood ($33, PB) Major Tom Fox is despatched to East Berlin to bring home a traitor who defected to escape justice. But it’s clear that there’s more at stake than an old man wanting to return home to face the music. Powerful forces on both sides of the Iron Curtain stand to lose if the defector is given his day in court. Fox soon finds that in the upside-down world of Cold War Berlin he’s operating alone in the enemy’s backyard, unsure of who he can trust. And if Fox is going to succeed in his mission, let alone escape with his life, he will need to draw on skills learned during a past he’s trying to forget.
The Name of Death by Klester Cavalcanti
Julio Santana grew up in a poor fishing family in Brazil. At the age of 17 he committed his first murder in exchange for food for his family, and went on to become a killer for hire on an almost unimaginable scale, murdering more than 490 people. Yet, despite his appalling crimes, he was far from a monster. Santana was a loyal son, a family man & a devout Christian who was tormented by his conscience with every killing shot. Over the course of 7 years, investigative journalist Klester Cavalcanti interviewed Santana by phone, and used his skills as a journalist to trace the path of his life & infamous career. The result is an extraordinary & chilling insight into a killer. ($30, PB)
LAbyrinth by Randall Sullivan ($23, PB)
LA, 1997. The city is restless & simmering with tension. In two seemingly unconnected attacks, rap superstars Tupac Shakur & Notorious B.I.G. are brutally murdered. Across town, a black off-duty cop is gunned down by a white undercover cop in broad daylight. Journalist Randall Sullivan’s searing investigation uncovers a mass of connections to Suge Knight & his infamous label Death Row Records. But as Sullivan follows his leads into the darkest corners of the city, he finds the case thwarted at every turn by the LAPD itself—and realises that he is caught in a web of police corruption that spreads wider than he could have ever imagined. With a new introduction by Randall Sullivan
All That Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black ($35, PB)
Professor Dame Sue Black discusses the subject she grapples with every day—Death—bringing her unique perspective to the multitudinous circumstances in which life is lost. From the painful grieving process after losing a loved one, to violence, murder, criminal dismemberment, missing persons, war (such as Kosovo), natural disasters (such as a tsunami), unidentified bodies, historical remains—involving investigative agencies, lawyers, justice, criminal sentences, and always sadness & pain, she takes us on a scientific & reflective journey explaining the genetic DNA traits that develop before our birth, and those traits & features we gather in the twists & turns through life, all of which add up to an identity that reveals itself in death. Riveting as the best crime novel, and leavened with humour, this is an enriching & reassuring read and a parallel celebration of life.
To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine ($30, PB)
At the launch party for her memoir in 2014, the musician Viv Albertine received news that her mother was dying, and spent a few final hours with the woman who was, in a sense, the love of her life. In the turbulent weeks after the funeral, Albertine made a series of discoveries that revealed the role of family conflicts in propelling her towards the uncompromising world of punk. Part radical reinvention of the memoir form; part feminist manifesto; part domestic noir; part polemic on motherhood this is an indefinable book exploring the nature of intimacy. Unapologetically honest, Albertine tells a story of human dysfunctionality which miraculously reveals how we do manage to function, live & love.
MI5 and Me by Charlotte Bingham ($28, PB)
Greens campaigner Hazel discovers what Austen can teach a young woman about life, love and literature in the 21st century. Michelle de Kretser calls it ‘compelling’ while Ryan O’Neill says it is ‘a perfect modern romance’.
HARVeY BeAM FICTION
Talkback host Harvey Beam expects little from a family reunion – least of all the stranger who will change everything. Foreword Reviews says it is ‘vulnerable, darkly comic, and assembled like a well-laid fire.’
When Charlotte Bingham, daughter of an obscure aristocrat, was summoned to her father’s office aged 18, she never expected to discover that this aloof, soberly-dressed parent was a spy. Even more ominous than The Facts was his suggestion that she should stop drifting around working for the sort of people her mother could never ask to dinner & get a proper job—something patriotic & worthwhile. So Lottie finds herself outside MI5’s Mayfair offices in a dreary suit, feeling naked without her false eyelashes. Miserably assigned to the formidable Dragon, Lottie wishes for pneumonia, or anything to release her from the torment of typing. But as another secretary, the serene Arabella, starts illuminating the mysteries of MI5, and Lottie’s home fills with actors doubling as spies, Lottie begins to feel well & truly spooked.
Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking by Jens Andersen ($55, HB)
This first English language biography of Astrid Lindgren provides a moving & revealing portrait of the beloved Scandinavian literary author whose adventures of Pippi Longstocking have influenced generations of young readers all over the world. Lindgren’s sometimes turbulent life as an unwed teenage mother, outspoken advocate for the rights of women & children, and celebrated editor & author is chronicled in fascinating detail by Jens Andersen, one of Denmark’s most popular biographers. Based on extensive research & access to primary sources & letters, this highly readable account describes Lindgren’s battles with depression & her personal struggles through war, poverty, motherhood & fame. Andersen examines the writer’s oeuvre as well to uncover the secrets to the books’ universal appeal & why they have resonated so strongly with young readers for more than 70 years.
Butterfly on a Pin by Alannah Hill ($33, PB)
Alannah Hill created an international fashion brand that defied trends with ornamental, sophisticated elegance, beads, bows & vintage florals. But growing up in a milk bar in Tasmania, Alannah’s childhood was one of hardship, fear & abuse. At an early age she ran away from home with 8 suitcases of costumes & a fierce determination to succeed— haunted by her mother’s refrain of ‘You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you & you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!’ At the height of her success, Alannah walked the razor’s edge between two identities—the ‘good’ Alannah & the ‘mongrel bastard’ Alannah. Reprieve came in the form of a baby boy, but ‘having it all’ turned out to be another illusion, and in 2013 Alannah walked away from her eponymous brand, to finally call a truce with the past.
MEMOIR / ANTHOLOGY
Staying: A Memoir by Jessie Cole ($33, PB)
As children, author, Jessie Cole, and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever halfsisters, Billie and Zoe, who came to visit every holidays. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her happy, loving family fell apart. This heartbreaking memoir asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life. It’s about the importance of home, family and forgiveness—and finding peace in a place of pain.
These are stories of survival that celebrate getting older and wiser as well as becoming more certain of who you are and where you want to be.
Free Woman by Lara Feigel ($35, HB)
When Lara Feigel reread The Golden Notebook in her mid-thirties, shortly after Doris Lessing’s death, she found Lessing was speaking directly to her about her experiences as a woman, writer & mother in a way that no other novelist had done. Dissatisfied with the constraints that she felt she & her generation seemed to blindly accept, Feigel was enticed by Lessing’s vision of freedom. Part memoir, part biography & part literary criticism, Free Woman is an examination of Lessing’s life & work structured as a series of 9 investigations of sexual, psychological, intellectual & political freedom.
The Far Away Brothers by Lauren Markham ($49, HB)
Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, the United States was a distant fantasy to identical twins Ernesto and Raul Flores-—until, at age 17, a deadly threat from the region’s brutal gangs forces them to flee the only home they’ve ever known. journalist Lauren Markham follows the Flores twins as they make their way across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother in Oakland, CA.
Miss Ex-Yugoslavia by Sofija Stefanovic ($35, PB)
With Yugoslavia on the brink of war, Sofija Stefanovic’s family was torn between the socialist existence they’d always known & the pull of stability on offer in the distant land of Australia. Surrounded by conflict & uncertainty, it’s no wonder that Stefanovic had so many questions as she grew up: which Disney movie would her life mirror? How did Yugo rock songs compare with the Tin Lids? And can you become the centre of attention when English is your second language? Her family spent her childhood moving back & forth between Australia & Yugoslavia, unable to settle in one home. The war that had been brewing started to rage, and the pain & madness it caused stretched all the way to Melbourne, where Sofija found herself part of a strange community of exYugoslavians—with her family facing their own private & desperate battle.
The Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi ($35, PB)
Born in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, to a pair of middle-class Shiite doctors, Mohammed Al Samawi was brought up to believe that the Jews were responsible for all his people’s troubles. His life changed when he read the Old Testament, ‘friended’ Jews in Israel, and joined social-action groups aimed at promoting dialogue between Muslims & Jews. When he started receiving death threats he fled to the southern city of Aden & found himself caught up in a brutal civil war. Hiding in the bathroom of his apartment as gunfire and grenades exploded throughout the city, Mohammed desperately appealed to friends across social media—and miraculously was heard. Over thirteen days, four ordinary young people with zero experience in international diplomacy or military exfiltration worked across six technology platforms and ten time zones to save him. Reading like a thriller, this is also an unforgettable story of compassion, friendship, faith & redemption.
Traumata by Meera Atkinson ($29.95, PB)
Using memoir as a touchstone, Meera Atkinson contemplates the causes of trauma and the scars it leaves on modern society. She vibrantly captures her early life in 1970s & 80s Sydney—leading the reader on a journey that takes in neuroscience, pop psychology, feminist theory and much more. Searing in its truthfulness and beauty, Traumata deals with issues of our time—intergenerational trauma, family violence, alcoholism, child abuse, patriarchy—forging a path of fearless enquiry through the complexity of humanity.
West Winging It by Pat Cunnane ($30, PB) Pat Cunnane was President Barack Obama’s Senior Writer & Deputy Director of Messaging at the White House where he worked for six years in many roles, responsible for everything from travelling with the President across the country & around the world on Air Force One to writing statements, jokes, op-eds & more in the President’s voice. His story is one of proximity to history, revealing an office where both the historically momentous & the hilariously mundane occurred every day. He brings the White House to life with heartwarming & sharply observed depictions of the President & Vice President. In a portrait of a remarkable time & an extraordinary President, with a bunch of brilliant, quirky staffers bursting in and out of frame Cunnane recounts the behind-the-scene highs & lows of the West Wing, from the elation of 2012 to the despair of 2016. Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean ($33, PB)
A portrait of ten writers—Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Janet Malcolm, Renata Adler, Pauline Kael & Nora Ephron—who managed to make their voices heard from the 1920s to the 1990s amidst a climate of sexism & nepotism, Sharp is a vibrant & rich depiction of the intellectual beau monde of New York, where gossip-filled parties at night gave out to literary slanging matches in the pages of publications like the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books, as well as a carefully considered portrayal of the rise of feminism & its interaction with the critical establishment.
Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China ($43, HB)
Blood Letters tells the astonishing tale of Lin Zhao, a Chinese poet & journalist arrested by the Mao regime in 1960 and executed eight years later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Alone among the victims of Mao’s dictatorship, she maintained a stubborn & open opposition during the years she was imprisoned. She rooted her dissent in her Christian faith—and expressed it in long, prophetic writings done in her own blood, and at times on her clothes & on cloth torn from her bedsheets. Miraculously, Lin Zhao’s prison writings survived, though they have only recently come to light. Drawing on these works & others from the years before her arrest, as well as interviews with friends, family & classmates, Lian Xi paints an indelible portrait of courage & faith in the face of unrelenting evil.
Now in B Format Insomniac City by Bill Hayes, $20 This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay, $19
A Tokyo Romance by Ian Buruma ($30, PB)
When Ian Buruma arrived in Tokyo in 1975, he found a feverish & surreal metropolis in the midst of an economic boom, where everything seemed new & history only remained in fragments. Through his adventures in the world of avantgarde theatre, his encounters with carnival acts, fashion photographers & moments on set with Akira Kurosawa, Buruma underwent a radical transformation. For an outsider, unattached to the cultural burdens placed on the Japanese, this was a place to be truly free. This is a portrait of a young artist & the fantastical city that shaped him—a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic & sexual.
Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World by Stephan Orth ($30, PB)
Stephan Orth spent 62 days on the road in this mysterious Islamic republic to provide a revealing behind-the-scenes look at life in one of the world’s most closed societies. Through the unsurpassed hospitality of 22 hosts, he skipped the guidebooks & tourist attractions & travelled from Persian carpet to bed to cot, covering more than 8,400 kilometres to recount ‘this world’s hidden doings’. Experiencing daily what he calls the ‘two Irans’ that coexist side by side—the ‘theocracy, where people mourn their martyrs’ in mausoleums, and the ‘hide-andseek-ocracy, where people hold secret parties and seek worldly thrills instead of spiritual bliss’—he learns that Iranians have become experts in navigating around their country’s strict laws.
The Epic Voyages of Maud Berridge by Sally Berridge ($25, PB)
Maud Berridge (1845–1907) was the wife of a Master Mariner, and she travelled with him on at least five occasions (1869, 1880, 1882, 1883, 1886), sailing to Melbourne with emigrants & cargo. The first occasion was 1869 just after they were married, when Henry was Captain of the Walmer Castle, and they returned via New Zealand instead of travelling east & around Cape Horn. In 1880, Maud & Henry took their two sons (aged six and eight) with them. Maud wrote diaries of these voyages of which one in particular, that of the 1883 voyage, comprise some 50 000 words. Her great-grand-daughter, Sally, tells Maud’s story through her own words & through a number of contemporary document—painting a picture of the life of a captain’s wife in the Victorian era as well as aspects of Victorian society in Britain, the US & Australia.
Goethe: Journey of the Mind by Nancy Boerner & Gabrielle Bersier ($45, HB)
The German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is often seen as the quintessential 8th century tourist, though with the exception of a trip to Italy he hardly left his homeland. Compared to several of his peripatetic contemporaries, he took few actual journeys, and the list of European cities in which he never set foot is quite long. He never saw Vienna, Paris, or London, for example, and he only once visited Berlin. During the last 30 years of his life he was essentially a homebound writer, but his intensive mental journeys countered this sedentary lifestyle, and the misconception of Goethe as a traveller springs from the uniquely international influence of his writing. His classic, Italian Journey, was the product of his only extended physical journey. The rest of his travels were armchair journeys—developing knowledge of places both near & far through the words & eyewitness accounts of others. Nancy Boerner & Gabrielle Bersier offer insight into the ways that Goethe was able to explore the cultures & environments of places he never saw with his own eyes.
A Traveller’s Companion to London (eds) Thomas Wright ($23, PB)
Pilgrimages, celebrations, acts of heroism & moments of religious contemplation to riots, executions, grisly murders & disastrous plagues & fires. With an introduction by Peter Ackroyd, among the vivid excerpts in this London anthology gives you John Evelyn’s famous account of the Great Fire in 1666, Dickens’s brilliant evocation of the Gordon Riots of 1780, an eyewitness description of the execution of Charles I, and Churchill’s recollections of the Blitz.
Joining Loose Ends: How a long walk revealed a new life by Keith Badger ($45, HB)
In 2010 a couple set out on a long walk through Britain which takes them from John O’Groats to Land’s End, the two iconic end markers of the British mainland. Keith Badger created a path designed to remain wherever possible in the countryside—a circuitous route that included some of the great British footpaths—the Great Glen Way, West Highland Way, Pennine Way, Offa’s Dyke, South West Coast Path & many other often obscure rights of way. The walk took 139 days & covered 2,801kms, more than double the distance of the most direct route. But on returning home, Badger was confronted with a journey of a different kind.
books for kids to young adults Ocean Lullaby by Sally Odgers (ill) Lisa Stewart ($25, HB)
The fourth book in this Australian Lullaby series celebrates underwater animals and their young—portrayed in gentle rhyme just right to soothe little ones off to sleep. Stewart’s distinctive collage and mixed media art with soft accents is perfect for Odgers’ bedtime story. Shhh… . Lynndy
compiled by children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
How the Finch Got His Colors by Annemarie Riley Guertin (ill) Helena Perez Garcia ($25, HB)
Based on a Belgian folktale, this is an origin story about how birds got their colours, most specifically how the Gouldian Finch became one of the most beautiful and colourful birds on the earth. The illustrations reflect the nature of the bird, and they are full of colour (of course), movement and expression. Birds seem to be the creature de jour in children’s picture books, but this book has a lot more than just novelty appeal. Highly recommended 3–8 year olds. Louise
Love Was Hiding by Jennifer Loakes (ill) Jess Racklyeft ($26, HB)
A heartwarming book as comforting as a hug, this shows from a child’s perspective a day’s worth of small unassuming acts mum does—all demonstrating and reinforcing the mother’s love for her child. Simple, charming, and ideal for Mother’s Day or any day. Lynndy
A Year in the Wild by Helen Ahpornsiri ($25, HB)
This appealing book describes the passing of the seasons with beautiful pictures of flora and fauna. What sets it apart from other nature books is the manner of illustration—the book’s creator has done exquisite pressings of flowers and used them to create images of the creatures within the book. The text is both poetic and informative, and fun to read aloud. Highly recommended for ages 5–10 . Louise
classics & fairy tales
Wild Swans retold by Xanthe Gresham Knight (ill) Charlotte Gastaut ($15, PB)
Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale is updated with a feminist slant in Knight’s adaptation. In this version the siblings’ stepmother is a healer, desperate to vanquish the plague besieging the kingdom. Eliza is sent to a foster family and her eleven brothers are transformed into swans and sent away for their own protection. Hearing of their parents’ death, teenaged Eliza seeks out her brothers, determined to reverse the spell and restore them to their human form. Knight’s retelling doesn’t rely on Eliza’s marriage but allows her to thrive and succeed in her own right. French artist Gastaut’s illustrations—colour-saturated and gloriously lush —make this an edition worth adding to your fairy tale collection. Lynndy
The Adventures of Robin Hood retold by Adrian Mitchell (ill) Emma Chichester Clark ($30, HB)
So pleased to see this book reissued! Emma Chichester Clark’s illustrations bring the stories of Robin Hood to life, and Adrian Mitchell’s lively narrative is broken into eleven short stories. Whether Robin Hood was a real life person or not is immaterial, the stories capture the time and place beautifully, with all the fun and drama of Sherwood Forest. Louise
How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers by Andrew Terranova & Sharon Rose ($35, HB)
Whether you love trivia, or are fascinated by the products of human ingenuity, How Things Are Made will surely capture your interest. Informative and relevant, it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the production of everyday objects of all kinds, from guitars, sunscreen, and seismographs to running shoes, jet engines and chocolate. Alphabetically arranged, the forty-seven items are explored step by step, and manufacturing processes are shown via illustrations and simple diagrams. Sidebars with interesting anecdotes about many familiar objects are included, some unpacking ‘known’ history—eg did you know that Edison didn’t really invent the light bulb? Or that the first barcode was on a pack of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum? Fact fans of 11 to adult will find plenty to absorb them in this revised and updated edition. Lynndy
Birds and Their Feathers by Britta Teckentrup ($27, HB)
Louise and I absolutely love Britta Teckentrup’s books, poring over each new one and recommending her for various age ranges. Following her meditative picture book The Egg is her next avian melding of art, nature and picture book—Birds and Their Feathers. Through her delicately precise illustrations she illuminates the structure and purpose of feathers, as well as almost any other attribute you might think of. Although the target age range is 6–10 year-olds, there’ll be many adults unable to resist the quiet beauty of this book. Lynndy
for newly competent readers
The Party: And Other Stories: A Fox & Chick Book by Sergio Ruzzier ($25, HB)
Straddling the stage between picture book and novel, with slightly more complex language than in early readers, this collection of three stories is almost like a graphic novel with its illustrated panels, double-page spreads and dialogue in word balloons. The friendship between artistic, calm Fox and hyperactive Chick is sometimes strained, as we see in this droll little collection of stories. Chick asks to use Fox’s bathroom—and throws a party in it; then he challenges Fox’s vulpine authenticity based on Fox’s diet—which would normally include chickens; and finally Chick’s restlessness results in a non-portrait. Importantly, they accept each other’s foibles, and the stories are told with a gentleness that is repeated in the pen, ink and watercolour illustrations. Lynndy
Kat Wolfe Investigates by Lauren St John ($15, PB)
fiction for primary level
If you’re looking for a mystery leavened with humour and a menagerie of animals, St John’s latest book is a splendid start. Kat Wolfe and her veterinarian mother move from London to coastal Dorset and are immediately thrust into a very different lifestyle. Wanting independence, 12-year-old Kat sets up a pet-sitting agency which she hopes will complement her mother’s clinic. Her first client vanishes; another client is the victim of a conspiracy; and a promising friendship with Harper Lamb, the only client her own age, is skewed by Harper’s confinement with two broken legs. Village life is not what Kat expected! With persistence, and Harper’s computer expertise, the two girls solve a longstanding mystery as well as the life-threatening one at hand. Great escapism with more than a hint of danger, this volume sets the pace for the next thrilling mystery adventure in the Wolfe and Lamb Mysteries. Lynndy
for teen readers
The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge by Clare Strahan ($20, PB)
‘Vanessa Partridge, cello-playing good girl, spends every summer holiday at Shearwater. This year, her brother is bringing his best mate, Darith—the object of many, many fantasies Van will never say aloud. Or will she? This summer feels different...and so does Van. But her first taste of independence comes with a bitter tang of regret, and when her sense of self is shattered, Van wrestles with ideas of consent and desire, and what it means to want and be wanted. Can someone with sensible plaits and a soft spot for Plato also have secret, lustful fantasies? And if she does, is there anything wrong with that? The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge is a heartbreaking and joyful comingof-age novel about sex, love, family and finding your voice.’ Sympathetically written, Strahan’s new novel, with a 16-year-old overthinker heroine covers environmentalism, betrayal, stepfamilies, and fractured and manipulative relationships amidst enormous change, with none of it feeling crammed or false. A strong narrative with universal appeal and nary a word out of place, it’s bound to enjoy longevity. Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
Tell Me I’m Okay by David Bradford ($29.95, PB)
Retired sexual health doctor David Bradford relates a remarkable set of stories—about growing up as a gay child in a strongly Christian family, struggling with his sexuality, serving as an army doctor in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, working as Director of the Melbourne Communicable Diseases Centre at the time of the arrival of HIV/AIDS, and in private practice with hundreds of AIDS patients, many of whom did not survive. Bradford’s is a humane, wise, thoughtful voice, always conscious of the wonderful, the absurd, the fragile nature of life.
The Garden Apothecary by Reece Carter
Garden apothecary guru & herb nerd Reece Carter offers gentle traditional remedies born of the naturopathic tradition that you can make at home, as well as the most effective, easy & delicious ‘food as medicine’ recipes to help you feel better. His book contains remedies & recipes to: enhance digestion; naturally manage indigestion, IBS and inflammation; nurture happy, healthy gut bacteria; and lift mood. He also discusses how to achieve optimal health the naturopathic way, what you should grow in your garden & he takes a tour of the materia medica: the wonderful world of medicinal herbs. ($40, PB)
A Fat Lot of Good by Dr Peter Brukner ($35, PB)
Peter Brukner was trained to believe that drugs & surgery are the answers to all medical problems—but that all changed when, facing the double threat of obesity & diabetes himself, his research led to a shocking realisation that overturned a lot of the medical ‘truth’ he’d taken for granted In this book he offers: The real reasons why we’re all getting fatter & less healthy. The lowdown on carbs, fats and proteins—what they do, which we actually need & how much. What you need to know about insulin, inflammation and the gut microbiome. Dr Brukner’s Five Golden Rules for a healthy lifestyle. Tips on reading food labels, making smart choices when eating out & buying real food on a budget. Advice on how to get the right levels of exercise, sleep & sun to boost your health. A selection of simple low-carb, healthy fat recipes to get you started.
The Art of Living Alone and Loving It by Jane Mathews ($30, PB)
Whether you view living alone as the ultimate compromise or the ultimate luxury, it presents daily challenges, such as cooking for one, organising holidays, juggling finances & avoiding the siren call of wine, Ugg boots & Netflix. And there are the less tangible tests, like nailing the octopus of loneliness to the wall, and holding your head high in a society where solo living is viewed (consciously or not) as the runner-up prize. Jane Mathews believes that to be truly content living alone, it pays to examine every aspect of your life—relationships, health, home, finances, interests & spirituality— and then take action. Indoor Edible Garden by Zia Allaway ($40, HB) Want to grow your own, but have no garden? This book is packed with projects, ranging from simple windowsill planters & chic hanging displays to crates of fruiting produce, and is full of practical tips & stylish ideas for creating an indoor garden. Learn which plants & varieties are best to grow in Australian homes, how to maximise the space & light you have, and how to care for all your plants. Indoor Edible Garden will help you enjoy fresh produce all year round—all your favourite vegetables, herbs, edible flowers & fruits.
The Little Viet Kitchen by Thuy Diem Pham
Thuy Diem Pham spent her early years in Vietnam before moving to the UK with her family when she was just seven years old. Thuy learnt her craft through studying traditional recipes and techniques, passed down to her by her mother and other family members. Without any formal chef training, Thuy and her husband Dave established a weekly supper club from their home in Angel, London, which grew in popularity and was booked up six months in advance. Eventually they took the plunge and opened The Little Viet Kitchen in Islington. This book celebrates her love of Vietnamese cooking, culture & way of life. ($40, HB)
Infused Booze: Over 60 batched spirits and liqueurs to make at home by Kathy Kordalis
Savour the decadent Cherry Gin, or take summer refreshments to the next level with Lime & Lemongrass Gin. Make your own Liquorice Whiskey for the perfect digestif or spice up your parties with Jalapeño Vodka. Most infusions take just 10 minutes to prepare & are ready to drink in just 3 days. Kordalis has included a bespoke cocktail for each recipe, to make sure you get the most out of your flavoured booze. ($25, HB)
Now in paperback: Milk Made: A Book About Cheese: How to Choose It, Serve It and Eat It by Nick Haddow, $30
I do love Japanese food, but have never felt inclined to make it at home, so I fell on a new cookbook, Cibi by Meg & Zenta Tanaka, with both glee and some trepidation. Cibi happens to be my favourite cafe in Melbourne. Located in Collingwood, I’ve spent many happy hours there eating & staring into the middle distance. It’s an extremely peaceful space, quiet even when full of customers, and it has a beautiful little shop at the back, full of exquisite Japanese items. I baked the entirely delicious matcha muffins, despite not have the full range of the Japanese ingredients (the authors suggest more familiar ingredients—couverture chocolate as an alternative for adzuki bean paste, for example). Big success. My friend Pete also loves the book, and he’s made the baked salmon with mushrooms and sweet miso sauce. He found the instructions excellent, clear and easy to follow—even telling how to wrap the fish in baking paper. He also slow cooked beef in red wine and hatchlings, and made the radish and cabbage coleslaw, all delicious. Obviously this recipe book reflects the ethos behind this special place. Last month I wrote about a (two day) Tiramisu, I was making from the Ostro recipe book. It was a big hit with my family, but I’ve decided life is just too short to make your own Savoiardi biscuits, I’ll be using ones from the shop in future. But homemade marscapone is a different beast altogether! I can definitely recommend making your own, it’s even worth buying a cooking thermometer for it. Louise I’m still working my way through Helen Goh & Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet. This month I made the pistachio and rose water semolina cake—absolutely delicious, and it gets richer as the days go by. The beetroot, ginger & soured cream cake was a bit of a disappointment—not as gingery as I would like, and I think if I make it again I might use fresh grated ginger as opposed to ‘stem ginger’—an item I found profoundly lacking on the supermarket shelves. Also a shout out to the AWW’s Complete Baking Collection—no celebrity chef-ing here, just a great reference book. A friend requested an old-fashioned sponge cake—and AWW was there to help. Viki
Tokyo Local by Caryn Liew & Brendan Liew
It’s the chicken skin yakitori you eat at 2am in a bar the size of a cupboard. It’s the pork curry you devour after having to line up for 45 minutes with a bunch of excited teenagers. It’s the yuzu ramen you slurp after ordering it from a vending machine. It’s the tonkatsu you buy in a vast shopping-centre basement. And it’s the Oden that’s served to you by a laid-back surfer from Okinawa. Tokyo is an explorer’s dream & a food-lover’s paradise. Tokyo Local brings you 70 recipes for the dishes that define the city, so you can capture the magic of Tokyo at home. ($40, HB)
The Indian Vegetarian Cookbook ($49.95, HB)
Vegetables are an integral part of Indian cuisine—and this collection of 150 healthy & approachable vegetarian recipes showcases an array of delicious breakfasts & drinks, soups & salads, vegetables & legumes, grains & desserts. Drawing inspiration from India’s myriad regions & culinary traditions, Pushpesh Pant simplifies this hugely popular cuisine with easily achievable, nourishing, & authentic dishes so tasty & satisfying that they are suitable for vegetarians, meat-eaters & those simply wishing to reduce the amount of meat in their diet.
The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook
Traditionally, the Middle Eastern diet consisted largely of vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, pulses, grains and legumes. Salma Hage simplifies this fast becoming popular cuisine with easily achievable recipes, many with vegan and gluten-free options. Drawing inspiration from ancient and prized Phoenician ingredients, from grassy olive oil to fresh figs and rich dates, this book offers an array of delicious breakfasts and drinks, mezze and salads, vegetables and pulses, grains and desserts. ($49.95, HB)
Cuba: The Cookbook ($59.95, HB) by Madelaine Galvez & Imogene Tondre
Collected by those who best know the entire Cuban culinary landscape, the 350 home-cooking recipes in this compendium explore the country’s myriad traditions and influences—from Spanish to Soviet to Chinese—through recipes for appetizers, rice dishes, fish, meat, vegetables, egg dishes, desserts, and more.
Hummus Where the Heart Is: Moreish recipes for nutritious and tasty dips by Dunja Gulin
Chickpea-Based Hummus recipes such as Onion Jam Hummus & Fresh Herb Hummus. Bean & Lentil-Based Hummus features Spicy Red Lentil Hummus & an Indonesian style Hummus. The Veggie-Based selection includes a Baked Aubergine variety as well as a Sweet Potato & Coconut. Raw Hummus features a Cashew & Avocado & a Green Pea & Basil. A chapter of Dippers with Chapatis, Pitta Breads & Sesame Grissini. A section on Hummus Meals includes Chunky Hummus Burgers, Hummus Pasta Sauce & Veggies Baked in Hummus Batter. Finally, try some Sweet Hummus Brownies or Ice Cream Cups in the daring Desserts section. Dunja Gulin shares her tips and tricks for making perfect homemade hummus, so that you can get the flavour balance and texture just right every time. ($20, HB)
Events r Calenda
out! Don’t miss gleemail! Sign up for ks weekly The gleeboo pdate. u email events u books.com.a e le g s@ m si a
20 Launch—3.30 for 4 Meera Atkinson
Event—5.30 for 6 Andrew Leigh
Randomistas in conv. w Karl Kruszelnicki Randomised tests are carried out on us every day: by supermarkets, search engines, online dating sites and direct marketers. Andrew Leigh tells the stories of radical researchers who overturned conventional wisdom in medicine, politics, economics, law enforcement and more.
Event—6 for 6.30
The Art of the Essay
Panel: Vanessa Berry, Fiona Wright, Ashleigh Young This will be a panel discussion between three Giramondo authors— all highly regarded practitioners of the personal essay—examining the descriptive power of the essay, its celebration of place, and its lyrical and analytical qualities.
Welcome to In this curated gui nous Australia and Islands Professor offers fascinating digenous language tory, native title, a rytelling, and cult etiquette fo
The Sydn Telling the story of colonial Sydney book is the first d the warfare that oc Sydney region be & Aboriginal Aus arrival of a Brit 1788 to the last re the area
29 Event—6 for 6.30
Duterte Harry in conv. w Ben Doherty Roderigo Duterte’s war on drugs has seen thousands of people killed in cold blood—he says he does not ‘give a shit’ about human rights. Jonathan Miller charts Duterte’s rise, and shows how this fascinating, fearsome man can be seen as the embodiment of populism in our time.
Women of a From a woman wh to live until pube with secret inner l who strive to belon cannot wait to get en surprised by th pause to women em pected freedoms of tell what it is like
Traumata Launcher: Julianne Schultz Traumata deals with issues of our time—intergenerational trauma, family violence, alcoholism & addiction, child abuse—and forges a path of fearless enquiry through the complexity of human relationships. It also celebrates the abiding power of friendship, art and love.
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: email@example.com, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
—6 for 6.30 Langton
o Country idebook to Indiged the Torres Strait Marcia Langton insights into Ines & customs, hisart & dance, stotural awareness & or visitors.
—6 for 6.30 n Gapps
ney Wars of the first years y, this provocative detailed account of ccurred across the etween Europeans stralian from the tish expedition in ecorded conflict in in 1817.
—6 for 6.30 Scoda
Certain Age ho does not expect erty to teenagers lives; from women ng to women who away; from womhe arrival of menombracing the unexf old age. 15 voices e to be a woman.
Launch—6 for 6.30 Janine Dickinson
The Sweet Hills of Florence Launcher: Dianne Blacklock All Souls’ Day – the Day of the Dead, 1941. Florence, city of strife. It is Hitler’s state visit to Florence. Annabelle & Enrico, work first with the clandestine resistance, then openly with the partisans. Facing life and death together in the mountains, they forge a passionate life-long bond.
Event—6 for 6.30 Drew Rooke
11 Launch—6 for 6.30 Kim Hodges
One Last Spin in conv. with Paddy Manning So how did Australia evolve into a pokie nation? Drew Rooke’s book is a confronting tale about the human cost of addiction, of governments pandering to corporate interests, and of the insidious power of the industry’s PR spin.
Girl Over the Edge Launcher: Dr Peter McGeorge In this follow up to her incredibly successful debut memoir Girl on the Edge (2016), Kim Hodges takes the reader into severe episodes of depression, on the road to recovery and everything else in between. Dr Peter McGeorge is Consultant Psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.
25 Launch—6 for 6.30
Event—6 for 6.30
Meanjin A-Z Panel
with Stephanie Bishop, Jonathan Green & Fiona Wright Stephanie Bishop and Fiona Wright will join Meanjin editor Jonathan Green as they reflect on Meanjin’s legacy, and their own journeys as writers. Tickets $35: Includes Meanjin A-Z, Oslo design tote and a Meanjin backlist issue.
Nagaland Launcher: Jonathan Miller A powerful and evocative literary work that traverses new ground in the hinterland between biography and mythology—a journey into the life and legends of the Naga—a forgotten people living in the far northeast of India, struggling to survive in the modern world.
Coming in June
Tue 5: Phillipa McGuinness in conv. with Paul Daley; Thur 7: Gina Perry—The Lost Boys Tue 12: Michelle Scott Tucker in conv. with David Hunt Wed 13: Kate Rossmanith in conv. w Suzanne Leal Thur 14: Hugh Mackay in conv. w Caroline Baum for more information go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor is a novel unlike any other. It begins on a sombre note: ‘They gathered in the car park in the hour before dawn and waited to be told what to do’. This is the start of a desperate search for Rebecca, a missing 13-year-old girl, in the Peak District in the middle of winter. However, this is not a crime novel but an account of the rhythms of life in the village in the 13 years after her disappearance—including not just the people, but the foxes and badgers, the sheep and blackbirds, and the landscape itself. In the changing seasons of the ensuing years babies are born, the young people who knew Rebecca, including James who kissed her, grow up and go away, couples break up, and old people die. McGregor began by writing separate accounts of the village families, which he then broke up and rearranged, giving his prose a vivid freshness and the story a powerful cumulative effect. McGregor says he is ‘allergic to trying to make points in fiction’ and has an antipathy to ‘big drama’. Instead, he has given us a beautiful and memorable portrait of English country life. A new volume of Zadie Smith’s essays is always a matter for rejoicing and Feel Free contains many of her best ones from The New York Review of Books, including a spirited defence of public libraries in The North West London Blues and an equally trenchant dissection of Brexit titled Fences. For a short time Smith also wrote for Harper’s Magazine on topics as diverse as the dour philosophy of John Gray and the very undour life of ‘Debo’ Mitford, the late dowager duchess of Devonshire. Other goodies are her NYR essays Joy, on the gap between joy and pleasure, and Find Your Beach on life in New York. My favourites are the essays about her English father and Jamaican mother, including the one about the maisonette that the family moved into when Zadie was eight and where her mother still lives. Like Alan Bennett she is unreservedly grateful to the England that gave her free health care and a free education, without which we would not have the Zadie Smith whose versatility and intelligence have so enriched our lives. Stephen Greenblatt’s The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve is about the transmission and reception, mainly in Western culture, of the Creation Story in the first two chapters of Genesis. As a prequel, he discusses the Babylonian creation stories before turning his attention to Genesis. It’s a story that has attracted not just preachers, but artists like Dürer and Michelangelo, theologians like Jerome and Augustine, and poets like Dante and Milton. St Augustine is marked down for holding Eve responsible for the downfall of humanity and giving rise to the misogyny which subsequently permeated Christianity. Greenblatt’s discussion of Milton’s Paradise Lost is particularly delightful and includes a neat analysis of the small talk of the first couple who also, according to the poet, had sex in Paradise. Much later, Voltaire would ask what was wrong with people possessing the knowledge of good and evil, Mark Twain would ridicule the story, and Darwin would contend that we are more likely to have descended from apelike ancestors than from a beautifully formed first couple, with navels, living in a Mesopotamian paradise. There are some nice photographs of paintings of Adam and Eve, including the famous one on the Sistine chapel ceiling—which John Milton may have seen when in Rome. Greenblatt concludes with a visit to Kibale in Uganda, where he observes chimpanzees lolling around in trees in their jungle home and apparently living without shame or self-consciousness. Are animals like these, he asks, our real pre-lapsarian ancestors? A thrilling and thought-provoking book. Now for some light reading: Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. In 1986 Christopher Knight abandoned his car, walked out into the wilderness in northern Maine and disappeared for 27 years. He had no plan and took no supplies but set up home in a secluded spot where he dwelt in total solitude through bitterly cold winters and mosquito-ridden summers. He survived by stealing food, clothes, sleeping bags and gas cylinders until finally nabbed stealing food from a summer camp for disabled children. He spoke to nobody, never saw a doctor or dentist, but spent his time reading stolen books, listening to a stolen radio and playing stolen video games. Knight was the fifth son of a close-knit rural family who never told the police he was missing and took him back after he’d served his sentence for stealing. An intriguing read, at the end of which it was hard to decide whether to admire ‘the Hermit of North Pond’ or label him an anti-social predator. Sonia
Australia Reimagined: Towards a More Compassionate, Less Anxious Society by Hugh Mackay
Australia’s unprecedented run of economic growth has failed to deliver a more stable or harmonious society. Individualism is rampant. Income inequality is growing. Public education is under-resourced. The gender revolution is stalling. We no longer trust our major institutions or our political leaders. We are more socially fragmented, more anxious, more depressed, more overweight, more medicated, deeper in debt & increasingly addicted—whether to our digital devices, drugs, pornography or ‘stuff’. Yet Hugh Mackay remains optimistic. 25 years ago, he revolutionised Australian social analysis with the publication of Reinventing Australia. Now he takes another unflinching look at us & offers some compelling proposals for a more compassionate & socially cohesive Australia. You might not agree with everything he suggests, but you’ll find it hard to get some of his ideas out of your head. ($33, PB)
The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the early colony, 1788-1817 by Dr Stephen Gapps ($35, PB)
Telling the story of the first years of colonial Sydney in a new and original way, this provocative book is the first detailed account of the warfare that occurred across the Sydney region from the arrival of a British expedition in 1788 to the last recorded conflict in the area in 1817. Stephen Gapps sheds new light on how British & Aboriginal forces developed military tactics & how the violence played out. Analysing the paramilitary roles of settlers & convicts & the militia defensive systems that were deployed, Gapps shows that white settlers lived in fear, while Indigenous people fought back as their land & resources were taken away—detailing the violent conflict that formed part of a long period of colonial strategic efforts to secure the Sydney basin and, in time, the rest of the continent.
Dark Emu, New Edition by Bruce Pascoe ($20, PB)
Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating & storing—behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen & Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further & challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records & diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources. Bruce’s comments on his book compared to Gammage’s: ‘My book is about food production, housing construction & clothing, whereas Gammage was interested in the appearance of the country at contact. [Gammage] doesn’t contest hunter gatherer labels either, whereas that is at the centre of my argument’.
Victory on Gallipoli: and Other What-ifs of Australian History (ed) Peter Stanley ($30, PB)
What if Gallipoli was a military success, Australia had a female prime minister in the 1920s, we won the soccer world cup in 1974, and Gough Whitlam chose his time to retire from the top job. What if the 1951 referendum to outlaw the Communist Party had been successful? And what if Kingsford Smith had survived his transPacific crossing in 1935? The past is irreversible, but imagination is unlimited—as the essays in this volume by Janette Bomford, Guy Hansen, Carolyn Holbrook, Walter Kudrycz, Michael McKernan, Ross McMullin, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, John Maynard, Michael Molkentin, Roslyn Russell, Peter Stanley, Craig Wilcox & Clare Wright prove.
Griffith Review 60: First Things First (ed) Julianne Schultz ($28, PB)
More than 2 centuries after European settlers arrived, the need to find an honourable way to recognise & celebrate the unique history of this country as home to the oldest living civilisation is long overdue. A Makaratta Commission is the preferred way to do this, to make agreements & enable truth-telling about our history. Are we ready to make peace & devise firmer ground for laws, policies & outcomes that improve Indigenous & non-Indigenous life in Australia? Inspired by the Uluru Statement, and featuring Indigenous writers, Griffith Review 60 is an urgent, nuanced & robust call to listen, hear & respond to questions of constitutional recognition—excavating history & re-imagining the future, while not forgetting the urgencies of the present.
Aboriginal Biocultural Knowledge in South-eastern Australia: Perspectives of Early Colonists by Fred Cahir, Ian D. Clark & Philip A. Clarke This book examines historical records from early colonists who interacted with south-eastern Australian Aboriginal communities & documented their understanding of the environment, natural resources such as water & plant & animal foods, medicine & other aspects of their material world—providing a compelling case for the importance of understanding Indigenous knowledge, to inform discussions around climate change, biodiversity, resource management, health & education. ($69.95, PB)
Now in paperback The Enigmatic Mr Deakin by Judith Brett, $35
Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia by Marcia Langton ($40, HB) This is a curated guidebook to Indigenous Australia & the Torres Strait Islands. Professor Marcia Langton offers fascinating insights into Indigenous languages & customs, history, native title, art & dance, storytelling, and cultural awareness & etiquette for visitors. There is also a directory of Indigenous tourism experiences, organised by state or territory, covering galleries & festivals, national parks & museums, communities that are open to visitors, as well as tours & performances. This book is essential for anyone travelling around Australia who wants to learn more about the culture that has thrived here for over 50,000 years.
Monash’s Masterpiece: The battle of Le Hamel and the 93 minutes that changed the world by Peter FitzSimons ($35, PB)
The Battle of Le Hamel on 4 July 1918 was an Allied triumph, and strategically very important in the closing stages of WWI. A largely Australian force, commanded by the brilliant Sir John Monash, fought what has been described as the first modern battle. Monash planned every detail meticulously, with nothing left to chance. Integrated use of tanks, planes, infantry, wireless (and even carrier pigeons!) was the basis, and it went on from there, down to the details: everyone used the same maps, with updated versions delivered by motorbike despatch riders to senior commanders, including Monash. Peter FitzSimons brings this Allied triumph to life.
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder ($33, PB)
Today’s Russia is an oligarchy propped up by illusions & repression. But it also represents the fulfilment of tendencies already present in the West. And if Moscow’s drive to dissolve Western states & values succeeds, this could become our reality too. Timothy Snyder shows how Russia works within the West to destroy the West; by supporting the far right in Europe, invading Ukraine in 2014, and waging a cyberwar during the 2016 presidential campaign & the EU referendum. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the creation of Donald Trump, an American failure deployed as a Russian weapon. History never ends, and this new challenge forces us to face the choices that will determine the future—equality or oligarchy, individualism or totalitarianism, truth or lies.
A Line in the River by Jamal Mahjoub ($28, PB)
When the 1989 coup brought a hard-line Islamist regime to power, Jamal Mahjoub’s family were among those who fled. Almost 20 years later, he returned, to find a country on the brink of rupture. Re-discovering the city in which his formative years were spent, Mahjoub encounters people & places that he left behind. The capital contains the keys to Sudan’s divided, contradictory nature & while exploring the Khartoum’s present—its changing identity & shifting moods, its wealthy elite & neglected poor—Mahjoub also delves into the country’s troubled history, one turbulent with the rivalry between Christians & Muslims. His search for answers evolves into a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of identity, both personal & national.
Copycats and Contrarians: Why We Follow Others... and When We Don’t by Michelle Baddeley
Rioting teenagers, tumbling stock markets & the spread of religious terrorism appear to have little in common, but all are driven by the same basic instincts: the tendency to herd, follow & imitate others. In today’s interconnected world, group choices all too often seem maladaptive. With unprecedented speed, information flashes across the globe & drives rapid shifts in group opinion. Adverse results can include speculative economic bubbles, irrational denigration of scientists and other experts & seismic political reversals. Drawing on insights from across the social, behavioural & natural sciences, Michelle Baddeley explores contexts in which behaviour is driven by the herd. She analyses the rational vs nonrational & cognitive vs emotional forces involved offering new perspectives on followers, leaders, and the pros & cons of herd behaviour in the context of our ever-more-connected world. ($45, HB)
Reclaiming the State by Thomas Fazi & William Mitchell ($41.95, PB)
The crisis of the neoliberal order has resuscitated a political idea widely believed to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and the neo-nationalist, anti-globalisation & anti-establishment backlash engulfing the West all involve a yearning for a relic of the past: national sovereignty. In response to these challenging times, economist William Mitchell & political theorist Thomas Fazi reconceptualise the nation state as a vehicle for progressive change. They show how despite the ravages of neoliberalism, the state still contains resources for democratic control of a nation’s economy & finances. The populist turn provides an opening to develop an ambitious but feasible left political strategy.
Now in B Format Adults In The Room by Yanis Varoufakis, $23
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies & Leadership by James Comey ($33, PB)
James Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as US attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the US deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. From prosecuting the Mafia & Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration’s policies on torture & electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign & Russia, he has been involved in some of the most consequential cases & policies of recent history. In this book he shares some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past 2 decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions.
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber
Back in 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes prophesied that by the century’s end, technology would see us all working 15 hour weeks. But instead, something curious happened. Today, average working hours have not decreased, but increased. And now, across the developed world, three-quarters of all jobs are in services or admin, jobs that don’t seem to add anything to society— bullshit jobs. David Graeber explores how this phenomenon—one more associated with the 20th century Soviet Union, but which capitalism was supposed to eliminate—has happened. In doing so, he looks at how we value work—how work has become an end in itself, and the way such work maintains the current broken system of finance capital; and, finally, how we can get out of it. ($50, HB)
Remaking the Middle East by Anthony Bubalo
Not since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire has the Middle East been convulsed by so many events in such a short period of time. Uprisings, coups & wars have seen governments overthrown, hundreds of thousands killed & millions displaced. Parts of the region have become ungoverned or ungovernable. Anthony Bubalo argues that the current turmoil is the result of the irrevocable decay of the nizam—the system by which most states in the modern region are ruled. But it is possible to spot ‘green shoots’ of change that could remake the Middle East in ways that are more inclusive, more democratic, less corrupt & less violent. Such an outcome is not inevitable, but with so much commentary focused on what is going wrong in the region, it is also important to identify what may well go right. ($10, PB)
The Value Of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy by Mariana Mazzucato
Who really creates wealth in our world? And how do we decide the value of what they do? In modern capitalism, value-extraction—the siphoning off of profits, from shareholders’ dividends to bankers’ bonuses—is rewarded more highly than value-creation—the productive process that drives a healthy economy & society. We misidentify takers as makers, and have lost sight of what value really means. Yet, argues Mariana Mazzucato in this penetrating & passionate new book, if we are to reform capitalism we urgently need to rethink where wealth comes from. Who is creating it, who is extracting it, and who is destroying it? ($35, PB)
It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America by David Cay Johnston ($35, PB)
Welcome to the new EPA, run by Scott Pruitt, a lawyer who has spent much of his career trying to destroy the agency he now heads, and now keeps staffers in the dark to make sure his pro-pollution plans don’t leak. Instead of ‘draining the swamp’ Trump has filled his cabinet with millionaires & billionaires like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin & billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. When Trump isn’t in Washington, he stays at one of his properties, where the taxpayers pick up the tab for staffers, Secret Service, and so on, all at full price. Meanwhile sons Donald Jr. and Eric run an eyes-wide-open blind trust of Trump holdings to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest—but not the reality. David Cay Johnston, who has been following Trump since 1988, goes inside the administration to show how the federal agencies that touch the lives of all Americans are being undermined.
Hyper-Capitalism by Larry Gonick ($35, PB)
Welcome to the Cartoonist Larry Gonick & psychologist Tim Kasser offer a vivid & an accessible new way to understand how global, privatising, market-worshipping hyper-capitalism is threatening human well-being, social justice & the planet. Drawing from contemporary research, they describe and illustrate concepts (such as corporate power, free trade, privatisation & deregulation) that are critical for understanding the world we live in, and movements (such as voluntary simplicity, sharing, alternatives to GDP & protests) that have developed in response to the system. Rendered in clear, graphic—and sometimes hilarious—terms, their book point the way to a healthier future for all of us.
Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell ($50, HB)
Art historian Jack Hartnell uncovers the complex & fascinating ways in which the people of the Middle Ages thought about, explored & experienced their physical selves. In paintings & reliquaries that celebrated the—sometimes bizarre—martyrdoms of saints, the sacred dimension of the physical left its mark on their environment. In literature & politics, hearts & heads became powerful metaphors that shaped governance & society in ways that are still visible today. And doctors & natural philosophers were at the centre of a collision between centuries of sophisticated medical knowledge, and an ignorance of physiology as profound as its results were gruesome. Like a medieval pageant, this unusual history brings together medicine, art, poetry, music, politics, cultural and social history & philosophy to reveal what life was really like for the men & women who lived & died in the Middle Ages.
Little History of Archaeology by Brian Fagan
Brian Fagan tells the riveting stories of some of the great archaeologists & their amazing discoveries around the globe: ancient Egyptian tombs, Mayan ruins, the first colonial settlements at Jamestown, mysterious Stonehenge, the incredibly preserved Pompeii, and many, many more. In 40 brief, exciting chapters, the book recounts archaeology’s development from its 18th century origins to its 21st century technological advances, including remote sensing capabilities & satellite imagery techniques that have revolutionized the field. Shining light on the most intriguing events in the history of the field, this absolutely up-to-date book illuminates archaeology’s controversies, discoveries, heroes & scoundrels, global sites & newest methods for curious readers of every age. ($35, HB)
Broken Lives by Konrad Jarausch ($75, HB)
Drawing on six dozen memoirs by the generation of Germans born in the 1920s, Konrad Jarausch chronicles the unforgettable stories of people who lived through the Third Reich, World War II, the Holocaust, and Cold War partition, but also participated in Germany’s astonishing postwar recovery, reunification, and rehabilitation. Bringing together the voices of men & women, perpetrators & victims, Broken Lives reveals the intimate human details of historical events & offers new insights about persistent questions. Why did so many Germans support Hitler through years of wartime sacrifice & Nazi inhumanity? How did they finally distance themselves from this racist dictatorship & come to embrace human rights? Jarausch argues that this generation’s focus on its own suffering, often maligned by historians, ultimately led to a more critical understanding of national identity—one that helped transform Germany from a military aggressor into a pillar of European democracy.
Origin Story: A Big History Of Everything by David Christian ($35, PB)
How did we get from the Big Bang to today’s staggering complexity, in which 7 billion humans are connected into networks powerful enough to transform the planet? And why, in comparison, are our closest primate relatives reduced to near-extinction? David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale. He traces how, during 8 key thresholds, the right conditions have allowed new forms of complexity to arise, from stars to galaxies, Earth to homo sapiens, agriculture to fossil fuels. In this global origin story that we can only begin to tell recently, thanks to the underlying unity of modern knowledge—Christian reveals what we learn about human existence when we consider it from a universal scale.
Absolute Power: How the Pope Became the Most Influential Man in the World Paul Collins
In 1799, the papacy was at rock bottom: The Papal States had been swept away & Rome seized by the revolutionary French armies. The cardinals were scattered across Europe, and Catholics feared they would be unable to elect the next pope. Even if Catholicism survived, it seemed the papacy was finished. Yet, just over 200 years later, the pope’s influence reaches across the world—from Cuban politics to gender equality to the refugee crisis—and the strength of his ‘soft power’ is incomparable. Paul Collins tells the improbable success story of the last 220 years of the papacy, and poses pressing, critical questions: Does today’s church governance stray from the teachings of the gospel? Is the papacy’s internal power so great that it might be considered heretical? What can be done to ensure a credible path forward? ($40, HB)
Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather by Tessa Boase From the High Victorian era to the Jazz Age, whatever your class, it was de rigueur to deck your head with plumage, wings even entire birds. An insatiable global trade in feathers brought bird life to the brink of extinction: snowy egrets, crested grebes, jewel-like hummingbirds. The struggle to save the birds was a woman’s campaign—this is the story of the leader of this fight— a woman just as heroic as Emmeline Pankhurst—Etta Lemon. known as ‘Mother of the Birds’ ($40, HB)
Science & Nature
The Cow Book: Story of Life on a Family Farm by John Connell ($30, PB)
Farming has been in John Connell’s family for generations, and The Cow Book is the story of a calving season in which Connell records the hypnotic rhythm of the farming day—cleaning the outhouses, milking the herd, tending to sickly lambs, helping the cows give birth. It is also the story of the cow itself, from its domestication & worship as a God by the Ancient Egyptians to the modern practice of mechanized herds, via the figure of the cowboy, the destruction of the American buffalo, the demise of the aboriginal jackaroos & the consequences of BSE.
Burn Out: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels by Dieter Helm ($33, PB)
An energy revolution is under way with far-reaching consequences for nations, companies & the way we address climate change. Low oil prices are sending shockwaves through the global economy, and longtime industry observer Dieter Helm explains how this & other shifts are the harbingers of a coming energy revolution & how the fossil fuel age will come to an end. He surveys recent surges in technological innovations, documenting how the global move toward the internet-of-things will inexorably reduce the demand for oil, gas & renewables—and prove more effective than current efforts to avert climate change. He concludes by offering advice on what governments & businesses can and should do now to prepare for a radically different energy future.
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: The Untold Story of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte ($33, PB)
66 million years ago the dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the earth—after a 150 millions year rule. Today, Dr Steve Brusatte, one of the leading scientists of a new generation of dinosaur hunters, uses fossil clues that have been gathered using state of the art technology to follow these magnificent creatures from their beginnings in the Early Triassic period to their final days in the Cretaceous & the legacy that they left behind. Along the way, he introduces us to modern day dinosaur hunters & gives an insight into what it’s like to be a paleontologist. At a time when Homo sapiens has existed for less than 200,000 years & we are already talking about planetary extinction, this book is a timely reminder of what humans can learn from the magnificent creatures who ruled the earth before us.
The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli ($30, HB)
Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists & poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past & the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe. With his extraordinary charm & sense of wonder, bringing together science, art & philosophy, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery, inviting us to imagine a world where time is in us & we are not in time.
Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald ($33, PB)
Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years. Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology. Yet until recently, jellyfish were largely ignored by science, and they remain among the most poorly understood of ocean dwellers. Recent, massive blooms of billions of jellyfish have clogged power plants & decimated fisheries. Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development & climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, ocean scientist Juli Berwald travelled the globe to meet with biologists who devote their careers to jellies, hitched rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, & raised jellyfish in her dining room—to discover that jellyfish science is more that just a quest for answers. It’s a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share
Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester ($33, PB)
Precision is the key to everything. The items we value in our daily lives all sport components that fit together with precision & operate with near perfection. And yet while we assume that the more precise a device the better it is, we are not entirely sure what precision is, or what it means. How & when did it begin to build the modern world? Simon Winchester seeks to answer these questions through stories of precision’s pioneers. Exactly goes back to the origins of the Industrial Age, to Britain where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John ‘Iron-Mad’ Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden & Joseph Whitworth. Along the way he asks if the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life has blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art & high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise & the natural co-exist in society?
Philosophy & Religion The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam by F. E. Peters ($45, PB)
F. E. Peters has rethought and thoroughly rewritten his classic The Children of Abraham for a new generation of readers—in this updated edition, he lays out the similarities & differences of the three religious siblings with great clarity, succinctness and with the objectivity that is the hallmark of all Peters’ work. He traces the 3 faiths from the 6th century BC, when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the time in the Middle Ages when they approached their present form. He points out that all 3 faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as ‘People of the Book’, share much common ground. Most notably, each embraces the practice of worshipping a God who intervenes in history on behalf of His people. This is an update at a time when the understanding of these three religious traditions has taken on a new and critical urgency.
Action Versus Contemplation by Jennifer Summit& Blakey Vermeule ($50, HB)
‘All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone’, Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654. But then there’s Walt Whitman, in 1856: ‘Whoever you are, come forth! Or man or woman come forth! / You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house’. Is it better to be active or contemplative? To do or to think? To make an impact, or to understand the world more deeply? Aristotle argued for contemplation as the highest state of human flourishing. But it was through action that his student Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Summit & Vermeule guide readers through the long history of this debate from Plato to Pixar, drawing compelling connections to the questions & problems of today. Rather than playing one against the other, they argue, we can discover how the two can nourish, invigorate & give meaning to each other, as they have for the many writers, artists & thinkers, past & present, whose examples give the book its rich, lively texture of interplay & reference.
Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray ($45, HB)
‘When you explore older atheisms, you will find some of your firmest convictions—secular or religious—are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for may be freedom from thought.’ For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a shrill, narrow derision of religion in the name of an often very vaguely understood ‘science’. John Gray’s stimulating & extremely enjoyable new book describes the rich, complex world of the atheist tradition, a tradition which he sees as in many ways as rich as that of religion itself, as well as being deeply intertwined with what is so often crudely viewed as its ‘opposite’. The result is a book that sheds a varied light on what it is to be human & on the thinkers who have, at different times & places, battled to understand this issue.
Idleness: A Philosophical Essay by Brian O’Connor
Brian O’Connor argues that the case against an indifference to work and effort is flawed—and that idle aimlessness may instead allow for the highest form of freedom. Idleness explores how some of the most influential modern philosophers drew a direct connection between making the most of our humanity and avoiding laziness. Idleness was dismissed as contrary to the need people have to become autonomous and make whole, integrated beings of themselves (Kant); to be useful (Kant and Hegel); to accept communal norms (Hegel); to contribute to the social good by working (Marx); and to avoid boredom (Schopenhauer and de Beauvoir). O’Connor throws doubt on all these arguments, presenting a sympathetic vision of the inactive and unserious that draws on more productive ideas about idleness, from ancient Greece through Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, Schiller & Marcuse’s thoughts about the importance of play, and recent critiques of the cult of work. ($45, HB)
Now in paperback The Courage Of Hopelessness: Chronicles Of A Year Of Acting Dangerously by Slavoj Žižek, $20 The Book Of Why: The New Science Of Cause And Effect by Judea Pearl ($50, HB)
‘Correlation does not imply causation’. This mantra was invoked by scientists for decades in order to avoid taking positions as to whether one thing caused another, such as smoking & cancer & carbon dioxide & global warming. But today, that taboo is dead. Judea Pearl is a world-renowned Israeli-American computer scientist and philosopher, known for his world-leading work in AI and the development of Bayesian networks, as well as his theory of causal and counterfactual inference. The causal revolution, sparked by world-renowned computer scientist Judea Pearl & his colleagues, has cut through a century of confusion & placed cause & effect on a firm scientific basis. Now, Pearl and science journalist Dana Mackenzie explain causal thinking to general readers for the first time, showing how it allows us to explore the world that is & the worlds that could have been. It is the essence of human & artificial intelligence. And just as Pearl’s discoveries have enabled machines to think better, The Book of Why explains how we can think better.
Psychology The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson ($30, PB)
Christie Watson was a nurse for 20 years. Taking us from birth to death & from A & E to the mortuary, her book is an astonishing account of a profession defined by acts of care, compassion & kindness. We watch Christie with a new mother holding her premature son who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side as she spends many hours watching agonising heart & lung surgery, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive. In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is there by your side. She is a guide, mentor & friend. And in these dark days of division & isolationism, she encourages you to stretch out your hand.
Nurturing Resilience: Helping Clients Move Forward from Developmental Trauma--An Integrative Somatic Approach by Kain & Terrell ($40, PB)
Kathy L. Kain & Stephen J. Terrell draw on 50 years of their combined clinical & teaching experience to provide this clear road map for understanding the complexities of early trauma & its related symptoms. Experts in the physiology of trauma, the authors present an introduction to their innovative somatic approach that has evolved to help thousands improve their lives. Synthesizing across disciplines—Attachment, Polyvagal, Neuroscience, Child Development Theory, Trauma, and Somatics—this book provides a new lens through which to understand safety & regulation. It includes the survey used in the groundbreaking ACE Study, which discovered a clear connection between early childhood trauma & chronic health problems. For therapists working with both adults & children & anyone dealing with symptoms that typically arise from early childhood trauma—anxiety, behavioural issues, depression, metabolic disorders, migraine, sleep problems & more—this book offers fresh hope.
Mental: Everything You Never Knew You Needed to Know about Mental Health by Steve Ellen & Catherine Deveny ($30, PB)
Psychiatrist Dr Steve Ellen & comedian Catherine Deveny combine forces to demystify the world of mental health. Providing an insider perspective, they share their personal experiences of mental illness & unpack the current knowledge about conditions & treatments. What do we know? What don’t we know? How do we get help? What actually works? Full of anecdotes, real-life stories & reflections on the cultural & historical context, Mental is an irreverent & entertaining guide to the full spectrum of mental health issues—from depression & anxiety to schizophrenia, personality disorders & substance abuse, offering clear practical advice on how to live successfully.
The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself by Andrea Buchanan ($33, PB)
While crossing the street one morning, Andrea Buchanan lost her mind. Triggered by a sudden coughing fit, she began to choke. She had a lot weighing on her that day. A sick son. A pending divorce. The guilt of failing as a partner, as a mother. By the time Andrea could draw a deep breath again, a small tear had ripped in her dura mater, the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. What followed was months of pain and confusion as her brain-no longer cushioned by a healthy bed of cerebrospinal fluid-sank to the bottom of her skull. In this luminous memoir, Buchanan seeks to understand—where was ‘I’ when I wasn’t there? This is not just the fascinating account of a brain disorder that pushes the limits of medical understanding; it’s a life-affirming story of a woman’s journey back to her own mind.
The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and The Improvised Mind by Nick Chater
We all like to think we have a hidden inner life. Most of us assume that our beliefs & desires arise from the murky depths of our minds, and, if only we could work out how to access this mysterious world, we could truly understand ourselves. For more than a century, psychologists & psychiatrists have struggled to discover what lies below our mental surface— but behavioural scientist Nick Chater reveals that this entire enterprise to be utterly misguided. Drawing on new research in neuroscience, behavioural psychology & perception, he shows that we have no hidden depths to plumb, and unconscious thought is a myth. Instead, we generate our ideas, motives & thoughts in the moment. This revelation explains many quirks of human behaviour—for example why our supposedly firm political beliefs, personal preferences & even our romantic attractions are routinely proven to be inconsistent & changeable. Discover, through mind-bending visual examples & counterintuitive experiments, that we are all characters of our own creation, constantly improvising our behaviour based on our past experiences. And, as Chater shows us, recognising this can be liberating. ($55, HB)
All Grown Up Sally Rooney’s first novel, Conversations With Friends, is a brilliant and slightly disconcerting novel about being young, and finding love. Frances and Bobbi were girlfriends at school. They are now studying at Trinity, Dublin—still friends who perform some spoken word, and occasionally live together.They both befriend a glamorous, youngish married couple, and Frances becomes involved with the husband, Nick. A familiar narrative perhaps—but written with such an authentic voice, it’s unusual. Pitfalls may lurk around every every corner, misfortune might drop with every wrong decision, but somehow Frances, who narrates the story, navigates her way through it all—self aware, self conscious, and with a precocious intelligence. These are disturbing times, and also very fluid—this novel is about gender politics and social standing as much as anything else. Dublin makes a wonderful backdrop to the story, with a glittering sojourn to the South of France, written with beguiling clarity. I like fiction, and biography, and I read cookbooks too, but the self-help book doesn’t really appeal to me—unless it’s about decluttering. Dolly Alderton’s Everything I know About Love is classified as a self-help book, but, really, I would call it a memoir. I’m very familiar with Dolly as I listen to the High Low podcast that she co-hosts with Pandora Sykes every week—so I was curious about her book. She is certainly engaging to listen to, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy her book as much as the podcast. However—It’s fabulous! It is an advice book—helpful to those in their twenties or younger. But as I am not, I found it to be a fascinating look at the (much) younger generation. The author is a party girl in her twenties—a very hard working, ambitious one, who has an impressive work history thus far. She didn’t particularly enjoy growing up, she longed to be a grown up. She writes very endearingly about the joy of paying her own bills and her rent, and positively revels in adult life. Amongst her many talents she clearly has one for friendship. This comes through loud and clear—particularly with her childhood friend Farley—a relationship that overarches this book in a wholly positive way. A memoir can be too revealing, and while some of Alderton’s can be toe-curling, she manages to maintain an intelligent discretion, even when she is describing some extraordinarily colourful details, particularly of nights out. Julian Barnes’ unsettling new book The Only Story is also about growing up—set mainly in a very conservative village in England in the 1970s. Paul is just 19 when he meets and falls in love with Susan at the local tennis club. Susan is 48, unhappily married to the ghastly Gordon, with two daughters, and yet she seems as naïve as Paul. The story is told with such clarity and precision, such beautiful language and almost whimsical detail—it’s like being smacked with a velvet lined bat. The narrative voice moves from first person to second, and finally is told in the third person—a device that gives the reader a 360 degrees view of the whole story, and an immersive look at Paul—whether you like it or not. This is a devastating book—reminding you how one bad decision can affect so many people, for such a long time. Louise
Copenhagenize: The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism by Mikael Colville-Andersen ($40, PB)
rban designer Mikael Colville-Andersen draws from his experience working for dozens of cities around the world on bicycle planning, strategy, infrastructure design, and communication to show how to effectively & profitably re-establish the bicycle as a respected, accepted & feasible form of transportation. He offers entertaining stories, vivid project descriptions, and best practices, alongside beautiful & informative visuals to show how to make the bicycle an easy, preferred part of everyday urban life.
After The Fact by Nathan Bomey ($45, HB)
Journalist Nathan Bomey argues that Donald Trump is the inevitable outcome of the post-truth era rather than its inventor. He points to recent trends that have created the perfect seedbed for spin, distortion, deception & bald-faced lies—shifting news habits, the rise of social media, the spread of entrenched ideologies & the failure of schools to teach basic critical-thinking skills. We consume fake news stories online & carelessly circulate false rumours. We vote for leaders who leverage political narratives that favour ideology over science. Bomey explores how the convergence of technology, politics & media has ushered in the misinformation age, 18 sidelining the truth & threatening our core principle of community.
Cultural Studies & Criticism Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin ($35, PB)
This boundary-shifting fusion of thinking, storytelling & meditation takes as its starting point 5 axioms: Give Me a Child Before the Age of 7 and I’ll Give You the (Wo)Man; ‘History Repeats Itself…’; ‘Those Who Forget the Past are Condemned to Repeat It’; ‘You Can’t Enter The Same River Twice’; ‘Time Heals All Wounds’. These beliefs—or intuitions—about the role the past plays in our present are often evoked as if they are timeless & self-evident truths. It is precisely because they are neither, yet still we are persuaded by them, that they tell us a great deal about the forces that shape our culture & the way we live. The past shapes the present—they teach us this in schools & universities. But the past cannot be visited like an ageing relative; the past doesn’t live in little zoo enclosures. Half the time, the past is nothing less than the beating heart of the present. So, how to speak of the searing, unpindownable power that the past—ours, our family’s, our culture’s —wields now?
Hunter S. Thompson: The Last Interview ($28, PB)
More than a decade after his death, Hunter S. Thompson is as relevantas ever. Vigorously political, he anticipated the current situation in Washington, and in a collection of rare (and in some cases never-before-published) conversations that range from an early chat with Studs Terkel, to a decade-long exchange with editor David Streitfeld, to his last public interview (no longer available online), his prescience is both exhilarating and profound.
One Last Spin: The Power & Peril of the Pokies by Drew Rooke ($30, PB)
Almost 200,000 poker machines sing & flash in pubs, clubs & casinos in every corner of the country. They’re highly complex devices, their components designed by mathematicians, musicians, animators & ergonomic experts. They’re also widely considered the most harmful form of gambling, the cause of the majority of gambling addictions. So how did Australia evolve into a pokie nation? With candid interviews from gambling addicts, politicians, manufacturers, neuroscientists, counsellors, anti-gambling campaigners & gambling advocates, Drew Rooke explores how the machines work to hook people in, and the vicious fight being waged to evict them from the country’s social life. It is a confronting tale about the human cost of addiction, of governments pandering to corporate interests—and of the insidious power of the industry’s PR spin.
Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday ($33, HB)
In 2016, Gawker Media, infamous for saying what other outlets wouldn’t, was sued for publishing Hulk Hogan’s sex tape, lost the case & went bust. After countless other lawsuits it seemed that Gawker had finally run out of luck. But luck had nothing to do with it. Peter Thiel, PayPal founder & billionaire investor, had masterminded the whole thing. Still furious at an article that had outed him ten years previously, & increasingly disgusted at Gawker’s unscrupulous reporting methods, Thiel had spent nearly a decade meticulously plotting a conspiracy that would lead to the demise of Gawker and its founder, Nick Denton. Informed by exclusive interviews with all the key players, this case transcends the narrative of revenge, or the current state of the free press. It’s a study in power, strategy, and a most wildly ambitious—and successful—secret plot.
Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It by Mark Seidenberg ($27, PB)
Cognitive scientist Mark Seidenberg reveals the underexplored science of reading, which spans cognitive science, neurobiology & linguistics— showing that the disconnect between science & education is a major factor in illiteracy. How we teach reading places many children at risk of failure, discriminates against poorer kids, and discourages even those who could have become more successful readers. Children aren’t taught basic print skills because educators cling to the disproved theory that good readers guess the words in texts, a strategy that encourages skimming instead of close reading. Interventions for children with reading disabilities are delayed because parents are mistakenly told their kids will catch up if they work harder. Learning to read is more difficult for children who speak a minority dialect in the home, but that is not reflected in classroom practices. By building on science’s insights, we can improve how our children read, and take real steps toward solving the inequality that illiteracy breeds.
Balancing Acts: Women in Sport (eds) Justin Wolfers & Erin Riley ($33, PB)
Focusing on a critically underrepresented part of Australian culture (the many ways non-male participants in sport negotiate the traditionally male spectacle of athleticism) this collection investigates the way sporting bodies & achievements are portrayed in Australian media & daily life. The book understands the term ‘sport’ in the widest possible sense, and applies the definition of ‘women’ in the same broad way to include trans, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex, and otherwise non-cis women. Several essays are also written from and/or about queer, gay & bisexual women. Essays examine the way women athletes’ experience are marginalised & under-reported, and attempt to de-centre the status quo of sports writing & commentary as currently dominated by male perspectives & expertise.
Natural Causes:Life, Death and the Illusion of Control by Barbara Ehrenreich ($30, PB)
A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life—from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness & mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture. Armed with a PhD in cellular immunology Ehrenreich goes into the fundamental unreliability of our bodies and even our ‘mind-bodies’, to use the fashionable term—showing how little control we our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. Moving seamlessly from biology & philosophy to history & poetry Ehrenreich’s book is richly layered with evidence, stories & quotations and sprinkled with barbed humor—skewering Silicon Valley meditators & misogynist obstetricians with equal vigor.
On Patrick White by Christos Tsiolkas ($18, PB)
‘Patrick White, the un-Australian writer who did more than any other writer in the 20th century to create an imaginative language that we can call Australian, who unshackled us from the demand that we write as the English do, who recognised, through his own alienation & also through his profound love for his partner, that we were a migrant & mongrel nation forging our own culture & our own language.’ Christos Tsiolkas spent a year of ‘discovery and rediscovery’ reading Patrick White. In this passionate book he shows how the Nobel Prize winner’s work still speaks to us.
Creativity Crisis: Toward a Post-Constructivist Educational Future by Robert Nelson ($39.95, PB)
Robert Nelson argues that university education is systematically uncreative and suggests how this might be changed. Constructive alignment, the centrepiece of today’s university pedagogy, promotes mechanistic thinking and the anxious gathering of manipulative skills. Learning happens more effectively when students take their study in new directions derived from their intimate, imagined relations with the new material they are encountering. Richly steeped in the history of ideas, from ancient Greece to the present, this book radically revises the concept of student-centredness, explores the language that encourages creativity, and helps teachers cultivate imaginative enthusiasm. Creativity Crisis is essential reading for those concerned with the nature and quality of instruction at university level.
Now in b format Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, $20
Language & Writing
Offshoot: Contemporary Life Writing Methodologies & Practice ($40, PB) (eds) Donna Lee Brien & Quinn Eades
This book includes essays in life writing methodologies & approaches, as well as a series of creative work—poetry & prose—that engages with current life writing. Starting from the premise that life writing is a significant component of both contemporary artistic practice & scholarship, Offshoot provides a necessary re-evaluation of the mode, its contemporary sub-generic incarnations, as well as methodological & practical approaches. The book presents research on a wide range of approaches, including both traditional areas such as literature & creative writing & areas that have not previously been associated with life writing scholarship—highlighting the development & influence of the genre in the 21st century.
On Editing ($30, PB) by Helen Corner-Bryant & Kathryn Price
Writing is a magical hobby & form of expression but getting words on the page is not the same as finalising material which you are happy to send out & share. Helen Corner-Bryant is the founder of Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, an organization which offers a bespoke service of help & advice to novelists & writers. Kathryn Price is managing editor at Cornerstones. In this bookthey offer a complete toolkit which will help you to tame doubts & insecurities & engage with your internal critic in order to assert control over your manuscript & elevate your writing. Learn to compose, draft & edit while sharpening your writing & ensuring that your novel is structurally sound, authentic, well-written & ready for submission.
Read This if You Want to Be a Great Writer by Ross Raisin ($25, PB)
This book demystifies the writing process, empowering you to write your own novel or short story. Britishc novelist Ross Raisin explains expert technique in a clear & jargon-free way, with examples from twenty-five masters of prose. This book will motivate & strengthen the writing talen of aspiring writers of all ages & abilities.
2nd2nd2ndHand Hand HandRows Rows Rows
Rebecca Wiley’s Visit To Norman Lindsay At Springwood, May 1918 by Rebecca Wiley, Supplementary text by Barry Watts and Judy Lukin: Angus and Robertson, 1986. Hardcover. 130pp. Numerous Colour and b/w illustrations by Norman Lindsay. Good Condition in a Good Dustjacket. $30.00. Friday afternoon. 3 May 1918. The offices of Angus and Robertson. Fellow publisher Sydney Ure Smith is holding forth to George Robertson about his latest commercial woes: ‘He despaired of getting the limited edition of the Pen Drawings of Norman Lindsay signed by the artist…He had written and urgently- wired Lindsay to come down and sign ‘em, but the beggar simply took no notice’. Robertson has the solution. Rebecca Wiley, head of Angus and Robertson’s Mailing Department, is given the following order: ‘Rebecca, I want you to go to Springwood by the 8.10 train tomorrow morning to see Norman Lindsay and get him to autograph 200 copies of his book’. At 10.20 the following morning, the intrepid signature-obtainer arrives in Springwood on a ‘glorious’ Autumn morning and discovers that the Lindsay home was ‘a good 3 miles further out’ at Faulconbridge. The local Estate Agent owns the only motor car in Springwood and ‘finally decided to run me out for six shillings’. The Lindsays had purchased their four-room sandstone cottage—in a state of disrepair—and the surrounding 17 hectares, from department store founder Francis Foy, five years previously. Norman built a timber studio and had begun gardening and landscaping projects. Rebecca Wiley presents her letter of introduction to Rose Lindsay. It states that she was chosen by Robertson for the task since ‘she is simply un-shockable—I mean by anything in the Art line’. While she awaits Norman Lindsay’s appearance, Rebecca is served refreshments in the parlour and remarks on one of Norman Lindsay’s obsessions: ‘All over the house there are no other pictures save Lindsay nudes…Nudes to the right of me, Nudes to the left of me, in oils, in water-colours, in black and white—you could not get away from them…’ ‘N.L.’, as he is called, finally arrives. When informed of the purpose of Wiley’s unexpected visit, he replies: ‘Well, you’ll have to stop the whole week! Robertson’s a blooming autocrat! I can’t do it. Why Saturday’s my worst day, I always have the Bulletin work to finish’. However, some gentle coaxing from Rebecca Wiley sees him complete his signing duties within three quarters of an hour. With a few hours to spare before leaving for the 6.00pm train back to Sydney, Rebecca is given a tour of the grounds; learns of planned extensions to the house; surveys the art studio that provides Lindsay peace and quiet from a flock of domesticated turkeys and is invited to stay for lunch. ‘N.L.’ holds court on topics including the English class system, Irish Home Rule, Christianity and The National Gallery in Sydney refusing to pay his price of one hundred guineas for an illustration. The golden afternoon of a century ago gently passes by. Wiley wrote up this charming account of her visit on her return to Sydney. It was bound in manuscript form and filed away in the company archives to lie undisturbed for nearly seventy years. Until its reappearance in this handsome volume—with a very informative Supplementary Text. 100 years years later, it retains both its charm and historical interest. HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: A signed and numbered copy of the Norman Lindsay – Pen Drawings (1918 First Edition) – of which only 150 of the 200 copies were offered for sale - now fetches over $2,000. Stephen
2nd Hand Cooking
With the return of the hugely popular MasterChef to our small screens I thought it timely to feature a selection of titles from our always interesting secondhand cooking section. So for all would-be Marco Pierre Whites and Nigellas feast your eyes on the following: Good Food from Morocco by Paula Wolfert (author of the classic The Cooking of South-West France). Wolfert has been described as ‘an adventuress and a highwire kitchen improviser’—indispensible qualities for arid lands or bachelors’ fridges. $18 Gourmet’s Old Vienna Cookbook by Lillian Langseth-Christensen. A rare printon-demand re-issue of the 1959 classic with tantalizing dishes such as Gypsy Carp (Zigeunerkarpfen), Chicken Mimosa (Mimosenhuhner), Rum Raisin Fritters (Rum Rosinenkrapfen) and more. Dust off the André Rieu, slip on the lederhosen or dirndl and tuck into some Kalbsnieren Baden-Baden (Veal Kidneys in Truffle Sauce) with a well-chilled moiselle or two. $40 The Taste of Thailand by Vatcharin Bhumichitr. Still bearing a sticker from Bangkok’s exculsive Shangri-La Hotel this beautifully illustrated book includes old favourites and exotic regional dishes. Battered prawns with fresh pickles, cucumber stuffed with beef, hot & sour seafood salad, son-in-law eggs (‘eggs’ is apparently a euphemism—ouch!). Intended for the tourist market the book includes essays about Thai cuisine and culture and provides an interesting snapshot of the country when it was first published in 1988. Scott
1918—Part 2: ‘War consumes men.’
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain $23, PB. Australians on the Western Front 1918: V1—Resisting the Great German Onslaught by David W. Cameron $35, PB Death was Their Co-Pilot: Aces of the Skies by Michael Dorflinger $55, HB The First World War: A Complete History by Martin Gilbert $45, PB All the Kaiser’s Men: The Life and Death of the German Army on the Western Front 1914-1918 by Ian Passmore $35, 2nd hand In mid-April 1918, English nurse Vera Brittain was making her way to her hospital ward in Étaples, France, when she saw a large contingent of soldiers marching along the road: …though the sight of soldiers marching was now too familiar to arouse curiosity, an unusual quality of bold vigour caused me to stare at them with puzzled interest…Had yet another regiment been conjured out of our depleted Dominions?...But I knew the colonial troops so well, and these were different; they were assured where the Australians were aggressive, self-possessed where the New Zealanders were turbulent. Nurses behind her cried out excitedly: ‘Look! Look! Here are the Americans!’ However, few of the long-awaited American troops were yet in action. In April, the Germans recaptured Passchendaele Ridge, the scene of such horrendous fighting and severe Allied losses a mere five months earlier. Machine gunner Private J. Parkinson, recalled being taken prisoner: I felt a bump in my back. I turned around there was a German officer with a revolver in my back. ‘Come along Tommy. You’ve done enough.’ I turned around then and said ‘Thank you very much, Sir.’ I know what I would have done if I had been held up by a machine gunner and had a revolver in my hand, I’d have finished him off. He must have been a real gentleman. The war also continued unabated in the air. On 20 April, Freiherr Manfred von Richthofen, the 25-year-old German air ace, known as The Red Baron—because he painted his aircraft red—shot down his 80th Allied plane near Villiers-Bretonneux. The next day, over Vaux-sur-Somme while in aerial combat, he was killed by Australian ground fire and buried at Bertangles Military Cemetery with full honours. This was a massive blow to German morale. By the end of April, despite the appearance of success, the German offensive itself was faltering. Halted by increasingly stubborn Allied resistance—and widespread looting and pillaging by German units of vast British supply dumps—less than 7kms from Amiens. Australian troops slowed, then halted a German drive towards the Somme. From commencing as a single massive thrust, the grand offensive had become a three-pronged advance following the line of least resistance. Crown Prince Rupprecht, commander of four German armies, identified the flaw: ‘The German High Command has changed direction. It has made its decision according to the size of its territorial gains, rather then according to operational goals.’ Ludendorff had turned towards numerous objectives of lesser strategic importance in which none of his forces would be strong enough to break through. Operation Mars, a drive towards Arras and Operation Georgette whose objective was Ypres both failed against well organised, effective Allied defences. After the initial success, the Allies learnt to deal with the German infiltration tactics. Exhaustion and troop losses were also taking an irreplaceable toll. By May, German casualties were almost 350,000 – one fifth of their original strength. Ludendorff was unperturbed. In planning the 1918 offensives he stated that he was prepared to accept the loss of a million men to ensure victory: ‘War consumes men. That is its nature’. The Allies had suffered 240,000 casualties—over half were Prisoners of War—and the French toll was some 92,000. This ‘parity’ of loss disguised the fact that the Germans had sacrificed the majority of their frontline storm troops. The price for the concentration of quality in these elite units was the degrading of the combat performance of their other divisions. These forces of lower quality would carry the burden of defence should the German offensives falter and the strategic initiative be lost. Their manpower crisis was in stark contrast to the growing strength of the Allies. By 1 May, the Americans had 430,000 men in France and their divisions were some 28,000 strong. Twice the strength of their British, French and German counterparts. By the end of May, the total was 650,000. By then, some German commanders advised that there might be little value in persisting with further offensives. Ludendorff would have none it: “What is the purpose of your croaking? What do you want from me? Am I now to conclude peace at any price?” He remained determined to repeat the initial success of two months previously - to break the Allied line and reach Paris. On 27 May—after a brief lull for redeployment— he launched Operation Blucher (named after the Prussian hero of Wellington’s victory over the French in the Battle of Waterloo) which struck a weakened area of the French frontlines in what became the Third Battle of the Aisne. Again, an initial bombardment of 6,000 guns—even larger and more ferocious then March—and a dramatic German breakthrough saw them advance to Soissons and Chateau-Thierry a mere 50 miles (80kms) from Paris. On 1 June, the American troops entered the battlefield front for the first time at Belleau Wood. Advised by retreating French troops to retreat also, Captain Lloyd Williams replied:
‘Retreat? Hell, we just got here.’ They then launched a famed counter attack. On 21 June 1918, Vera Brittain received a telegram informing her that her brother Edward had been killed on the Italian front six days previously. That same month the Nation published a poem entitled Futility by Second Lieutenant Wilfred Owen: Move him into the sun— Gently its touch awoke him once, At home, whispering of fields half-sown. Always it woke him, even in France, Until this morning and this snow. If anything might rouse him now The kind old sun will know. Think how it wakes the seeds— Woke once the clays of a cold star. Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir? Was it for this the clay grew tall? —O what made fatuous sunbeams toil To break earth’s sleep at all? Stephen Reid
Poems for a world gone to sh*t (ed) Quercus
An uplifting, moving and funny poetry anthology including the most-loved poets of the past and popular contemporary voices to remind you to keep looking up at the stars, whatever sh*t life throws at you. Reflective, funny, political, inspiring, insightful, dark & sometimes light, the volume includes poems by Nikita Gill, Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish, Wendy Cope, Kim Addonizio, Francine Elena, Larkin, Lorca, Tracy K. Smith, Emily Dickinson, Byron, Milton, Emily Bronte, Christina Rossetti, William Blake, Paul Dunbar, Coleridge, Shakespeare, Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Katherine Mansfield, Walt Whitman, Lola Ridge, Edward Lear, Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Edith Nesbit, & many more. ($25, PB)
Collected Poems: Galway Kinnell ($50, HB)
In a remarkable generation of poets, Galway Kinnell was an acknowledged, true master. From the book-length poem memorializing the grit, beauty & swarming assertion of immigrant life along a lower Manhattan avenue, to searing poems of human conflict & war, to incandescent reflections on love, family & the natural world—including Blackberry Eating, St Francis and the Sow & After Making Love We Hear Footsteps—to the unflinchingly introspective poems of his later life, Kinnell’s work lastingly shaped the consciousness of his age. Spanning 65 years of intense, inspired creativity, this volume, with its inclusion of previously uncollected poems, is the essential collection for old and new devotees of a ‘poet of the rarest ability...who can flesh out music, raise the spirits, and break the heart’.
Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 by Frank Bidart ($72, HB)
Frank Bidart’s pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognises our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us. Half-Light encompasses all of Bidart’s previous books, and also includes a new collection, Thirst, in which the poet austerely surveys his life, laying it plain for us before venturing into something new and unknown. Here Bidart, finds himself a ‘Creature coterminous with thirst’, still longing, still searching in himself, one of the ‘queers of the universe’.
Rise Like Lions: Poetry for the Many (ed) Ben Okri ($35, HB)
Booker Prize winning writer Ben Okri has compiled a collection of poems that celebrate the many voices of politics, from polemics & rallying cries to lyrics & meditations. Many of these poems have resonated with readers over lifetimes & through generations, from William Blake to Marvin Gaye. In exploring the impact political poems have on ideas, vision, protest, change & truth, Okri demonstrates how the need for this strand of poetry is as great as it has ever been, and its inspiration just as powerful.
The Pleasures of the Damned : Selected Poems 1951–1993 by Charles Bukowski ($35, PB)
This is a selection of the best poetry from America’s most iconic and imitated poet, Charles Bukowski. Celebrating the full range of his extraordinary sensibility and uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a lifetime of experience, from his renegade early work to never-before-collected poems penned during the final days before his death.
One the Ropes: A Novel James Vance & Dan E. Burr, HB
Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto Lesley Hazleton, HB
The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life Rodney Dietert, HB
The Witches: Salem, 1692 Stacy Schiff, HB
How to Write Like Tolstoy Richard Cohen, HB
Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl, and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis Catrine Clay, HB
Love Poems Bertolt Brecht, HB
Dothead: Poems Amit Majmudar, HB
I Shall Not Be Moved Maya Angelou, PB
The Wooden Horse: The Liberation of the Western Mind from Odysseus to Socrates Keld Zeruneith, PB
Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology Al-Khalili & McFadden, HB
Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets Svetlana Alexievich, HB
East West Street Philippe Sands, HB
Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the 15th Century to the 21st Frank Trentmann, HB
The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War Arkady Ostrovsky, HB
On Tocqueville: Democracy and America Alan Ryan, PB
The Genius of Birds Jennifer Ackerman, HB
Acorn Yoko Ono, HB
Marilyn Monroe: The Final Years Keith Badman, PB
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion Robert Gordon, HB
The Arts Olive Pink: Artist, Activist & Gardener by Gillian Ward ($50, HB)
A fiercely independent woman ahead of her time, Olive Pink is best known for her staunch support of the Aboriginal people of Central Australia and for her often feisty encounters with anthropologists, missionaries and local pastoralists. Olive fought hard not only for the rights of the local Arrernte and Warlpiri people, with whom she forged a strong connection, but also to recognise and protect the diversity of the local flora about which she was so passionate. This book presents a superb selection of original paintings of the iconic flowers of the Central Australian region, alongside a fascinating biography featuring beautifully reproduced memorabilia of a colourful & unconventional historical Australian figure.
This is M. Šašek by Olga Cerna ($50, HB)
Originally trained as an architect, Miroslav Šašek had just begun a career in children’s literature when the Czechoslovak coup d’état of 1948 prompted him to emigrate to Munich, West Germany, where he worked for Radio Free Europe from 1951 to 1957. His book This Is Paris appeared in 1959, starting what ultimately grew into a series of eighteen books. This charming biography illustrated with documents and personal images, first covers his life from his childhood years to his career as a successful artist & illustrator and then examines Šašek as an author, setting his work in the context of international visual art. Richly illustrated—from his books as well as independent work & photographs from private archives, along with vintage fan letters from the children inspired by his wonderfully illustrated books.
Modern Art Cookbook by Mary Ann Caws
Food has always been a favourite subject of the world’s artists, from still-lifes by Matisse & Picasso to the works of Claes Oldenberg & Andy Warhol. This book provides a window into how both great & lesser-known modern artists, writers & poets ate, cooked, depicted & wrote about food. A cornucopia of life in the kitchen & in the studio throughout the 20th century & beyond, the book explores a wide-ranging panoply of artworks of food, cooking & eating from Europe & the Americas—from the early moderns through the Impressionists, Symbolists, Cubists, Futurists & Surrealists up to today’s art—as well as writing about food from contemporary novelists, writers & poets. Beautifully illustrated this volume is a joyous guide to the art of food. ($38, PB)
Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art by Emma Acker et al
Characterized by highly structured, geometric compositions with smooth surfaces, linear qualities & lucid forms, Precisionism fully emerged after WWI and flourished in the 1920s & 1930s. This publication features more than 100 masterworks by artists such as Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe & Charles Demuth, with essays exploring the origins of the style—which reconciled realism with abstraction & adapted European art movements like Purism, Cubism & Futurism to American subject matter—as well as its relationship to photography, and the ways in which it reflected the economic and social changes brought about by industrialization and technology in the post-WWI world. In addition to making a meaningful contribution to the resurging interest in Modernism and its revisionist narratives, this book offers copious connections between the past & our present day, poised on the verge of a 4th industrial revolution. ($115, HB)
Eric Ravilious Scrapbooks ($95, HB)
The collected volumes of artist-designer Eric Ravilious’s preparatory works & materials provide a veritable mine of information about his work & working methods, particularly regarding the masterful development of his signature pure pattern. Bringing together over 170 images taken from the artist’s 5 scrapbooks, with accompanying commentary, this book documents the considered progression of an inquisitive mind, grasping his chosen subjects in a unique & delicate visual language, where many of the artist’s most famous motifs & images can be seen blossoming from embryonic stages—providing a fascinating record of a febrile imagination.
Van Gogh and Japan ($80, HB)
This gorgeous publication offers a detailed reassessment of the impact Japanese printmaking had on Van Gogh’s creative output. The essays look at the ways in which the artist constructed his understanding of a Japanese aesthetic & his utopian ideal of a so-called primitive society—incorporating these into his own vision & practice. The size, nature & importance of Van Gogh’s own collection of Japanese prints are also explored. Lavish illustrations include Van Gogh oil paintings & drawings as well as a selection of the Japanese works that so captured his imagination.
Mark Bradford by Cornelia H. Butler ($65, PB)
Mark Bradford, the Los Angeles-based artist, is best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that examine the class, race & gender-based economies that structure urban society. His collages & installations, made of materials scavenged from the streets, have created a unique body of work that still stands as a strong response to the impromptu networks that emerge within a city. In this new book, his life and work are explored as never before.
Reading Art: Art for Book Lovers by David Trigg ($49.95, HB)
As every book tells a story, every book in art is part of an intriguing, engaging & relatable image. Books are depicted as indicators of intellect in portraits, as symbols of piety in religious paintings, as subjects in still lifes, and as the raw material for contemporary installations. This celebration of artworks featuring books & readers from throughout history spotlights artworks from museums & collections around the globe, creating a gorgeous, inspiring homage to both the written word & to its pivotal role in the visual world.
Out this month Platform Papers 55: Art, Politics, Money: Revisiting Australia’s Cultural Policy by David Throsby, $17 Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney & the London Painters 1945–70 by Martin Gayford
Martin Gayford explores the development of painting in London from WW2 to the 1970s based on an exceptionally deep well of firsthand interviews, often unpublished, with such artists as Victor Pasmore, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Allen Jones, R. B. Kitaj, Euan Uglow, Howard Hodgkin, Terry Frost, Gillian Ayres, Bridget Riley, David Hockney, Frank Bowling, Leon Kossoff, John Hoyland & Patrick Caulfield. Gayford also teases out the thread weaving these individual lives together & demonstrates how & why, long after it was officially declared dead, painting lived & thrived in London. Simultaneously aware of the influences of Jackson Pollock, Giacometti & (through the teaching passed down at the major art school) the traditions of Western art from Piero della Francesca to Picasso & Matisse, the postwar ‘School of London’ painters were bound by their confidence that this ancient medium could do fresh & marvelous things, and explored in their diverse ways, the possibilities of paint. ($50, HB)
Performance Now : Live Art for the 1st Century by Roselee Goldberg ($60, HB)
This book offers an unprecedented illustrated survey of the temporal medium of performance art, which is notoriously hard to document, written by curator, art historian & critic RoseLee Goldberg. 6 chapters cover different themes of performance art, such as beauty, global citizenship & activism, as well as its intersection with other media including film & technology, dance, theatre & architecture—interspersed with illustrated profiles of some of the world’s best-known performance artists, including Maria Abromavic, Matthew Barney & Laurie Simmons. Extended captions assess the importance of specific works in context.
All the Buildings in Sydney...that I’ve Drawn so Far by James Gulliver Hancock ($35, HB) This is James Gulliver Hancock’s love letter to his home town, told through his unique & charming drawings of the city’s diverse architectural styles & cityscape. Organised by neighbourhoods, the book features iconic Sydney structures, such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, as well as the everyday buildings that give the city its character—the terrace houses in Paddington, the bungalows by the beach, and the incredible sandstone buildings from Sydney’s past.
Small Innovative Houses by Philip Jodidio
Budgets aren’t what they used to be, houses are smaller, and lifestyles are changing rapidly. Clients today want flexible space, and when climate allows, even the distinctions between indoors and out are dissolving. How to make the most of a narrow lot, how to use every square foot of living space, while also responding to rising ecological concerns, and skyrocketing energy bills – the answer is clearly the small, innovative house, as examples from Chile to Tokyo show. This compendium presents cutting-edge ideas for small residences from the world of international architecture and interiors built within the past five years. ($70, HB)
Cabins by Philip Jodidio ($39.95, HB)
Ever since Henry David Thoreau described his refuge existence at Walden Pond, Massachusetts, in Walden (1854), the idea of a cabin dwelling has seduced the modern psyche. In eschewing excess, the cabin limits actual spatial intrusion to the bare essentials of living requirements, while in responding to its typically rustic setting, it foregrounds eco-friendly solutions. From an artist studio on the Suffolk coast in England to eco-home huts in the Western Ghats region of India, this book showcases the variety of cabins in use.
DVDs With Scott Donovan Pigsty: Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini ($32.95, Region 2)
Franco Citti & Pierre Clementi are cannibalistic savages who rampage a world outside of any distinct time or place; Pierre Leaud & Anne Wiazemsky are a romantically engaged couple in a contemporary Germany painted as a morass of industrialisation, fascist impulse & bestial instincts. Rivalled only by Pasolinis’ Salo in its obsession with the politics of bourgeois degradation, Pigsty challenges & enlarges the notions of what makes for ‘a political film. One of Pasolini’s most controversial and wilfully provocative works—a deranged parody of cinema as revolutionary act.
Film/Notfilm: Dir. Samuel Beckett
Film is Samuel Becketts’ lone work for projected cinema. It is a beguiling experimental short film in which a probing camera pursues a character named ‘O’—played by silent screen legend Buster Keaton. In his Kino-Esssay, Notfilm, Ross Lipman explores the history surrounding the production of Film. Citing the work of Buñuel, Vertov, Vigo & Eisenstein, and featuring interviews with cinematographer Haskell Wexler, Billie Whitelaw, producer Barney Rosset & others, Notfilm examines Film’s genesis, production, themes & philosophical implications. With a raft of extras including a rare British remake starring comedian Max Wall, The Street Scene; a lost scene reconstruction from the Film outtakes; audio recordings of Beckett, Kaufman & Schneider; Buster Keaton & Film: James Karen in Conversation; and much more. ($45, Region 2 DVD & Blu-ray)
Accattone: Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini
On the mean streets of Rome, Accattone’s eponymous pimp (Franco Citti—one of the remarkable cast of local non-professionals) leads a hand-to-mouth existence on the very margins of society: prostituting, scrounging, exploiting. When his prize prostitute Maddalena is arrested & jailed, the pimp’s fortunes dwindle, and he is forced to confront his own existence. Pasolini’s debut feature rocked the cineam world with its depictions, at once raw & elegant, of the underside of Roman street life. Special features include Pasolini’s 1965 feature-length documentary Comizi d’amore, on the complementary theme of Italian attitudes towards sex; a feature length audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns ($36.95, Region 2 DVD & Blu-ray)
Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt ($23, PB)
On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling who sang (an improved version of!) the theme from his Piano Concerto Number 17 in G to him. Knowing a kindred spirit when he met one, Mozart wrote ‘That was wonderful’ in his journal and took the bird home to be his pet. For three years Mozart and his family enjoyed the uniquely delightful company of the starling until one April morning when the bird passed away. In 2013, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Crow Planet, rescued her own starling, Carmen, who has become a part of her family. In his book Haupt explores the unlikely bond between one of history’s most controversial characters & one of history’s most notoriously disliked birds.
Shakespeare Dwelling: Designs for the Theater of Life by Julia Reinhard Lupton ($50, PB)
Great halls and hovels, dove-houses and sheepcotes, mountain cells and seaside shelters—these are some of the spaces in which Shakespearean characters gather to dwell, and to test their connections with one another and their worlds. Julia Reinhard Lupton enters Shakespeare’s dwelling places in search of insights into the most fundamental human problems. Focusing on five works (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Pericles, Cymbeline & The Winter’s Tale), Lupton remakes the concept of dwelling by drawing on a variety of sources, including modern design theory, Renaissance treatises on husbandry & housekeeping, and the philosophies of Hannah Arendt & Martin Heidegger. The resulting synthesis not only offers a new entry point into the contemporary study of environments; it also shows how Shakespeare’s works help us continue to make sense of our primal creaturely need for shelter.
Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist by Thomas Doherty ($65, HB)
In 1947, the Cold War came to Hollywood. Over nine tumultuous days in October, the House Un-American Activities Committee held a notorious round of hearings into alleged Communist subversion in the movie industry. In Show Trial, Thomas Doherty goes behind the scenes at the first full-on media-political spectacle of the postwar era, a courtroom drama starring glamorous actors, colourful moguls, on-the-make congressmen, high-priced lawyers, singleminded investigators, and recalcitrant screenwriters, all recorded by newsreel cameras & broadcast over radio. In a rich, character-driven inquiry he explores the deep background to the hearings & details the theatrical elements of a proceeding that bridged the realms of entertainment and politics, providing a gripping new cultural history of one of the most influential events of the postwar era.
what we're reading
Stef: A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. Set in Moscow from the early 1900’s the story spans decades drawing the reader through the political upheavals of Russia. Count Alexander Rostov, recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt is an unrepentant aristocrat who has just been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. His crime—to be born into a family of independent means and a life of leisure. As the Count adjusts to his new life in the hotel Metropol, no longer in his comfortable, elegant and spacious suite on the third floor, his new home is now a small attic room with just one small window, barely high enough for the Count to stand upright. But instead of his world shrinking and diminishing it becomes rich and expansive—as the years tick by the Count forms deep and lasting friendships within the Hotel Metropol, accepting his changing circumstances, rising to the daily challenges and never losing hope or his optimism for mankind and the good of the world. This is truly an extraordinary novel—a pure joy to read
John: I picked up King Zeno by Nathaniel Rich after a chat one of our customers who had ordered the book after reading a glowing review in the New York Review. I was just about to have a week off, and King Zeno sounded like a good book to take with me. Nathaniel Rich weaves a story around New Orleans in 1918—about music, corruption, soldiers returning from the war in Europe, what the war has done to them and the Spanish Flu that has come to New Orleans with them. It is also story about murder, but its not a crime novel. Some of Rich’s best writing is in his description of the digging of a new canal, and his writing about the emergence of Jazz makes you feel like you’re there. King Zeno is multi-layered with each layer adding to a turbulent tale that’s about many things—but in which New Orleans as a character looms large. Highly recommended.
The Blue Angel: Dir. Josef von Sternberg
Emile Jannings portrays a schoolteacher whose fateful expedition to catch his students frequenting the cabaret know as ‘The Blue Angel’ leads to his own obsession with the establishment’s main attraction Lola (Marlene Dietrich)—triggering the downward spiral of his life and fortune. From here, the director, Von Sternberg & Dietrich would go on to make six more films together in the span of five years, and leave a legacy of some of the most indelible iconography in the cinema of glamour & obsession. A new 1080p HD presentation on blu-ray of both the German-language & English-language version. ($34.95, Region 2 DVD & Blu-ray)
Vision: Color and Composition for Film by Hans P. BacherHans Bacher’s pro-
duction designs have established the look of many seminal animated films such as The Lion King, Balto, Mulan and Beauty and the Beast. Featuring hundreds of carefully hand-crafted illustrations as well as significant tuition on how to best compose & use images to create the most powerful frames, the internationally renowned production designer shares his expertise in an easy-to-follow & imaginative way—giving tips, exercises, and a depth of knowledge garnered from a lifetime in the industry. ($50, HB)
The Shining by Kevin J Donnelly ($28, PB)
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) is an esteemed member of the 20th century’s pantheon of outstanding films while also perhaps being the director’s most accessible film. It is a rarity in that on the one hand it was a successful mainstream horror film about a violent father in a deserted & haunted hotel, but on the other is a more rarefied & esoteric object for cult audiences who are convinced that the film means something totally different. Seeing the film as a vehicle for secret messages has led to a myriad of different interpretations, which has helped elevate the film’s cult status over the years to make it a special case in cinema. Indeed, it is so singular that it arguably even redefines the notion of cult film. This volume investigates The Shining’s most fascinating aspects as a film while also addressing the range of meanings and interpretations assigned to the film, looking into what has made it one of the key cult films of the last half century.
The Tchaikovsky Papers: Unlocking the Family Archive ($75, HB)
This fascinating collection of letters, notes & miscellanea from the archives of the Tchaikovsky State House-Museum sheds new light on the world of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Most of these documents have never before been available in English, and they reveal the composer’s daily concerns, private thoughts & playful sense of humour. Often intimate and sometimes bawdy, these texts also offer a new perspective on Tchaikovsky’s upbringing, his relations with family members, his patriotism, and his homosexuality, collectively contributing to a greater understanding of a major artist who had a profound impact on Russian culture and society—an essential compendium for cultural & social historians as well as musicologists and music lovers.
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. Rather His Own Man
2. Girls at the Piano
3. Call Me Frank: 20 Men Over 50 Tell It Like It Is
4. QE 69: Mark McKenna on the Use & Abuse of
5. The Boy from Baradine
6. Painting History: China’s Revolution in a Global Context
7. The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History
8. 12 Rules for Life
Jordan B Peterson
9. The Birds At My Table: Why We Feed Wild Birds
& Why It Matters
10. Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. The Shepherd’s Hut
2. The Death of Noah Glass 3. Saudade
Gail Jones Suneeta Peres da Costa
4. The Only Story
5. The Temptation of Forgiveness 6. The Rúin
7. The Woman in the Window 8. The Lebs
A J Finn
I’d never heard of Olive Pink—but when adding her biography to the arts page, my interest was piqued, so I wiki-ed her and found this charming story: Pink lived to 91, refused the old age pension, and lived in huts and a tent on the outskirts of Alice Springs—living off the proceeds of her home grown fruit and flowers and exhibitions of her artwork as well as a job cleaning the local courthouse. In 1955 she applied to the Northern Territory administrator for a reservation of about 20 hectares of land on the eastern bank of the Todd River as a flora reserve. The following year the grant was gazetted as the ‘Australian Arid Regions Flora Reserve’, with assistance from the Minister for the Territories, Sir Paul Hasluck. Pink was appointed as the ‘honorary curator’. Hasluck reports: ‘At the Arid Zone reserve Miss Pink planted trees and, with the aid of her Aboriginal helper, watered them and tended them. Each tree bore the name of some prominent citizen and if that citizen fell out of favour with her she ceased to water it. So that if the leaves of ‘Mr Archer’ were drooping and the leaves of ‘Mr Marsh’ were bright and green or ‘Mr Barclay’ was growing vigorously one knew at once what had happened in the handling of her latest request. I visited her on several occasions and could never restrain a curious glance at my tree and felt suitably gratified if I saw that ‘Mr Hasluck’ was being watered regularly.’ Meanwhile, I’m reading the new Barbara Ehrenreich, Natural Causes (page 19) and am enjoying her skewering of the medical test-mad eternal life and beauty movements. The other book I’m reading at the moment is A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore. If you read only one book about the impending global collapse on all fronts, I’d recommend it be this one. I believe Patel and Moore offer hope for the future towards the end of their book, but at halfway through I can’t help feeling slightly overwhelmed at the thought of what a huge, and in the current climate impossibly co-operative, effort it would be for humanity to change change its suicidal course toward extinction. As an aside, the origins of that cheery Italian farewell ‘ciao’ are surprising. Some would see reading David Cay Johnston’s It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America as not helping my sense of overwhelm, but his criminally undemocratic presidency is fascinating all the same. Viki
Michael Mohammed Ahmad
9. The Life to Come 10. The Punishment She Deserves
and another thing.....
Michelle de Kretser Elizabeth George
For more May new releases go to:
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Book and DVD new releases for May 2018 from one of Australia's leading independent bookshops.