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Vol. 24 No. 10 November 2017
el e s v no om ook ew m H eb n â€™s Fro Gle y re ay at a C y W nth r te Wa mo e P ng is Lo s th A he c n lau See inside for our events calendar 1
It’s a great Christmas for Australian fiction with a swag of terrific new novels, some of which we’ve already reviewed. There’s no question that the genius for reinvention is alive and thriving in the new books of Michelle de Kretser, Peter Carey and Richard Flanagan, but I’d like to pay some attention to something I’d overlooked. You have to dip your lid to Literary Award judges (thankless job, really). This year’s Miles Franklin was bound to be awarded to an author without a high profile, once the short list was known. But the winning book, Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions is a cracker. And more than that, suddenly a book which had barely sold a copy is a best seller as the judges’ choice is validated by readers’ opinions. I’m glad to have discovered it. It’s full of the darkest of our preoccupations (the despairs of ageing and loss, environmental degradation, aboriginal identity in an age of dispossession, and family conflict—to name a few), but Wilson is a deft and assured storyteller, and the novel’s not without redemptive elements or characters, and she brings a wry and sympathetic intelligence to a very well-written story. I’ve had a week off and a chance to return to Flanagan’s First Person. It’s great. I’d imagine, given its subject matter, that readers would always see The Narrow Road to the Deep North as his most important book, and rightly so. But this is brilliantly written, engrossing and haunting and engaged in the writer’s own experience in ways that are light and profound at once. And for a holiday indulgence I’ve got to give a plug to a lovely package of Helen Garner which Text are publishing to celebrate her 75th birthday: companion hardcover volumes of Collected Shorter Fiction and Short Nonfiction. Terrific value at $50.00 the pair, and be captivated again by the range & depth of her writing across nearly fifty years. Treat yourself. Season’s Best, David Gaunt
Australian Literature A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey ($33, PB)
Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher whose job it is to call out the turns, the grids, the creek crossings on a map that will finally remove them, without warning, from the lily-white Australia they know so well. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, Peter Carey’s new novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture—the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.
Gleebooks’ special price $29
Mrs. M by Luke Slattery ($30, PB) Elizabeth Macquarie, widow of the disgraced former Governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie, is in mourning—not only for her husband, but the loss of their shared dream to transform the penal colony into a bright new world. Over the course of one long sleepless night on the windswept isle of Mull, she remembers her life in that wild & strange country; a revolution of ideas as dramatic as any in history; and her dangerous alliance with the brilliant, mercurial Francis Greenway, the colony’s maverick architect. A provocative and thrilling novel of passion, ideas, reforming zeal & desire.
Deadly Kerfuffle by Tony Martin ($30, PB) It’s 2006, & terror scaremongering in the media has rattled the residents of sleepy, suburban Dunlop Crescent. When a Maori family moves into number 14, the local cranks assume they are Middle Eastern terrorists hell-bent on destroying the Australian way of life. Rumour has it that they plan to turn their house to face Mecca. This sets off an extraordinary chain of events that embroils the entire neighbourhood as well as cynical media figures, bumbling anti-terrorist police, and a gang of white supremacists with a radical plan to wake up the country & ‘preserve Australian values’. And Gordon, a retired widower, just wants a bit of peace and quiet.
Ada by Kaz Cooke ($30, PB) Miss Ada Delroy and her famous vaudeville troupe stormed five continents, enchanting royalty, miners and larrikins alike with her wit, illusions, and breathtaking dances. Under the costume made from 100 yards of billowing silk was a woman who couldn’t help being both fabulous and disreputable. Down on her luck in a rented room in Melbourne, morphia cocktail in hand, Ada receives a visitor. Is she ready to share her secrets? Inspired by photos of real 1890s vaudevillians, Kaz Cooke brings to life a forgotten world of cunning clairvoyants & trained cockatoos; of fierce loyalties & mixed lollies; the glamour of the stage and the muck of the road. The Tournament: Text Classics by John Clarke
The most unusual tennis tournament in history is about to start. Einstein’s seeded fourth. Chaplin, Freud and van Gogh are also in the top rankings. World number one is Tony Chekhov. In all, 128 of the world’s most creative players—everyone from Louis Armstrong to George Orwell, Gertrude Stein to Coco Chanel—are going to fight it out until the exhilarating final on centre court. First published in 2002, John Clarke’s The Tournament is a brilliant, bizarre comic novel. This new Text Classics edition features an introduction by Michael Heyward. ($12.95, PB)
A Sea-Chase by Roger McDonald ($33, PB) Growing up in inland Australia, Judy, a young teacher, has rarely seen the sea. But when she flees a rioting classroom one dismal Friday, a dud and a failure, she gets drunk and wakes up on a boat. Overnight her life changes; she is in love with being on the water and in love with Wes Bannister who lives on the boat. Sailing was not something Judy had ever thought about wanting, but now she craved it. Wind was the best teacher she’d had, by far… From then on, Judy believes that the one trusted continuation of herself is with Wes, and always will be, but then events at sea challenge their closeness. Must they become competitors against each other in the push to be equals? It seems they must.
Plane Tree Drive by Lynette Washington ($27, PB) Jennifer lives shrouded in secrets on Plane Tree Drive, stuck in regret that is destroying her marriage. Alice watches on as her husband finally gives up his addictions—and his family in the process. Faraj, haunted by memories from Afghanistan, slips into homelessness yet again. Meanwhile, Maurice rediscovers his mojo and brings the whole of the Drive together at his backyard gigs. Peer through the windows and doors on Plane Tree Drive to find a streetscape where the loneliness of domestic isolation and the joy of connection weave together to form an interlaced map of suburban life.
Atlantic Black by A. S. Patric ($30, PB) Katerina Klova & her mother are crossing the Atlantic by ocean liner. When Anne suffers a psychotic breakdown, Katerina is left alone on a ship full of strangers who span classes & stations, all of whom carry their ambitions, fears & obsessions with them. For a 17 year-old girl, the daughter of an ambassador, it’s an exciting, frightening world to navigate. This is a psychologically intense story of unexpected familial betrayal, of a mother & daughter’s relationship, of a brother & father whose voices resonate from afar. Personal loneliness, love & loss, are tightly bound to the wider reality of a world set on a fateful course. The legacy of violence, and of how WW1 precipitated WW2 reverberates as if ‘tolling on the inside of a church bell’.
Border Districts by Gerald Murnane ($30, PB) Conceived as Gerald Murnane’s last work of fiction, Border Districts was written after Murnane moved from Melbourne to a small town on the western edge of the Wimmera plains, near the border with South Australia. The narrator of this fiction has made a similar move, from a capital city to a remote town in the border country, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. It is a time for exploring the enduring elements of his experience, as these exist in his mind, images whose persistence is assured, but whose significance needs to be rediscovered. The Passage of Love by Alex Miller ($33, PB)
Sitting in a New York park, an old man holds a book and tries to accept that his contribution to the future is over. Instead, he remembers a youthful yearning for open horizons, for Australia, a yearning he now knows inspired his life as a writer. Instinctively he picks up his pen and starts at the beginning... At 21, Robert Crofts leaves his broken dreams in Far North QLD, finally stopping in Melbourne almost destitute. It’s there he begins to understand how books and writing might be the saving of him. When Robert is introduced to Lena Soren, beautiful, rich and educated, his life takes a very different path. But in the intimacy of their connection lies an unknowability that both torments and tantalises as Robert and Lena long for something that neither can provide for the other. .
Gleebooks’ special price $30
New this month The Chaser Annual 2017, $24.95 In December: Southerly 77–1: Questionable Characters, $26.95
The Best Australian Stories 2017 (ed) Maxine Beneba Clarke, $30 The Best Australian Poems 2017 (ed) Sarah Holland-Batt, $25 The Best Australian Essays 2017 (ed) Anna Goldsworthy, $30 The Baker’s Alchemy by John Stephenson
In a corner of old Poland, near a great forest touched by magic, a baker receives a secret to help his ailing marriage. Enchantment comes but there is also a price to pay. In a marvel of plotting, a spiral of double-identity comedy, cakes, music and moral conundrums which require the invention of photography, a Count’s soirée, a squad of Cossacks and a balloon ride to Rome to sort them out, The Baker’s Alchemy brings charm and triumph again to the institution of marriage. ($29.95, PB)
Griffth Revew 58: The Novella Project V: Storied Lives (ed) Julianne Schultz ($28, PB)
Every life offers a unique story—but there are lives that stand out so distinctly that they leave a mark on the world. How do some people make such a difference? Griffith Review 58 focuses on people who have effected change in their world, and in the lives of those they encounter. This edition also features long-form creative non-fiction that explores the personal tales of those whose exploits have made a difference. Featuring new works by Kristina Olsson and Laura Elvery, winners of the Griffith Review Queensland Writers Fellowship, This collection tells the stories of people, real and imagined, who forged breakthroughs, battled the odds and continue to shape and define the world.
As this is the last column for the year I’d like to pay tribute to what is the lifeblood of gleebooks at Dulwich Hill—our children’s section. Mandy Clarke, our children’s book buyer does a wonderful job keeping the stock varied and interesting. And you, the children, parents and grandparents deserve our thanks for making the back of the shop such a lively, happy place. There is nothing more satisfying than having a child saying gleebooks is their favourite shop. And our Thursday morning story time with the wonderful volunteer, Robbie Kennedy, has really taken off this year with a delightful and adorable bunch of regulars vying for her attention.
All the excitement in the children’s book world this month has been the release of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by debut Australian novelist Jessica Townsend. I don’t read children’s fantasy (or any fantasy) but those who have read it are raving, saying it is certainly deserving of all the hype. The publisher has really got behind it with lots of promotional material including a very impressive fairy light dumpbin. What’s not to love? We’re also loving Cressida Cowell’s (she of How To Train You Dragon fame) The Wizards of Once, which is very handsomely illustrated and full of adventure, magic and humour, with a story line, (I’m told) which will keep you hooked until the last page. My favourite children’s picture book at the moment is a primarily nonfiction book about museums called The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth by Ellie Hattie. The illustrations and design by Karl James Mountford are absolutely superb. The book combines a story about a boy and a mammoth with wonderful lift-the-flaps and fold-outs containing all sorts of facts about the kinds of objects to be found in a museum, providing hours of fun for the inquisitive mind. And lastly on an adult read—I was mightily impressed with Dave Warner’s crime novel Clear to the Horizon, set in Perth and Broome. Warner has received the Ned Kelly Award previously but I hadn’t encountered his great PI Snowy Lane. Excellent plotting combined with pithy and witty observations, this is a perfect summer holiday read. Not content to write award-winning crime fiction, Dave Warner also released his tenth album, When, this year.
As well as the aforementioned Mandy, I’d like to thank Tim, Jodie, Isabel and Chris for all their hard work this year. A great little team for a great little bookshop. Have a wonderful summer and we’ll see you on D’Hill in the next few months for your Christmas shopping and holiday reading. Morgan
Australian Poetry I Love Poetry by Michael Farrell ($24, PB)
Michael Farrell’s eye for metaphor & the unexpected combination, for punning & the letter—in both its verbal & visual aspects—gives his poetry its unique humour & energy. In poems like AC/DC As First Emu Prime Minister, Sheep, Golden Syrup, Elizabeth Bishop, and Cate Blanchett And The Difficult Poem, I Love Poetry scrambles a landscape of colloquial& obscure images..
Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright ($24, PB) Many of the poems in Domestic Interior were written around the same time as Fiona Wright’s award-winning collection of essays Small Acts of Disappearance, and they share with that work her acute sensitivity to the details that build our everyday world, and hold us in thrall, in highly charged moments of emotional extremity. Anxiety lurks in domestic spaces, it inhabits the most ordinary objects, like a drill bit or a phone charger, it draws our attention to the bruised body and its projecting parts. Wright walks us through the places where this drama unfolds, in shopping centres, cafes, hospitals & bedrooms, in the inner-city suburbs of Sydney where the poet now lives, and the south-west where she grew up, presenting them as sites of love as well as sadness, and succour and strength as well as unease. 3
Boo ks w i
November is a very exciting time! Not only are there lots of new books coming in but Gleebooks Blackheath is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! We think this is a great excuse for a party and to thank all our customers for supporting us over the years. It will be held on Friday 24 November from 5.30pm in both shops and the arcade. There will be food and drink for all – so come along and mingle with friends! We are also very excited to have award winning author Alex Miller coming to Blackheath on 11 November to talk about his new book, The Passage of Love. I have just finished the book which will be released in early November, and it is fabulous. For those who love Alex Miller – you are in for a treat with this fictional autobiography. Our other event is on 16 November with local fashion writer and curator, Charlotte Smith with her new book One Enchanted Evening. This will be held in the Carrington Hotel Ballroom and will be an elegant evening. Details for both events are below. We also say farewell to one of our colleagues—Joshua—who has left the Gleebooks nest for bigger and greater things in the city. We wish you all the very best Josh and will definitely miss your wisdom with recommendations for the latest and best YA novels. Victoria
NOVEMBER EVENTS IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS CritiCally aCClaimed, two-time winner of the miles franklin award
will be in conversation with Susan Hayes to chat about his new book
The Passage of Love.
Alex Miller draws on memories, dreams, stories, love and death to create a moving and raw novel and fictional autobiography.
SATURDAY 11TH NOVEMBER 2017 2.30pm for a 3.00pm start
glENEllA gUEST HOUSE
56 govetts leap Rd, Blackheath $20 ($17 concession) includes afternoon tea
one enChanted eVeninG... with Charlotte smith
Charlotte will be in conversation with Kirstie Clements, author and former editor of Vogue Australia. This is a delightful book about the clothes that shape our lives, and their magical ability to transform the wearer in an instant. It is a string of whimsical stories, that have been researched and recreated in vivid colour with hundreds of tiny slices of social history of how fashion has empowered and enriched the lives of women over time.
THURSDAY 16TH NOVEMBER 2017
5.30pm for 6.00pm start THE CARRiNgTON HOTEl BAllROOM, KATOOMBA $20 ($17 concession) includes drink & nibbles
Bookings essential. Tickets available at Gleebooks Blackheath or phone Gleebooks on 4787 6340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Now in B Format 4 3 2 1: A novel by Paul Auster, $25 The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble, $24 A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman , $23 Autumn by Ali Smith, $23 The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine. Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge. With her new servants resentful & the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a 200 year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure—a Silent Companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. ($25, PB)
Winter by Ali Smith ($30, PB) Winter? Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare & shivering. The summer’s leaves? Dead litter. The world shrinks; the sap sinks. But winter makes things visible. And if there’s ice, there’ll be fire. The second novel in Ali Smith’s Seasonal cycle casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory and warmth, its taproot deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter. It’s the season that teaches us survival. Here comes Winter. The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth by William Boyd
A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs—seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their 5 year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24 year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful & tentative self-discovery. William Boyd depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations & loss-ofnerve that wickedly complicate it. ($33, PB)
New This Month: Granta 141: Canada (ed) Madeleine Thien, $25 The Kites by Romain Gary ($33, PB)
Set in Normandy before and during WW II, The Kites is Romain Gary’s haunting last novel—available for the first time to an English audience. Narrator, Ludo Fleury, is madly in love with Lila de Bronicki, a charming and self-absorbed Polish aristocrat. Despite the looming war, Ludo remains obstinately in love with Lila, and becomes involved in the Resistance. Ludo’s uncle & guardian, the colourful Ambroise Fleury, a passionate amateur kite-maker, is deported to Auschwitz, while Ambroise’s best friend, Marcellin Duprat, one of France’s greatest chefs, battles the Occupation with an unrelenting love of haute cuisine, and Julie Espinoza, a Parisian madame refashions herself as a collaborationist countess, running a Resistance network under the noses of the Nazis.
Sisters by Lily Tuck ($20, PB) An unnamed narrator lives with her new husband, his two teenagers & the unwelcome presence of his first wife—known only as she. Obsessed with her, the second wife narrator, moves through her days presided over by the all-too-real ghost of the first marriage, fantasising about how the first wife lives her life. Will the narrator ever equal the first wife intellectually and sexually, or ever forget the betrayal that lies between them? And what of the secrets between her husband and the first wife, from which the second wife is excluded? Tales of Mr Keuner by Bertolt Brecht ($39, HB)
From the 1920s through the 1950s, Bertolt Brecht wrote a number of short, fictionalised comments on contemporary life, politics & thought. Through the dramatic events of the first half of the 20th century, Brecht’s Mr Keuner offered up aphorisms, stray thoughts & fragments of anecdote that punctured contemporary self-regard about religion, politics, business & more. Mr Keuner’s comments bring Brecht’s lacerating wit to bear on a wide range of the half-truths & public lies of his era. This graphic novel adaptation sets a number of Brecht’s Mr Keuner pieces, newly translated by James Reidel, alongside cartoons by German artist Ulf K, whose spare, abstract style lends force to the underlying meanings of Keuner’s pronouncements.
Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner ($25, PB) The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their daughter Heather, and the world seems to follow: beautiful, compassionate, entrancing, she is the greatest blessing in their lives of Manhattan luxury. But as Heather grows—and her empathy sharpens to a point, and her radiance attracts more & more dark interest—their perfect existence starts to fracture. Meanwhile a very different life, one raised in poverty & in violence, is beginning its own malign orbit around Heather. TV’s Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner’s debut novel. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward ($25, PB)
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, openminded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant. A moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time. ($30, PB)
The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin ($28, PB)
New York, 2005. Chinese expatriate Feng Danlin is a fiercely principled reporter at a small news agency that produces a website read by the Chinese diaspora around the world. Danlin’s explosive exposés have made him legendary among readers—and feared by Communist officials. His newest assignment is investigating his ex-wife, Yan Haili, an unscrupulous novelist who has willingly become a pawn of the Chinese government in order to realize her dreams of literary stardom. Haili’s scheme infuriates Danlin both morally & personally. But in outing Haili, he is also provoking her powerful political allies,and he will need to draw on all of his journalistic cunning to emerge from this investigation with his career—and his life—still intact.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Nana is on a road trip, but he is not sure where he is going. All that matters is that he can sit beside his beloved owner Satoru in the front seat of his silver van. Satoru is keen to visit three old friends from his youth, though Nana doesn’t know why and Satoru won’t say. Set against the backdrop of Japan’s changing seasons and narrated with a rare gentleness and humour, Nana’s story explores the wonder and thrill of life’s unexpected detours. It is about the value of friendship and solitude, and knowing when to give and when to take. ($30, PB)
Stories by Susan Sontag ($45, HB) Susan Sontag is most often remembered as a brilliant essayist - inquisitive, analytical, fearlessly outspoken. Yet all throughout her life, she also wrote short stories: fictions which wrestled with those ideas and preoccupations she couldn’t address in essay form. These short fictions are allegories, parables, autobiographical vignettes, each capturing an authentic fragment of life, dramatizing Sontag’s private griefs and fears. Stories collects all of Sontag’s short fiction for the first time.
All the Battles by Maan Abu Taleb ($28, PB)
Said leads a comfortable, yet boring, middle-class life. That is, until one afternoon, he leaves work early and crosses into the rough side of town, in search of a run-down boxing club. His obsession with this underground sport grows: he starts skipping work and showing up with visible injuries. Things begin to unravel as he quits his job, trains full time, and is entered for the fight of his life. Will this be the making of him, or is it the end of the road? Maan Abu Taleb’s stylish debut novel is beautifully observed and carefully paced. Far from being a celebration of machismo, All the Battles approaches the pervasive presence of violence in society with nuance and grace.
nce upon a time, hand-painted signs brought colour and vibrancy to Australian cities
and towns. Artful, kitsch, and at times hilarious, Brady Michaels and Dale Campisi team up again to record these now fading signs – from old-time ads for household goods to garages, Chinese restaurants, motels, milk bars – a vibrant record of Australian social history is found along the way.
New People by Danzy Senna ($30, PB)
As the 20th century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She & Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, ‘King & Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom’. Their skin is the same shade of beige. They live together in a black bohemian enclave in Brooklyn, where Khalil is riding the wave of the first dot-com boom & Maria is plugging away at her dissertation, on the Jonestown massacre. They’ve even landed a starring role in a documentary about ‘new people’ like them, who are blurring the old boundaries as a brave new era dawns. Everything Maria knows she should want lies before her—yet she can’t stop daydreaming about another man, a poet she barely knows. As fantasy escalates to fixation, it dredges up secrets from the past & threatens to unravel not only Maria’s perfect new life but her very persona.
The Apothecary’s Shop: Venice 1118 A.D. By Roberto Tiraboschi ($33, PB)
In a medieval Venice undone by devastating famine and excessive, orgiastic Carnival festivities of all kinds, the protagonists of The Apothecary’s Shop chase a dream of rebirth, the eternal dream of defeating death. The young Costanza, of the noble Grimani family, has disappeared. The family scribe, Edgardo, promises to return the girl to her family, who themselves may not be above suspicion. Doctors, apothecaries, undertakers, Eastern merchants, farmers: everyone seems to be involved in the girl’s disappearance, even African slave traders. Abella, Edgardo’s ambiguous ally and the only female doctor in Venice, introduces him into secrets and occult practices of medicine. Through her, Edgardo discovers Sabbatai’s Apothecary, where remedies and concoctions of all kinds are prepared and clues to Costanza’s disappearance may lie. The Apothecary’s Shop is an erudite thriller in the vein of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and offers readers an astonishing voyage into medieval Venice.
‘Australia’s whales are lucky to have had observers, admirers and protectors like Micheline Jenner’. – Tim Winton
nlightening and eyeopening, The Secret Life
of Whales reveals fascinating stories about how whales live, tapping into Marine biologist Micheline Jenner’s world-leading research and infectious enthusiasm for these magnificent creatures.
w w w. n ews o u t h p u b l i s h i n g .co m
THE WILDER AISLES
This year I have spent a lot of time at my home due to various ailments. While it was not always pleasant, it did give me a lot of free time to read. I thought would spend this column revisiting some of those books, with some recommendations for a bit of holiday reading. To start, here are some of the most loved, or the most entertaining of those I read. First up, Insomniac City by Bill Hayes. The story of the relationship between Bill Hayes and Oliver Sacks was such a lovely, inspiring story—it’s not just a love story between Bill and Oliver, but also a love story with New York. Bill, a photographer, spends a lot time—often at night—walking around, talking to strangers and sometimes taking their photos. There’s a lovely scene where Bill meets teenage boys at a skateboard park, and the boys open up and talk to Bill about the love of skateboarding. Being a bit of a night owl myself, I liked the idea of Bill walking the streets at night, meeting night people and taking photos along the way. A lovely book. For a long leisurely read, on long summer afternoons, John Boyne’s The Hearts’s Invisible Furies, is one I can recommend. The story of adopted boy Cyril Avery and his subsequent life, is both funny and sad. This long book follows Cyril’s life from Dublin to New York and on to Amsterdam where he meets Bastian and forms a relationship with him. Bastian, a doctor, gets a job in New York. Cyril goes with him, and there life becomes settled and happy. Unfortunately, not for long. Once again Cyril’s life falls apart, and throughout the rest of the book, we learn of his attempt to get it back together again. This is just a small part of a gripping story, one that compels you read to the end. I loved this book. And now for some crime. Andrea Camilleri’s Montalbano’s First Cases & Other Stories is great fun. It seems strange to refer to crime books as fun, if fun isn’t quite the correct work, a lot of crime fiction is certainly entertaining—certainly the ones I like to read. In this collection of Montalbano’s first cases Montalbano stumbles on a girl outside the court house in Vigata, with a gun in her purse. He has his work cut out identifying her, and finding out who she was trying to kill because she isn’t talking. In another story, Montalbano Says No, the detective has had enough and turns on his creator. There are lots of stories in this collection which should keep you happily occupied for some time. I must also mention the latest novel in the Montalbano series—A Nest of Vipers. I am often surprised how authors of long series keep up the standard—and while not all of Camilleri’s books are up to the mark, this one really hits the spot. It involves a brother and sister fighting over an inheritance and a man who seems to have been murdered twice. The dead man’s reputation in the village means that half the inhabitants have a reason to want him dead— so in fact he’s lucky to have only been killed twice. Again, Montalbano is challenged, as he tries to solve the case.
Clear to the Horizon by Dave Warner ($30, PB)
In 1999, a number of young women go missing in the Perth suburb of Claremont. One body is discovered. Others are never seen again. Snowy Lane (City of Light) is hired as a private investigator but neither he nor the cops can find the serial killer. 16 years later, another case brings Snowy to Broome, where he teams up with Dan Clement (Before It Breaks) and an incidental crime puts them back on the Claremont case. A nail-biting thriller, based on one of the great unsolved crimes in Western Australia’s recent history. Its twists and turns will keep you guessing to the end.
Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher ($30, PB) The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way—and gets results. He still lives with his exwife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago. He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick—his daughters still convinced he was murdered, the coroner not so sure. Or the skeleton that’s just been found under a concrete slab. Or the doctor who killed two wives and a girlfriend, and left no evidence at all. Auhl will stick with these cases until justice is done. One way or another. Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by P. D. James
As these six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution. ($25, HB)
The Midnight Line by Lee Child ($33, PB)
Jack Reacher takes an aimless stroll past a pawn shop in a small Midwestern town. In the window he sees a West Point class ring from 2005. It’s tiny. It’s a woman cadet’s graduation present to herself. Why would she give it up? Reacher’s a West Pointer too, and he knows what she went through to get it. Reacher tracks the ring back to its owner, step by step, down a criminal trail leading west. Like Big Foot come out of the forest, he arrives in the deserted wilds of Wyoming. All he wants is to find the woman. If she’s OK, he’ll walk away. If she’s not … he’ll stop at nothing.
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter ($30, PB) It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home & scrubbed away all evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands. But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s economic heart, she begins to find strange connections to a decadeold scandal involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good. But as Abby tries desperately to find out what happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface, and when she unearths a disturbing secret, her search threatens the reputations, and lives, of the community and risks exposing a darkness that may consume her.
Another new crime novel I’ve really enjoyed this year is The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths. This features Dr Ruth Galloway, a forensic archeologist, who works with DCI Nelson, to solve mysteries involving bones. In this outing boiled bones are found in a tunnel underneath Norwich. Ruth is called in to ascertain the age of the bones—and to her and Nelson’s dismay, they are of recent origin. So it looks as if Nelson has a murder on his hands. A rough sleeper goes missing, and it looks like he may be in one of the numerous chalk-mining tunnels under the city. Then a local woman goes missing and things become more serious. I like Ruth and her adventures. They are always interesting and keep me entertained. I must mention that three of my favourite authors have new books out: Peter Robinson (Sleeping in the Ground—DCI Banks deals with a mass murder at a wedding), Louise Penny (Glass Houses—there’s a mysterious figure haunting Three Pines and Gamache investigates) and Ann Cleeves (The Seagull—the marvellous DI Vera Stanhope is up to her neck in corruption, cold cases and old enemies) ... So I’ve got plenty to be getting on with.
Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich ($30, PB)
Some other recommendations I’d like to make from my recuperation reading are: The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon (of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time fame)—a collection of disturbing short stories; Ann Granger’s Rack, Ruin and Murder—a very English village who dunnit; Wild Gestures by Lucy Durneen—another collection of short stories, set in Italy, South America and in a European Zoo. Also, two of my favourites—The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve (very topical given the fires sweeping California at the moment) and See You in September by Charity Norman (doomsday cults and questions of faith set in idyllic NZ). Happy reading! Janice Wilder
Butterfly on the Storm by Walter Lucius ($23, PB)
Strange Weather by Joe Hill ($30, PB)
One autumnal day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails, splinters of bright crystal that tear apart anyone who isn’t safely under cover. A mall security guard heroically stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun movement. A kid in Silicon Valley who finds himself threatened by The Phoenician, a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid that can steal memories. A young man parachutes for the first time and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapour that seems animated by a mind of its own. Joe Hill’s 4 short novels range from creepy horror to powerful explorations of our modern society.
Headless bodies have started appearing across town in Trenton, NJ. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home & the morgue that have had the heads removed. Then a homeless man is murdered & dumped behind a church. Stephanie Plum knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer. If that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The sixfoot-tall, blond-haired hunk accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows & underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, isn’t pleased at his arrival, nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant with his own plans for Stephanie. When a young boy from Afghanistan is the victim of a brutal hit-andrun in woods outside Amsterdam, journalist Farah Hafez visits the scene, seeking to discover how a child from her homeland ended up here. Instead, she finds a burnt-out car and two bodies—sinister clues to a far darker mystery. It is the beginning of a journey that leads her into an intricate web of crime and corruption stretching across Europe and deep into a past Farah had once sought to escape—a past that nearly killed her. This is the first in a tense, atmospheric and gripping new trilogy which draws parallels with Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.
Deadlier: 100 Of The Best Crime Stories Written By Women (ed) Sophie Hannah ($45, HB)
From Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier, to Val McDermid and Margaret Atwood, women writers have long been drawn to criminal acts. Here, award-winning author Sophie Hannah brings together 100 of her favourite examples. Deadlier includes prize-winners, bestsellers and rising stars, so whether you take your crime cosy or hard-boiled, this big, beautiful anthology will keep you reading long into the night.
The sequel to the Number 1 Bestseller Working Class Boy
Gleebooks’ special price $39.99
Sherlock Holmes—the Australian Casebook: All New Holmes Stories ($35, HB)
It’s 1890. Holmes’ fame has spread even to the colonies and he and his stalwart chronicler Watson are swept up in an array of mysteries ‘down under’. A beautiful illustrated hardcover collection of original Australian mystery stories by popular writers and devoted Sherlockians, including Kerry Greenwood, Meg Keneally, Samuel Wagan Watson, Lucy Sussex, Kaaron Warren and many more.
The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths ($33, PB)
What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ investigation into the death of a quiet flower seller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life—and death—is all too easily blurred.
The Accident on the A35 By Graeme Macrae Burnet ($30, PB)
The methodical but troubled Chief Inspector Georges Gorski visits the wife of a lawyer killed in a road accident, the accident on the A35. The case is unremarkable, the visit routine. Mme Barthelme—alluring and apparently unmoved by the news—has a single question: where was her husband on the night of the accident? The answer might change nothing, but it could change everything. And Gorski sets a course for what can only be a painful truth. But the dead man’s reticent son is also looking for answers. And his search will have far more devastating consequences.
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp is outraged to see young women brought into the Hackensack jail over dubious charges of waywardness, incorrigibility, and moral depravity. The strong-willed, patriotic Edna Heustis, who left home to work in a munitions factory, certainly doesn’t belong behind bars. And 16 year-old runaway Minnie Davis, with few prospects and fewer friends, shouldn’t be publicly shamed and packed off to a staterun reformatory. But such were the laws—and morals—of 1916. Constance uses her authority as deputy sheriff, and occasionally exceeds it, to investigate and defend these women when no one else will. ($33, PB)
Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly ($33, PB)
Harry Bosch is working cold cases for the San Fernando police when he is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch & the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of prescription drug abuse. Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.
A Spot of Folly: Ten and a Quarter New Tales of Murder and Mayhem by Ruth Rendell ($30, PB)
Ruth Rendell was an acknowledged master of psychological suspense: these are ten (and a quarter) of her most chillingly compelling short stories, collected here together for the first time. A businessman boasts about cheating on his wife, only to find the tables turned. A beautiful country rectory reverberates to the echo of a historical murder. A compulsive liar acts on impulse, only to be lead inexorably to disaster. And a wealthy man finds there is more to his wife’s kidnapping than meets the eye.
Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra ($30, PB)
An arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia—most recently burning down the town’s courthouse—killing a young boy trapped inside. The clock is ticking for Rose Blakey—an aspiring journalist desperate for a story. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her job pulling beers for cops at the local tavern isn’t enough to even cover rent. In the weeks after the courthouse fire, porcelain replicas of Colmstock’s daughters begin turning up on doorsteps, terrifying parents and testing the limits of the town’s already fractured police force. Rose may have finally found her story. But as her articles gain traction & the boundaries of her investigation blur, Colmstock is seized by a seething paranoia.
A gripping blend of family mystery, contemporary stories and the beautiful and bloody Viking tales
From one of Australia’s foremost journalists, Luke Slattery, comes a bravura literary achievement
Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Epoque Paris by John Merriman ($40, HB)
Paris, 1911. Picasso, Debussy & Proust were revolutionizing art, music, and literature. Electricity had transformed the City of Lights—the Belle Époque was well underway. At the same time, with guns blazing, the anarchist Bonnot Gang robbed banks & wealthy Parisians. And two anarchist idealists, Victor Kibaltchiche & Rirette Maitrejean, who wanted to find an alternative to Bonnot’s crimes & the French government’s unchecked violence together ran the radical Parisian newspaper L’Anarchie, which covered the Bonnot Gang with great sympathy. The couple and their anarchist friends occupied a world far apart from the opulent Paris of the Champs-Élysées. Their Paris was a vast city of impoverished workers who lived near bleak canals, cemeteries & empty lots around smoky factories. Victor & Rirette were arrested & imprisoned for their political views, Bonnot was murdered and his gang was hunted down and sentenced to death by guillotine or lifelong imprisonment. This is a classic tale of lost causes, tragic heroes & the true costs of justice and revenge.
Killings by Calvin Trillin ($47, HB) These stories, which originally appeared in The New Yorker between 1969 and 2010, are vivid portraits of lives cut short. An upstanding farmer in Iowa finds himself drastically changed by a woman he meets in a cocktail lounge. An eccentric old man in Eastern Kentucky is enraged by the presence of a documentary filmmaker. Two women move to a bucolic Virginia county to find peace, only to end up at war over a shared road. But reporter Calving Trillin is attracted less by violence or police procedure than by the way the fabric of people’s lives is suddenly exposed when someone comes to an untimely end.
Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 & Its Legacy H A Thompson
On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate NY to protest years of mistreatment. In the ensuing hours, weeks & months, troopers & officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, NY State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners. Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising & its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this 45 year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers & judges, state officials & members of law enforcement. ($63, HB) 7
Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes ($50, HB)
Jimmy Barnes has lived many lives—from Glaswegian migrant kid to iconic front man, from solo superstar to proud father of his own musical clan. In this sequel to his critically acclaimed bestseller, Working Class Boy, Jimmy picks up the story of his life as he leaves Adelaide in the back of an old truck with a then unknown band called Cold Chisel. A searingly honest reflection on success, fame and addiction, this self-penned memoir reveals how Barnes used the fuel of childhood trauma to ignite and propel Australia’s greatest rock’n’roll story. But beyond the combustible merry-go-round of fame, drugs and rehab, across the Cold Chisel, solo and soul years—this is a story about how it’s never too late to try and put things right.
Gleebooks’ special price $39.99
Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively ($35, HB)
Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother’s garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own, and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today. It is also an a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland, and of writers and their gardens, from Virginia Woolf to Philip Larkin.
Revolution by Emmanuel Macron ($33, PB)
Emmanuel Macron, the youngest president in the history of France, reveals his personal story and his inspirations, and discusses his vision of France and its future in a new world that is undergoing a ‘great transformation’ that has not been known since the Renaissance. This is a book that seeks to lay the foundations for a new society—a compelling testimony and statement of values by an important political leader who has become the flagbearer for a new kind of politics.
Mr Lear: A Life of Art & Nonsense by Jenny Uglow ($50, HB)
Edward Lear lived all his life on the borders of rules & structures, of disciplines & desires. He vowed to ignore politics yet trembled with passionate sympathies. He depended on patrons & moved in establishment circles, yet he never belonged among them & mocked imperial attitudes. He loved men yet dreamed of marriage—but remained, it seems, celibate, wrapped in himself. Even in his family he was marginal, at once accepted & rejected. Surrounded by friends, he was alone. Jenny Uglow follows him across land & sea—to Italy, Greece & Albania, to The Levant & Egypt & India—and to the borderlands of spirit & self, art & desire, to see, in the end, if the nonsense makes sense?
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown—Scotland’s largest 2nd-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors & roaring fires—all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. In these wry & hilarious diaries, Bythell gives an inside look at the trials & tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He goes on buying trips to old estates & auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics & new discoveries), introduces the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp & sympathetic eye. ($30, PB)
Dear Lindy: A Nation Responds to the Loss of Azaria (ed) Alana Valentine ($40, PB)
As Lindy Chamberlain mourned the death of her baby daughter Azaria, taken by a dingo from a campsite at Uluru in 1980, she was tried & convicted in the Supreme Court of the NT. The court of public opinion had already made its ruling, shown in the thousands of hurtful, supportive, accusatory or sympathetic letters Lindy received. The letters featured in this book were painstakingly collected & filed by Lindy over the past 37 years, and include anonymous vitriol, eccentric rants, words of prayer & support & every other possible response.
Growing Up Moonta by Kristin Weidenbach
Told through the childhood reminiscences of Weidenbach father, Neil, Growing up Moonta paints a picture of a time when an illegitimate child was raised as a sister to her mother, travelling salesmen made a living hawking dressmakers’ pins and bottles of antiseptic salve, and boys grew to men lumping bags of wheat and tending engines in the town power houses of the 1930s. From the infamous murders and the boys who went to war, to the rhythms of everyday life such as the butcher carving meat at the back of his horse and cart this memoir transports readers to a time not so long ago, but a way of life long passed. ($35, PB)
Warren Mundine in Black and White Nyunggai Warren Mundine ($40, HB)
From the poverty of a family living in a tent beside a river, to the depths of depression & an attempted suicide, to the heights of political power as National President of the Australian Labor Party & advisor to five prime ministers, both Labor and Liberal, this is a stirring story of an Indigenous family woven into the very fabric of Australia & its politics. Given his curriculum vitae runs into pages of honours, appointments & awards, it’s extraordinary to consider that, as an Aboriginal boy in the 1950s, he was a second-class citizen, born into a world of segregation and discrimination that few Australians today are truly aware of. His memoir, an optimistic and inspirational tale, speaks to a changing Australia, answering a big question on everyone’s minds—what’s next’
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser ($33, PB)
Set against nearly a century of epochal change, from the Homestead Act and the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. Settling on the frontier amidst land-rush speculation, Wilder’s family encountered Biblical tribulations of locusts and drought, fire and ruin. Deep in debt after a series of personal tragedies, including the loss of a child and her husband’s stroke, Wilder uprooted herself again, crisscrossing the country and turning to menial work to support her family. In middle age, she began writing a farm advice column, prodded by her self-taught journalist daughter. And at the age of sixty, after losing nearly everything in the Depression, she turned to children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a triumphal vision of homesteading—and achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches stories in American letters.
Coming To My Senses: The makings of a counterculture cook by Alice Waters ($40, HB)
Alice Waters retraces the events that led her to the restaurant at 1517 Shattuck Avenue & the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience & uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement & campus unrest, Waters was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film & food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs & letters this is a quietly revealing look at her evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social & political change on a global level through the common bond of food.
A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin ($55, HB)
Biographer Claire Tomalin, who has written about great novelists & poets now turns to her own life. From the disastrous marriage of her parents and a difficult wartime childhood to her own marriage to the brilliant young journalist Nicholas Tomalin. When he was killed on assignment as a war correspondent she was left to bring up their four children—and at the same time make her own career. She writes of the intense joys of her work as one of the most successful literary editors in London before discovering her true vocation as a biographer, setting her own life in a wider cultural and political context, vividly and frankly portraying the social pressures on a woman in the 50s & 60s, and showing ‘how it was for a European girl growing up in mid-20th-century England— carried along by conflicting desires to have children and a worthwhile working life.’
Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing ($40, HB)
In the summer of 2012 a woman named Eva was found dead in the London townhouse she shared with her husband, Hans K. Rausing. The couple had struggled with drug addiction for years, often under the glare of tabloid headlines. In Mayhem Hans’ sister, editor & publisher Sigrid Rausing, tries to make sense of what happened. Who can help the addict, consumed by a shaming hunger, a need beyond control? Who can help when the very notion of ‘help’ becomes synonymous with an exercise of power; a familial police state; an end to freedom, in the addict’s mind?’ An eloquent & timely attempt to understand the conundrum of addiction—and a memoir as devastating as it is riveting.
Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson ($49.95, HB)
Lawrence P. Jackson uses exclusive interviews & unrestricted access to Cheseter Himes’s full archives to portray a controversial American writer whose novels unflinchingly confront sex, racism & black identity. A serious literary tastemaker in his day, Himes had friendships— sometimes uneasy—with such luminaries as Ralph Ellison, Carl Van Vechten, and Richard Wright. Jackson’s scholarship and astute commentary illuminates Himes’s improbable life—his middle-class origins, his eight years in prison, his painful odyssey as a black World War II-era artist, and his escape to Europe for success.
Homecamp: Stories and Inspiration for the Modern Adventurer by Doron & Stephanie Francis
This is a beautiful collection of stories & images from everyday adventurers—people who have found ways to experience & embrace the outdoors, on their terms. Some have gone on epic adventures: sold their belongings & lived in a van, trekked through the Himalayas or biked across continents. Others simply found new ways of seeing the world around them: cleaned up a beach, learned how to forage or spent a night alone in the woods. All found that their experiences in nature transformed their lives & freed them from the monotony of their 9-5 grind. Along with the stories, interviews & imagery, you’ll find a how-to guide full of helpful tips, from how to choose & set up camp to brewing the perfect campfire coffee & enjoying the outdoors without a trace. ($60, HB)
NEW CRIME BY AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS In Broome, a spate of local thefts puts Snowy Lane and Dan Clement on the trail of a notorious coldcase serial killer.
Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast ($37, HB)
For native Brooklynite Roz Chast, adjusting to life in the suburbs (where people own trees!?) was surreal. But she recognized that for her kids, the reverse was true. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange world of Manhattan: its gum-wad-dotted sidewalks, honey-combed streets, and “those West Side Story-things” (fire escapes). Their wonder inspired Going into Town, part playful guide, part New York stories, and part love letter to the city, told through Chast’s laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons. The sagas of Iceland are the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages. These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, & people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown. Together, Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery—a gift from Karí’s Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors. ($40, HB)
Saga Land by Richard Fidler & Kári Gíslason
Nick is hiding from a man with a grudge, and hunting a killer in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds.
Gleebooks’ special price $34.99
Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul and still lives in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms. His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy—or huzun—that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost empire. Since the publication of this memoir, Orhan Pamuk has continued to add to his collection of photographs of Istanbul, and in this book he has selected a range of photographs linking each new image to his memoir. This lavish selection of 450 photographs features contributions from the Turkish photographer Ara Guler, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Istanbul’s characteristic photography collectors, and contains previously unpublished family photographs from the author’s archives.
Istanbul: Memories and the City—The Illustrated Edition by Orhan Pamuk ($50, HB)
It is the location of all our hopeful beginnings & intended ends; an institution with its own rituals & priests; and a long-neglected aspect of Britain’s architecture: the railway station. Historian Simon Jenkins has travelled the length & breadth of the UK to describe the history, geography, design & significance of each of these glories; exploring their role in the national imagination; championing the engineers, architects & rival companies that made them possible; and telling the story behind the development, triumphs & follies of these very British creations. From Waterloo to Whitby, St Pancras to Stirling, these are the marvellous, often undersung places that link the nation. All aboard!
Pilgrimage: The Great Pilgrim Routes of Britain and Europe by Derry Brabbs ($60, HB)
In 1990 the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela recorded less than 5000 pilgrims: today that figure is at least 200,000 a year— Pilgrimage revisits the ‘camino’ & 9 other inspirational journeys across Europe. Whether you’re truly making a pilgrimage, exploring the world, or simply hiking, Derry Brabbs will lead you along routes like the ‘Jakobsweg’ in Germany, between Cologne & Trier; great walks in Britain & France, like St. Cuthbert’s Way which winds around the Scottish Borders to the holy island of Lindisfarne, and the World Heritage Site of Mont-St-Michel built on the tiny island off the coast of Normandy. A notable addition to the rejuvenated era of pilgrimage is the Via Francigena, now a very well established path through Switzerland & Italy. The Italian section begins on the bleak summit of the Great St Bernard Pass where a hospice still caters to the needs of passing pilgrims before heading down to Rome through some of Italy’s most beguiling countryside interspersed with medieval hilltop towns & villages.
MYSTERY / SPECULATIVE FICTION
Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations by Simon Jenkins ($50, HB)
From the Arizona Desert to the South China Sea, brilliant intelligence analyst Richard Worse is dodging bullets and cracking codes.
books for kids to young adults
compiled by Lynndy Bennett, our children's correspondent
This final Gleaner of 2017 is the last before we switch to a bimonthly magazine, but for those who yearn for more news about children’s literature and related matters, we have good news: soon Louise and I will activate our blog, titled And a Big Ball of String. It will include frequent updates, reviews, giveaways and guest pieces. We hope you will support this new Gleebooks direction as loyally as you have our stores. In keeping with our independent bookshop status,our November page will focus on some gems that may otherwise be overlooked in the seasonal frenzy and amid piles of more actively promoted books. Thank you to all our customers. We wish you a happy Christmas, safe holidays, and a new year crammed with books from your local Australian bookshop. Lynndy
for the very young
Bim Bam Boom by Frederic Stehr ($17, BD) In this toddler-centric story with minimal text a winsome gathering of avian friends create music with kitchen utensils, until the onomatopoeic crescendo has Mama diverting their fervour. Sweet, and oh so relatable. Lynndy This & That by Mem Fox (ill) Judy Horacek ($15, BD) Now into board book, this rhyming tale is of two mice on a great storytelling adventure. ‘A story of THIS and a story of THAT’ is a bedtime read-aloud perfect for helping children appreciate story sequences. Lynndy
Now by Antoinette Portis ($25, HB)
This book is a celebration of the here and now. A little girl goes through her day enjoying the breeze, a leaf, a leaf, a cloud, claiming each one is her favourite. Vivid colours, artfully simple brush strokes, and a marvellous use of the white page all go to creating a nearly perfect picture book. Forget the worthy, didactic books about mindfulness, this is a brilliant example of being happily present no matter what you’re doing. Very highly recommended for ages 3+. Louise
Maurice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon (ill) Karl James Mountford ($25, HB) While there’s now an abundance of books about individuality and the importance of being true to yourself, Dixon’s droll touch paired with Mountford’s soulfully earnest illustrations render this one utterly beguiling. To the despair of his appropriately monstrous parents, Maurice is a ‘ridiculously photogenic’ polite vegetarian with a ‘melodious voice’, which is why they despatch him to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, in the hope that he will become truly beastly. However Maurice’s school achievements are not what anyone anticipated… With humour that will appeal to adults as well, Maurice the Unbeastly is sure to charm ages 4+. Lynndy
Little Eli: Egg, Cards, Pencil by Laura Bellini ($25, HB) Here is an example of something you just have to see for yourself, as no description does true justice to the exquisite beauty of these three wordless picture books in a presentation box. Little Eli the dragonfly yearns to build the tallest towers he possibly can, and starts with a pack of cards, a box of eggs and a set of pencils. Each of the three books is devoted to one of these materials, and Italian artist Bellini shows in incremental details Eli’s progress—and lack thereof. Eli meets all challenges with determination and undaunted imagination. A treasure for all ages, child to adult. Lynndy
Explanatorium of Nature ($45, HB)
Definitely not just for children, but for any nature enthusiast! With macro and electron microscope images, this great treasury is a comprehensive look at Nature: how it works, why we need ecosystems, and how every aspect—flora and fauna—plays an essential part in our world. Neverbefore-seen cross-sections and detailed information will keep readers of 9-adult awe-stricken and engrossed. Very highly recommended! Lynndy
Fish Dream of Trees and Other Curious Verses by Frantz Wittkamp (ill) Axel Scheffler ($30, HB)
This is a very attractive book of verse for children by German poet Frantz Wittkamp, adapted by UK poet Roger McGough, and richly illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The poems of all sorts of creatures are humorous and touching, and the pictures beautifully illustrate and extend the verses. Fun to read aloud to the very young, and good for newly independent readers to enjoy by themselves. Louise
Faunaverse: Australian Wildlife in Poetry by Alexander Dudley & Jane Sullivan ($24.95, PB)
An exposition of 23 Australian native animals in comic verse, accompanied by zoologist/photographer Dudley’s superb photography, this is a splendid crossover: a picture book illuminating our fauna and habitats. Entertaining and informative, it’s also a great introduction to some of our cherished wildlife. Lynndy
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming & Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids & Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, (ill) Lane Smith ($30, HB)
With an eloquent title like this, there’s little more to be said, other than pointing out that the interplay of art and text creates a humour greater than the sum of its parts, providing a wittily frivolous book reminiscent of Ogden Nash and guaranteed to convert even the most poetry-averse. There are even misnumbered pages, the code to which is within the rhymes. (Oh, and if Chris Nash’s name is familiar, it could be from the many TV shows on which he is a scriptwriter eg. How I Met Your Mother.) Lynndy
Crafty Gifts by Jane Bull ($17, HB)
activities / novelties
Jane Bull writes the best craft and sewing books for children, with good, clear instructions, bright and appealing pictures, and really fun ideas. This latest book is no exception, this time a book full of gift ideas for children to make. There are some excellent ideas, including craft jars, button charms for the Christmas tree, and DIY gingerbread packs. I really like all the wrapping ideas too, how to use brown paper to full effect, and how to make simple printed paper and tags. This would be a delightful pre-Christmas gift for anyone over 8, and there are lots of things for boys and girls to enjoy making, and receiving. Louise Build the Dragon by Dugald Steer (ill) Jonathan Woodward & Douglas Carrel ($25, BX) This interactive kit contains 46 precut pieces to build a beautiful European dragon with motorised wings and movable jaws, plus a book with everything you need to know about dragons from around the world, from myths and legends to anatomy, behaviour and powers. Irresistible! Lynndy
Build Your Own Discovery Globe by Leon Gray (ill) Sarah Edmonds ($35, BX) With a kit for making your own 47cm spinning globe and an illustrated book packed with information you have an enticing gift for a curious child of 8+. The sturdy card globe features icons with everything from natural wonders to famous faces; and the enclosed book links to the model globe, covering themes including the Earth’s biomes, animals and World Heritage sites. In all, it’s a fascinating introduction to the world, its people and places. Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
Plant Society by Jason Chongue ($30, PB)
Even if you’ve killed every house plant in the past, Jason Chongue will show you that it’s really not that difficult to keep them happy. Covering everything from basic plant care & re-potting, to plants suited to pets & propagating, this book will inspire you to create your very own indoor rainforest. There are profiles of 25 ideal indoor plants, organised from the most low-maintenance species through to the more exotic and labour-intensive plants. Throughout are interviews with ‘plant people’ from around the world providing insight into their unique relationships with house plants.
Grow Your Own: How to be an urban farmer by Angus Stewart & Simon Leake ($45, PB)
Urban environments require specific techniques to optimise growing conditions for plants. Grow Your Own provides simple step-by-step methods & information enabling the average city dweller to grow food plants at whatever scale their time & resources permit & no matter their location, be it suburban backyard or apartment balcony. Some of the many topics covered include setting up the soil; fertilisers, compost and worm farms; choosing crops (annual/perennial/ heirloom/modern); propagation, planting & maintenance; pest & disease management; seed saving; rooftop spaces & vertical gardens; and integrated urban farming including bees & poultry.
Raising Children: Surprising Insights from Other Cultures by David F. Lancy ($28.95, PB)
Why in some parts of the world do parents rarely play with their babies and never with toddlers? Why in some cultures are children not fully recognized as individuals until they are older? How are routine habits of etiquette & hygiene taught—or not—to children in other societies? David F. Lancy shows how children are raised differently in different cultures—his discoveries demonstrating that our ideas about children are recent, untested & often contrast starkly with those in other parts of the world. Lancy argues that we are, by historical standards, guilty of over-parenting, of micro-managing our children’s lives. Challenging many of our accepted truths, his book encourages parents to think differently about children & feel more relaxed about their own parenting skills.
Have Sword, Will Travel by Garth Nix & Sean Williams ($15, PB)
What do you do when you discover a very opinionated, vengeful sword with memory lapses, that insists on knighting you and dragging you off on quests? In Odo’s case, whatever Biter—the sword—tells you. Luckily his best friend Eleanor, far brighter and more ambitious (she always wanted to be a knight), accompanies Odo on this wild adventure to save their village—otherwise bandits, enchantment, dragons, duels and traitors might completely overwhelm a humble country lad. If you’re looking for adventure, magic, action and humour, look no further. Sheer good fun! Lynndy
Satellite by Nick Lake ($17, PB)
Award winner Nick Lake’s books are always original; this latest is accurately described as ‘epic, original, thrilling, with real science and heartbreaking beauty’. Leo, and twins Libra and Orion, have been brought up from birth by scientists on a space station and after 16 years of seeing Earth remotely they are about to go ‘home’ to their families. Can a place you’ve known solely through vidscreens be home? How do you adapt from zero gravity to feeling beached, where every movement requires conscious effort and pain? Why are the three teenagers isolated from other people, and especially the public, and why do people who come in contact with them subsequently vanish? The transition is convincing to a breathtaking degree; the scientific and medical aspects and pure wonder have a filmic immediacy, and the fate of Leo and the twins is heartwrenching. Even if you aren’t usually a sci-fi fan, read it for the humanity and thought-provoking narrative. Stunning, simply beautiful (and one for conspiracy theorists). I loved it. Lynndy
ILF raffle ! ! !
Would you like to win more than $100 worth of children’s books? Buy a ticket in our raffle at Glebe and for a paltry $2 you could win a range of books just in time for Christmas. Your $2 will benefit the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, helping to bring the joy of reading to others and empowering through education. Prize draw will be at Glebe on Thursday 7th December 2017.
Finding Fire: Cooking at its most element Lennox Hastie ($60, HB)
Lennox Hastie, of acclaimed Sydney restaurant Firedoor, explains the techniques behind creating a good quality fire, and the effect of using different types of wood to enhance the natural flavours of the ingredients. The 90 recipes, divided by food type— seafood, vegetables, fruit, dairy, wheat & bases—are interspersed with Hastie’s international experience to demonstrate how fire is used in so many different cultures.
Catalonia by Jose Pizarro ($50, HB)
Located in the northeast of Spain, Catalonia borders France’s Pyrenees mountains & has a heritage & scenery like no other place in the world. Set to the backdrop of stunning location photography, Jose Pizarro offers dishes that include classic Patatas Bravas, a delicious Duck Egg & Mushroom Stew, and a Rabbit Rice, typical of the region. From a Roast Chicken with Langoustines, Baby Squid with Mint that’s perfect for spring, to a wintery Civet of Venison with Ceps & Mash, and the delicate Hazelnut & Plum cakes.
New this month Australian Wine Vintages 2018: 35th Edition, $35 Dutch Feast by Emily Wight ($40, PB)
Influenced by its colonial history, with bold flavours from places like Indonesia & the West Indies, and by its proximity to its European neighbours, Dutch cooking is surprisingly diverse. From gezellig to borrels, gado gado to uitsmijter, Dutch Feast delivers unconventional & economical recipes, & gives you a new excuse to invite everyone over for cold gin & a generous rijsttafel—an elaborate meal featuring a little dish of something for everyone. Touching on Dutch history and the back stories of traditional ingredients (from licorice to herring to beer), Emily Wright adds charm & sophistication to a cuisine that is wholesome & stubbornly delicious.
Cheese by Michel Roux ($30, HB) Classic recipes & techniques with a multitude of inventive ways to make the most of fantastic international & easy-to-find cheese varieties in cooking. Over 120 dishes including cheese straws, Normandy onion soup, Greek salad, lobster gratin, ravioli and pizza, orange cheesecake, the perfect souffle and raclette—all with suggestions for alternatives depending on what’s available or whether you prefer a stronger—or milder—tasting variety. Tuscany by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi ($50, HB) On this culinary journey through a Tuscan day, the pace of both life and cooking in Tuscany is slow and calm. Breakfasts are considered, lunch often eaten at home with family, and weekend dinners a feast. Try the Black Kale Bruschetta, a Farro, Courgette, Mint and Walnut Salad, and the Cheat’s Spaghetti with Clams.
Matt Moran’s Australian Food ($45, HB)
The recipes in this book span the country food traditions of regional Australia to the rugged coastline, which offers amazing fresh seafood. From the best slow-roasted lamb shoulder to an iconic passionfruit cheesecake, anyone who has spent time in Australia will find something in this collection to which they can nod their head and smile, recognising a recipe that is a favourite in their household.
Poh Bakes 100 Greats ($40, PB) Poh first fell in love with food by learning to bake as a nine year old—she remembers vividly her mum showing her the art of folding flour into her first sponge cake ‘just like so’ and the skill in lining a tin meticulously. In this book she returns to her roots, with wooden spoon and mixing bowl in hand. Poh owns and runs Adelaide destination cafe and bakery Jamface, with her bestie, Sarah. She describes the Jamface baking philosophy as the love child between a Parisian patisserie and the Country Women’s Association. Here, she shares recipes for 100 of her favourite baked delights.
The Secret Gardeners by Victoria Summerley
This is a captivating photographic portrait of the private gardening passions of 25 of the UK’s foremost artists, designers, actors, producers, composers, playwrights, sculptors and fashion designers. Accompanying meaty essays explaining the owners inspiration and passion are photographs revealing the beautiful gardens that the public rarely see. The Secret Gardeners include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Anish Kapoor, Jeremy Irons, Cath Kidston, Terry Gilliam, Prue Leith, Ozzy Osbourne, Sting, Julian Fellowes and Rupert Everett. ($60, HB)
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Event—6 for 6.30 Scott Bevan
Event—6 for 6.30 Richard Denniss
The Harbour in conv. with Kumi Taguchi Scott Bevan travels from cove to cove, by kayak, yacht & barge to gather Sydney Harbour’s stories, past & present, from boat builders, ship captains & fishermen to artists, divers, signs of ancient life to the submarine invasion by the Japanese.
Curing Affluenza in conv. with Ross Gittins A truly modern affliction, affluenza is endemic in Western societies, encouraged by those who profit from a culture of exploitation and waste. So how do we cure ourselves? A lucid explanation of a critical global issue and a stirring call to action
Event—6 for 6.30
Panel discussion with Tao Gofers & Tim Ross Chaired by Shaun Carter
Saving Our Sirius In 2014 the government announced it was selling Sirius as a site for 250 luxury apartments. Sirius and its residents were to be erased from the landscape. This book covers the campaign to save Sirius.
Launch—6 for 6.30
The Virgin of Ro Stories of the S Launcher: J The Lounge Liza vestigative journa ney and London, w is a well-known and this is a book from inside Clubl circles of newsp
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The Drover’s Wife Launcher: David Marr In essays and commentary, Frank Moorhouse examines our ongoing fascination with Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife and has collected some of the best pieces of writing on the subject.
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Saga Richard Fidler & son travel across places where the I folded a thousand resolve a longstan tery that might co greatest of the
Neoliberalism Launcher: Sen This book offers a ing analysis of the tical application o day, separating m
29 Launch—6 for 6.30
Trapped in a Closed World Launcher: Anne Benjamin This is Kevin People’s first-hand account of the harmful clerical culture that dominated Catholic seminary life in Australia in the 1960s—an insightful and compelling examination of clerical culture and its link to sexual abuse in Catholic institutions.
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All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free.
Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd November 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 2017
—6 for 6.30 Fidler & Gíslason
Land author Kári Gíslas Iceland, to the Icelandic sagas und years ago—and nding family mysonnect Kári to the e saga authors.
—6 for 6.30 e Lizard
ooty Hill & Other Smoking Room John Bryson ard is a former inalist based in Sydwhile The Courtier Australian artist, of amusing stories land and the inner paper publishing.
—6 for 6.30 Cahill and Konings
Launch—3.30 for 4
28th Annual Brad Buckley and Glebe Music Festival John Conomos Ben Noir French Cabaret Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power & Ethics With performances by This collection examines, using Ben Palumbo transdisciplinary strategies, the ecoand nomics and mythologies of today’s Paulo Campanaria-Brancondi global artworld. Tickets $10
11 Launch—3.30 for 4
—6 for 6.30 Geoff Page
Sharper: A biography of Martin Sharp 1980-2013 as told to Lowell Tarling Hard Horizons Launcher: Roger Foley Ron Pretty In this 2nd of two 300 page volumes, The Left Hand Mirror Ron Pretty & Geoff Page will launch Lowell Tarling offers us a way into the enigmatic and reclusive artist, each other’s new collection from Pitt through hundreds of interviews with Street Poetry. Sharp and all of his trusted friends.
28th Annual Glebe Music Festival Part 2 A Taste of Brazil With performances by Anna Salleh and Guy Strazz Tickets $10
24 Launch—6 for 6.30 Grahame Bond
he Moon’s Guide gh the Impending alypse iona Katauskas rtoonist First Dog this tender frolic ing collapse of civiemise of everything ared about.
Launch—3.30 for 4 Sarah Rice
Fingertip of the Tongue Sarah Rice displays a fascination with form and a great skill in finding the startlingly apt word, the evocative insight. Hers is a poetry of mind and heart.
12 Event—4 for 4.30
18 Launch—3.30 for 4 Helen Koukoutsis
Cicada Chimes Launcher: Peter Skrzynecki Helen Koukoutsis’ explores the effects of her father’s death and mother’s grief on her Australian-Greek Orthodox identity. Written with understated humour, these poems smile at the tensions between marriage and motherhood, memory and forgetfulness, and life and death.
The Great Pink Hunter Launchers: Doug Mulray and Rory O’Donoghue m: Key Concepts Kevin Hunter, a crass Australian adn. Lee Rhiannon vertising exec turned renowned triba nuanced & probal art collector, travels to the wilds meaning and pracof the mythical island of Malaka to of neoliberalism tofind the mysterious Gopi people, a myth from reality. reclusive tribe of brilliant artists and retired pygmy headhunters.
—6 for 6.30 on the Moon
A Long Way From Home in conv. with Stan Grant Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, Peter Carey’s new boook reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture—the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.
19 Launch—3.30 for 4 Jim Snow
Keating and his Party Room Launcher: Peter Manning As chair of the Caucus following Labor’s win at the 1993 federal election, Jim Snow was perfectly placed to observe the deliberations of a body that Keating has called ‘the supreme authority of the government’.
Remember! b and get free Join the Gleeclu ld at our shops, entry to events he with every pur10%credit accrued aner delivered to chase, and the Gle onth. your door every m In Early December
Launch: Fri 1st, 6 for 6.30: Professor Simon Chapman AO & Fiona Crichton—Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Communicated Disease—Launcher: Simon Holmes à Court
Event: Tue 5th, 6 for 6.30: John Edwards in conv. with Troy Bramston—John Curtin’s War Launch: Wed 6th, 6 for 6.30: Michael Rubbo—Travels with My Art—Launcher: Bob Connolly Launch: Fri 8th, 6 for 6.30: Renata Yates—Assassinations: The Collected Stories of Renate Yates Launcher: Bruce Beresford
Granny’s Good Reads with Sonia Lee
It can truly be said that nothing has become Clive James’s life so much as his unhurried leaving of it. Since receiving his death sentence six years ago he has gone on writing with grace and humour and with a new poetic intensity. In 2015 he published as his ‘final’ book of poems Sentenced to Death, but death has surprisingly given him extra time and his new collection, Injury Time, contains some of his best poems to date. In Night Walker’s Song he marvels: How strange, that now my strength is sunk so low, / My powers of handicraft have reached their height, / Starting new poems even in the night… He describes getting up in the night, going wearily downstairs and writing until dawn, just because there’s a new poem demanding to be written. He writes in rueful humour about The Himalayan slog upstairs to bed—/ Placing my feet so carefully I seem / To tread on rolling logs, and there I dream / I come back down next morning, still not dead. There are tender poems about his mother and the granddaughter who sits beside him giggling at Fawlty Towers on the TV. My favourites are The Gardener in White, This Coming Winter, Visitation of the Dove, Panis Angelicus and the final poem This Being Done, which ends with these lines: The morning comes, and through the spread of snow / In candy-coloured coats the children go. / Listen awhile and you can hear them grow. James admits that it is now an effort to write short lyric poems because they require such concentration and therefore an energy which he has only in short supply. He writes in such an easy conversational style that the poems look deceptively simple, but he always displays superb craftsmanship, with each line burnished to perfection. The first poem in the book is titled Return of the Kogarah Kid—when, he says, he is ‘burned and poured into a jar’ he will return to the city of his birth. It’s sad to think of this brilliant wordsmith being one day silenced, but the poems—his nightingales—will stay with us. For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take. Richard Ford’s latest book Between Them is a moving portrait of his parents. Best known for his Frank Bascombe novels, Ford says that a writer’s life is spent in ‘noticing and being a witness’. This book consists of two essays, one on his father Parker, the second on his mother Edna. Both came from the American rural south with not much money or education. Edna’s mother had given birth to her when only fourteen and later tried to pass her off as her sister. Edna’s happiest days were her school days at a convent, cut short when her stepfather insisted on her getting a job. Parker, who had a job as a travelling salesman for the Faultless Starch Company, married Edna and took her travelling with him until Richard was born—after which Edna and child stayed put while Parker travelled during the week and spent weekends at home. Ford says that giving an account of his father was difficult: not only did he see much less of him than of his mother but he died suddenly when Ford was only 16. Edna died in 1981 but Ford senses that she felt that her life was somehow over when Parker died. In an afterword Ford cites Auden’s La Musée des Beaux Arts, a poem about Brueghel’s painting depicting Icarus tumbling into the sea while some ploughmen labouring nearby take not a scrap of notice. Ford says the picture expresses what he regards as an enduring truth: the world doesn’t take much notice of us. This consideration, he says, has been a crucial urge for most of what he’s written over fifty years and has inspired this small book about his parents, just to show that their lives mattered. A real gem, this one. Joseph Kanon is a publisher turned novelist who has the knack of writing superior spy novels which are also commercially successful. Defectors, his latest, is a bobby dazzler. In 1949 Frank Weeks, accompanied by wife Joanna, defects to the Soviet Union. In 1961 Frank finishes his memoirs with KGB approval and his publisher brother Simon is invited to Russia for three weeks to oversee publication. Simon still has a tendresse for Joanna and in any case longs to see his brother again, so he accepts the invitation and goes to Russia. The story concerns what happens next. Explosive to say the least.
My best books for 2017 are The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, The Pleasures of Leisure by Robert Dessaix, The Attachment by Ailsa Piper and Tony Doherty, and Anna Krien’s Quarterly Essay The Long Goodbye about coal, coral and the climate deadlock. Sonia
Monash and Chauvel by Roland Perry ($35, PB) John Monash commanded the Australian forces on the Western Front at the most critical time of the war, 1918. Harry Chauvel led the 34,000-strong Desert Mounted Column. By the end of the war Monash & Chauvel had brought a distinctly Australian sensibility to their areas of operation, involving flexibility, innovation & a deep respect for the troops they led, which was in turn reciprocated by their men. Their impact on the war was immense and, in this compelling account, bestselling author Roland Perry does full justice to their extraordinary careers and the soldiers under their command.
Australian Studies Tracker by Alexis Wright ($39.95, PB)
Taken from his family as a child and brought up in a mission on Croker Island, Tracker Tilmouth returned home to transform the world of Aboriginal politics. He worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council. He was a visionary and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his anecdotes. His memoir has been composed by Wright from interviews with Tilmouth himself, as well as with his family, friends, and colleagues, weaving his and their stories together into a book that is as much a tribute to the role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of a remarkable man.
Gleebooks’ special price $34.99 John Curtin’s War: The coming of war in the Pacific, and reinventing Australia by John Edwards
John Curtin’s struggle for power against Joe Lyons & Bob Menzies, his dramatic use of it when he took office in October 1941, and his determination to be heard in Washington & London as Japan advanced, is a political epic unmatched in Australian experience. As Japan sank much of the Allied navy, advanced on the great British naval base at Singapore, and seized Australian territories in New Guinea, Curtin remade Australia. Using much new material John Edwards’ vivid, landmark 2 volume biography places Curtin as a man of his times—not as a hero, but as the pivotal figure making his uncertain way between what Australia was, and what it would become. It locates the turning point in Australian history not at Gallipoli or the Western Front or even Federation but in the Pacific War & in Curtin’s Prime Ministership. ($49.99, HB)
Gleebooks’ special price $45
Out this month Best Australian Political Cartoons 2017, $30 The Road to Ruin: Updated by Niki Savva ($25, PB) This updated edition contains a new, 13,500-word final chapter, in which Savva reveals the inner state of the Turnbull government— and the behind-the-scenes jockeying of friends & foes alike. From the mayhem of an own goal scored by Christopher Pyne, to the ramifications of Tony Abbott’s ramped-up destabilisation campaign—an unputdownable & impeccably sourced account. No Front Line: Australian special forces at war in Afghanistan by Chris Masters ($35, PB)
The soldiers of the SAS, the Commandos and Special Operations Engineer Regiment are Australia’s most highly trained soldiers. Their work is often secret, their bravery undeniable and for thirteen years they were at the forefront of Australia’s longest war. In an investigation undertaken over 10 years, Chris Masters opens up the heart of Australia’s Special Forces & their war in Afghanistan. He gives voice to the soldiers, going to the centre of some of the fiercest combat Australia has ever experienced & providing an intimate examination of what it is like to be a member of this country’s elite fighting forces. And also asking difficult questions that reveal controversial clouds hanging over our Special Operations mission in Afghanistan.
From the Margins to the Mainstream: The Domestic Violence Services Movement in Victoria, Australia, 1974–2016 by Theobald, Murray & Smart ($50, PB)
In the aftermath of the 2015 Victorian royal commission, billions of dollars of government funds have been committed to improving responses to women & children experiencing domestic violence. Such attention was unimaginable 40 years ago when feminists in Victoria & across Australia first established women’s refuges. While services that provided accommodation to women & children in crisis had existed for a long time, the refuge movement of the 1970s made explicit the link between domestic violence & the need for refuge, framing domestic violence as a manifestation of gender inequality & an imbalance of power between men & women. This book illuminates how the women’s domestic violence services movement in Victoria emerged, how members organised amidst diversity & worked towards achieving their goals.
Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters (ed) by Margo Neale ($50, PB)
This companion to the National Museum of Australia’s blockbuster Indigenous-led exhibition, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, explores the history and meaning of songlines, the Dreaming or creation tracks that crisscross the Australian continent, of which the Seven Sisters songline is one of the most extensive. Through stunning artworks (many created especially for the exhibition), story, and in-depth analysis, the book is a definitive resource for those interested in finding out more about these complex pathways of spiritual, ecological, economic, cultural & ontological knowledge—the stories ‘written in the land’.
The Ascent to Power, 1996: The Howard Government Volume 1 (ed) Tom Frame ($40, PB)
With contributions from John Howard, other politicians, media commentators, key public servants & academics, this first of 4 volumes on the Howard Government’s nearly 12 years in office draws on unpublished documents from John Howard’s papers held at UNSW Canberra. It covers the 1996 election, relationships with the Australian Public Service & Senate crossbenchers, reversing the budget ‘black hole’ & gun law reform following the Port Arthur massacre.
Out this month: The Australian Policy Handbook: A practical guide to the policy making process 6th Edition (eds) Catherine Althaus, Peter Bridgman & Glyn Davis ($55, PB) Burke and Wills: The triumph and tragedy of Australia’s most famous explorers by Peter FitzSimons ($50, PB)
Melbourne, 20 August 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O’Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels. Despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in our nation’s history—and their story remains immediate and compelling.
Gleebooks’ special price $39.99
Indigenous & Other Australians Since 1901 by Tim Rowse ($45, PB)
Not ‘dying out’ as predicted, Aboriginal numbers recovered and—along with Torres Strait Islanders—they became an articulate presence, aggrieved at colonial authority’s interventions into family life & continuing dispossession. Tim Rowse narrates their recovery—not only in numbers but in cultural confidence & critical self-awareness. Pointing to Indigenous leaders, he also reassesses the contribution of government & mission ‘protection’ policies & the revised definitions of ‘Aboriginal’. Rowse explains why Australia has conceded a large Indigenous Land & Sea Estate since the 1960s, and argues that the crisis in ‘self-determination’ since 2000 has been fuelled by Indigenous critique of the selves that they have become. (December release)
World of Three Zeros by Muhammad Yunus ($33, PB)
Muhammad Yunus argues that the capitalist system in its current form inevitably leads to rampant inequality, massive unemployment & devastating environmental destruction. To save humankind & the planet, we need a new economic system based on a more realistic vision of human nature—one that recognises altruism & generosity as driving forces that are just as fundamental & powerful as self-interest. Yunus’ book describes the new civilisation that is emerging from the economic experiments his work has helped to inspire, and offers a challenge to young people, business & political leaders, and ordinary citizens to embrace his mission & improve the world for everyone. Gleebooks’ special price $29.99
Europe at the Gates in the Era of Brexit and Trump by Guy Rundle ($24.95, PB)
Guy Rundle travels through Europe reporting, reflecting & theorising from the deep forests of France, the shattered northern cities of England, the eerie post-histoire of Germany, the toytowns of Brussels, and the Venice Biennale. He asks the key question of our era: Has the deep drive back to the ethnos come about because Europe’s elites have pushed through an arrogant, neoliberal version of the republic? Or does it tell us another tale, quite the opposite: that even the most tentative attempts to create a universal republic will founder on the deep human need for concrete cultural grounding, for something certain and particular to belong to? (December release)
The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen ($33, PB)
Masha Gessen follows the lives of four Russians, born as the Soviet Union crumbled, at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children or grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own—as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers and writers, sexual and social beings. Gessen charts their paths not only against the machinations of the regime that would seek to crush them all (censorship, intimidation, violence) but also against the war it waged on understanding itself, ensuring the unobstructed emergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state.
Mythos by Stephen Fry ($33, PB) The Greek myths are amongst the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West, and Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age—in all their rich and deeply human relevance.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99
The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power by Niall Ferguson ($35, PB)
Many old Italian towns have the same central structure: a large square where people gather & a tower where the town’s elite ruled from. Throughout history you can express the battle between the two as a battle of networks—who knows who, who works with who: guilds, families, fellowships, clans, cabals all cooperating to make sometimes huge changes. Sometimes the power lies with those lurking in the tower & sometimes with those in the square. Access to information, to credit, to ideas, to news—all constantly shift. Whether in the Renaissance or in the present day what makes the world work is an astonishing tangle of networks—and this was as true for the effort that went into discovering the New World as it is now for fighting elections or just talking to friends online. Niall Ferguson celebrates the myriad ways in which the battle between rival networks makes history happen.
Rome: A History in Seven Sackings by Matthew Kneale ($40, HB)
No city on earth has preserved its past as has Rome. Visitors stand on bridges that were crossed by Julius Caesar and Cicero, walk around temples visited by Roman emperors, and step into churches that have hardly changed since popes celebrated mass in them sixteen centuries ago. These architectural survivals are all the more remarkable considering the violent disasters that have struck the city. Afflicted by earthquakes, floods, fires and plagues, it has most of all been repeatedly ravaged by roving armies. Rome: A History in Seven Sackings examines the most important of these attacks and reveals, with fascinating insight, how they transformed the city - and not always for the worse..
Gleebooks’ special price $35.99
Science & Nature November To-Read List
The Number Games by Adam Spencer ($35, PB)
Featuring hundreds of mind-bending, head-scratching, intelligencetesting number games, puzzles, and quizzes—plus tonnes of hilarious and fascinating number-based trivia—this is a book that will make you think, laugh & cry (and quite possibly stare in amazement as your kids solve things before you do!). We all know how important it is to nourish & train our bodies, but our minds need exercising too. So keep your brains active & lively, and test yourselves against your friends & family, with 2017’s biggest & best book of numerical fun.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99 A Farewell to Ice by Peter Wadhams ($25, PB) Peter Wadhams has visited the Polar Regions more often than any other living scientist and, from his observations & the latest scientific research, describes how dramatically sea ice has diminished over the past three decades. He shows how it is the ‘canary in the mine’ of planetary climate change, describing the vital role ice plays in reflecting solar heat back into space & providing an ‘air conditioning’ system for the planet. He shows how a series of rapid feedbacks in the Arctic are accelerating change there more rapidly than almost all scientists (& political authorities) have realised & the dangers of further acceleration are very real. This thrilling, high-speed story is often funny, the more so as the world gets stranger. Peter Carey has twice won the Booker Prize for his explorations of Australian history. A Long Way from Home is his late-style masterpiece.
Volume one of a major new biography of arguably our greatest (and one of our most underrated) Prime Ministers, who shaped modern Australia.
The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums by Christopher Kemp ($60, HB)
The tiny, lungless Thorius salamander from southern Mexico, thinner than a match and smaller than a quarter. The lushly white-coated Saki, an arboreal monkey from the Brazilian rainforests. The olinguito, a native of the Andes, which looks part mongoose, part teddy bear—go spelunking into museum basements, dig through specimen trays, and inspect the drawers and jars of collections, scientific detectives on the hunt for new species. Christopher Kemp vividly tells these stories of discovery from the latest information on each creature to the people who collected them and the scientists who finally realized what they had unearthed.
The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young ($20, HB) At Kite’s Nest Farm the cows (as well as the sheep, hens & pigs) all roam free. They make their own choices about rearing, grazing & housing. Left to be themselves the cows exhibit personalities as diverse as our own. Fat Hat prefers men to women. Chippy Minton refuses to sleep with muddy legs & always reports to the barn for grooming before bed. Jake’s vice is sniffing the carbon monoxide fumes from the Land Rover exhaust pipe. Gemima greets all humans with an angry shake of the head & is fiercely independent. In this affectionate, heart-warming chronicle, Rosamund Young shows that cows love, play games, bond and form life-long friendships. The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by Eagleman & Brandt ($33, PB)
Weaving together the arts & sciences, neuroscientist David Eagleman & composer Anthony Brandt explore the need for novelty, the simulation of possible futures, and the social components that drive the inventiveness of our species. Taking us on a tour of human creativity from Picasso to concept cars to umbrellas to lunar travel, Brandt & Eagleman explore the cognitive software that generates new ideas, and illuminate the key facets of a creative mentality. Through understanding our ability to innovate—our most mysterious, and deeply human capacity—we can meet the challenge of remaking our constantly shifting world.
Spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures the Greek myths for the modern age - in all their rich and deeply human relevance.
In essays and commentary, Frank Moorhouse examines our ongoing fascination with this story and has collected some of the best pieces of writing on the subject. This remarkable, gorgeous book is, he writes, ‘a monument to the drovers’ wives’.
Read more at penguin.com.au
The Zoomable Universe by Caleb Scharf ($40, HB) Astrobiologist Caleb Scharf & artist Ron Miller journey from the very edge of the observable universe—about 91 billion light years away—to the subatomic realm, where the fabric of space-time itself behaves in a way that confounds all the rules of physics we currently know. This unique approach toward explaining our place in the universe charts an unforgettable course through galaxies, black holes, solar systems, stars and planets, oceans & continents, plants & animals, micro-organisms, atoms & quantum fields—with navigational aids that allow readers to track their progress from one scale to the next, with over 100 original full colour illustrations & infographics. The Secret Life of Whales by Micheline Jenner
Marine biologist Micheline Jenner discovered humpback breeding grounds off the Kimberley coast, has swum through orange golfballsized pygmy blue whale poo to uncover a feeding spot, and is one of very few people to witness a humpback whale giving birth. In The Secret Life of Whales she reveals the unknown world of these giants of the deep and shares insights from her work with humpback, blue and pygmy blue whales, taking us from Australia to Antarctica and beyond. ‘Australia’s whales are lucky to have had observers, admirers and protectors like Micheline Jenner. But so are the citizens of this island nation, for the Jenners have not only advanced our scientific knowledge, they’ve enriched our culture.’—Tim Winton. ($30, PB)
The Planets: Photographs from the Archives of NASA ($65, HB)
This magnificent visual tour of our solar system has more than 200 photographs from the archives of NASA, paired with captions detailing the science behind some of the planets’ most extraordinary phenomenon. Images of the newly discovered areas of Jupiter, the fiery volcanoes on Venus, the mysterious Planet Nine & many more astronomical marvels are revealed in these pages. A preface by Bill Nye helps contextualise the images, providing fascinating details on the history of NASA’s pioneering missions and the future of planetary exploration. An awe-inspiring guide to our cosmic neighbourhood.
Out this month: The Best Australian Science Writing 2017 (ed) by Michael Slezak, $30 Birdmania by Bernd Brunner ($35, PB)
In addition to well-known enthusiasts, such as Aristotle, Charles Darwin, and Helen Macdonald, Brunner introduces readers to Karl Russ, the pioneer of “bird rooms” and lover of the Australian budgerigar, who had difficulty renting lodgings when landlords realised who he was; George Lupton, a wealthy Yorkshire lawyer, who commissioned the theft of uniquely patterned eggs every year for twenty years from the same unfortunate female guillemot who never had a chance to raise a chick; Ambrose Pratt who leaves us a beautiful example of a devoted relationship between a lyre bird and an Australian hermit; Mervyn Shorthouse, who posed as a wheelchair-bound invalid to steal an estimated ten thousand eggs from the Natural History Museum in Tring; and Tibbles the 19th century cat, who belonged to the lighthouse keeper on Stephens Island in New Zealand, and who collected many of Lord Walter Rothschild’s bird samples.
Philosophy & Religion
On Purpose by Michael Ruse ($54, HB)
In the Platonic view, purpose results from the planning of a human or divine being; in the Aristotelian, purpose stems from a tendency or principle of order in the natural world; and in the Kantian, purpose is essentially heuristic, or something to be discovered, an idea given substance by Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. Michael Ruse explores the history of the idea of purpose in philosophical, religious, scientific & historical thought, from ancient Greece to the present. Accessibly written and filled with literary and other examples, the book examines ‘purpose’ thinking in the natural & human world.
In Search of a Prophet: A Spiritual Journey with Kahlil Gibran by Paul Gordon Chandler ($36, HB) From his birthplace village high in the snowy mountains of Lebanon, Paul Chandler follows Kahlil Gibran’s emigration to Boston, art training in Paris, career in New York, and to the far-reaching places of influence his writings and art have travelled. Delving into passages of some of Gibran’s writings—both famous and less well known—Chandler breathes life into this captivating poet artist who moved beyond religion to the core of universal spirituality and was a unique blend of East and West.
Midlife: A Philosophical Guide by Kieran Setiya
Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, showing how philosophy can help you thrive. You will learn why missing out might be a good thing, how options are overrated, and when you should be glad you made a mistake. You will be introduced to philosophical consolations for mortality. And you will learn what it would mean to live in the present, how it could solve your midlife crisis, and why meditation helps. Ranging from Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill to Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as drawing on Setiya’s own experience, Midlife combines surprising insights & practical advice. ($41, HB)
Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime by Bruno Latour ($42.95, PB)
What will replace the old ways of looking at nature? This book explores a potential candidate proposed by James Lovelock when he chose the name Gaia for the fragile, complex system through which living phenomena modify the Earth. The fact that he was immediately misunderstood proves simply that his readers have tried to fit this new notion into an older frame, transforming Gaia into a single organism, a kind of giant thermostat, some sort of New Age goddess, or even divine Providence. In this series of lectures on natural religion, Bruno Latour argues that the complex and ambiguous figure of Gaia offers, on the contrary, an ideal way to disentangle the ethical, political, theological & scientific aspects of the now obsolete notion of nature. He lays the groundwork for a future collaboration among scientists, theologians, activists, & artists as they, and we, begin to adjust to the new climatic regime.
Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie ($30, PB)
Elon Musk created a car company that would go up against not only the might of the government-backed Detroit car manufacturers, but also the massive power of Big Oil & its benefactors, the infamous Koch brothers. The new Tesla Model 3, scheduled to go on sale in fall 2017 with a price tag of $35,000, is set to transform the public perception of Tesla. Around 400,000 people have put down $1,000 to preorder the car; meanwhile Tesla’s debt is teetering on ‘junk bond’ status and some on Wall Street are betting the company will fail under the pressure to deliver. Hamish McKenzie interviews littleknown titans who have the money and the market access to power a global electric car revolution quickly and decisively.
American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by David Baron ($39.95, HB)
In the summer of 1878 three ruthless and brilliant scientists raced to Wyoming and Colorado to observe a total solar eclipse. One sought to discover a new planet. Another fought to prove that science was not an anathema to femininity. And a young, megalomaniacal inventor sought to test his bona fides and light the world through his revelations. David Baron brings to life these three competitors-James Craig Watson, Maria Mitchell and Thomas Edison-re-creating the jockeying of nineteenth-century astronomy. With accounts of train robberies and Indian skirmishes, the last days of the Wild West come alive. A magnificent portrayal of America’s dawn as a superpower, American Eclipse depicts a nation looking to the skies to reveal its ambition and expose its genius.
Out this month: 2018 Australasian Sky Guide by Nick Lomb, $16.95
Monthly astronomy maps, viewing tips & highlights, details of the year’s exciting celestial events, with easy calculations to allow you to estimate local rise and set times for the Sun, Moon & planets.
Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments: A Stone Reader (eds) Peter Catapano & Simon Critchley
Since 2010, The Stone—the immensely popular, award-winning philosophy column in The New York Times—has revived and reinterpreted age-old inquiries to speak to our contemporary condition. This volume features 77 essays from an online series that has enthralled millions with its lively, accessible examinations of perennial philosophical topics such as consciousness, religious belief & morality. The result is a thought-provoking collection, showcasing a fascinating debate that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. This insightful compendium promises to enliven the world of ethical thought and action in both the classroom and everyday life. ($40.95, HB)
Psychology Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir by Irvin D. Yalom ($35, PB)
Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In this memoir, he turns his writing & his therapeutic eye upon himself. He opens his story with a nightmare: He is 12, and is riding his bike past the home of an acne-scarred girl. Like every morning, he calls out, hoping to befriend her, ‘Hello, Measles!’ But in his dream, the girl’s father makes Yalom understand that his daily greeting has hurt her. For Yalom, this was the birth of empathy. As Becoming Myself unfolds, we see the development of the compassionate and insightful thinker whose books have been a beacon to so many. This is not simply one man’s life story—Yalom’s reflections on his life and growth are an invitation for us to reflect on the origins of our own selves and the meanings of our lives.
Creativity and Mental Illness (ed) James C. Kaufman ($47.95, PB)
Are creative people more likely to be mentally ill? This basic question has been debated for thousands of years, with the ‘mad genius’ concept advanced by such luminaries as Aristotle. There are many studies that argue the answer is ‘yes’, and several prominent scholars who argue strongly for a connection. There are also those who argue equally strongly that the core studies and scholarship underlying the mad genius myth are fundamentally flawed. This book re-examines the common view that a high level of individual creativity often correlates with a heightened risk of mental illness. It reverses conventional wisdom that links creativity with mental illness, arguing that the two traits are not associated. With contributions from some of the most exciting voices in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, physics, psychiatry, and management, this is a dynamic and cuttingedge volume that will inspire new ideas and studies on this fascinating topic.
Cultural Studies & Criticism
Last month I spent a blissful week on the west coast of Ireland, staying in an old granite house at the end of a small town, on the beautiful Ring of Kerry. I had already started to read Niall William’s History of Rain, so when I returned to dry old NSW, I positively jumped on it with renewed enthusiasm. Set in Co. Clare, in a town called Faha on the banks of the Shannon, it’s an elegy to rain, and to the river and the fish that swim in it. Narrated by a bedbound girl call Ruth Swain, who slowly unwinds the history of her family, with an undercurrent of the books she is reading as a homage to her poet father, Virgil Swain. Reading is a legacy in the family, and the books themselves surround her in her attic room, in the boatlike bed that her father built her. Tragedy and misfortune could overwhelm the family, but somehow Ruth continues her vocation of reading, and through that finds meaning. If this makes the book seem overly serious, it’s not—it’s humorous and insightful, with a genuine sense of place and people. Before I went to Ireland, I was in London for a week. Having not been back there since I was five, I was somewhat overwhelmed by it. We walked all day, and read all night. I was reading the last three books of Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. Much of this extraordinary work is set in London, pre-War and post-War, and the author captures that time vividly. Nick Jenkins, possibly literature’s least self referential narrator, is a thinly disguised version of the author, and the novels’ over 300 characters are nearly all based on people Anthony Powell knew. I’ve read these books many times, and I enjoy them more with each reading. Books give us different things at different times of our lives, and these 12 books respond particularly well to rereading. I’m really looking forward to Hilary Spurling’s Anthony Powell: A Life, and I can recommend her Invitation to the Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time, a most useful companion for anyone embarking on the twelve books. Louise
True Stories: The Collection Short Fiction by Helen Garner ($40, HB)
In a collection of short non-fiction, spanning fifty years of work, Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.
Also New: Stories: The Collected Short Fiction of Helen Garner ($40, HB)
Gleebooks’ special offer! Save $20 Buy both for $49.99 The Drover’s Wife: A Collection by Frank Moorhouse ($35, HB)
Since Henry Lawson wrote his story The Drover’s Wife in 1892, Australian writers, painters, performers & photographers have created a wonderful tradition of drover’s wife works, stories & images. The Russell Drysdale painting from 1945 has become an Australian icon—other versions of the Lawson story have been written by Murray Bail, Barbara Jefferis, Mandy Sayer, David Ireland, Madeleine Watts & others, up to the present—including Leah Purcell’s play & Ryan O’Neill’s graphic novel. In essays & commentary, Frank Moorhouse examines our ongoing fascination with this story a& has collected some of the best pieces of writing on the subject.
Curing Affluenza: How to buy less stuff and save the world by Richard Denniss ($28, PB)
A truly modern affliction, affluenza is endemic in Western societies, encouraged by those who profit from a culture of exploitation & waste. So how do we cure ourselves? In this sparkling book of ideas, Richard Denniss shows we must distinguish between consumerism, the love of buying things, which is undeniably harmful to us & the planet, and materialism, the love of things, which can in fact be beneficial. We should cherish the things we own—preserve them, repair them, and then gift or sell them when we no longer need them. We must foster new ways of thinking & acting that do not squander limited resources, and which support the things we value most: vibrant communities & rich experiences.
Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello ($30, PB)
Beginning with Yuka, a 39,000-year-old mummified woolly mammoth recently found in the Siberian permafrost, each of the 16 essays in Elena Passarello’s book investigates a different famous animal named & immortalised by humans. The starling that inspired Mozart with its song, Darwin’s tortoise Harriet, and in an extraordinary essay, Jumbo the elephant (and how they tried to electrocute him). Modelled loosely on a medieval bestiary, these witty, playful, provocative essays traverse history, myth, science & more. ‘...a devastating meditation on our relationship to the natural world. It might be the best book on animals I’ve ever read. It’s also the only one that’s made me laugh out loud.’—Helen McDonald
Chronicles of a Liquid Society by Umberto Eco
A celebrated essayist as well as novelist, in this, his last collection, Umberto Eco explores a crisis in ideological values, a crisis in politics, unbridled individualism—the familiar backdrop to our lives: a ‘liquid society’ where it’s not easy to find a polestar, though stars and starlets are not lacking. Eco brings erudition & a keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as popular culture & politics, being seen, conspiracies, the old & the young, mobile phones, mass media, racism, good manners & the crisis in ideological values. It is a final gift to his readers—astute, witty and illuminating. ($45, HB)
Gleebooks’ special price $39.99
The Australian Face: Essays from the Sydney Review of Books (eds) Ley & Menzies-Pike
Australia’s leading space for longform literary criticism, the SRB is celebrating five years online with a collection of their best on on Australian fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Contributions to the ongoing argument about the condition & purpose & evolving shape of Australian literature, the essays reflect the ways in which discussions about the state of the literary culture are constantly reaching beyond themselves to consider wider cultural & political issues. (December release) ($30, PB)
Between Eternities by Javier Marías ($33, PB)
Javier Marías is a tireless examiner of the world around us, an enthusiastic debunker of pretensions of every kind, a polymath and a rogue. This selection of his inimitable non-fiction pieces are published together in English for the first time, and they range widely from the literary to the philosophical to the autobiographical—from football to cinema, comic books to mortality to ‘Why Almost No One Can Be Trusted’. Trenchant and wry, subversive and penetrating, Marías demonstrates a dazzling intellectual vigour, showing why he is so often said to be Spain’s greatest living writer.
Big and Small: A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies by Lynne Vallone ($45, HB)
Exploring miniaturism, giganticism, obesity, and the lived experiences of actual big & small people, Lynne Vallone addresses the uncomfortable implications of using physical measures to judge normalcy, goodness, gender identity & beauty. Her wide-ranging work surveys the lives & contexts of both real & imagined persons with extraordinary bodies from the 17th century to the present day through close examinations of art, literature, folklore & cultural practices, as well as scientific & pseudo-scientific discourses. Generously illustrated Vallone’s provocative study encourages you to look with care at extraordinary bodies & the cultures that created, depicted, loved & dominated them.
Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov ($50, HB)
On October 14th, 1964, Vladimir Nabokov, a lifelong insomniac, began a curious experiment. Over the next eighty days, immediately upon waking, he wrote down his dreams, following the instructions he found in An Experiment with Time by the British philosopher John Dunne. The purpose was to test the theory that time may go in reverse, so that, paradoxically, a later event may generate an earlier dream. Published here for the first time this is a fascinating diary in which Nabokov recorded sixty-four dreams (and subsequent daytime episodes) on 118 index cards. More than an odd biographical footnote, the experiment grew out of Nabokov’s passionate interest in the mystery of time, which influenced many of his novels, including the late masterpiece Ada. This volume is edited by leading Nabokov authority Gennady Barabtarlo—presenting the text of Nabokov’s dream experiment, illustrated with a selection of his original index cards, and provides rich annotations and analysis that put them in the context of his life and writings.
Dissent: The Student Press in 1960s Australia by Sally Percival Wood ($33, PB)
The 1960s was a decade of profound change, & during this time, university campuses became sites of dissent, amplified by the proliferation of tertiary institutions, producing the best-educated generation in Australian history. Student newspapers began probing the Vietnam War & resisting conscription, challenging racism & the absence of Aborigines at university, stirring gender politics & testing the limits of obscenity. Sally Percival Wood delves into the people, the places, & the politics from 1961, when Monash University opened, to 1972, when the Whitlam government came to power—showing just how profoundly the political conservatism emblematic of post-war Australia struggled to adapt to this new generation, with its new, sometimes alarming, audacity—asking: has the student press lost its nerve?
In Search Of Lost Books: The forgotten stories of eight mythical volumes by Giorgio van Straten
Romano Bilenchi The Avenue; Lord Byron Memoirs; Ernest Hemingway Juvenilia; Bruno Schulz The Messiah; Nikolai Gogol Dead Souls (part II); Malcolm Lowry In Ballast to the White Sea; Walter Benjamin What was in the Black Suitcase; Sylvia Plath Double Exposure. Lost books—burnt, torn, stolen, or simply disappeared, but which certainly existed. Giorgio van Straten is by turns detective & spy, traveller & scholar, as he sifts through clues, pursues leads & interviews experts to discover the stories of these 8 lost tomes, and their authors—from Byron’s England to Sylvia Plath’s, and on to France in the 1920s & Hemingway, across Gogol’s Russia & from there to the Spanish frontier where Walter Benjamin tried to flee his destiny, from Nazi-occupied Poland where Bruno Schulz was killed in an argument between German officers & finally to a remote village in Canada where Malcolm Lowry took refuge. ($25, HB)
Jacob’s Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill ($30, HB)
When we spend so much of our time immersed in books, who’s to say where reading ends and living begins? Considering everything from Edith Wharton’s novels through Alan Bennett’s diaries, Virginia Woolf and the writings of 12th century monk Aelred of Rievaulx, Susan Hill charts a year of her life through the books she has read, reread or returned to the shelf. From beneath a shady tree in a hot French summer, or the warmth of a kitchen during an English winter, Hill reflects on what her reading throws up, from writing & writers to politics & religion, as well as the joy of dandies or the pleasure of watching a line of geese cross a meadow.
Language & Writing
We Are Not Amused: Victorian Views on Pronunciation as Told in the Pages of Punch by David Crystal
In the 60 years between its first issue in 1841 & the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, jokes about the fashions affecting English usage provide one of Punch’s most fruitful veins of humour, from the dropped aitches of the Cockney accent to the upper-class habit of dropping the final ‘g’ (huntin’ and fishin’). David Crystal has brought together the cartoons & articles that poked fun at the subject of pronunciation. The collection & his commentary brings to light a society where class distinction ruled, & where the way you pronounced a word was seen as a sometimes damning index of who you were & how you should be treated. A highly entertaining insight into our on-going amusement at the subject of how we speak. ($33, HB)
Write to the Point: How to be Clear, Correct & Persuasive on the Page by Sam Leith ($30, HB)
Sam Leith is literary editor at the Spectator, contributes columns to the Financial Times, the Evening Standard and Prospect. In this book he shows how to express yourself fully across any medium, and how to maximise your chances of getting your way in every situation. From work reports to valentine cards, and from emails of condolence to tweets of complaint, Leith lays bare the secrets to successful communication, eloquence and off- and online etiquette. How do you write a job application, a thank-you card, or an email to your bank manager, to your children’s headteacher, to your clients or your boss? How do you prepare a speech to win the argument, get the vote of confidence, or embarrass the bridegroom? Getting these things right—or wrong—can be life-changing.
How Language Began: The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention by Daniel Everett ($50, HB)
In this revolutionary account of the origins of language linguist Daniel Everett confounds the conventional wisdom that language originated with Homo sapiens 150,000 years ago and that we have a ‘language instinct’. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of fields, including linguistics, archaeology, biology, anthropology and neuroscience, he shows that our ancient ancestors, Homo erectus, had the biological and mental equipment for speech one and half million years ago, and that their cultural and technological achievements (including building oceangoing boats) make it overwhelmingly likely they spoke some kind of language. How Language Began sheds new light on language and culture and what it means to be human and, as always, Daniel Everett spices his account with incident and anecdote.
s d d w n n a o 2 H R
Welcome to Black Heath 2nd Hand!
To welcome a Gleebooks stand alone Second-Hand Shop to Blackheath, here are two titles that I hope appeal to our new Blue Mountain customers: The Comic Art of Norman Lindsay Selected by Keith Wingrove. Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1987. Hardcover. Quarto, vi, 266pp., 500 b/w illus., Slight markings on free front endpaper; slight spotting on half title page. Dustjacket is toned. Very Good condition. $50.00.
Norman Lindsay’s unique and enduring talent expressed itself in a wide variety of media, ranging from portraits to model ships, from book illustrations to war posters and, of course, prolific illustrations and cartoons for the Bulletin, where he worked for almost 50 years, and its monthly magazine, Lone Hand. This book brings together for the first time almost 500 of these cartoons and joke illustrations, selected by Lindsay’s long-time friend, Keith Wingrove.
Blackheath Progress Committee Blackheath: Blue Mountains N.S.W, Described and Illustrated Rotary Club of Blackheath, NSW. 1975. First Edition. Orange card covers with black cloth spine.102pp. Contains b/w photos and illus. Facsimile reprint. Originally published, Blackheath, N.S.W. Blackheath Progress Committee, 1903. Slightly soiled cover. Previous owners name on title page. Good condition. Somewhat scarce. $30.00. Floreat Blackheath! This delightful booklet, published (for the modest price of 9 Pence) to promote our mountain idyll, a mere two years after Federation, conveys not only the charm of Blackheath’s location—‘it stands on a mighty spur of the Blue Mountains’—it also allows a brief journey back in time, to the Blackheath of over a century ago, that is both historically instructive and diverting. Firstly, the health benefits of Blackheath as a Sanatorium: ‘there is no more bracing climate in the whole of the State... and proves in the highest degree invigorating as a general tonic and promotes the appetite’. As well, ‘the violet rays of mountain sunlight act chemically upon the blood and improve its quality’. Various locations for both drives and walks are listed: Shipley, Porter’s Pass, Neate’s Glen and, of course, Blackheath’s gem: Govett’s Leap, with an entertaining chapter outlining its uniqueness, entitled: Govett’s Leap Compared with Ordinary Reserves—‘the nearest approach to the Yosemite Valley that we have in Australia!’ Plentiful accommodation is available—hotels and cottages abound. Two examples: ‘Boscobel’—fully furnished with piano, bath etc : ‘in one of the very best residential parts of Blackheath’. My favourite: The Yabba Yabba. Eight Rooms. Comfortably furnished. Plate, Cutlery and House Linen. Where one may enjoy a refreshing glass of Bronger Brothers Cordial or Aerated Water—‘made with renowned Blue Mountains spring water’, accompanied by the ‘best class of Cakes and Pastry, executed at shortest notice’ by Blackheath Bakery (A. Field, Proprietor). With the Sydney evening papers to hand, of course—delivered daily by the 8.15pm train! Yet even in bucolic Blackheath more than a century ago, were to be found now commonplace tourist evils. On Page 4 one finds this plea: ‘Visitors are earnestly requested to assist the trustees of the various beauty spots in preventing the vandalism, which unfortunately, is so prevalent’. Et in Arcadia ego…. Stephen
meanwhile at #49 2nd hand...
a couple of holiday who-dunits
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie, $5—Gorston Hall entertains murder for the silly season, and according to Poirot there’s way too much blood. Aunt Dimity’s Christmas by Nancy Atherton, $5—a dead tramp, and a devilishly attractive Roman Catholic priest—thank goodness Aunt Dimity’s ghost is on hand to help with the investigation. Why Shoot a Butler by Georgette Heyer, $7—the butler got it instead of did it! Well there’s a turn up for the books in a tale of upstairs, downstairs and family secrets. Predikanten by Camilla Läckberg, $7—brush up your Svenska before the trip with The Preacher in its original Swedish. Dagan böjade lovande... now read on. Viki
Stephen’s Notable books 2017
Horror Stories by E Nesbit ($23, PB) Before she gained fame as the author of such children’s classics as Five Children and It (1902) and The Railway Children (1906), Edith Nesbit (1858–1924) wrote some superlative ghost stories. It’s good to see these adult tales of terror back in print. They usually begin quietly and exude a slow growing sense of unease and often menace throughout, as the supernatural intrudes itself upon everyday couples and often in idyllic settings. I first read the classic Man-size in Marble over four decades ago. The inevitable, tragic—and terrifying—ending kept me awake all night. Likewise, the atmospheric tale The Violet Car, with its undertones of guilt, remorse and final judgement. In John Charrington’s Wedding, a planned wedding day consummation (or is it possession?) refuses to be thwarted, even from beyond the grave. Half Wild by Pip Smith ($30, PB) Debut fiction author Pip Smith re-imagines the astonishing life of Eugenia Falleni (1875–1938), a female-to-male transgender man who in 1920—under the name Harry Crawford—was arrested in Sydney for the murder of his wife, Annie Birkett, who had disappeared three years previously. Dubbed by the press the ‘Man-Woman Case’, her trial revealed that from the time she had left New Zealand and went to sea as a cabin boy, Eugenia had lived twenty years of her life as a man. Smith’s historical novel is both exciting and well crafted, beginning with Eugenia’s restless, wilful, childhood through to a hidden life, two marriages, a murder conviction, imprisonment, various aliases and the secrets of a transgendered existence when such a life was deemed socially unacceptable and dangerous. Unbelievable: My Front Row seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur ($49, HB) I fully intend to read Hillary Clinton’s mea culpa, What Happened?, over the coming holidays. Until then, NBC Correspondent Katy Tur, has provided the best on-the-ground account of Donald Trump’s bizarre, astonishing, repellent and successful Presidential campaign. From Day 1 to Day 500, she had a front row seat to the Trump circus—and through 40 states and in over 3,800 live news reports she chronicled it all: the lies, the bigotry, the ill-concealed fury and fanning of unchecked misogyny towards his female opponent by his supporters—and towards Tur herself by Trump personally—when she continued to report stubborn facts. That Trump comes across as even more vile and despicable in person should not surprise anyone. The surprise is that Tur was able to craft such a fine piece of reportage under such harrowing circumstances. One fine piece of Monty Pythonesque humour: the author retaining her sanity after enduring ‘a gazillion’ play loops of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer—a Trump rally playlist standard.... Doesn’t the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibit ‘cruel and unusual punishment?’
Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh and LA by Eve Babitz ($25, PB) I did not become famous, but I got near enough to smell the stench of success. It smelt like cloth and rancid gardenias, and I realized the truly awful thing about success is that it’s held up all those years as thing that would make everything all right. And the only thing that makes things even slightly bearable is a friend who knows what you’re talking about. The literary renaissance of Eve Babitz (b.1943) continues with this handsome reissue of a collection of sketches detailing her life in bygone Southern California, circa 1974. In a cool, deceptively conversational style, we are brought along on a ride through an LA of perpetual surprise. Her skimming, light prose seems effortless, but has real bite. Hers is the life of a party girl, muse, bookworm and journalist. Always with a sharp eye turned on the beautiful people: movie stars—both real and wanna be—socialites, musicians, artists. The enticements of romance, sex and power. Three-day drug binges. Endless cocktail drinking sessions at famed (now long vanished) LA watering holes. Journeys—often aimless—to Laguna Beach, Palm Springs, Sunset Boulevard. All are described with flawless, deft, skittering prose. A gem. American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by David Baron Monday 29 July 29, 1878, and the total solar eclipse—dubbed the Great American Eclipse—which will journey over the United States from Montana Territory down to the Louisiana coast, has reached Colorado and is to be observed by thousands of scientists, astronomers (amateur and otherwise) and adventure seekers. All gathering to witness this rare celestial event. David Baron’s entertaining and informative account focuses on three expeditionary groups of eclipse observers. One was led by Maria Mitchell (1818–1889), a female Professor of Astronomy from the women’s college Vassar, who ‘saw it as her role not only to teach female students but…to create the kind of supportive environment for intelligent women so lacking in the outside world’. Another notable traveller heading Westward was the inventor, Thomas Edison (1847–1931). Fresh from designing the phonograph he had built a device he called a tasimeter—an instrument that he hoped would measure solar heat differences during and after the eclipse. Although the tasimeter failed to read as accurately as he had hoped, it anticipated the development of infrared telescopes. A third was James Craig Watson (1838–1880), celebrated astronomer
and discoverer of some 22 asteroids. He was determined to use the circumstances of the solar eclipse to observe a hypothetical planet he named Vulcan. He believed this new planet was close to Mercury and therefore was normally hidden by the sun’s brilliance. The subtitle of Baron’s book also highlights the fact that various scientific worthies also hoped to use the fruits of the eclipse research to redeem the generally lacklustre state of American science, which ranked far below its European elders. It is also a lively historical account of ‘how an unfledged young nation came to embrace something much larger than itself—the enduring human quest for knowledge and truth’. ($39.95, HB). Stephen Reid
The Arts Painting by Numbers: The life and art of Ferdinand Bauer by David Mabberley
Ferdinand Bauer is seen by many as the greatest natural history painter of all time. Hand-picked by Joseph Banks, in 1801–1805 Bauer accompanied Matthew Flinders during his circumnavigation of Australia, and lived in NSW and Norfolk Island. Already celebrated in Europe for the precision and beauty of his paintings, it was during this commission that Bauer perfected the technique of sketching and colour-coding in the field, and then colouring later—painting by numbers. This new study of Bauer’s work includes reproductions of neverbefore-published works from collections in Europe and Australia. ($69.99, HB)
Gleebooks’ special price $59.99
Frank Stella ($65, PB) Initially influenced by the work of the abstract expressionists, Frank Stella subsequently rejected the movement in favour of more radical forms. In 1960 Stella presented his first series of aluminium paintings at Leo Castelli, causing the first upset in a long history of experiments that saw him tackling minimalism, postpainterly abstraction, and public art. This book examines Stella’s life and career in the context of the contemporary art world, featuring works from his recent blockbuster museum exhibitions as well as landmark works from throughout his career. Really Good Dog Photography ($75, HB)
Dogs and photography have gone hand in paw almost since the medium was invented and our passion remains undiminished, with pictures of adorable, bright-eyed dogs all over the internet. The photographs in this book offer an alternative to all the fluff. They approach the dog as a dignified, intelligent and noble being, and they consider our relationship with man’s best friend for the extraordinary thing it really is. Elegant, beautiful, surprising, sometimes comical, full of drama and heart, these images show the world’s best-loved animal in a remarkable new light.
Unpacking My Library: Artists and Their Books ($35, HB)
This book showcases the personal libraries of ten contemporary artists based in the US (Mark Dion, Theaster Gates, Wangechi Mutu, Ed Ruscha & Carrie Mae Weems), Canada (Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller), and the UK (Billy Childish, Tracey Emin & Martin Parr). The artists discuss the necessity of reading & the meaning of books in their lives & careers, and each give a top 10 reading list. These interviews highlighting the role of literature in shaping an artist’s self-presentation & persona. Photographs of each artist’s bookshelves present an evocative glimpse of personal taste, of well-loved & rare volumes, and of the individual touches that make a bookshelf one’s own.
An Unfinished Experiment in Living: Australian Houses 1950–65 by Geoffrey London, Philip Goad & Conrad Hamann
Architect-designed houses of the period 1950–65 proposed an innovative response to the social, economic & climatic conditions of post-war Australia. At the same time they embraced the aesthetic, technological & egalitarian aspirations of modern architecture. This book traces the emergence of this architectural phenomenon in Australia, documenting the full range of its expression: from the postwar optimism of the early 1950s through to the affluence of the 1960s. It catalogues the most significant houses of the period, and includes comprehensive plans & period photographs of 150 houses from around Australia, dating from a time when the great Australian dream was the single family house. ($65, PB)
Now in paperback Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King, $23
After Alice Gregory Maguire, HB
100 Birds to See Before You Die Chandler & Couzens, PB
Gandhi Before India Ramachandra Guha, HB
The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine Anne Harrington, HB
P Was $40
The Iliad: A New Translation Caroline Alexander, HB
The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct Hölldöbler & Wilson, PB
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons Sam Kean, PB
The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika Robert B. Strassler, HB
Hitler: The Psychiatric Files Nigel Cawthorne, PB
Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995–2014 Alice Munro, HB
England and Other Stories Graham Swift, HB
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy Rachel Joyce, HB
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil Philip Zimbardot, PB
S Was 45
Great House: A Novel Nicole Krauss, HB
The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books John Carey, HB
I Am Malala Malala Lamb Yousafzai, HB
The War in the West — A New History James Holland, PB
Pleasures of the Table: V Is For Vegetables: Inspired The Amazing Book of Mazes A Literary Anthology, HB Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks Adrian Fisher, HB
Jonathon: Universal Harvester by John Darnielle—A mental health nurse who became one of the USA’s most revered songwriters wrote this book. John Darnielle’s second novel deals with family, loss and the temptation of Evangelism on the frayed ends of rural USA. A video store clerk strives to reveal an opaque local horror when he stumbles upon scenes of torture randomly dubbed onto VHS tapes. This subtly written and expertly plotted book urges us to pursue our truths in the gaps in local memories. I read it in two shots. Sally: My choice for Book of the Year is Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. These beautifully modulated stories explore relationships and memory in a small community in ways that are both surprising and profound.
Tatjana: Soviet Bus Stops Volume 2: When you think of the Soviet Union, you might think Lenin, Stalin, the Iron Curtain, KGB, communism but it turns outs it was also the nation of bus stops. At a time when car owners were few, a vast transportation system was needed and so buses became essential. In the more remote areas, the bus shelter became even more important as it was a convenient place for people to gather and socialise. The shelters are the experimental legacies of mostly unknown architects who might have otherwise been stymied by central planning—but here they were allowed freedom to create these small impressive, sometimes bizarre, eccentric and often just weird bus shelters. Their styles vary from 1920s modernist, to strict Brutalist, to folksy outsider and Gaudi inspired mosaic structures. Photographer Christopher Herwig travelled across the former USSR over 12 years to document these small bursts of creativity that dot the landscape, especially in remote rural areas. If they are now in ruin it only enhances how wonderfully weird & whimsical they are. Hannah: When we are called upon to nominate our end-of-year favourite I usually vacillate between three or four novels, but this year there was one book that was head and shoulders above the rest, and, unusually, a non-fiction title. Priestdaddy by poet Patricia Lockwood is a unique account of when she and her husband moved back in with her completely insane, gun-loving, semi-nudist Catholic priest father. Autobiographies are rarely this funny, well-written, honest, and, dare I say, brilliant. Lockwood has what’s been described as ‘lexical synesthesia’—her original way of looking at the world makes her a great poet and a memoirist par excellence. Please, please read this book.
our 2017 favourites
John: It comes as no surprise to my colleagues that my pick of the year is John le Carré’s A Legacy of Spies. Set between the Cold War of the 60s and today, le Carré revisits the world of George Smiley and a past when the Cold War was hot, spies were on the front line, and mistakes fatal. That world looks rather different today and the death of Alec Leamas, fifty years ago is under investigation. A riveting read that blends the politics of today with the actions of half a century ago. I would also like to highly recommend Tony Jones’ The Twentieth Man—a political thriller set in Australia in 1972 with the background of social change and the first Labour government for 23 years—a skilful blend fact and fiction. And for a change of pace Tony Birch’s collection Common People—wonderful vignettes of lives largely unnoticed told. Liz: My favourite novel this year was The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser. Like a series of interconnected short stories or novellas that circle back on characters lives from different perspectives and time periods this book is hilarious and moving with deep poetic pockets. Among other things it feels out horrible loneliness and fragile connection in a world of frantic social media. I don’t think I will be alone as a reader in finding this book’s biting satire pitch perfect and deliciously unsettling as it feels so close to home. Anyone who has been to a writers’ festival, met a book publicist, studied or taught creative writing, tried to be a ‘writer’ or prided themselves on being ethical, creative, vegetarian or Australian will be by turns highly amused and exposed by de Kretser’s quick wit. Such a clever and beautiful novel!
Ben: Polly and Buster: The Wayward Witch and the Feeling Monster by Sally Rippin— The first book in Rippin’s magical new series! Polly isn’t a very good student witch, but with the help of her monster friend Buster, she learns there is more important things than being good at spells. A story about acceptance, tolerance and friendship. Easy to read and suitable for young readers not ready for Harry Potter.
Mandy: The Shop at Hoopers Bend by Emily Rodda—A string of coincidences and uncharacteristically rash decisions bring 11 year old orphan Quil and recently-retired Bailey together at the shop at Hoopers Bend in the Blue Mountains. While Bailey recovers from a minor injury, they fall easily into a companionable routine, hatching plans to revive the old shop. As the layers of the past are peeled back, Quil understands why she feels so at home here. This warm, magical, atmospheric novel is a charming read by one of Australia’s best storytellers for children—I loved it! Also, I’m only a little way into the thrilling fantasy Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, about an 11 year old cursed child who’s been given a chance to change her destiny. This is a fabulous debut by Queenslander Jessica Townsend, and I’m absolutely hooked! Victoria: A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman—A book about Israel; about people and societies and their sometimes horrible malfunctions and written at the pace of a stand-up comedian. The reader doesn’t have a clue where the narrative is going until it hits you in the face. Wonderfully written and exceptionally translated from Hebrew. Couldn’t put it down! Louise: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders—Abraham Lincoln’s beloved son Willie has died, and has been temporarily interred in a cemetery in Washington DC. He has also been caught in the Bardo—the crepuscular zone between life and rebirth, according to Tibetan teachings. The narrative resonates with voices of ghosts and their stories, and despite its grim setting—a graveyard over one night—it’s a book of great beauty and humour, with a surprisingly reassuring perspective of life and death. I loved it.
Andrew: My two favourites topped and tailed the year. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders with its dazzling inventiveness, black humour, and humanity started the year, and in Manhattan Beach Jennifer Egan charges a traditional historical novel with her phosphorescent precision prose just in time for Christmas. Oh, and honourable mention to Colm Tóibín—he never ever disappoints, and his House of Names was a high wire daredevil triumph.
David: Richard Flanagan’s Narrow Road to the Deep North deserved its plaudits, but the new one, First Person, is his best novel yet. At once raw and sophisticated in its exploration of what creative writing really is, this is a book drawn from Flanagan’s life experience. What he does with this extended reflection on truth in writing is remarkable and impressive
Tamarra: Crosstalk by Connie Willis: This is a sci-fi romantic comedy of sorts with a nod and twist to all the social media we now use. In the near future couples can experience connectivity on a higher level by means of a new medical procedure which allows them to experience mutual empathy.
Ingrid: Charlotte is a compelling verse novel by David Foenkinos about short, tragic life of German artist Charlotte Salomon. It is sad, and beautiful and you will find yourself searching for her paintings. I read it in almost one sitting at the start of the year, and hope more people will read this, as it will lead them to discover her work. At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrivals in New York is Adam Gopnik’s account of his move to New York as a newly-married postgraduate in the early 1980s. Some of the stories may be familiar from reading the New Yorker or listening to Moth, but it is wonderful to have these not so much collected but forming a narrative. It encompasses life in New York, studying, starting work, the changing art world, his friendship with Richard Avedon, amongst others, and, of course, writing and criticism. Gopnik is humorous and thoughtful. This is a book that can be dipped into again and again or read from cover to cover.
Jan: I just loved The Choke by Sophie Laguna—and when I turned the final page I cried and cried. It is a beautifully written, tragic tale; heartachingly told through the naive voice of a young protagonist. Tim: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders—A surreal, funny, and very moving novel. Janice: My favourite book of the year I think has to be Insomniac City by Bill Hayes. It’s wonderfully evocative of Manhattan. I love Oliver Sacks, and Bill Hayes, and their relationship shines like a good deed in a naughty world.
Judy: Two favourites out of many reading adventures this year: Charlotte by David Foenkinos concerning the passionate life of artist Charlotte Salomon. The beautiful poetic form of this short work makes it a joy to read. Charlotte springs from the page much like her art work—full of life, even though her beginnings and her ending are sad as sad can be. Highly recommended. Manhattan Beach is the brand new novel by Jennifer Egan, author of the fabulous A Visit from the Goon Squad. It’s set in Manhattan and Brooklyn over The Depression and war years—the docks, the apartments, the street corners, come to feel as familiar as a stage set. The characters are so essentially interesting and also so loveable it makes you glad to spend time with them. A great choice for a Christmas present for a lover of fine writing.
Scott V: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow—One of the founding fathers of the United States and such a fascinating character. Born in humble circumstances in the Caribbean, Hamilton was General Washington’s right hand man during the revolutionary war and then through Washington’s Presidency. Hamilton saw the United States as one nation rather than a set of loosely aligned states and, for better or worse, helped to found many of the federal institutions we know today: including the army, navy and the nation’s economic system. He engaged in bitter rivalries with his political opponents and was involved in a sordid sex scandal. His tragic death (and what a death it was!) proved an apt match for his extraordinary life. (Broadway even turned his life into a hit musical.) A great read.
Jack: ‘Books (to quote Samuel Beckett) that caused the same old tears in the same old places’: Mancunia by Michael Symmons Roberts. The Return by Hisham Matar. Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge. Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist by Paul Kingsnorth. Confabulations by John Berger. This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin. Steve: The Prince and the Assassin by Steve Harris—Clontarf, Sydney, 12 March 1868: Henry James O’Farrell, an Irish-born, Catholic nationalist shot and wounded Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria—’to revenge the wrongs of Ireland’. The louche 23 year old Prince was making the first ever Royal visit to Australia. O’Farrell—stricken by business failures and alcoholism—was clearly mentally unbalanced but that did not spare him from the gallows ten days later. In the interim, the anguished Colonies indulged in frenzied displays of Imperial devotion; NSW Premier Henry Parkes passed the punitive Treason Felony Act; Victoria was derided by NSW for harbouring ‘Fenian terrorists’—O’Farrell had lived in Ballarat—and the sectarian divisions of the nation became ever more entrenched. This is a compelling account of a forgotten political crime and its repercussions.
Morgan: For me, nothing surpasses The Life to Come, a recent release by Michelle de Kretser. I can do no better than quote from a review in The Saturday Paper ‘...by turns wise and abrasive, witty and poignant....an extraordinary evocation of how joy and melancholy mingle in the wakeful anguish of the soul’. I am calling it—de Kretser is the very best fiction writer working in Australia today.
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. On Doubt
2. Minefields: A Life in the News Game
3. The First Casualty
4. Watching Out: Reflections on Justice & Injustice
5. Australian Gypsies
6. Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture
—A New Earth
7. Insights & Reflections 8. Sweet
Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh
9. Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir
10. What Happened
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. First Person 2. The Life to Come
Richard Flanagan Michelle de Kretser
3. Force of Nature 4. Extinctions
Jane Harper Josephine Wilson
5. A Legacy of Spies 6. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness 7. Manhattan Beach
John le Carré Arundhati Roy Jennifer Egan
9. Mirror Sydney: An Atlas of Reflections
Vanessa Berry Robert Harris
and another thing.....
The last magazine of the year, and I am looking forward to a month off, in which I plan to catch up with a lot of reading. Thanks to all the favourites offered by my colleagues, my list gets longer and longer. The three most voted for—Lincoln in the Bardo (Man/Booker winner just announced), Manhattan Beach and Michelle de Kretser’s Life to Come are definitely on the list. Of this month’s books the new Peter Carey looks good (where’s my proof?!), I’m drawn to Ballard of the Anarchist Bandits on page 7, and will of course be reading New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s love letter to NY—Going to Town. Chast’s memoir of her aging parent’s decline, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant was one of my favourite reads from 2014. Next, I’m going to bite the bullet and read Niki Savva’s updated Road to Ruin (p.14), and am looking forward to the release in December of Guy Rundle’s Europe at the Gates (p.15)—you can always rely on Rundle for sharp and highly readable analysis. Speaking of such, I’m reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ collection of essays about the Obama years, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy—the best explanation for Trump I’ve yet read. I’d also recommend Robert Harris’ new book Munich—as usual well-researched, well written—and a timely look at what appeasing crazy demagogues leads to. While on that subject, I think I’ll have a look at one of Steve’s recommendations on page 20—Katy Tur’s Unbelievable: My Front Row seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History. Christmas is on the way, and we’ve got some good stocking stuffers in at the moment. Lots of mugs (my favourite being the one with Vincent van Gogh and a disappearing ear—magic!), some fantastic 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles—famous New Yorker covers ($35) and a beautiful Margaret Preston print ($29.95) to keep you well occupied when not at the beach. And don’t forget QuestionTime!—the board game of Australian politics ($100)—great fun, and you even get a bit of an education into the bargain. The Summer Reading Guide will be in your mailboxes to help with more Xmas and holiday reading, see you at the order desk. All the best for the New Year, Viki
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