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Vol. 25 No. 8 September 2018
Indigenous Literacy Day Wednesday September 5th Get involved ... www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au 1
Australian Literature The Word by William Lane ($30, PB)
Kenric is an oddball advertising eccentric who has a gift for language— the brands he names, sell. But he feels advertising uses language too cynically, and is inspired to abandon the corporate world and establish a small residential community called The Word—and this idealistic community relocates from Pittwater to a warehouse in industrial Mount Druitt, gathering about it others concerned with the misuse of language. The Word uses a charming ensemble of unforgettable characters, in an astute and humorous exploration of the ways in language beguiles, creates connections, but also misleads.
The Good Son by Greg Fleet ($30, PB)
At this time every year, as our front cover attests, we make a special effort to remind people about the work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Gleebooks has a long and close association with the ILF, and is proud to pay tribute for the annual Indigenous Literacy Day—marked on the first Wednesday in September (Sept 5th this year). For over ten years, the ILF has been working in and with remote Indigenous communities, with books, resources and Community projects, to address the chronic and alarming state of Indigenous literacy in remote Australia. It’s a national disgrace, and we all hold a responsibility to address it. I could cite statistics, but would urge all readers to look at the excellent ILF website ilf.org.au. You’ll find a detailed and comprehensive outline of why, how, when and where the Foundation is working. We’re proud the ILF’s work sprang out of an initiative of the Australian Book Industry. The generous and ongoing support from authors (ambassadors include David Malouf, Andy Griffiths, Anita Heiss, Justine Clarke and other wonderful writers), publishers, printers and booksellers has broadened the reach and deepened the scope of that work. We use Indigenous Literacy Day to both mark the progress of the Foundation’s work, and, of course, to ask for financial support from you, the readers of Australia. Anything, as simple as buying gift wrap for a gold coin, buying a book on the 5th, organising a book swap for a gold coin at work, school, your book club, or, even better, just jumping on the ILF website and making a donation. It’s a great cause, please commit! On the reading front, I’ve a couple of books to note—two that have just been released. Scrublands is a top-rate new Australian crime novel by ex-Fairfax journalist Chris Hammer. It is a well-paced and very well-written mystery set in a drought-ravaged Riverina. It’s lengthy—as it needs to be, with a complex plot and rich and wide-ranging subject matter to pursue and unravel. The second new release is also by a first time novelist, Ross Watkins—The Apology. This is a terrific psychological drama, carefully plotted and with unexpected twists. Set in Sydney’s west there is much about family, forgiveness, truth-telling, lying and coping, in a story that will keep you guessing. My third book is a mention (more next month, as it’s an October release). The Children’s House, by young West Australian novelist, Alice Nelson is beautifully written—a powerful, touching, ultimately uplifting story. Set in New York twenty years ago, this is a novel about displacement, trauma, family and survival which is totally engaging. Ambitious in scope (Rwandan genocide, the Kibbutz movement in early Israel) and minute in detail, this is a book rich in moral complexity with a strong narrative thread and central character. Highly recommended. David
2028... and Australia has gone to hell in a handbasket by Ken Saunders ($30, PB)
PM Fitzwilliams’ instincts tell him it’s time to call a snap election. His cabinet team is adequate (just), the howling protests of the doctors after the GP changes has finally died down and, best of all, the Greens are in receivership. So what could possibly go wrong? The PM is prepared for everything—except an actual opposition. How do you deal with a party that doesn’t play by the rules, protests in the nude, sends mail by carrier pigeon & has a list of candidates all called Ned Ludd? Welcome to the Australia of 2028 where parking meters double as poker machines, radio shock jocks have been automated, the Communist Party of China has turned itself into a multinational corporation & ASIO’s glory days are so far over that it’s resorting to surveillance of a Charles Dickens reading group. Wickedly funny, 2028 takes us into the near future where the not very good ideas around today have become ten years worse.
When James Rogers is 93 minutes late to farewell his mother on her deathbed, he’s riddled with guilt. To make up for that missed final conversation—and in the hopes of impressing beautiful nurse Sophie—he engages in some good-willed acts of deception—posing as the neglectful relatives of lonely old people in the Peggy Day Aged Cared Home. But when he meets Tamara, a frail and sick 76-year-old with a son she hasn’t seen in twelve years, who will really be deceiving who? Greg Fleet explores the difference between blood relatives and the families that we make by choice—with a road trip thrown in for good measure.
The Helpline by Katherine Collette ($30, PB)
Germaine Johnson may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after the incident at Wallace Insurance, there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians. Then her cousin gets her a job at the council—on the Senior Citizens Helpline. It’s not the resumé entry Germaine wanted—but it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project involving the troublemakers at the senior citizens centre & their feud with the golf club next door. Which is run by the strangely attractive Don Thomas. Don & the mayor want the seniors closed down—but when Germaine is forced to get to know these senior ‘troublemakers’ —things get complicated.
The Last Summer of Ada Bloom by Martine Murray
In a small country town during one long, hot summer, the Bloom family begins to unravel. Martha Bloom is straining against the confines of her life, lost in regret for what might have been, when an old flame shows up. In turn, her husband, Mike, becomes frustrated with his increasingly distant wife. While teenagers Tilly and Ben are about to step out into the world, nine-year-old Ada is holding onto a childhood that will soon be lost to her. When Ada discovers an abandoned well beneath a rusting windmill, she is drawn to its darkness & danger. And when she witnesses a shocking and confusing event, the well’s foreboding becomes a driving force in events that lead inexorably towards tragedy. ($30, PB)
When I Saw the Animal by Bernard Cohen ($22.95, PB)
Parked in by furious rich people, mid-divorce, a man misses his lunchtime gambling session. All the girls named Ella form a diagonal across the teacher’s new classroom. Diseased cattle burn in fields around the country—it is a cameraman’s role to frame the images for TV. A swagman jumps into a billabong, or was he pushed? Award winning novelist, Bernard Cohen’s stories are filled with incisive perspectives, captivating wit and dark, sharp humour.
Wintering by Krissy Kneen ($30, PB)
When Jessica’s partner disappears into the dark Tasmanian forest, there is of course the mystery of what happened to him—the deserted car, the enigmatic final image recorded on his phone. There is the strange circle of local women, widows of disappeared men, with their edgy fellowship & unhinged theories. And the forest itself—looming hugely over this tiny settlement on the remote tip of the island. But for Jessica there is also the tight community in which she is still a stranger and Matthew was not. What secrets do they know about her own life, that she doesn’t. And why do they believe things that should not—cannot—be true. For her own sanity, Jessica needs to know two things. Who was Matthew? And who—or what—has he become?
Dinner with the Dissidents by John Tesarsch ($30, PB)
It is 1970, and cracks are appearing in the Soviet Union as it struggles to quell dissident voices. Censored at home, the Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn is lauded in the West for exposing the underbelly of communism, and is rumoured to be writing his most damaging work yet. The Kremlin is worried; Solzhenitsyn must be stopped. The KGB turns to Leonid Krasnov, an aspiring young writer. They promise to make him Moscow’s next literary star if he will infiltrate Solzhenitsyn’s inner circle and report back on what the great author is hiding. At first Leonid complies, but when he falls in love with Klara, a brilliant dissident cellist, his allegiances waver. By then he is already enmeshed in a plot more sinister than he could ever have imagined. Many years later, Leonid is living a reclusive life in Canberra under an assumed name. Haunted by his past, he seeks one last, desperate chance to make amends. Dinner with the Dissidents is a gripping portrayal of tumultuous times, and a thrilling story of love, courage and deception.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty ($33, PB)
The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages. Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.... Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust ($33, PB) Failed fashion designer Sylvie Dearlove is coming home to England—broke, ashamed & in disgrace—only to be told her parents are finally selling their once-grand, now crumbling ancestral home, Bledesford. Sylvie has spent her whole life trying to escape the pressure of belonging to a family of such headstrong, charismatic & successful women, but she offers to help her parents prepare Bledesford for sale. When she finds in a forgotten attic a thrilling cache of old steamer trunks & tea chests full of elaborate dresses & accessories acquired from across the globe by 5 generations of fashionable Dearlove women, she also stumbles across a secret which has been hidden—in plain sight—for decades, a secret that will change the way she thinks about herself, her family & her future.
Great Australian Bush Funeral Stories (ed) Bill Marsh ($33, PB)
Death doesn’t mean the end of memorable stories from the bush. In fact, often it’s just the beginning. These tales from police officers, nurses, funeral directors, priests, gravediggers and those left behind, show that bush ingenuity comes to the fore when coping with corpses that won’t cooperate or can’t be found, bodies that don’t stay buried, and weather & wildlife trying to sabotage the best-planned funerals. This collection of real-life accounts of passing away & saying goodbye in the Australian bush is by turns, poignant, bizarre, heartbreaking & hilarious.
The Killing of Louisa by Janet Lee ($29.95, PB)
In NSW in 1888, Louisa Collins was sentenced to hang after being tried multiple times for the alleged murders of her 2 husbands. The testimony of her young daughter helped to decide her fate. Winner of the Emerging Queensland Writer category in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards, Janet Lee’s novel recreates Louisa’s time in her Darlinghurst prison cell as she reflects on her life & on the grief & loss that delivered her to this place. Despite difficult marriages, financial hardship & the deaths of several children, she remains resilient & determined to have her own identity. Will Louisa confess to her crimes? Or is an innocent woman about to be hanged?
August Falling by Les Zig ($30, PB)
After a bad relationship, August is trying to piece his life back together. It’s not perfect—his flat is small, he works in a call centre, he can’t finish the book he’s working on, and he’s socially challenged when it comes to women. When August meets Julie, he finds she’s everything he isn’t confident, composed & purposeful, despite her troubled childhood, and with her, August finally begins to feel he can be himself. But Julie has a secret that threatens to plummet August right back into the miseries of his past.
Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop ($30, PB)
One summer, a long time ago, Stella sat watching her father cry while the sky clouded over. He had tried to make amends: for his failures, for forgetting to buy the doll she once hoped for, for the terrible things he had done. The first time Stella sensed that something was wrong was on her 9th birthday. There was an accident, and when she opened her eyes there was the tang of blood in her mouth. Leon was beside her. But not quite there. In the winter, when her father finally came home from hospital, he looked different. Looked at her differently. Now he was missing, and Stella held the key to his discovery. But did he want to be found? And after all that has passed, could Stella bring herself to help him? Stella’s whole life has been stained by her father’s very struggle to exist. Would this be her inheritance too? Could she choose the steady minutes of an ordinary day? Or would she follow the path of a man out of time?
The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles ($30, PB)
30 year-old Tessa Lowell is working in Uganda to research the effects of PTSD & war on child soldiers. She joins a delegation travelling across the Congolese border, deep into the African bush, for peace talks with Joseph Kony, notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. At the camp Tessa meets 13 year-old Francis, already an experienced soldier & survivor of shocking violence. The talks stall, and the camp is attacked by other rebels who take Tessa. Isolated in an increasingly volatile situation, she tries to form a bond with Francis. In Melbourne, Tessa’s parents are notified of the kidnapping, but learn there is little that government agencies can do. Desperate, they contact their son Stephen, an astute if manipulative businessman based in Cape Town. He agrees to search for his sister—but he has other more sinister reasons to contact the rebel forces.
On D’Hill Politics, music, literature and romance—what’s not to love in the fabulous Dinner with the Dissidents by John Tesarsch, the ridiculously talented author of three novels (The Philanthropist and The Last Will and Testament of Henry Hoffman), who is also an accomplished cellist, a barrister and lecturer in law. Set in Russia in the early 1970s and in contemporary Canberra, his new novel tells the story of Leonid, a penniless writer desperate to be published. The Lenin Press promises to publish his novel in return for Leonid befriending and reporting on the dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He meets the famous writer of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Cancer Ward at the dacha of the famous cellist Rostropovich where he falls in love with Klara, a promising student cellist. Leonid inveigles his way into their lives but his political awareness only comes when Solzhenitsyn asks him to read the book that will famously contribute to the breakdown of the Soviet Union, The Gulag Archipelago. This is all recalled by Leonid who has become a public servant in Canberra where he is increasingly concerned about the work he is asked to do on the government’s anti-terrorism laws. The comparison Tesarsch draws between the two different eras in the capitals of Moscow and Canberra are frighteningly similar, but it is Leonid’s response—first as a young man and then as a much changed elderly widower. Leonid is a wonderfully complex character and Solzhenitsyn, Rostropovich and Klara spoke to me as well. There are a slew of recent novels being written with actual, usually famous, people and events being fictionalised, and Dinner with the Dissidents is one of the best I’ve read. While not the most brilliantly written novel, its mix of history, art and passion makes it unputdownable. Reminiscent of Document Z by Andrew Croome (2009) about the Petrovs in Canberra and more recently, Dennis Glover’s The Last Man in Europe about George Orwell’s political awakening, Dissidents is terrific. As a personal aside, reading this book reminded me of the time when as a 14 year old I very proudly bought my first adult book as a birthday present for my mother—A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Obviously unaware of how much it meant to me, not only did she re-gift the book to my brother-in-law but asked me to inscribe it for him. Fifty years later I can remember where I was standing at the bookshelves in the living room and how I felt. I’ve never been able to look at that book without that memory flooding back. Lastly, I‘d like to say a fond farewell to our children’s buyer, Mandy Clarke, who is moving on to greener pastures—well, Newtown actually. Mandy is a complete professional, a wonderful children’s buyer and it’s been great fun working with her. Everyone at gleebooks and especially the Dulwich Hill gang, wish her all the best. See you on D’Hill, Morgan
The Clockmaker’s Daughter Kate Morton
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets? Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. ($33, PB)
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne ($33, PB)
If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful—for Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely. Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them—or to whom they belong—as long as they help him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.
The End: My Struggle Book 6 by Karl Ove Knausgaard ($33, PB)
In this last volume of My Struggle Knausgaard reflects on the fallout from the earlier books—facing the pressures of literary acclaim & its often shattering repercussions. The End is at once a meditation on writing & its relationship with reality, and an account of a writer’s relationship with himself—his ambitions, his doubts & frailties. Knausgaard continues to depict life in all its shades, from moments of great drama to seemingly trivial everyday details, in a project freighted with risk, where the bounds between private & public worlds are tested, not without penalty for the author himself and those around him—this is the capstone on an unparalleled achievement.
The Confusion Of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the US embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After 2 years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom & frustration turn to fear. Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance. ($28, PB)
Severance by Ling Ma ($30, PB)
Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine—her work, watching movies with her boyfriend, avoiding thoughts of her recently deceased Chinese immigrant parents. So she barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps the world. Candace joins a small group of survivors, led by the power-hungry Bob, on their way to the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers? A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines & missed opportunities of contemporary life, Severance is a moving family story, a deadpan satire and a tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish ($25, PB)
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early 21st century, this is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect—Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. When Helen is summoned by a former student to view a cache of newly discovered 17th century Jewish documents, she enlists the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student, to embark on one last project—to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive ‘Aleph’. Two women separated by centuries—the choices & sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart & mind.
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck ($20, PB)
Richard has spent his life as a university professor, immersed in the world of books and ideas, but now he is retired, his books remain in their packing boxes and he steps into the streets of his city, Berlin. Here, on Alexanderplatz, he discovers a new community -- a tent city, established by African asylum seekers. Hesitantly, getting to know the new arrivals, Richard finds his life changing, as he begins to question his own sense of belonging in a city that once divided its citizens into them and us. At once a passionate contribution to the debate on race, privilege and nationality and a beautifully written examination of an ageing man’s quest to find meaning in his life.
Trenton Makes by Tadzio Koelb ($30, HB)
Abe Kunstler’s American Dream is a factory job, a wife & a family. However, because his life is an invention forged in the heat of a terrible crime he is haunted by his past. Terrified of exposure, and searching obsessively for redemption, Abe moves from one ruthless act to the next, tricking an alcoholic young taxi-dancer into becoming first his wife, then the mother of a child she believes is his. When the life they have built is threatened, he becomes desperate, until even Abe himself isn’t sure how far he’ll go to keep his secret.
Transcription by Kate Atkinson ($33, PB)
In 1940, 18 year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings & goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious & terrifying. After the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever—but ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.
Gleebooks’ special price $28
My Purple Scented Novel by Ian McEwan ($4, PB)
‘You will have heard of my friend the once celebrated novelist Jocelyn Tarbet, but I suspect his memory is beginning to fade. You’d never heard of me, the once obscure novelist Parker Sparrow, until my name was publicly connected with his. To a knowing few, our names remain rigidly attached, like the two ends of a seesaw. His rise coincided with, though did not cause, my decline. I don’t deny there was wrongdoing. I stole a life, and I don’t intend to give it back. You may treat these few pages as a confession.’ This brand new short story from Ian McEwan follows the perfect crime of literary betrayal, scrupulously wrought yet unscrupulously executed.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker ($33, PB)
The great city of Troy is under siege as Greek heroes Achilles & Agamemnon wage bloody war over a stolen woman. In the Greek camp, another woman is watching & waiting—Briseis. She was a queen of this land until Achilles sacked her city & murdered her husband & sons. Now she is Achilles’ concubine—a prize of battle. Briseis is just one among thousands of women backstage in this war—the slaves & prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead—all of them voiceless in history. But they are just 10 weeks away from the death of Achilles & the Fall of Troy, an end to this long & bitter conflict. Briseis will bear witness in The Iliad retold from the perspective of a queen turned war prize.
Normal People by Sally Rooney ($30, PB)
Connell & Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. But the similarities end there—they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life—a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us—blazingly—about cycles of domination, legitimacy & privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.
Perfidious Albion by Sam Byers ($30, HB)
Welcome to Edmundsbury, a small town in England, some time in the recent future. Brexit has happened. Grass-roots right-wing political party England Always are fomenting hatred. The residents of a failing housing estate are being cleared from their homes. A multinational tech company is making inroads into the infrastructure. Just as the climate seems at its most pressured, masked men begin a series of ‘disruptions’, threatening to make internet histories public, asking the townspeople what don’t you want to share? Jess Ellis’s research into internet misogyny pushes her relationship with her over-exposed opinion columnist boyfriend Robert Townsend to breaking point. Robert’s championing of the inhabitants of the threatened estate begins to erode the edges of his fragile idealism. Local England Always politician Hugo Bennington finds his twisted loyalties catching up with him. A controversial tweet; a series of ill-judged thinkpieces; a riot of opinions. Suddenly Edmundsbury is no longer the peaceful town it has always imagined itself to be.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan ($30, PB)
When two English brothers take the helm of a Barbados sugar plantation, nervousness and fear run high. Washington Black—an eleven year-old field slave who has known no other life—is aghast to find himself selected as personal servant to one of these men. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde—naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor and abolitionist—whose single-minded pursuit of the perfect aerial machine mystifies all around him. Through Wilde, Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea viewed from a hilltop shivers with light; where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky; where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning. Then, on a disastrous voyage of escape, Wilde disappears. Washington is forced to make his way back to the civilized world alone. One day, however, a man appears in the doorway of his new life, making claims of the past. Is this truly the long-lost Wilde? If so, what are the real motives for his return? And is it possible that his resurrection will destroy everything? Based on an infamous 19th century criminal case.
Frieda: A Novel of the Real Lady Chatterley by Annabel Abbs ($33, PB)
Frieda, daughter of aristocrat Baron von Richthofen, has rashly married English professor Ernest Weekley. Visiting her family in Munich, a city alive with new ideas of revolution & free love, and goaded by a toxic sibling rivalry with her sisters, Frieda embarks on a passionate affair that is her sensual & intellectual awakening. England, 1912. Trapped in her marriage to Ernest, Frieda meets the penniless but ambitious young writer DH Lawrence, a man whose creative energy answers her own needs. Their scandalous affair & tempestuous relationship unleashes a creative outpouring that will change the course of literature—and society—forever. But for Frieda, this fulfilment comes at a terrible personal cost.
Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks ($33, PB)
American postdoctoral researcher Hannah and runaway Moroccan teenager Tariq have little in common, yet both are susceptible to the daylight ghosts of Paris. Hannah listens to the extraordinary witness of women who were present under the German Occupation; in her desire to understand their lives and through them her own, she finds a city bursting with clues and connections. Out in the migrant suburbs, Tariq is searching for a mother he barely knew. For him in his innocence each boulevard, Métro station and street corner is a source of surprise. Sebastian Faulks deals with questions of empire, grievance & asks how much we really need to know if we are to live a valuable life.
Gleebooks’ special price $28
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
One rain-swept February night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. Captain John Lacroix is home from Britain’s disastrous campaign against Napoleon’s forces in Spain. As he recovers his health, he finds cannot talk about the war or face the memory of what happened in a village on the gruelling retreat to Corunna. When commanded to return to his regiment, he sets out instead for the Hebrides, with the vague intent of reviving his musical interests & collecting local folk songs. Sailing north incognito, he is unaware that a vicious English corporal & a Spanish officer are on his trail, with orders to kill. The haven he finds on a remote island with a family of free-thinkers & the sister he falls for are not safe, at all. ($33, PB)
Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale ($33, PB)
1970s Western-Super-Mare & 10 year-old oddball & only child Eustace’s life is transformed by his mother’s quixotic decision to sign him up for cello lessons. Music-making brings release for a boy who is discovering he is an emotional volcano. He laps up lessons from his young teacher, not noticing how her brand of glamour is casting a damaging spell over his frustrated & controlling mother. When he is enrolled in holiday courses in the Scottish borders, lessons in love, rejection & humility are added to daily practice. Drawing in part on his own boyhood, Patrick Gale’s new novel explores a collision between childish hero worship & extremely messy adult love lives. An American Story by Christopher Priest ($33, PB) Ben Matson lost someone he loved in the 9/11 attacks. Or thinks he did—no body has been recovered, and she shouldn’t have been on that particular plane on that day. But he knows she was. The world has moved on from that terrible day. Nearly 20 years later, it has faded into a dull memory for most people. But a chance encounter rekindles Ben’s interest in the event, and the inconsistencies that always bugged him. Then the announcement of the recovery of an unidentified plane crash sets off a chain of events that will lead Ben to question everything he thought he knew.
B ook s wit h
On a moonlit beach a father cradles his sleeping son as they wait for dawn to break & a boat to arrive. He speaks to his boy of the long summers of his childhood, recalling his grandfather’s house in Syria, the stirring of olive trees in the breeze, the bleating of his grandmother’s goat, the clanking of her cooking pots. And he remembers, too, the bustling city of Homs with its crowded lanes, its mosque & grand souk, in the days before the sky spat bombs & they had to flee. When the sun rises they & those around them will gather their possessions & embark on a perilous sea journey in search of a new home. French Exit by Patrick deWitt ($28, PB) Frances Price tart widow, possessive mother & Upper East Side force of nature is in dire straits, beset by scandal. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s their cat, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances & Malcolm social outcasts. The curious trio head for the exit, escape pariahdom & land in a Paris peopled by a number of singular characters—a bashful private investigator, an aimless psychic & Mme Reynard, aggressive house guest & friendly American expat. French Exit is a riotous send-up of high society & a moving story of mothers and sons.
Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini ($25, HB)
BOOK EVENTS AT
SEPTEMBER 2018 IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
STEPHANIE BISHOP Award-winning and critically acclaimed author Stephanie Bishop will be in conversation with Creative Director of Varuna Writers House, Amy Sambrooke. Her new book MAN OUT OF TIME is a masterful and deeply moving novel about inheritance and self-destruction, and how the memories we carry and the blood we share, discolour our view of the world...and ourselves.
THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2018 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start
THE CARRINGTON HOTEL LIBRARY KATOOMBA
$20 ($17 concession) includes drinks & nibbles
QUENTIN BERESFORD IN cONvERSaTION wITh
This searing book takes apart the pivotal role of the Adani Carmichael mine in the conflict over coal. Former journalist and now professor of poilitcs at Edith Cowan University, Quentin Beresford will be discussing the full story of one of the lightning rod issues of our time with environmental journalist ,Gregg Borschmann.
SATURDAY 22 ND SEPTEMBER 2018 2.30pm for 3.00pm start
THE GEORGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL
194 Great Western Hwy, Blackheath
$20 ($17 concession) includes afternoon tea
Bookings essential. Tickets available at Gleebooks Blackheath or phone Gleebooks on 4787 6340 or email email@example.com
Katerina by James Frey ($30, PB)
Katerina is a sweeping love story that alternates between 1992 Paris and 2017 Los Angeles. The protagonist is Jay, who is 21 when he moves to Paris to live the artist’s life, and falls in love for the first time. Cut to 25 years later: he is a middle-aged family man living in California when he receives an anonymous message that draws him back to the life, and possibly the love, he abandoned years prior.
Refuge by Merilyn Simonds ($20, PB) After a life that rubbed up against the century’s great events in New York City, Mexico & Montreal, 96-year-old Cassandra MacCallum is surviving well enough, alone on her island, when a young Burmese woman contacts her, claiming to be kin. Curiosity, loneliness, and a slender filament of hope prompts the old woman to accept a visit. But Nang’s story of torture & flight provokes memories in Cass that peel back, layer by layer, the events that brought her to this moment—and forces her, against her will, to confront the tragedy she has refused for half a century. Could her son really be Nang’s grandfather? What does she owe this girl, who claims to be stateless because of her MacCallum blood? Drawn, despite herself, into Nang’s search for refuge, Cass struggles to accept the past and find a way into whatever future remains to her. Pretend I’m Dead By Jen Beagin ($30, PB)
Mona is almost 24—emotionally adrift and cleaning houses to get by. Volunteering for a needle-exchange programme, she falls for a recipient she calls Mr Disgusting, who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways. In search of healing, Mona decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs, all of whom have one or two things to teach her— the pyjama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. But always lurking just beneath the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she’s trying to disentangle herself, and the crushing legacy of the past she left behind.
THE WILDER AISLES
When I was sharing a house with my daughter, Gabriel, she frowned on me for watching medical shows. She couldn’t understand why I was so interested. I don’t quite know why myself—it’s certainly not the surgery, because I keep my eyes firmly closed when they show gory details. I think it’s the investigation, the searching for clues, and of course, the happy feelings all around when things go well—so I guess medical shows are rather like reading a crime novel for me—and the books I am writing about this month are all medical stories by neuroscientist, Lisa Genova. Although written as fiction, her stories are all based on real people. Genova is probably best known for her book, Still Alice, which is about a Harvard cognitive psychology and linguistics professor who is stricken by early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The titular Alice is fifty years old, married with three children. When things start going wrong, Alice dismisses them—blaming the stress of her busy life, but as they get worse, she has to face the truth. Similarly, her husband at first refuses to accept that there may be a serious problem. He is a scientist, and stays engrossed in his work until the day when Alice can’t find her way home from the campus, and he is forced to address the situation. Both sad and frightening, the book has some lighter moments that are funny in a strange kind of way. And, as you all know, Julianne Moore won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Alice in the movie. Next on my Genova binge is Inside the O’Briens. This is the story of Joe O’Brien—a policeman, who when getting ready to go to work one morning, can’t find his gun. Immediately and unreasonably, he blames his wife for continually moving things about. His wife and kids all deny this—the gun is always locked away in the bedside cupboard. Joe then loses control, lashing out verbally at his wide-eyed and silent family, finally picking up the frying pan and hurling it across the room. When he eventually calms down, he goes to the bathroom, and staring into the mirror he sees his mother’s eyes. Things get steadily worse and Joe, like Alice, has to face the fact that something is terribly wrong. That something turns out to be Huntington’s Disease—an inherited neurodegenerative disease which causes loss of voluntary motor control and the increase of involuntary movements. As the disease progresses, Joe has to face the prospect of leaving his family forever. How his wife and kids, friends and fellow officers react and cope with Joe’s terrible mood swings and violent outbursts makes for a story that is again sad, but heartwarming—seeing all the love and care that surrounds Joe in his terrible illness. And now for the latest by Genova—and I think my favourite. Released in April this year, Every Note Played tells of Richard, a renowned concert pianist who is often away from home on tour, fêted by his adoring public. He is married to the Polish Karina—also a pianist. They live in Boston. While on tour around the world Richard has never remained faithful to Karina. He has had many encounters with women, all of which Karina is aware. Richard and Karina have a daughter, Grace. When Richard tells Karina he is leaving her, and Grace announces that she is also going away, a deserted Karina is left to ponder what her life alone will be like. Richard, meanwhile, has a major concert lined up in Chicago—a very important event. However, he has to cancel due to what he at first thinks is tendonitis—but turns out to be ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is another motor neuron disease which results in the gradual loss of voluntary muscle control leading to paralysis. When first diagnosed Richard (of course) refuses to accept it—telling the doctors they’ve got it wrong—it’s Lyme Disease, or a pinched nerve. But when he finally accepts what is happening to him, he realises he needs all the help he can get. Although they are divorced, Karina forces herself to visit him when she hears of his predicament. Not knowing what to expect, she takes a bottle of wine, thinking they’ll have a meal together—but the visit doesn’t go well. Richard can’t bear Karina seeing him so compromised, and losing his temper, smashes the bottle of wine. Despite this, as he deteriorates, Karina moves in with him to help his carer with his day and night needs. How the family resolve their differences, including Grace who has been estranged from her father, makes a for great story of love, redemption and forgiveness—and also how Karina finds a great new life after all the turmoil. Janice Wilder
Broken Ground by Val McDermid ($30, PB)
A body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands—unearthed with someone’s long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past - until new evidence suggests otherwise, and DCI Karen Pirie is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems. Soon an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case—a shocking crime she thought she’d already prevented. Inching closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own.
The Colours of all the Cattle byAlexander McCall Smith ($30, PB)
Mma Ramostwe’s friend will persuade her to stand for election to the City Council. ‘We need women like her in politics,’ Mma Potokwani says, ‘instead of having the same old men every time . . .’ To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to canvas opinion. She will have to get Mma Makutsi’s views. Her slogan is ‘I can’t promise anything but I shall do my best’. Her intention is to halt the construction of the Big Fun Hotel, a dubious, flashy hotel near a graveyard—an act that many consider to be disrespectful. Mma Ramotswe will take the campaign as far as she can, but lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho. The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington ($30, PB) Emma Cardwell, celebrity mum & host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, seems to have it all. But when her little girl disappears from daycare—captured on CCTV footage at a nearby shopping centre leaving with someone Emma has never seen before—her world is turned upside down. Is this a kidnapping, the work of a crazed stalker, or an obsessed fan? Is somebody out for revenge or is this something closer to home? And there is the aching question: how much do we really know about those who care for our children—and about the people we love?
South Atlantic Requiem by Edward Wilson ($30, PB)
Set during the Falklands Conflict, this novel sees the return of Edward Wilson’s spy hero Catesby—sent to Peru amidst Downing Street defence cuts & pressure from Reagan’s Whitehouse in order negotiate a last minute Falklands deal with the Argentine Junta. When, just twelve hours after new peace terms are agreed, the ship Belgrano is torpedoed, Catesby is left shocked & disillusioned & is forced to uncover the governmental & political lies that sit at the heart of the conflict.
The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos
Anna Byrne is a jailhouse librarian. Most days, she loves her job & shares the life-affirming power of books to people who would have no hope without them—she often forgets some of these men are dangerous criminals. Like Michael Hudson, who’s been locked up awaiting trial before his sudden release. He’s happy & relieved but can’t shake the question preying on his mind: how come the witness who put him behind bars is suddenly refusing to testify? PI Phil Ornazian might have the answer. Ornazian moonlights as a petty criminal—times are hard in Washington DC People have to change to survive, or die trying. But everything comes at a price and, at some point, everyone has to pay. ($33, PB)
Inhuman Resources by Pierre Lemaitre ($30, PB)
Alain Delambre is a 57-year-old former HR executive, drained by 4 years of hopeless unemployment. He has reached his very lowest ebb, & can see no way out. So when a major company finally invites him to an interview, he is ready to do anything, borrow money, shame his wife & his daughters & even participate in the ultimate recruitment test: a role-playing game that involves hostage-taking. Delambre commits body & soul in this struggle to regain his dignity. But if he suddenly realised that the dice had been loaded against him from the start, his fury would be limitless. And what began as a role-play game could quickly become a bloodbath. Death at Sea by Andrea Camilleri ($30, PB) Andrea Camilleri takes his readers through eight cunning cases from the Vigàtan police files. Starting with an arson attack on a hotel which leaves the distraught owner as the chief suspect; to the mysterious case of a woman who goes missing in an underpass with a million lira in her handbag; to a threat on Montalbano’s own life, as an anonymous motorcyclist takes a shot at the detective.
A Summer of Murder by Oliver Bottini ($30, PB)
When the fire brigade is called to a burning shed in the Black Forest idyll of Kirchzarten, a volunteer is killed as a weapons cache beneath it explodes. Louise Boni, back with Freiburg Kripo after treatment and recuperation for her alcoholism, is assigned to the task force dealing with this case. The meagre evidence they have points to a possible connection with German neo-Nazis or illegal arms dealers from the former Yugoslavia, while the arrival of secret service agents suggests more is at stake. For Louise to solve the riddle she needs to overcome the ghosts of her past that continue to haunt her. Oliver Bottini is a fresh and exciting voice in the world of crime fiction in translation; the Rhine borderlands of the Black Forest are a perfect setting for his beautifully crafted mysteries.
Flight or Fright (ed) Stephen King ($33, PB)
This is an anthology about all the things that can go horribly wrong when you’re suspended 6 miles in the air, hurtling through space at more than 500 mph & sealed up in a metal tube (like—gulp!—a coffin) with hundreds of strangers. All the ways your trip into the friendly skies can turn into a nightmare, including some we’ll bet you’ve never thought of before. Featuring brand new stories by Joe Hill & Stephen King, as well as 14 classic tales & one poem from the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl & Dan Simmons. A Shot in the Dark by Lynne Truss ($30, PB) After the notorious Middle Street Massacre of 1951, when the majority of Brighto’s criminals wiped one another out in a vicious battle as the local police force enjoyed a brief stop en route for an ice cream, Inspector Steine rather enjoys life as a policeman. No criminals, no crime, no stress. So it’s rather annoying when an ambitious —not to mention irritating—new Constable shows up to work and starts investigating a series of burglaries. And it’s even more annoying when, after Constable Twitten is despatched to the theatre for the night, he sits next to a vicious theatre critic who is promptly shot dead part way through the opening night of a new play. The Forger by Cay Rademacher ($16, PB) In a routine operation, CI Frank Stave is shot. After recovering he transfers from the murder commission to the office combatting the black market, where he is confronted with an enigmatic case: Trümmerfrau, women helping to clear rubble from Hamburg’s bombed streets, discover works of art from the Weimar period—right next to an unidentified corpse. Then mysterious banknotes whose existence disturbs the Allies’ secret plans begin to pop up on the black market. There are strange parallels between the two cases, and with the introduction of a new currency, Stave thinks he is on the brink of a solution. But the truth is dangerous, and not just for him. The Cold Summer by Gianrico Carofiglio ($30, PB) War is raging in southern Italy in the early 90s—anti-mafia judges are being killed in roadside explosions; dead criminals, the victims of internecine warfare, are littering the streets. Maresciallo Pietro Fenoglio, an officer of the Carabinieri, must contend with the gang war while his marriage falls apart. When the young son of a mafia boss is found dead, and the suspected killer agrees to collaborate with the authorities to bring down the Apulian mafia, it seems like justice will prevail. But solving the boy’s murder leads Fenoglio into a world of deep moral ambiguity, where the prosecutors are hard to distinguish from the prosecuted.
The Mystery Of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah
Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. Why has Poirot sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy. Who sent them, and why? And who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? ($33, PB)
Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson ($33, PB)
Producer, Jack Quick knows that the bigger the conspiracy, the higher the ratings. Curtis Wade, convicted of Eliza Dacey’s murder on circumstantial evidence & victim of a biased police force, is the perfect subject for his new true-crime documentary. However, just before the finale, Jack uncovers a minor detail that may prove Curtis guilty after all. Convinced it will ruin his show, Jack disposes of the evidence. But when Curtis is released, and a new victim is found bearing horrifying similarities to the original murder, Jack realises that he may have helped a guilty man out of jail.
The Thin Blue Line by Christoffer Carlsson
When detective Leo Junker receives an envelope containing a photo of a woman murdered five years previously, he knows that this is no ordinary case. He re-opens the original investigation, to the chagrin of his police colleagues, who are more concerned with catching the terrorist who has just entered Sweden after carrying out an attack in Paris. But perhaps the two incidents aren’t unconnected. As Leo begins to investigate, familiar faces re-appear and he is forced to confront the past he thought he had left behind. ($33, PB) Slow Motion Ghosts by Jeff Noon ($33, PB) It is 1981. London is bruised by austerity, social unrest & racial tension, and the police are at war. Anger has erupted in the Brixton Riots & is finding expression in protest, anarchy & punk. When a promising young singer is maimed & killed, the artistry of the crime is disturbing. On the hunt for the killer, DI Hobbes begins an investigation that will lead him deep into a subculture hidden beneath the everyday. A cult of personality that hides from the problems of the city and escapes to a world of its own, a world that is at once seductive and devastating. How far will Hobbes have to go to learn the truth? And how many more must die before he does?
Nine Perfect Strangers Liane Moriarty
Coming 18 September ‘One of the few writers I’ll drop anything for. Her books are wise, honest, beautifully observed...’ Jojo Moyes From the no. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them...
Matt & Lentil Purbrick Nourishing recipes and practical advice on how to grow, pickle, preserve, cook and eat the most delicious, wholesome food to share with your village. The Village is about nurturing and being nurtured, by growing, cooking and eating together – whether it's dropping a loaf of bread around to a neighbour, or spending an afternoon making a big batch of pickles with your mates. It is about food, but beyond food. It is for everyone who wants to embrace the fullness of life in all its mess, for everyone who wants to connect.
My Polar Dream Jade Hameister Australian Geographic Society’s Young Adventurer of the Year 2016 At sixteen, Jade Hameister became the youngest person in history to complete the Polar Hat Trick. This is the story of an adventurer who never gave up – who set herself incredible challenges beyond her years and experience. Along the way, she made a sandwich for online trolls, inspired young people, and made international headlines.
TheArsonist: A Mind on Fire by Chloe Hooper
After Black Saturday, a February 2009 day marked by 47 degree heat & firestorms, arson squad detectives arrived at a plantation on the edge of a 26,000-hectare burn site. 11 people had just been killed & hundreds made homeless. Here, in the Latrobe Valley, where Victoria’s electricity is generated, and the rates of unemployment, crime & domestic abuse are the highest in the state, more than 30 people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn’t know. As she did in The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper takes us to a part of the country seldom explored—telling the story not only of this fire—how it happened, the people who died, the aftermath for the community—but of fire in this country. What it has done, what it has meant, what it might yet do. ($35, PB)
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99 Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd
Dr Richard Shepherd is the UK’s foremost forensic pathologist. From crime scene to court room, his findings are crucial to the pursuit of justice. His work has seen killers put behind bars, exonerated the innocent, and turned open & shut cases on their heads. He has been involved nationally & internationally in the forensic investigation of thousands of deaths from unnatural causes, from headline-making murders to mass natural disasters—always driven by the challenge of finding the truth, of seeing justice, and by compassion—sometimes for the dead, but always for those they have left behind. Thoughtful, revealing, chilling, bizarre & unputdownable ($35, PB)
The Death of Hitler ($35, PB) by Jean-Christophe Brisard & Lana Parshina
After two years of nonstop negotiations with the Russian authorities, Jean-Christophe Brisard & Lana Parshina were granted access to secret files detailing the Soviets’ incredible hunt to recover Hitler’s body: the layout of the bunker, plans for escaping, eyewitness accounts of the Führer’s final days, and human remains-a bit of skull with traces of the lethal bullet and a fragment of jaw bone. For the first time, the skull, teeth and other elements were analysed by a medical examiner with modern equipment. Orchestrated like a spy novel, this fascinating piece of work weaves the highs & lows of the journalists’s investigation with an edge-of-your-seat tale of Adolf Hitler’s last days shedding light on the last mysteries surrounding the death-by-suicide of the Nazi leader.
Thomas Cromwell: A life by Diarmaid MacCulloch ($70, HB)
Born in obscurity in Putney, Thomas Cromwell became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s. After Wolsey’s fall, Henry VIII promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, such that in the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King. That decade was one of the most momentous in English history—it saw a religious break with the Pope, unprecedented use of parliament, the dissolution of all monasteries, and the coming of the Protestantism. Diarmaid MacCulloch’s biography overturns many received interpretations of Cromwell’s life, for example that Cromwell & Anne Boleyn were allies because of their common religious sympathies, showing how he in fact destroyed her. It introduces the many different personalities contributing to these foundational years, all worrying about the ‘terrifyingly unpredictable’ Henry VIII, giving readers the sense that all this is going on around them. For a time, the self-made ‘ruffian’, as he described himself—ruthless, adept in the exercise of power, quietly determined in religious revolution—was master of events.
Letters to Change the World: From Pankhurst to Orwell (ed) Travis Elborough ($33, HB)
This collection of inspiring letters offers reminders from history that standing up for & voicing our personal & political beliefs is not merely a crucial right but a duty if we want to change the world. It includes George Orwell’s warning on totalitarianism, Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, Albert Camus on the reasons to fight a war, Bertrand Russell on peace, Emmeline Pankhurst rallying her suffragettes, Nelson Mandela’s letter to his children from prison & Time’s Up on the abuse of power.
Turmoil: Letters from the Brink by Robyn Williams ($33, PB)
Robyn Williams, presenter of The Science Show on ABC Radio, reveals all in a searingly honest & often blackly funny reflection on his life, friends, the people he loves & loathes, and a multi-faceted career that includes over 40 years on radio. He writes frankly about everything—from performing with Monty Python, his impressions of fellow scientists Richard Dawkins & David Attenborough, and his unique insights on climate change & the recent devaluing of science, to frugality & being treated for bowel cancer. ‘An unblinking and highly readable biography by the greatest science broadcaster of our times.’—Tim Flannery
Rocky Road: The incredible true story of the fractured family behind the Darrell Lea chocolate empire by Robert Wainwright ($33, PB)
In the early 1930s, the Australian family confectionery company Darrell Lea was a sensation, its shops stacked with delicious chocolates, marshmallows, nougat & much more in line with the company’s motto to ‘Stack ‘em high, watch ‘em fly’. It was at this time that Montague Lea met the vivacious teenage ‘ticket writer’ Valerie Everitt. Monty fell hard for her and, despite strong family opposition on both sides, they married. Valerie was keen to have a large brood and, though her pregnancies were difficult, she gave birth to four children. But they were not enough and in 1947 she adopted the first of 3 more children who were designated to be playmates for her own. It was a social experiment that would end in tears, as would the fortunes of the iconic company— destroyed by the glue that once bound it together—family. Robert Wainwright tells the story of this chocaholic clan & the creative & eccentric woman who dominated it.
Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs ($30, PB)
Born on a farm & named in a field by her parents—artist Chrisann Brennan & Steve Jobs—Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present. But as she grew older, he took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations & private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical & unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be. This is a poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes—young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents’ fascinating and disparate worlds.
The Beekeeper of Sinjar by Dunya Mikhail
Poet & journalist Dunya Mikhail tells the harrowing stories of women from across Iraq who have managed to escape the clutches of ISIS. Since 2014, ISIS has been persecuting the Yazidi people, killing or enslaving those who won’t convert to Islam. These women have lost their families & loved ones, along with everything they’ve ever known. Mikhail weaves together the women’s tales of endurance & near-impossible escape with the story of her own exile & her dreams for the 8 future of Iraq. ($25, HB)
A Letter from Paris by Louisa Deasey ($33, PB)
When Louisa Deasey receives a message from a French woman called Coralie, who has found a cache of letters in an attic, written about Louisa’s father, neither woman can imagine the events it will set in motion. The letters, dated 1949, detail a passionate affair between Louisa Deasey’s father, Denison, and Coralie’s grandmother, Michelle, in post-war London. They spark Louisa to find out more about her father, who died when she was 6. From the seemingly simple question ‘Who was Denison Deasey?’ The book follows a trail of discovery that leads Deasey to the libraries of Melbourne & the streets of London, to the cafes & restaurants of Paris & a poet’s villa in the south of France. From her father’s secret service in WWII to his relationships with some of the most famous bohemian artists in postwar Europe, Deasey unearths a portrait of a fascinating man, both at the epicentre & the mercy of the social & political currents of his time.
From the Corner of the Oval Office by Beck Dorey-Stein ($35, PB)
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in Washington DC when a posting on Craigslist landed her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate DC outsider, she joined the elite team who accompanied the president wherever he went, recorder & mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travellers—young men & women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. But as she learned the ropes of protocol, Beck became romantically entangled with a colleague, and suddenly, the political became all too personal.
Active Labour: Memoirs of a Working-Class Doctor by Percy Rogers ($35, PB)
Raised in small Western Australian towns, at 15 Percy Rogers saved enough to buy a train ticket to Perth, where night school was free, with a hope to study medicine. From there he embarked on a medical career that took him from Hobart’s busiest hospital to a practice in suburban Coburg; from remote Arnhem Land communities to a city in Saudi Arabia; from the beaches of Cocos Keeling Islands to the Papuan jungle highlands. An obstetrician by training & a one-time communist with his own ASIO file, Rogers was an outspoken critic of social discrimination & a defender of those who could not speak for themselves, whether through illness, gender or language barriers— his work taking him to communities where he confronted poverty, disease & appalling living conditions as he sought to provide individuals with a basic human right—access to free & safe healthcare. This is a testament to his abiding, passionate belief in the power of medicine & the importance of community health.
Unbreakable Threads by Emma Adams ($35, PB)
When psychiatrist and mother of three Emma Adams travels to Darwin as an observer of conditions for mothers & babies in the immigration detention centres there, she expects the trip to be confronting. What she doesn’t expect is to return to Canberra consumed by the idea that she must help a 16-year-old unaccompanied Hazara boy from Afghanistan— Abdul. The premise was simple: Wouldn’t any teenage boy be better off staying with a family rather than locked behind a wire fence? In this brutal & bureaucratic system, freedom was a hopeless dream. Emma & Abdul’s connection, and her fight to get him out & provide him with an Australian home, a family & a future, is an important testimony in Australia’s appalling treatment of asylum seekers.
Being Shot: A Place Between Worlds by Gail Bell
At the age of seventeen, Gail Bell was shot in the back. Coming home from evening class later than usual one night, she took a short cut through the dark streets of a new estate, unaware she was being watched. When a car began following her, she felt a jolt of fear. Then the car stopped and out of the eerie silence came a cracking sound as a bullet struck her from behind. The car sped away and the shooter was never found. Being shot is a life-altering experience that cries out for explanation, but for Gail there were bigger mysteries than the identity of the gunman. In this book, she questions the place of guns in our world, and explores the intricate, surprising ways our minds deal with traumatic shock. ($27, PB)
Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse by Andrea di Robilant ($35, HB)
In the autumn of 1948 Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife travelled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called ‘a goddam wonderful city’. He was a year shy of his 50th birthday & hadn’t published a novel in nearly a decade. At a duck shoot in the lagoon he met & fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and Into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; the Ivanciches travelled to Cuba, placing Adriana beside him as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. Andrea di Robilant’s great uncle moved in Hemingway’s revolving circle of bon vivants, aristocrats & artists—she uses this in her portrait of writer & muse—which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity.
Now in B Format Danger Music by Eddie Ayres, $23 The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, $23
War Gardens: A Journey Through Conflict in Search of Calm by Lalage Snow ($33, PB)
‘Overington keeps you guessing until the last’
Working in the world’s most dangerous war zones, freelance war correspondent & photographer Lally Snow has often chanced across a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit in adversity—a celebration of hope & beauty: a war garden. In Kabul, the royal gardens are tended by a centenarian gardener, though the king is long gone; in Camp Bastion, bored soldiers improvise tiny gardens to give themselves a moment’s peace; on both sides of the dividing line in Jerusalem families tend groves of olives & raise beautiful plants from the unforgiving, disputed landscape; in Ukraine,families tend their gardens in the middle of a surreal, frozen war. This is a both tragic & beautiful journey through the darkest places of the modern world, revealing the ways people make time & space for themselves & for nature even in the middle of destruction.
The Rhine by Ben Coates ($30, PB)
Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, the Rhine flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial & political powerhouses of Germany & France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland & Liechtenstein. For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming & sailing in its tributaries. In this book he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands & follows it to its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture & history & finds out how influences have flowed along & across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it. Blending travelogue & offbeat history, Coates tells a fascinating story of how this great river helped shape a continent.
Walking to Jerusalem by Justin Butcher ($33, PB)
WHAT CAN ONE WOMAN DO? HERE’S WHAT
A revealing, raw, funny and heartfelt memoir about life, music, television and mental illness
Journeys to the Other Side of the World further adventures of a young naturalist by David Attenborough ($40, HB)
From Madagascar & New Guinea to the Pacific Islands & the Northern Territory of Australia, David Attenborough & his cameraman companion were aiming to record not just the wildlife, but the way of life of some of the indigenous people of these regions, whose traditions had never been encountered by most of the British public before. From the land divers of Pentecost Island & the sing-sings of New Guinea, to a Roya Kava ceremony on Tonga & the ancient art of the Northern Territory, it is a journey like no other. Alongside these remarkable cultures he encounters paradise birds, chameleons, sifakas & many more animals in some of the most unique environments on the planet.
Vodka and Apple Juice: Travels of an Undiplomatic Wife in Poland by Jay Martin
When Jay Martin’s husband lands a diplomatic job in Warsaw, she jumps at the opportunity to escape her predictable life in Canberra for a 3-year adventure in the heart of central Europe. So she shelves her corporate wardrobe & throws herself into life as a diplomatic wife. Between glamorous cocktail parties & ambassadorial shenanigans, she sets out to get to know quirky, difficult, fascinating Poland, with its impenetrable language & sometimes unfathomable customs—a challenge even for an intrepid traveller with a willing heart. Not to mention a marriage that increasingly doesn’t look as if it will survive its third Polish winter. ($28, PB)
Yak on Track by Heather McNiece
It seemed like a good idea to Heather McNiece at the time: organise a challenging trek to raise funds for the education of young Bhutanese girls. She had walked in the Himalayas before, so how hard could it be on the trail to Lunana, Bhutan’s most remote plateau? However, on the 240-kilometre trek, she discovers that ‘hard’ doesn’t even come close. Along with her friend Krista, a team of eccentric guides & far too many horses, Heather sets off into a landscape of savage beauty, where yetis are feared & only yaks feel at ease. As the team face blizzards, avalanches, altitude sickness & snow blindness, their reward is a rare glimpse of life in the last Shangri-La. A love song to Bhutan & its people, and an intimate portrait of the only remaining Buddhist kingdom of the Himalayas, this is a delightful story about losing yourself but not losing your way. ($33, PB)
2017 marked 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 50 years since the Six-day War, and 10 years since the Blockade of Gaza. As an act of penance, solidarity & hope, actor & musician Justin Butcher walked with 10 companions from London to Jerusalem. This is an exploration of the many strands radiating from the Holy Land & its narrative, weaving paths across place & history, through the lives of Butcher’s fellowwalkers—and his own life. Between the route itinerary & the themes of Balfour & Christian Zionism, Weizmann & cordite, colonialism, Jerusalem Syndrome & Desert spirituality, Butcher charts happenstances hilarious, infuriating & occasionally numinous—a chronicle of serendipity, or, as pilgrims might say, encounters with the Divine.
The Incidental Tourist by Peter Doherty ($30, PB)
Scientists travel the world speaking, researching, advising—their focus usually firmly trained on their colleagues, on data & the problems at hand. But what happens when they lift their gaze to their surroundings, investigate the local history & culture, and ask—‘What the hell am I doing here?’ Eminent scientist, Peter Doherty has kept a journal about the far-flung destinations his work has taken him over more than 30 years. In Incidental Tourist he shares his observations, thoughts & discoveries.
My Polar Dream by Jade Hameister ($30, PB)
At sixteen, Jade Hameister became the youngest person in history to complete the Polar Hat Trick—in 2016, she skied to the North Pole; in 2017, she completed the Greenland Crossing; in 2018, she arrived at the South Pole. She endured extremes of cold & blizzards; treacherous terrain where one wrong step could be fatal; struggled through sastrugi, ice rubble & emotional lows to achieve an extraordinary goal. And along the way, she made a sandwich for online trolls, inspired young people, and made international headlines. Jade lives in Melbourne and is in Year 11. Her ultimate goal is to make it into space.
Lands Of Lost Borders: A Journey On The Silk Road by Kate Harris ($35, HB)
As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler & metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo & Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. So looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist & go to Mars. In between studying at Oxford & MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. This is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey & an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature & humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore— the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.
Low Life in the High Desert by David Hirst ($33, PB)
‘You are one crazy Australian’, journalist David Hirst was informed when he met the locals of Pioneertown for the first time—in this book he recounts the adventures he, his girlfriend, and their dog, had making the California High Desert their new home. Moving into Boulder House—a huge, rambling edifice constructed from giant boulders to withstand a Russian invasion—they were hurled into a world that few ever get to experience up close. Hirst recounts the weird & wonderful cast of characters they encountered & befriended in one of the last outposts of America’s Wild West. Told with great humour & humanity, this is an unforgettable account of strangers in a kind of paradise.
books for kids to young adults for the very young Wiggly Wiggly by Michael Rosen (ill) Chris Riddell
Abridged from their award-winning anthology A Great Big Cuddle, these playtime rhymes are just right for littlies to join in. Bounce and wave, wriggle and jiggle along with these infectious action rhymes. Riddell’s illustrations mirror the energy of Rosen’s lively text. ($15, BD) Lynndy
I Am the Seed That Grew: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year chosen by Fiona Waters (ill) Frann Preston-Gannon ($50, HB)
What a family treasure! Named after the first line of Judith Nicholls’ poem Windsong, this anthology with gorgeous full-colour illustrations showcases centuries’ worth of poetry from Shakespeare to Emily Bronte, Roger McGough to Carol Ann Duffy. While initially $50 may seem a daunting outlay, at just 14 cents per day you have a covetable volume to share amongst the family, or for quiet contemplation alone. Lynndy
My Polar Dream by Jade Hameister
Jade’s accomplishments are impressive in their own right; considering her age they are truly exceptional. Jade ‘began her Polar Hat Trick quest in April 2016 at the age of 14, when she became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from anywhere outside the last degree and was awarded Australian Geographic Society’s Young Adventurer of the Year as a result. In June 2017, she became the youngest woman to complete the 550-kilometre crossing of Greenland, the second largest ice cap on the planet unsupported and unassisted. In January 2018, Jade skied 600 kilometres from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted, after an epic 37-day journey via a new route through the Transantarctic Mountains and up the Kansas Glacier, from the Amundsen Coast.’ Her world records include: The youngest person to ski from the coast of Antarctica to South Pole unsupported and unassisted; the first woman to set a new route to the South Pole; the first Australian woman in history to ski coast to Pole unsupported and unassisted; the youngest to ski to both Poles; the youngest to complete the Polar Hat Trick. Local and international recognition, plus speaking at the International Climate Change Conference at the Vatican are extra achievements of this 16-year-old Melbourne high school student. Just… wow!! I’m looking forward to immersing myself in Jade’s exploits through a bit of armchair extreme sport. ($30, PB) Lynndy
Impostors by Scott Westerfeld ($20, PB)
A new Westerfeld novel is ever cause for rejoicing, and I found this doubly so as it’s the first in a new series revisiting the world he explored in his Uglies series—but ten years on. Frey’s entire existence is a secret known only to her twin sister—heir to Shreve’s first family–and to those who train her in combat and tactics as her sister Rafia’s ‘disposable’ body double. Close as the sisters are, they recognise Frey’s role is insignificant except as a stand-in, until Frey is sent in Rafia’s place to the rival Palafox family in a neighbouring region. There she realises her powerful father regards her only as collateral; the son of her benevolent hosts discerns critical differences between her and the public face her sister presents, placing them all in tremendous danger; and Frey begins to gain a sense of personal identity. When the twins’ father reveals his tyrannical deception, destroying Frey’s new life, she flees with Col Palafox and reinvents herself in the battle to save what is left of their world. Duplicity, plot twists, URT, tech, action, adventure, rebellion, and the reappearance of Tally from the earlier quartet: who could resist this intoxicating blend of real life and fantasy? If, like me, you loved the Uglies series, you are bound to be captivated anew, and if you are new to the Uglies world, no matter—this engrossing thriller with filmically visual details and complexity will draw you in, tantalising you and inciting a longing for the next instalment (due 2019). Lynndy
Meet Me at the Intersection (eds) Rebecca Lim & Ambelin Kwaymullina ($20, PB)
compiled by children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
picture books The Unscary Book by Nick Bland ($18, HB) In a worthy successor to The Wrong Book, Nicholas Ickle returns, this time to demonstrate a very scary book—but again he is thwarted, by all the happy and not-remotely-scary elements that appear. Nicholas’ persistent efforts to assert his fearsome concept will have everyone laughing. Lynndy The Land of Stone Flowers: A Fairy Guide to the Mythical Human Being by Sveta Dorosheva, translated by Jane Bugaeva ($45, HB)
Exquisite hand-drawn illustrations on the delicate classical cover and throughout this collection immediately indicate this is a very unusual book indeed. In a satirical twist, the fairy folk have assembled a collection of stories about the fantasy creatures they don’t believe in—known as humans. ‘Brimming with keen observations and wild assumptions on human anatomy, customs, languages, rituals, dwellings, and more, The Land of Stone Flowers is as absurd as it is astounding, examining contradictory and nonsensical human behaviours through the lens of the fantastic: from the bewitching paper wizards who live in humans’ wallets to their invisible hats, known as “moods,” which cloud their view of the world. Bursting with intricate and evocative illustrations, The Land of Stone Flowers will draw readers into a world that slyly reveals many hidden truths about human existence.’ You can’t help but repeatedly pore over the intricate art, and snort aloud at the whimsical details. This is a special book to savour into adulthood. Lynndy
The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay ($15, PB)
Inside the Tiger by Hayley Lawrence ($20, PB)
With her typical city girl preoccupations eg. school, exams, friends, personal rivalries, two things set 16-year-old Bel apart from her peers: her father, sole parent since the murder of Bel’s mother, is a federal politician and mostly absent from Bel’s life; and Bel’s growing obsession with the relationship between herself and an Australian boy on death row in a Thai prison. Initiating the correspondence as part of a school assignment to align herself with a cause, Bel never anticipated the attraction she would feel, nor the closeness that would arise between her and 17-year-old Micah, the prisoner. Complicating her dilemma are the fact that aiding Micah runs counter to the very basis of her father’s political stance; and that next-door neighbour Eli is no longer a reclusive video gamer but has become a social activist, ally and prospective boyfriend. This is a multilayered and topical novel brimming with compassion; revelatory about choices made by ordinary people in desperate situations. Ex-lawyer Lawrence writes with balanced authenticity, incorporating personal experience and presenting various perspectives as Bel’s situation escalates, affecting everyone in her life. If you want contemporary realism, a conversation starter that could change your opinion of human rights, crime and detention, I’d highly recommend Inside the Tiger! Lynndy
‘Designed to challenge the dominant, homogeneous story of privilege and power that rarely admits ‘outsider’ voices’, this anthology of short stories, poetry and memoir illuminates lives that should be mainstream in both life and literature. Themselves familiar with the outsider label, collaborators Lim and Kwaymullina bring together perspectives from a spectrum of ‘difference’ and prejudice: a biracial bisexual Muslim; an amputee amused and insulted by assumptions of her helplessness; an indigenous youth waiting on promised phone calls confirming employment; neurodiverse; migrant; and straddling cultures. Contributor Michelle Aung Thin notes that ‘Stereotypes are what people fall back on when they don’t know about something’—this is evident in others’ reactions throughout this collection as well as in the general community. With striking relevant artwork depicting diversity and intersection, the collection reflects society and hopefully will prompt greater awareness and expansion of our limited concepts of ‘normal’. Lynndy
The Skylarks’ War is Hilary McKay’s most recent novel. Like all her books, it’s a book about children in a family, the motherless Clarry and Peter. Set over a hundred years ago, the eponymous war is WW1—which is looming when the novel starts. Both Clarry and Peter live for the summer holidays when they visit their grandparents in Cornwall, and often their charismatic cousin Rupert. It’s a reprieve from their dourly disappointing father, and the loveless life he imposes on his children. Cornwall is an idyll, their holidays are blissful and full of adventure, setting them up for the months of dreariness awaiting them at home. As they grow up, the world changes dramatically, and so does the novel. The themes in this book are serious: loss, love, bravery and despair. This is not a book for young readers, and the author herself has suggested it’s really a book for young adults, definitely not for the under 11s. It’s also a fascinating insight into the lives of children, particularly girls, at that time. I’m not sure it’s helpful to draw comparisons with other books, but I do feel this book is definitely as good as the works of Rumer Godden and Noel Streatfeild, and more recently Jill Paton Walsh. It’s rare to read a contemporary children’s novel that is so beautifully written, with such a memorable and compelling narrative. Louise
Food, Health & Garden test kitchen Ottolenghi SIMPLE ($55, HB)
130 brand-new dishes from Yotam Ottolanghi that contain all the inventive elements and flavour combinations that he is loved for, but with minimal hassle for maximum joy. S for short on time- less than 30 minutes; I for 10 ingredients or less; M for make ahead; P for pantry; L for lazy; E for Easier than you think. Yotam Ottolenghi’s vibrant food made easy.
Gleebooks’ special price $45
The Village: Grown & Gathered ($50, HB)
This book is about nurturing & being nurtured, by growing, cooking & eating together—with your village, whether made up of family or friends. Wholesome staples, like Kombucha & Sourdough flatbreads. Pickles & preserves, like Pear, lemon & chilli jam & Zucchini pickles. Delicious meals including Nonna’s leek & spinach fritters, and Pan-fried gnocchi, pea & ricotta salad. Desserts like Baked plums & Raw chocolate & espresso bowls. Plus a comprehensive chapter with practical advice on setting up a natural garden—the importance of soil & sun, garden design, planting guides & projects & natural pest control.
From the Markets of Tuscany: A Cookbook by Giulia Scarpaleggia ($65, HB)
Giulia Scarpaleggia tells the story of Florence’s historic markets, local organic farmers’ markets, and the weekly market days held in Tuscan towns & villages. She also explores Tuscany’s coastal fish & seafood markets, together with the roadside vendors of the Maremma area, with their vibrant fresh fruit & vegetable stands. With each encounter, she delves into the stories of Tuscany’s food markets, drawing on memories & recipes that taste of home.
How To Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum
Will McCallum covers ground from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the mircofibres released from your clothes (microfibers are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean). But he also offers help for you to be a part of big changes—giving insights into how to lobby for impactful legislation and how to put pressure on big corporations to reduce the use of plastic on a global scale. Packed with the latest research, useful tips, & anecdotes from scientists in the field & success stories from local communities round the world—this is essential to working together to reduce the amount of plastic being produced. ($30, PB)
Milkwood: Real skills for down-to-earth living by Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar ($45, PB)
Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar left the city to start a small permaculture farm called Milkwood 10 years ago, with a dream of living simply & within their means. Do you want to know how to grow your own food? Or how to keep bees? How to forage for edible seaweed along the shoreline, or wild greens down by the stream? Maybe you’re curious about growing mushrooms or how to grow the perfect tomato. Designed to be read with a pot of tea by your elbow & a notebook beside you, Milkwood is all you need to start living a more home-grown life.
Mindful Thoughts for Birdwatchers by Adam Ford ($13, HB)
Adam Ford is an ordained Anglican priest, now retired. He has an MA in Indian religions and regularly lectures on Buddhism and Hinduism. Noticing and appreciating the awesome nature of birdlife is a spiritually affirming activity—from learning to deeply listen to nature’s songsters to discovering hidden birdlife in the city, Ford is an enlightening guide to why birdwatching is vital for a flourishing ecosystem and conscious wellbeing.
From the Earth: World’s Great, Rare & Almost Forgotten Vegetables by Peter Gilmore ($80, HB)
Chef Peter Gilmore takes a culinary & historical journey into the world of unique & almost forgotten vegetables. Each vegetable features at the heart of a recipe, and is further explored through a detailed profile & photographs by Brett Stevens. The book looks at chef Gilmore’s decade-long passion for growing vegetables, and how it has informed and inspired his work as a chef. Also featured are four like-minded growers he works closely with who share their passion & knowledge for producing vegetables with a focus on flavour & sustainability.
Out this month: Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2019 ($20, HB) The 2019 Foodies’ Diary: Seasonal produce, recipes, festivals and farmers’ markets ($30, HB)
I look forward to getting into a new book of recipes from local (now Big Apple) chef, Hetty McKinnon, with great (and healthy) relish. A lot of dishes from her earlier books, Community and Neighbourhood, have made it into my favourites and reliables repertoire—both books are dog-eared and food-stained from use. As the titles would suggest, her recipes are great for feeding large groups, and for anyone wanting to cut down on their consumption of meat but still convinced that a meal consisting only of vegetables will never satisfy—McKinnon’s vegetarian meals are way more than filling. It’s been freezing in Sydney the last couple of weeks so I’ve been sampling some soups from her new volume, Family. I have a prejudice against soup—that it won’t be enough for a main—but the creamy broccoli (creamy with silken tofu for vegans) and turmeric chickpea with charred (I roast them— much less trouble) brussel sprouts soups were both delicious and eminently sufficient. No need for bread! McKinnon always supplies suggestions for substitute ingredients (which encourages invention on your part), and gives details regarding storage and freezing. Next on the list is roasted garlic and potato soup with fried almonds. From the baking section I’ve tried the orange and rosemary olive oil cake—simple and oh so moist! For my go-to ‘plain’ cake it might almost trump Ottolenghi/Goh’s lemon poppyseed. Speaking of Ottolenghi, I’ll be cooking SIMPLE next month. Viki
Destination Flavour Adam Liaw ($50, PB)
Adam Liaw curates the best recipes and stories from the acclaimed television series, along with dozens of brand new dishes encountered in his travels. Celebrating food, people and places across six chapters, this book features more than 80 authentic and achievable recipes, unique stories of people Adam has met along the way, stunning food and travel photography, behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the show and candid moments from the road.
Gleebooks’ special price $45 Hunter Wine: A History by Julie McIntyre & John Germov ($50, HB)
The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region—its history & heritage are integral to understanding how Australian wine has evolved. Australian cultures of making, selling & drinking wine are more than echoes of British and European traditions & trends—they represent new practices & styles. Hunter wine is the result of horticultural, chemical, technological, social & economic experimentation by men & women who have migrated to the region since the 1820s—this book shows how historical influences and technological processes have shaped Hunter wine from vine to glass.
Doctor by Andrew Bomback ($20, PB)
A 3-year-old asks her physician father about his job, and his inability to provide a succinct & accurate answer inspires a critical look at the profession of modern medicine. In sorting through how patients, insurance companies, advertising agencies, filmmakers & comedians misconstrue a doctor’s role, Andrew Bomback, MD, realizes that even doctors struggle to define their profession. As he attempts to unravel how much of doctoring is role-playing, artifice & bluffing, he examines the career of his father, a legendary pediatrician on the verge of retirement, and the health of his infant son, who is suffering from a vague assortment of gastrointestinal symptoms. Serious, comedic, analytical & confessional, Doctor offers an unflinching look at what it means to be a physician today.
The Jewelled Table by Bethany Kehdy
Bethany Kehdy explores the Middle Easterners rich, intricate and wonderful heritage of hospitality in part much inspired by the ‘hospitable’ desert. She reinterprets over 80 ancient & every day recipes making them accessible for the Western kitchen without losing integrity for the classics. Find out the secret to nailing hummus once and for all, whip up a Persian herb frittata, and make an impressive, delicious Ox cheek, shallot and rhubarb stew. From simple weeknight suppers to lazy brunches, Sunday roasts & feasts with a few key ingredients, Middle Eastern food is the perfect fit for every occasion. ($45, HB)
Big Salads by Kat Mead ($25, PB)
Kat Mead offers 60 recipes that make the most of seasonal salad ingredients—with the option to eat vegetarian, vegan or use meat & fish in small amounts with a bounty of beautiful fresh vegetables, herbs & leaves. From Pea, asparagus & lemon labneh salad & Papaya salad with coconut poached chicken in spring, to summery White peach with prosciutto & watercress, comforting autumn platters of Balsamic fig & baked goats’ cheese & wintry Parsnip tostada & roast heritage carrot salad.
Events r Calenda
t! Don’t miss ou email! Sign up for gle weekly The gleebooks pdate. email events u oks.com.au asims@gleebo
Launch—3.30 for 4
Ravi Shankar/Jen Webb
Blakwork A stunning mix of memoir, reportage, fiction, satire, and critique composed by a powerful new voice in poetry. Blakwork is an original and unapologetic collection from which two things emerge; an incomprehensible loss, and the poet’s fearless examination of the present.
A Sense of Wonder Toward Nature Launcher: John Seed This book focuses on humanity’s relation with nature, and the sense of wonder and belonging common to indigenous cultures and children everywhere.
22 Launch—3.30 for 4
23 Launch—3.30 for 4
Murder By the Prosecution Launcher: Margaret Cunneen Exposing some grave mistakes in Australia’s not so trustworthy criminal justice system, Andrew Urban is drawn into the field of wrongful convictions after reviewing a documentary about the case of Hobart grandmother, Sue Neill-Fraser, convicted of murder—without evidence.
Launch—3.30 for 4 Haydn Washington
Alex & Shane Smithers
Wraith James can fly, though his landings need some work. However, that’s the least of his problems when he crash lands into a city in the clouds, and is drawn into a race against time to find the SAFFIRE, a new technology designed to save the city from the effects of climate change.
Launch— Mariana D
All My G The first in Giram Latitudes series is overlapping vignet the travels of a yo woman across Eur gentina as she flees situation, job to job to relati
15 Launch—3.30 for 4
The Many Uses of Mint Moving Targets Launcher: Rose Lilley
The Future o in conv. with J We are in the midd technological revo which could give operative ways of further concentra wealth in the han Dunlop offers a b suring that we ac
Outsp Outspoken Fr Ro Peter Dutton a ‘Sod humanising treatm tainees—his appr social media follow commentary on s marriage equality and other huma
No Place L in conv. with B Australia is in the crisis—divided alo tional & political to do about it. Pete academic research, personal interview picture of Australi lems & to offer pr
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
—6 for 6.30 Dimopulos
Goodbyes mondo’s Southern s a novel told in ttes, which follow oung Argentinian rope & back to Ars from situation to b, and relationship ionship.
—6 for 6.30 Dunlop
of Everything Jim Stanford dle of the greatest olution in history us new, more coliving. Or it could ate the world’s nds of a few. Tim bold vision for enchieve the former.
—6 for 6.30 od Bowers
poken od Bowers called domite’ for his dement of Manus deroximately 65,000 wers seek out his subjects such as y, asylum-seekers an rights issues.
—6 for 6.30 Mares
Like Home Benjamin Law grip of a housing ong class, generalines about what er Mares draws on , statistical data & ws to create a clear ia’s housing probractical solutions.
THURSDAY Event—6 for 6.30 Gabrielle Chan
Rusted Off in conv. with Lucy Clark Gabrielle looks to her rural community for answers to the big questions. Why are formerly rusted-on country voters deserting major parties in greater numbers than their city cousins? Can ordinary people teach us more about the way forward for government?
12 Event—6 for 6.30
The Incidental Tourist in conv. with Bianca Nogrady Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the nature of the cellular immune defence. Join him on his extraordinary adventures around the globe, and the moments when he lifts his gaze and asks: ‘What the hell am I doing here?’
What Will Be Worn in conv. with Delia Falconer McWhirters was a once celebrated department store in Fortitude Valley. For Melissa Fagan it is also the starting point for this exploration of her mother & grandmother’s lives, and a reminder of the ways in which retail stores & fashion have connected women’s lives across decades.
19 Launch—6 for 6.30 Ken Saunders
Event—6 for 6.30 Melissa Fagan
Event—6 for 6.30
2028 Launcher: Richard Walsh Welcome to the Australia of 2028 where parking meters double as poker machines, radio shock jocks have been automated, and new political party, the Luddites, are about mix some nudity and the anarchy of ideas into a rusted-on business as usual two party election.
Adani and the War Over Coal in conv. with Stephen Long Looking into the social, environmental and economic elements of this big fight, as well as the background of Gautam Adani himself, this book tells the full story of one of the lightning rod issues of our time.
Event—6 for 6.30
26 Event—6 for 6.30
This Whispering In Our Hearts Revisited in conv. with Mark McKenna Henry Reynolds classic constructed an alternative history of Australia through the eyes of those who felt disquiet and disgust at the brutality of dispossession. In this new edition he brings fresh perspectives to issues we grapple with still.
Turmoil in conv. with Margaret Throsby Robyn Williams, presenter of The Science Show on ABC Radio, reveals all in Turmoil, a searingly honest and often blackly funny reflection on his life, friends, the people he loves and loathes, and a multi-faceted career that includes over forty years on radio.
Launch—6 for 6.30
Tom Lee Coach Fitz Launcher: Ross Gibson Tom, a young man struggling to forge some sense from his experiences, employs the services of an older woman as his running coach. Enthusiastic and perceptive yet plagued by self-consciousness, Tom finds himself at once fascinated and troubled by his mentor’s peculiar ideas.
14 Launch—6 for 6.30
Peter Manning Representing Palestine: Media and Journalism in Australia since WWI Launcher: Peter Cave Based on research in the archives of Australia’s oldest newspaper, Peter Manning shows how the SMH portrayed Palestine during 2 key periods: the end of WWI; the Nakba and the creation of Israel; and 9/11 its aftermath.
21 Launch—6 for 6.30 Damien Cahill & Phillip Toner
Wrong Way Australia’s leading economists and public intellectuals do a cost-benefit analysis of the key economic reforms, including child care, aged care, housing, banking, prisons, universities & the NBN. Have they given us a better society, as promised?
28 Event—6 for 6.30 Laura Tingle
Quartely Essay 71: On Modern Political Leadership in conv. with Geraldine Doogue What has gone wrong with political leadership in Australia? Will things change with a new government? Laura Tingle examines political leadership in general, as well as styles of leadership—looking at Macron & Merkel, Keating & Obama.
Coming in October
Tue. 2: Leigh Sales with Annabel Crabb—bookings with the Seymour Centre Thur. 4: John Newton—The Getting of Garlic in conversation with Simon Marnie Thur. 11: Gillian Trigg—Speaking Up—bookings with the Seymour Centre Thur. 11: (at Gleebooks) Jeff Sparrow—Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right for more events go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up by Gabrielle Chan ($35, PB)
The cover of Cynthia Banham’s A Certain Light looks like a page that’s been torn and unevenly mended. In her case the tearing happened when a journalistic assignment in Indonesia was cut short by the plane crash that left her with horrific injuries. The mending took much longer— but thanks to Dr Fiona Wood, a dedicated surgical team, and her own grit and determination, she pulled through, made a new life for herself and even had a son with her devoted husband Michael. It was almost ten years before she could bear to write about her ordeal. What prompted her to start were two boxes of cards. The first contained get-well cards and other items from wellwishers. The second contained information about her mother’s Italian family. She then thought of combining the two stories, as the painful family history seemed to have some relevance to her own ordeal. Accompanied by Michael, their little son, her parents and her wheelchair, she travelled to Trieste to trace the history of her grandfather Alfredo—a slave-labourer for the Germans in the latter part of the Second World War. Her clever mother Loredana had also seen her life torn apart when her family migrated to Australia: only nine at the time, she later had to cut short her education in order to help her parents, so she was understandably determined to see her daughter achieve what she had been denied. Loredana and the rest of the family never left Cynthia while she was in her long coma, and their support was crucial in helping her to decide that life was worth living, even without legs. You won’t be able to put this book down because, despite the confronting details, it is truly inspirational.
Gabrielle Chan has spent more than 30 years as a journalist— and with half her year spent in Canberra, reporting from Parliament House and half her year living in the sticks, she really does have a unique perspective. In this book she uses her unique perspective to unpack the small towns around where she lives and the communities that keep them going through threat & times of plenty. Chan has served on community groups grappling with loss of population, economic recession & mundane parking issues. She has witnessed fiery town meetings dealing with bank closures & doctor shortages. She has felt parents’ extraordinary losses to ordinary causes like car accidents, drugs & crime in a small town. And all this while documenting the modern Australian political story. Her book is both the broad & the narrow, the personal & the public.
Oh joy, oh rapture, there’s a new Bernie Gunther story Greeks Bearing Gifts. Sadly Bernie’s creator, Philip Kerr, died in March this year—which is all the more reason to enjoy this novel, and it’s a cracker. It’s set in 1957. Lying low after his adventures in Prussian Blue Bernie grows a beard, becomes Christof Ganz and works as a mortuary attendant until he lands a job as claims adjuster with an insurance company. He’s sent to Athens to investigate a claim for a ship that’s sunk. The claimant is found dead, shot through both eyes, and good riddance thinks Bernie—except that the Greek police drag him into the investigation. The claimant turns out to have been implicated in the wartime deportation of the Jews of Salonika. Expect plenty of twists and turns in the plot. Bernie lovers will be pleased to learn that there is one final novel in the pipeline about his early life in the Weimar Republic.
Elections Matter: Ten Federal Elections that Shaped Australia by Frank Bongiorno et al (eds)
I love Tim Parks. He’s an Englishman who has lived in Italy for the past thirty years, teaches at Milan University, and looks at his adopted country with affection and wry humour. A Season with Verona is all about his favourite team, and though I have never been interested in football I read it with great enjoyment. I also liked Teach Us to Sit Still—in which he tells us about his psychosomatic illness. In Extremis, his latest novel, is a perceptive look at death, family, religion and the male mid-life crisis. 57-year-old Thomas Sanders, a retired professor of linguistics in Madrid, tells us everything he thinks and does in the few days during which he is keynote speaker at two conferences in Amersfoort and Berlin, in between sitting with his dying mother in a hospice and attending her funeral. Sanders is separated from his wife and has a much younger Spanish girlfriend. He also has a psychosomatic illness and telephones his shrink frequently. Though I learned more than I wanted to about anal massage wands, I greatly enjoyed this very funny novel. Sonia
Wrong Way: How Privatisation and Economic Reform Backfired (eds) Cahill & Toner ($35, PB)
Since the 1980s, successive waves of ‘economic reform’ have radically changed the Australian economy. We have seen privatisation, deregulation, marketisation, and the contracting out of government services such as transport & education. For 3 decades, there has been a virtual consensus among the major political parties, policy makers & commentators as to the desirability of the neoliberal approach. Today, however, the benefits of economic reform are increasingly being questioned, including by former advocates. Alongside growing voter disenchantment, new voices of dissent argue that instead of free markets, economic reform has led to unaccountable oligopolies, increased prices, reduced productivity & a degraded sense of the public good. In Wrong Way Australia’s leading economists & public intellectuals do a cost-benefit analysis of the key economic reforms, including child care, aged care, housing, banking, prisons, universities & the NBN. Have these reforms for the Australian community and its economy been worthwhile? Have they given us a better society, as promised?.
Where History Happened: The Hidden Past of Australia’s Towns & Places by Peter Spearritt
This book reveals the hidden past of some of Australia’s most intriguing towns & places, from mining settlements & remote caves to monuments & historic houses in our capital cities. The stories that emerge, of remote religious communities, isolated penal colonies, places of Indigenous incarceration & environmental degradation & rejuvenation, describe a vast & complex country, with a heritage worth preserving. The book contains images from the collections of the NLA, including works by renowned photographers Frank Hurley, Wolfgang Sievers & Peter Dombrovskis, colonial watercolours & sketches, newspaper cartoons, early b&w photographs and bold tourism posters from the 1930s, 1940s & 1950s. ($40, PB)
With growing rates of informal votes & a perceived narrowing of differences between the major parties, do Australian elections really matter? Taking 10 examples, this book argues that they do— and not just elections with memorable jingles or triumphant campaigns from opposition to government that can shape the nation. Could it be that the Labor loss in 1969 formed the country more than the famous win in 1972? Or did the return of the Coalition in 1954 have more impact than securing government in 1949? This book looks at prime ministers & policies that never were & examines how the democratic process could have produced a different country. Had key elections taken a different turn, Australia might have had a different constitution, a different head of state, a different health & education system & a different foreign policy approach. ($29.95, PB)
Fishing for the Past: Casting nets & lines into Australia’s early colonial history by Julian Pepperell
After long voyages, hungry crews needed to be fed. On board every ship were the keen fishermen—catching fish to eat, but also ready with a great fish tale. On some voyages there were the resident naturalists & artists, recording, sketching & painting each new species found—some familiar, some completely alien. For tens of thousands of years Aboriginal people had been fishing these waters with spears, hooks, nets & traps, and gathering shellfish from the beaches, rocks & reefs. These activities were of considerable interest to the early mariners & were recorded in the same journals & diaries—so by these direct links Julian Pepperell shows how the original inhabitants of this land fished at the time of first contact. ($34.95, PB)
Stern Justice by Adam Wakeling ($35, PB)
‘For the first time Australia speaks, not for herself alone, but for the whole British Commonwealth.’ So wrote a journalist about Australia’s leading role in the Allied program of war crimes trials which followed the end of WW2 in the Pacific. An Australian judge, Sir William Webb, was president of the Tokyo Trial of Japan’s wartime political & military leaders, and Australia conducted hundreds of other trials throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of the trials was to prevent a repetition of the horrors of the Pacific War, yet debate around the trials was fierce at the time—whether they had a legal basis, whether the Emperor should have been prosecuted, and whether their devastating bombing of Japanese cities had robbed the Allies of the moral authority to put their enemies on trial. 70 years on, much remains to be learnt from both the successes & failures of these trials. With international law more important today than ever, Adam Wakeling makes an irrefutable case for not allowing them to stay forgotten.
Hugh Stretton: Selected Writings ($33, PB)
His book The Political Sciences was hailed by the TLA as ‘a work of near genius.’ His Ideas for Australian Cities was a groundbreaking intervention in urban studies & progressive thinking on social reform. This collection of Stretton’s writing, compiled by urban historian Graeme Davison, includes highlights from these & a wide range of other works, offering a definitive selection on history & politics, urban planning, and social & economic development. Whether criticising Paul Keating or defending life in the suburbs, Stretton was an eloquent original.
QE71: Follow the Leader—Democracy and the Rise of the Strongman by Laura Tingle ($23, PB)
What has gone wrong with political leadership in Australia? And are things likely to change with a change of leader or government? Laura Tingle examines political leadership in general—some profiles in courage, and cunning—as well as styles of leadership. She looks at Macron & Merkel, Keating & Obama— noting that leaders must command not only their country, but also their party. Where does this leave Malcolm Turnbull & Bill Shorten? She observes that Turnbull came to power seeking to do the opposite of everything Tony Abbott did, but neither leader’s approach has been seen as a success. Why? And what can Australia’s next prime minister learn from this?
A Long Way from No Go ($29.95, PB) by Tjanara Goreng Goreng with Julie Szego
Life was tough & poor as an Aboriginal kid in No Go, in remote QLD. Tjanara Goreng Goreng had to navigate the treacherous waters of her childhood, immersed in the legacy of 200 years of brutal treatment of her mother’s people & then education at the hands of abusive Catholic clergy. A strong-willed, successful student and athlete, after graduating from university she found her place in the new era of federal policy making: land rights & self-determination, initiatives on health, education, and social justice. Rising to a management position in Social Policy within the PM’s Department, the ideological landscape took a tectonic turn under the Howard government and she was sacked for blowing the whistle—bankrupted for her actions. This is a story of resilience, courage & Tjanara’s remarkable capacity to overcome every possible barrier that can be thrown up in Australian society. She is an inspiration to all fellow Australians & more specifically to the disenfranchised, marginalised and voiceless Indigenous communities.
The Little Red Yellow Black Book: An introduction to Indigenous Australia 4th edition ($19.95, PB)
Originally published in 1994, The Little Red Yellow Black Book has established itself as the perfect starting point for those who want to learn about the rich cultures and histories of Australia’s First Peoples. Written from an Indigenous perspective, this highly illustrated and accessible introduction covers a range of topics from history, culture and the Arts, through to activism and reconciliation. In this fourth edition, readers will learn about some of the significant contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made, and continue to make, to the Australian nation.
No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s Housing Crisis by Peter Mares ($33, PB)
More than a million lower-income households in Australia pay above the affordability benchmark for their housing costs. More than 100,000 people are homeless. 70% of us are concerned we’ll never own property. Yet owning a home is still seen by most Australians as an essential part of our way of life. It is generally accepted that Australia is in the grip of a housing crisis. But we are divided—along class, generational & political lines—about what to do about it. Peter Mares draws on academic research, statistical data & personal interviews cutting through the noise & asking common-sense questions about why we do housing the way we do, and what the alternatives might be.
The Lost Battalions: A battle that could not be won, An island that could not be defended, An ally that could not be trusted by Tom Gilling ($33, PB)
Until now, the story of the 2000 diggers marooned on Java in February 1942 has been a footnote to the fall of Singapore & the bloody campaign in New Guinea. Led by an Adelaide lawyer, Brigadier Arthur Blackburn VC, and fighting with scrounged weapons, two Australian battalions—plus an assortment of cooks, laundrymen & deserters from Singapore—held up the might of the Imperial Japanese Army until ordered by their Dutch allies to surrender. Drawing on personal diaries, official records & interviews with two of the last living survivors, Tom Gilling tells the extraordinary story of the ‘lads from Java’, who laid down their weapons, but refused to give in.
City Life: The new urban Australia by Seamus O’Hanlon ($35, PB)
Remember when our cities & inner-cities weren’t dominated by high-rise apartments? Seamus O’Hanlon documents the changes that have come with the globalisation of the Australian city since the 1970s. He tells the story of the major economic, social, cultural & demographic changes that have come with opening up of Australia in those years, focussing in particular on the two biggest cities, Sydney & Melbourne, which have been transformed. But throughout he also looks at how these changes have played out in the smaller capitals & regional centres. How does one of the most urbanised, multicultural countries in the world see itself? This book challenges received ideas about Australia & how it presents itself to the world, and how in turn many Australians perceive & understand themselves. Rather than rehashing old stereotypes about mateship, the Bush or Anzac, O’Hanlon places the globalised city and its residents at the heart of new understandings of 21st century Australia.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari ($35, PB)
Yuval Harari focuses on the here and now to grapple with a world that is increasingly hard to comprehend, encouraging us to focus our minds on the essential questions we should be asking ourselves today. Entertaining and lucid, Harari examines some of the world’s most urgent issues— including terrorism, fake news & immigration, as well as turning to more individual concerns, from resilience & humility to meditation.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.95
Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman ($35, PB)
From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of Israel’s intelligence community & armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large & small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people & sometimes preemptively. Israeli investigative journalist & military analyst Ronen Bergman offers a riveting inside account of these targeted killing programs—tracing from statehood to the present, the gripping events & thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East & the entire world.
The Making of Donald Trump: Updated by David Cay Johnston ($20, PB)
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, who had spent thirty years chronicling Donald Trump for the New York Times and other leading newspapers, takes readers from the origins of the Trump family fortune – his grandfather’s Yukon bordellos during the Gold Rush – to his tumultuous gambling and real estate dealings in New York and Atlantic City, all the way to his election as president of the US giving us a deeply researched & shockingly full picture of one of the most controversial figures of our time. With a new introduction & epilogue.
Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the age of Obama, Twitter and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer ($30, PB)
Dan Pfeiffer, one of Barack Obama’s longest serving advisors, tells never-before-told stories from Obama’s presidential campaigns to his time in the White House, providing an in-depth, behind the-scenes look at life on the front lines of politics. More than a political memoir, this is also a sorely needed blueprint for progressives in the Trump era. As many look for a way through the general apathy & populism of the post-Trump/ Brexit world, this is an essential insider’s take on the crazy politics of our time.
The Next Republic by D D Guttenplan ($45, HB)
D.D. Guttenplan’s The Next Republic is a wide-ranging account of the recent fall & incipient rise of democracy in America. He profiles 9 successful activists who are changing the course of American history right now: new labor activist & author Jane McAlevey; racial justice campaigner (and mayor of Jackson, Mississippi) Chokwe Antar Lumumba; environmental activist (and newly elected chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party) Jane Kleeb; Chicago’s first openly gay Latino public official Carlos Ramirez-Rosa; #ALLOFUS co-founder Waleed Shahid; 3 of the young architects of Bernie Sanders amazing rise, digerati Corbin Trent, Saikat Chakrabarti & Zack Exley, founders of Brand New Congress; and author & anti-corruption crusader Zephyr Teachout. Guttenplan also provides 3 historical chapters describing key moments in American history that shed light on current events—the Whiskey Rebellion, the Lincoln Republic & the Roosevelt Republic—in trying to understand the magnitude of the problem of democracy, and at the same time the great possibilities for its resurgence.
The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab by Carl Miller ($35, PB)
The old gods are dying. Giant corporations collapse overnight. Newspapers are being swallowed. Stock prices plummet with a tweet. Governments are losing control. The old familiarities are tumbling down & a strange new social order is rising in their place. More crime now happens online than offline. Facebook has grown bigger than any state, bots battle elections, technologists have reinvented democracy & information wars are breaking out around us. New mines produce crypto-currencies, coders write policy, and algorithms shape our lives in more ways than we can imagine. The Death of the Gods is an exploration of power in the digital age, and a journey in search of the new centres of control today. Carl Miller traces how power— the most important currency of all—is being transformed, fought over, won & lost. As power escapes from its old bonds, he shows us where it has gone, the shape it now takes and how it touches each of our lives.
The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition & the Post-Glacial World by Patrick Nunn
Before humans were writing down their knowledge, they were telling it to each other in the form of stories. Patrick Nunn looks at the predecessor of written information—the spoken word, tales from our ancestors that have been passed down, transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next. These stories conveyed both practical information & recorded history, describing a lost landscape, often featuring tales of flooding and submergence—and they are increasingly supported by hard science. Geologists are starting to corroborate the tales through study of climatic data, sediments & land forms. Nunn unravels the importance of these tales, and their broad implications for our understanding of how human societies have developed through the millennia, and ultimately how we respond collectively to changes in climate, our surroundings & the environment we live in. ($30, PB)
Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy ($35, PB)
On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. The authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring while workers, engineers, firefighters & those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. Serhii Plokhy draws on recently opened archives to recreate these events in all their drama, telling the stories of the scientists, workers, soldiers & policemen who found themselves caught in a nuclear nightmare. While the immediate cause of the accident was a turbine test gone wrong, he shows how its deeper roots lay in the nature of the Soviet political system and the ingrained flaws of its nuclear industry. A little more than 5 years later, the Soviet Union would fall apart, destroyed from within by its unsustainable ideology and the dysfunctional systems laid bare in the wake of the disaster.
Roller-Coaster: Europe, 1950-2017 by Ian Kershaw ($60, HB)
After the overwhelming horrors of the first half of the 20th century the years from 1950 to 2017 brought peace & relative prosperity to most of Europe. However, Europe was now a divided continent, living under the nuclear threat in a period intermittently fraught with anxiety. Europeans experienced a ‘roller-coaster ride’, both in the sense that they were flung through a series of events which threatened disaster, but also in that they were no longer in charge of their own destinies—for much of the period the USA & USSR effectively reduced Europeans to helpless figures whose fates were dictated to them depending on the vagaries of the Cold War. There were, by most definitions, striking successes—the Soviet bloc melted away, dictatorships vanished & Germany was successfully reunited. But accelerating globalization brought new fragilities. The impact of interlocking crises after 2008 was the clearest warning to Europeans that there was no guarantee of peace & stability.
Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present by Christopher Harding ($60, HB)
In a magical new cultural history of modern Japan Christopher Harding offers writers of dramas, ghost stories & crime novels where modernity itself is the tragedy, the ghoul & the bad guy; surrealist & avant-garde artists sketching their escape; rebel kamikaze pilots & the put-upon urban poor; hypnotists & gangsters; men in desperate search of the eternal feminine & feminists in search of something more than state-sanctioned subservience; Buddhists without morals; Marxist terror groups; couches full to bursting with the psychological fall-out of breakneck modernization. These people all sprang from the soil of modern Japan, but their personalities & projects failed to fit. They were ‘dark blossoms’—both East-West hybrids & home-grown varieties that wreathed, probed & sometimes penetrated the new masonry & mortar of mainstream Japan.
Dominion: The History of England Volume 5 by Peter Ackroyd ($33, PB)
The penultimate volume of Peter Ackroyd’s History of England begins in 1815 as national glory following the Battle of Waterloo gives way to post-war depression, spanning the last years of the Regency to the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901. Ackroyd takes us from the accession of the profligate George IV whose government was steered by Lord Liverpool, who was firmly set against reform, to the reign of his brother, William IV, the ‘Sailor King’, whose reign saw the modernization of the political system & the abolition of slavery. But it was the accession of Queen Victoria, aged only 18, that sparked an era of enormous innovation. Technological progress—from steam railways to the first telegram; a flowering of great literature; the emergence of the middle classes changed the shape of society and scientific advances changed the old pieties of the Church of England; intense industrialization brought boom times for the factory owners & dire poverty to the working class—while by the end of Victoria’s reign, the Queen was also an Empress and the British Empire dominated much of the globe—Britannia really did seem to rule the waves.
Science & Nature
The Secret Network of Nature: The Delicate Balance of All Living Things by Peter Wohlleben
Did you know that trees can make clouds? Or that a change in wolf population can alter the course of a river? Or that earth worms give wild boar directions? The natural world is a web of intricate connections, many of which go unnoticed by humans. But it is these connections that maintain nature’s finely balanced equilibrium, & tinkering with one tiny element can set off a chain reaction that affects an entire ecosystem. Peter Wohlleben opens up these surprising connections & unlikely partnerships in nature—to illustrated how different animals, plants, rivers, rocks & weather systems co-operate, and what happens when these delicate systems are unbalanced. ($30, PB)
Night Parrot by Penny Olsen ($30, PB)
For well over a century, the Night Parrot has been a mystery bird. Fewer than 30 specimens were collected before it all but disappeared, offering only fleeting glimpses & the occasional mummified body as proof of its continued existence. Protected by spinifex & darkness, the parrot attained almost mythical status: a challenge to birdwatchers & an inspiration to poets, novelists & artists. Penny Olsen documents the competitiveness & secrecy, the triumphs & adventures of the bird & its followers, culminating in the recent discovery of live birds at a few widely scattered locations. She describes what we are now unravelling about the mysteries of its biology & ecology & what is still left to learn. Complemented by guest essays, illustrations & photographs from a wide variety of sources, Olsen sheds light on Australia’s most elusive bird.
Out this Month: 2019 Guide To The Night Sky: A Month-by-month Guide To Exploring The Skies South Of The Equator, $13 Cosmos Magazine: Spring 2018: Issue 80, $15 Till the Cows Come Home by Philip Walling
To tell the story of the relationship between humankind & cattle is to tell the story of civilisation itself. Since the beginning, cattle have tilled our soils, borne our burdens, fed & clothed us & been our loyal & uncomplaining servants in the work of taming the wilderness & wresting a living from the land. There has never been a time when we have not depended on cattle. As human societies have migrated from the country to the city, the things they have needed from their cattle may have changed, but the fundamental human dependence remains. Blending personal experience, recollection, interviews with farmers, butchers & cattle breeders Philip Walling reveals the central importance of cattle to all our lives. ($35, HB)
Exoplanets: Hidden Worlds and the Quest for Extraterrestrial Life by Donald Goldsmith ($50, HB)
Astronomers have recently discovered thousands of planets that orbit stars throughout our Milky Way galaxy. The sizes, masses, & orbits of exoplanets detected so far raise new questions about how planets form & evolve. Still more tantalizing are the efforts to determine which exoplanets might support life. Astronomers have new means to provide better observations of planetary systems in orbit around the dim red stars that throng the Milky Way. Previously spurned as too faint to support life, these cool stars turn out to possess myriad planets nestled close enough to maintain Earthlike temperatures. Donald Goldsmith presents the science of exoplanets & the search for extraterrestrial life in a way that Earthlings with little background in astronomy or astrophysics can understand & enjoy.
The Honey Factory: Inside the Ingenious World of Bees by Jurgen Tautz & Diedrich Steen ($33, PB) Bee hives might look like seething anarchy at first glance, but the universe of the beehive is an intricately organised, delicately balanced ecosystem. The Honey Factory enters the invisible life of a bee colony to reveal the secrets of this fascinating world. How do worker bees come to a collective decision? What does the honeybees’ waggling dance communicate? What provokes the sexual excesses of the young queen bee? And why is the precious relationship between humans & bees a matter of species survival? Combining fascinating scientific discoveries & secrets in bee research, this book answers these questions & more.
Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind by Kevin N. Laland
Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for cultural production, from the arts and language to science and technology. How did the human mind ‘and the uniquely human ability to devise and transmit culture’ evolve from its roots in animal behaviour? Kevin Laland traces our rise from scavenger apes in prehistory to modern humans able to design iPhones, dance the tango, and send astronauts into space. His book tells the story of the painstaking fieldwork, the key experiments, the false leads, and the stunning scientific breakthroughs that led to his new understanding of how culture transformed human evolution. ($49, PB)
Philosophy & Religion
Exile, Statelessness & Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin by Seyla Benhabib ($48, PB)
Political philosopher explores the intertwined lives, careers & writings of a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals during the mid-20th century—in particular, Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Isaiah Berlin, Albert Hirschman & Judith Shklar, as well as Hans Kelsen, Emmanuel Levinas, Gershom Scholem & Leo Strauss. Benhabib isolates 4 themes in their works: dilemmas of belonging & difference; exile, political voice & loyalty; legality & legitimacy; and pluralism & the problem of judgment—her starting point being that these thinkers faced migration, statelessness & exile because of their Jewish origins, even if they did not take positions on specifically Jewish issues personally. The sense of belonging & not belonging, of being ‘eternally half-other’, led them to confront essential questions: What does it mean for the individual to be an equal citizen & to wish to retain one’s ethnic, cultural & religious differences, or perhaps even to rid oneself of these differences altogether in modernity?
Outspoken: Because Justice Is Always Social by Rod Bower ($35, PB)
On 24 July 2013, Anglican priest Rod Bower put up these words on the roadside sign of his Gosford parish church. Next he posted them on Facebook, sparking a social media revolution—suddenly the onetime butcher was on the public stage. Fr Rod uses this platform to raise questions about Australia’s corporate soul, to assert that we are all brothers & sisters—asylum seekers, Muslims, those identifying as LGBTI, Indigenous Australians ... And for such messages, the death threats pour in. How did a shy adopted kid from the country become this steadfast conscience of our nation, preaching both peace & disruption? Utterly frank, both philosophical & funny, this is a singular book by a singular person.
Holy Resilience: The Bible’s Traumatic Origins by David M. Carr ($36, PB)
In David Carr’s provocative reinterpretation of the Bible’s origins, he tells the story of how the Jewish people & Christian community had to adapt to survive multiple catastrophes & how their holy scriptures both reflected & reinforced each religion’s resilient nature. His thought-provoking analysis demonstrates how many of the central tenets of biblical religion, including monotheism & the idea of suffering as God’s retribution, are factors that provided Judaism & Christianity with the strength & flexibility to endure in the face of disaster. In addition, Carr explains how the Jewish Bible was deeply shaped by the Jewish exile in Babylon, an event that it rarely describes, and how the Christian Bible was likewise shaped by the unspeakable shame of having a crucified saviour.
How to Be Free: An Ancient Guide to the Stoic Life by Epictetus ($35, HB)
Born a slave, the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus taught that mental freedom is supreme, since it can liberate one anywhere, even in a prison. Freedom, for Epictetus, is not a human right or a political prerogative but a psychological and ethical achievement, a gift that we alone can bestow on ourselves. We can all be free, but only if we learn to assign paramount value to what we can control (our motivations and reactions), treat what we cannot control with equanimity, and view our circumstances as opportunities to do well and be well, no matter what happens to us through misfortune or the actions of other people. This edition features new translations by A. A. Long, with the original Greek on facing pages, an introduction that sets Epictetus in context & describes the importance of Stoic freedom today, and a glossary of key words & concepts.
Modernity and Its Discontents by Steven B. Smith
Steven B. Smith examines the concept of modernity, not as the end product of historical developments but as a state of mind. He explores modernism as a source of both pride & anxiety, suggesting that its most distinctive characteristics are the self-criticisms & doubts that accompany social & political progress. Providing profiles of the modern project’s most powerful defenders & critics—from Machiavelli and Spinoza to Saul Bellow & Isaiah Berlin—this provocative work of philosophy & political science offers a novel perspective on what it means to be modern & why discontent & sometimes radical rejection are its inevitable by-products. ($45, PB)
Dangerous Illusions: How Religion Deprives us of Happiness by Vitaly Malkin ($50, HB)
Vitaly Malkin argues for a radical shift in humanity’s thinking about religion; that reason & religion cannot co-exist, and that mankind will only be truly happy if we are able to shake off the illusions of religion in order to live a life more rooted in the present. He explores the irrational demands that religion makes of man & asks the reader to question what benefit these acts offer human beings in this life— scrutinising topics such as suffering & evil, pleasure & asceticism, sex & celibacy, and circumcision & excision, through the lens of the three major world monotheistic religions—Christianity, Islam & Judaism.
Psychology A Very Human Ending: How suicide haunts our species by Jesse Bering ($35, PB)
Why does suicide plague the human species? Combining cutting-edge scientific research with investigative journalism, psychologist Jesse Bering takes a long hard look at the human fascination with self-slaughter. From the sprawling woods of Aokigahara, better known as the Japanese ‘suicide forest’ that lies in the shadow of Mount Fuji, to a parasitology lab in New Zealand where researchers are studying how invisible organisms hijack the brains of their rodent hosts & steer them in the path of hungry cats, he takes a sobering search for the scientific bases of suicide. In dealing with this volatile subject that, Bering jump-starts a new conversation about a perennial problem that knows no cultural or demographic boundaries.
Aware: The Science & Practice of Presence by Daniel Siegel ($33, PB)
Daniel Siegel conducts an in-depth look at the science that underlies meditation’s effectiveness—teaching readers how to harness the power of the principle ‘Where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connection grows.’ He reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness, and cultivate kind intention can literally help you grow a healthier brain & reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in your life. Whether you have no experience with a reflective practice or are an experienced practitioner, Aware is a hands-on guide that will enable you to become more focussed & present, as well as more energised & emotionally resilient in the face of stress and the everyday challenges life throws your way..
The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves by Eric R. Kandel
Neurological & psychiatric disorders have long been regarded as fundamentally different, depending on whether they appeared to affect the brain or the mind. In reality, the brain & the mind are inseparable. Both neurological & psychiatric disorders can affect every aspect of brain function: perception, action, memory, volition, motivation, emotion, empathy, social interaction, thought, attention & consciousness. Eric R. Kandel explains how the processes of the brain that give rise to the mind can become disordered, resulting in devastating brain disorders—and how the more scientists & clinicians understand about healthy brain function, the more likely they are to be able to develop effective treatments, or even preventative strategies. ($33, PB)
Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna by Edith Sheffer ($39.95, HB)
In 1930s & 40s Vienna, child psychiatrist Hans Asperger sought to define autism as a diagnostic category, treating those children he deemed capable of participating fully in society. Depicted as compassionate & devoted, Asperger was in fact deeply influenced by Nazi psychiatry. Although he offered care to children he deemed promising, he prescribed harsh institutionalisation & even transfer to one of the Reich’s killing centres, for children with greater disabilities. Edith Sheffer reveals the heart-breaking voices & experiences of many of these children, whilst illuminating a Nazi regime obsessed with sorting the population into categories, cataloguing people by race, heredity, politics, religion, sexuality, criminality & biological defects-labels that became the basis of either rehabilitation or persecution & extermination.
Happier? The History of A Cultural Movement that Aspired to Transform America by Daniel Horowitz ($46.95, HB)
When a cultural movement that began to take shape in the mid-20th century erupted into mainstream American culture in the late 1990s, it brought to the fore the idea that it is as important to improve one’s own sense of pleasure as it is to manage depression & anxiety. Cultural historian Daniel Horowitz’s research reveals that this change happened in the context of key events. WWII, the Holocaust, postwar prosperity, the rise of counter-culture, the crises of the 1970s, the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and the prime ministerships of Margaret Thatcher & David Cameron provided the important context for the development of the field today known as positive psychology. Happier? provides the first history of the origins, development & impact of the way Americans—and now many around the world—shifted from mental illness to well-being as they pondered the human condition. This change, which came about from the fusing of knowledge drawn from Eastern spiritual traditions, behavioural economics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and cognitive psychology, has been led by scholars and academic entrepreneurs, as they wrestled with the implications of political events and forces such as neoliberalism & cultural conservatism, and a public eager for self-improvement. 17
a ripping yarn The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai takes you back to Chicago in the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic was starting to lay waste to part of a generation. At the story’s centre are art curator, Yale, and Fiona, the younger sister of his late friend Nico. Yale is an endearing character— he is on the brink of making a tremendous coup with a bequest of 1920s artworks; this takes us into some unlikely territory as the owner of the art recounts the provenance of each piece. Thirty years later, we find Fiona in Paris looking for her estranged daughter who seems to have disappeared into a cult. Fiona should be more likeable than she is—I found it very hard to feel sympathetic towards her, perhaps all the loss she has sustained has emptied her out—it’s like she’s a shell of a person. In fact a lot of the secondary characters are more memorable than the protagonists—which adds to the dissonance of the book. Given the tragic subject matter, I found the book didn’t really affect me—although Makkai does give an overview of the impact the epidemic had on a whole generation, and those that followed. Ostensibly like Hanya Yanagiha’s A Little Life, it lacks the resonance of that novel, as well as its more prurient details. The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson is a compelling true mystery of the highest order. Wallace was suffering from PTSD after years of refugee work in Iraq, when he was told about a heist of rare bird skins from the Tring Natural History Museum in London. The thief was a 20 year old musician, Edwin Rist—a master ‘fly-tier’ who sold the feathers online to other fly-tiers around the world. What ensues is an incredible tale of greed and obsession, with an almost unbelievable conclusion. Johnson delves into the extraordinary world of bird collecting, and the horrible, and thankfully now outmoded, fashion of wearing feathers. But it’s the extremely weird world of the flytiers that is the darkest—Johnson is clearly discomforted by many of the tiers that he meets—and their blatant disregard of the origin of the bejewelled feathers that fuels the industry. Not only is this a ripping yarn, but a wonderful look at 19th century expeditions to find rare specimens. Many of the stolen birds had been collected by Alfred Russell Wallace, a colleague of Charles Darwin. The fact that a lot of the tags on these birds had been pulled off by the feather thief, therefore rendering them of no further scientific value, just adds to the sense of delinquency of the theft. I felt quite indignant by the end of the book—I certainly was not expecting to feel so involved with the feathers, and their collective fate. This is a terrific book. Louise
Not All Dead White Men: Classics & Misogyny in the Digital Age by Donna Zuckerberg
A virulent strain of antifeminism is thriving online that treats women’s empowerment as a mortal threat to men & to the integrity of Western civilization. Its proponents cite ancient Greek & Latin texts to support their claims—arguing that they articulate a model of masculinity that sustained generations but is now under siege. Donna Zuckerberg dives deep into the virtual communities of the far right, where men lament their loss of power & privilege, and strategize about how to reclaim them. She finds, mixed in with weight-lifting tips the words of the Stoics deployed to support an ideal vision of masculine life. On other sites, pickup artists quote Ovid’s Ars Amatoria to justify ignoring women’s boundaries. By appropriating the Classics, these men lend a veneer of intellectual authority & ancient wisdom to their project of patriarchal white supremacy. ($55, HB)
Unwell: What Makes a Disease a Disease? by Mike McRae ($29.95, PB)
Nostalgia used to be a killer nervous condition. Emotional women were once treated with a good orgasm, left-handed folk were beaten to be turned ‘right’, and rotten teeth pulled to cure the mentally unwell. Just who made these diseases ‘diseases’ anyway? And what makes us think we understand any better today? In a time when extreme violence is blamed on poor mental health, when people suffer for want of health insurance, and research dollars depend on sharp marketing campaigns, understanding the social & cultural nature of disease is vital for our wellbeing—and the wellbeing of our community.
Queerstories (ed) Maeve Marsden
Curated from the Queerstories storytelling event this important collection features stories from Benjamin Law, Jen Cloher, Nayuka Gorrie, Peter Polites, Candy Royalle, Rebecca Shaw, Simon ‘Pauline Pantsdown’ Hunt, Steven Lindsay Ross, Amy Coopes, Paul van Reyk, Mama Alto, Liz DuckChong, Maxine Kauter, David Cunningham, Peter Taggart, Ben McLeay, and Maeve Marsden. ($30, PB)
Cultural Studies & Criticism On Rape by Germaine Greer ($15, PB)
It’s time to rethink rape. Centuries of different approaches to rape as inflicted by men on women have got us nowhere. Rape statistics remain intractable—one woman in five will experience sexual violence. Very few rapes find their way into court. The crucial issue is consent, thought by some to be easy to establish and by others impossible. Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. In On Rape Germaine Greer argues there has to be a better way. Also reprinted this month, On Rage—Greer’s enduring essay about Aboriginal dispossession.
Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments & Palestinian Refugee Politics by Ilana Feldman ($52, PB)
Palestinian refugees’ experience of protracted displacement is among the lengthiest in history. Ilana Feldman explores this community’s engagement with humanitarian assistance over a 70 year period—using extensive archival & ethnographic field research to offer a comprehensive account of the Palestinian refugee experience living with humanitarian assistance in many spaces & across multiple generations. By exploring the complex world constituted through humanitarianism, and how that world is experienced by the many people who inhabit it, Feldman asks pressing questions about what it means for a temporary status to become chronic. How do people in these conditions assert the value of their lives? What does the Palestinian situation tell us about the world?
The Future of Everything: Big, audacious ideas for a better world by Tim Dunlop ($30, PB)
We are in the middle of the greatest technological revolution in history. Its epicentre lies in Silicon Valley, but its impacts are felt in all corners of the earth. It could give all of us a better quality of life & new, more cooperative ways of living. Or it could further entrench inequality, with even more of the world’s wealth in the hands of a few. Tim Dunlop argues for the former, spelling out his ideas for reclaiming common ground systematically, arguing the case for more public ownership of essential assets, more public space, a transparent media system, and an education that prepares us for the future, not the past. His vision for democracy & society is a practical & inspiring vision for handing political power back to the people so that we can stop playing defence & start changing the ground on which decisions about our lives are made.
Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now by Alan Rusbridger ($33, PB)
Former Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger offers an open, personal & agenda-setting account of how we arrived at the news world of today. Trump regularly lies to the public & accuses anyone who criticisms him of being fake. Politicians openly rubbish the views of ‘so called experts’, dissemble & mislead. So how do we hold those in power accountable? Fox News, Breitbart Media & the Murdoch papers peddle views not news, pushing politically-motivated agendas. So, where can we look for reliable, verifiable sources of news & information? What does it mean for democracy? And what will the future hold? Reflecting on his 20 years as editor of the Guardian & his experience of breaking some of the most significant news stories of our time, including the Edward Snowden revelations, phone-hacking, wikileaks & the Keep in the Ground campaign, Rusbridger answers these questions & offers a stirring defence of why quality journalism matters now more than ever.
Blanket by Kara Thompson ($20, PB)
We are born into blankets. They keep us alive & they cover us in death. We pull & tug on blankets to see us through the night or an illness. They shield us in mourning & witness our most intimate pleasures. Kara Thompson interweaves cultural critique with memoir to cast new light on a ubiquitous object—in film, art, geology, disasters, battlefields, resistance, home—transforming an ordinary thing into a vibrant & vital carrier of stories & secrets, an object of inheritance & belonging, a companion to uncover. Also new in the Object Lessons series: Fake by Kati Stevens
To See Paris & Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture by Eleonory Gilburd ($68, HB)
The Soviet Union was a notoriously closed society until Stalin’s death in 1953. Then, in the mid-1950s, a torrent of Western novels, films & paintings invaded Soviet streets & homes, acquiring heightened emotional significance. Imported novels challenged fundamental tenets of Soviet ethics, while modernist paintings tested deep-seated notions of culture. Western films were eroticized even before viewers took their seats. The drama of cultural exchange & translation encompassed discovery as well as loss. Eleonory Gilburd explores the pleasure, longing, humiliation & anger that Soviet citizens felt as they found themselves in the midst of this cross-cultural encounter. The main protagonists being small-town teachers daydreaming of faraway places, college students vicariously discovering a wider world, and factory engineers striving for self-improvement— investing Western imports with political and personal significance, transforming foreign texts into intimate belongings.
Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford— reprint with a new chapter on #METOO ($23, PB)
2nd2nd2nd Hand Hand Hand Rows Rows Rows Hardscrabble Lives
San Francisco, 1849: a place gripped by gold fever, swarming with desperate men come to seek their fortune. Among them are former convicts, Australians quick to seize control in a town without masters, a town for the taking. Into this world steps an Australian boy, Samuel Bellamy, in search of his mother.
‘a true gem’ Better Reading ‘fascinating, fun and fast’ Good Reading
‘fresh, honest and generous’ Joan London
When Jay’s husband lands a diplomatic job in Warsaw, she shelves her corporate wardrobe and throws herself into life as an embassy wife coming to grips with quirky, fascinating Poland, with its impenetrable language and unfathomable customs.
‘disarmingly funny’ Kim Beazley ‘humorous and graceful’ Foreword Magazine
Life on the Daly River by Nancy Polishuk and Douglas Lockwood ($10, PB) That day when Marlene, then nearly three, went down to the fowl yard to fetch eggs…I heard her scream in terror, ‘Snake, Mummy, big snake!’ I took the rifle and went down to the yard with a native called Solomon and could see a seven-foot taipan helping itself to eggs. When the taipan saw us, it began to move out of the laying box towards us but was stopped and infuriated by the wire netting. Solomon shouted, ‘Look out Missus, him properly cheeky that one, kill ‘im bullock first time.’ As the snake moved along the wire it showed the underpart of its belly, so I put a bullet in there…The shot slowed it to such an extent I was able to aim carefully for a shot at the head and scored a bullseye dead centre at the top of the cranium… A semi-regular occurrence for Nancy Polishuk (1925–2001) when she and her American husband John Polishuk (1923–1992) built their house on 260 hectares (640 acres) on the banks of the Daly River in the Northern Territory in 1954. A decade earlier, 18-year-old Nancy Hales, working as a hostess in the American Red Cross Centre in Perth, was asked for a dance by John, a US Navy Yeoman. In 1948, having married and with their first child, they headed North to their property in a 1929 Dodge. This book recounts their adventures and daily experiences during their three-year sojourn and ends (at the beginning of the book) with the family’s escape from the devastating March 1957 floods that inundated the entire region. 1976 Reprint of 1967 Edition. Good condition. Bark House Days by Mary E. Fullerton ($25, PB) One tree bent so towards our house in a windy season my mother insisted it must go. There was my father, chopping, chopping, cautiously eyeing the tree, it creaking and rocking a little…my Uncle and Angus ‘the hired man’ pulling the ropes with a ‘yo-ho’. Angus had been a sailor, mother explained, and ‘yo-ho’ was a sailor’s word when he pulled a rope…the tree was down at last. Claribel and I pulled a lump of crumbling bark off the trunk for mother’s baking fire, and a lot of spiders sent us running… Described by her friend Miles Franklin, as ‘sensitive, fastidious, reticent, self-mastered’, Mary E. Fullerton (1868–1946) novelist, poet, suffragist, labour party organiser, anti-conscriptionist and feminist, wrote this memorable—and charming—account of her childhood, growing up in a bark house at Glenmaggie (near Sale), Victoria. 1964 Reprint of 1921 Edition. Good condition. The Autobiography of John Shaw Neilson ($15, PB) Maggie seemed to grow weaker as the weeks went on…Often at midnight she would ring the bell for me to come over & have a talk with her. It was very lonely for her & at times her cough would be troublesome. In the early hours of the morning towards the end of July, Maggie rang the bell…I had not seen her so bright for a long while, she started telling me comical tales about the people she had been working for. I suppose we talked for something over an hour & I thought she began to look tired. All at once she said ‘What is wrong with the light it is going dim’. I knew the end was near…presently her head went back & she said ‘I think, I think,’ very faintly. I ran out and woke up Dad & my sisters. Dad held Maggie’s hand while she murmured something we could not understand. In a minute or so she was dead.—John Shaw Neilson (1872–1942), recounting the death of his sister Maggie, from tuberculosis in July 1903 in the Mallee,Victoria. Neilson, Australia’s greatest lyric poet, wrote (and later dictated) a series of autobiographical letters to his mentor, poet James Devaney (1890–1976), in the 1930s. These were first published in this volume. They describe his upbringing as the son of a contract farmer and itinerant labourer. Neilson and his family often endured a grim life of near poverty and destitution as they eked out a living on several disastrous land selections in northern Victoria. They coped with drought, vermin, plagues. John, his father and his brothers also did seasonal work: woodcutting, fence building, shearing, fruit picking, road work and quarrying. Constant hard labour took a physical toll. Through all of this, Neilson describes how he came to write poetry and ballads. Writer Nancy Keesing contributes an informative introductory essay on Neilson and his development as a poet. 1978. Good condition with creased spine. The Story of Australian Roller Coasters: 127 Years of Madness, Sadness & Scintillating Thrills! by Edwin Dickinson ($25, PB) Roller coaster enthusiast Edwin Dickinson traces the history of the iconic fairground attraction from imperial Russia to outback Australia, from New York’s Coney Island to the beachside suburbs of Manly, Coogee, Tamarama and beyond. Criss-crossing continents and historical periods Dickenson’s beautifully illustrated book is packed with amusing (and frequently bizarre) anecdotes and comes complete with a glossary of terms and a roll-call of famous roller coasters from Australia and around the world. From the sedate amusements of the 19th century to the heart-stopping rides of today’s theme parks, Dickinson’s story makes for a thrilling ride! (light crease to back cover)
This month, after various columns recounting war, plague and Russian regicide, I thought I might list a few volumes of travel writing—always a favourite reading pleasure of mine. And where better to select them from then the renowned Eland Books. This small, independent publisher—founded by writer John Hatt in 1982 and named after a large spiral-horned African antelope—makes it their mission to rescue travel writing classics from undeserved obscurity. Their reappearance is enhanced in handsome paperback editions.
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy ($29.99, PB)
On my tenth birthday a bicycle and an atlas coincided as presents and a few days later I decided to cycle to India. I’ve never forgotten the exact spot on a hill near my home at Lismore, County Waterford, where the decision was made and it seemed to me then, as it still seems to me now, a logical decision, based on the discoveries that cycling was a most satisfactory method of transport and that (excluding the USSR for political reasons) the way to India offered fewer watery obstacles than any other destination at a similar distance...However, I was a cunning child so I kept my ambition to myself, thus avoiding the tolerant amusement it would have provoked among my elders. I did not want to be soothingly assured that this was a passing whim because I was quite confident that one day I would cycle to India. That was at the beginning of December 1941, and on 14 January 1963, I started to cycle from Dunkirk towards Delhi. Legendary cyclist/traveller Dervla Murphy’s (b.1931) first travel book (originally published 1965)—25 more were to follow—recounts her solo journey riding her bicycle, which she dubbed Rozinante, after Don Quixote’s horse, through Persia & Afghanistan—with which she becomes completely enamoured. The Ghorband Valley—at the southern foothills of the Hindu Kush—is compared to the Garden of Eden and the ancient city of Herat is ‘absolute enchantment’. She continues on, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and then India. Among her equipment she carried a revolver, which was to prove most useful on several occasions.
A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam by Norman Lewis ($34.95, PB)
On the morning of the fourth day the dawn light daubed our faces as we came down through the skies of Cochin-China…With engines throttled back the plane dropped from sur-Alpine heights in a tremorless glide, settling in the new, morning air of the plains like a dragonfly on the surface of a calm lake. As the first rays of the sun burst through the magenta mists that lay along the horizon, the empty sketching of the child’s painting book open beneath us received a wash of green. Now lines were ruled lightly across it. A yellow penciling of roads and blue of canals....A colonel of the Foreign Legion awoke uneasily… and peered down. We were passing over a road that seemed to be strangely notched at intervals. ‘The defence towers,’ murmured the colonel, smiling with gentle appreciation. A few minutes later there was another moment of interest as we passed above that gauzily-traced chequer-board of fields and ditches. Down there in the abyss, unreal in their remoteness, were a few huts, gathered where the ruler-drawn lines of roads crossed each other. From them a wisp of incense curled towards us. To have been seen so clearly from this height it must have been a great, billowing cloud of smoke. There was a circle of specks in the yellow fields round the village. ‘Une opération,’ the colonel said. Norman Lewis (1908–2003) once described his style of writing as one that produced ‘revealing little descriptions; I think of myself as the semi-invisible man’. In 1950, he travelled to French Indochina and produced this subtle, elegant account of the twilight of European colonialism and of a land and people shortly before catastrophic change (originally published 1951).
The Living Goddess by Isabella Tree ($29.99, PB) Without warning, a child appears at an ornately carved window on the second floor. She could be six, eight or nine years old. It is impossible to tell. She gazes sternly down on the assembled foreigners, pouting slightly, looking mildly inconvenienced. Her eyes are huge, exaggerated with thick lines of kohl reaching all the way to her temples. She is dressed entirely in red, her lips bright red; her hair bound up tightly in a topknot; gold ornaments around her neck and bangles on her wrists. Her tiny fingers, their nails painted red, clasp a wooden rail across the bottom of the window with the command of a captain at the ship’s helm. There are awed murmurs and even some applause. The child’s expression does not falter. Lowering his voice, the guide explains, ‘She does not smile. If she did, it would be an invitation to heaven and you would die.’ Just as suddenly, the child is gone, reabsorbed into the shadows, leaving only a flutter of red curtains. The little girl is Nepal’s ‘Living Goddess’, one of the sightseeing landmarks of Kathmandu, the face in every guidebook and on every tourist poster. To Nepalis she is known as ‘Kumari’—the word for a virgin or unmarried girl. She is believed to manifest a powerful Goddess who protects Kathmandu and watches over the country and all its citizens. All-seeing, all-knowing, she is said to have eyes in the past and the future, and to see everything that goes on in the present. She has the power to cure illnesses, to remove obstacles in the way of happiness, to bestow immeasurable blessings on those pure of heart. She is said to punish the wicked with a single withering stare.
In 1983, Isabella Tree was an 18-year-old student backpacking through the Himalayas when she first sighted the Kumari. Two decades later, she began research into the centuries old Nepalese Kumari tradition and has produced a fascinating blend of history, culture and mythology. Stephen Reid
Blakwork by Alison Whittaker ($25, PB)
A mix of memoir, reportage, fiction, satire & critique, Alison Whittaker’s follow-up to her award-winning debut book of poems, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, is an original and unapologetic collection from which two things emerge; an incomprehensible loss, and the poet’s fearless examination of the present. Whittaker is unsparing in the interrogation of familiar ideas— identifying and dissolving them with idiosyncratic imagery, layering them to form new connections, and reinterpreting what we know.
The River in the Sky by Clive James ($33, HB)
In this new collection we find Clive James in ill health but high spirits. Although his body traps him at home, his mind is free to roam, and this long poem is animated by his recollection of what life was & never will be again; as it resolves into a flowing stream of vivid images, his memories are emotionally supercharged ‘by the force of their own fading’. As ever James’ enthusiasm is contagious; he shares his wide interests with enormous generosity, sparking passion in the reader so that you can explore the world’s treasures yourself—because this is not just a reminiscence, it’s a wise & moving preparation for and acceptance of death. As James realizes that he is only one bright spot in a galaxy of stars, he passes the torch to the poets of the future, to his young granddaughter, and to the reader.
Off The Shelf: A Celebration of Bookshops in Verse (ed) Carol Ann Duffy ($19, PB)
From a basement of forgotten books to the shelves of a cramped Welsh arcade, from the poetry corner of the local bookstore to the last bookshop standing in a post-apocalyptic world, these are poems that pay tribute to all the places that house the stories we treasure. With poems from Carol Ann Duffy, Scottish Makar Jackie Kay, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, as well as Clive James, Michael Longley, Don Paterson, Patience Agbabi & many more, this anthology is a reminder of how books nourish us, save us & inspire us.
Faber Poetry Diaries 2019 Liberty Faber Poetry Diary 2019 ($30, HB) Faber & Faber Poetry Diary 2019 ($25, HB)
Full colour hardback A5 size desk diaries with a week to a view & a poem or illustration every week. Illustrated throughout with vintage & contemporary book jackets these diaries have a sturdy cover and an elastic closure.
The Poem: Lyric, Sign, Metre by Don Paterson ($45, HB)
Award winning poet, Don Paterson puts on his critic’s hat in this volume to attempt to answer several questions: What is a poem? In what way is its use of language distinct? What conditions allow it to arise, and what is its cultural purpose? Paterson looks at the writing, transmission & reading of poetry with wit & scholarly flair, drawing together linguistics, literary analysis, metaphysics, psychology & cognitive science in a thorough exploration of how & why poems are composed. Part polemic, part technical treatise & part meditation, The Poem takes the form of 3 extended essays. Lyric attends to the music & sound patterns of poetry, and the way in which they work to deepen poetic sense; Sign develops a new theory of metaphor, metonym & symbol, and looks at how ideas of ‘meaning’ change under poetic conditions; Metre addresses poetry’s relationship to time & to the rhythms of speech, then builds a theory of prosody from the ground up, proposing some radical correctives to existing metrical theory along the way. Through his various professional guises—as major prize-winning poet, as Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews & as Poetry Editor at Picador Macmillan—few are better placed to grant this insider’s perspective.
After You Jojo Moyes, HB
Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2013 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, HB
Difficult Women Roxane Gay, PB
The Return Roberto Bolano, HB
The Excavation Max Andersson, HB
Lock in John Scalzi, HB
Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton, an Autobiography J. G. Ballard, HB
Freeman’s: The Best New Writing on Family, PB
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically Peter Singer, HB
On Aristotle: Saving Politics from Philosophy Alan Ryan, PB
Arthur C. Danto—Remarks on Art and Philosophy, HB
On Machiavelli: The Search for Glory Alan Ryan, PB
Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion Susan Jacoby, HB
In Search of the Christian Buddha McCracken & Lopez, HB
Stranger in the Mirror: The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness The Scientific Search for the Self Robert V. Levine, HB David Gelernter, HB
Joan of Arc: A History Helen Castor, HB
The Genius of Birds Jennifer Ackerman, HB
Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook, HB
Georgia O’Keeffe Tanya Barson, HB
The Arts Mr Guilfoyle’s Shakespearian Botany by Edmée Cudmore & Diana Hill ($45, PB)
The great William Guilfoyle, credited as the architect of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic gardens, was an eminent landscape designer, botanist & writer. Here are his collected writings on the dozens of plants, fruits & flowers William Shakespeare referred to in his plays & poems. Each entry is accompanied by Basilius Besler’s groundbreaking illustrations & delicate watercolours by Jacques le Morgues.
Judenmord: Art and the Holocaust in Post-war Germany ($88, HB)
In remembering the murder of the Jews during the period of National Socialism in Germany, how did artists deal with their own experiences & relate these to what they saw, heard & read about the Holocaust in the first 20 years after the end of WW2. What images of the Jews were presented to the Germans, and did works of art in Germany contribute to a re-education process, new ways of thinking in both East & West Germany, and the culture of memory? This collection looks specifically at art by German artists from the end of the war to the end of the 1960s that comment on the Holocaust. Featuring an array of works by artists such as Otto Pankok, Lea Grundig, Ludwig Meidner, Werner Tubke, Wolf Vostell, Joseph Beuys & Gerhard Richter, and including those by former camp inmates, the book presents paintings, drawings & etchings that bring to light the persecution of the Jews—examining how artists reacted where the majority stayed silent.
Home: Drawings by Syrian Children (ed) Ben Quilty ($45, PB)
Ben Quilty has assembled this heartbreaking & awe-inspiring collection of drawings by Syrian children which form an extraordinary testament to the resilience of a generation of survivors whose childhood has been shaped by the worst war of our century. Their art speaks directly to us all as human beings, and we have an obligation to listen closely & seriously. Proceeds from the sale of this book will directly support World Vision’s Child Friendly Spaces, early childhood & basic education projects in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan & Iraq.
Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum by Martin Bailey ($50, HB)
Starry Night is a fully illustrated account of Van Gogh’s time at the asylum in Saint-Rémy. Despite the challenges of ill health and asylum life, he continued to produce a series of masterpieces—cypresses, wheatfields, olive groves & sunsets. He wrote very little about the asylum in letters to his brother Theo, and Martin Bailey sets out to give an impression of daily life behind the walls of the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole—using newly discovered material to look at Van Gogh through fresh eyes.
Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up ($65, HB)
Frida Kahlo (1907–1958) is an artist whose instantly recognizable work draws extensively on her life and her extraordinarily personal reflections upon it. On Kahlo’s death, her husband Diego Rivera ordered that her most private possessions be locked away until 15 years after his death. The bathroom in which her belongings were stored in fact remained unopened until 2004. This incredible archive gives a unique window into Kahlo’s life—focussing on the personal, combining her prosthetics & clothes with self-portraits, diary entries & letters to build an intimate portrait of the artist through her possessions, setting this in the context of her political & social beliefs.
V&A Pocket Diary 2019 ($15, PB) V&A Desk Diary 2019 ($25, PB)
Available in two formats, these week-to-view diaries feature beautiful Art Deco fashion illustrations by George Barbier drawn from the V&A’s extensive collection of Art Deco magazines. Produced in expensive limited editions, these magazines included hand-coloured pictures, flaunting the decadent life of the jazz age flapper. Both desk & pocket diaries feature 53 colour and black and white images.
Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking ($50, HB)
This book looks at 4 transformative series of prints Frank Stella made between 1984 & 1999. Each of these series is named after a literary work—the Had Gadya (a playful song traditionally sung at the end of the Passover Seder), Italian Folktales, compiled by Italo Calvino, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, and The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi. The book examines Stella’s interdisciplinary process, literary approach, and interest in the lessons of art history as crucial factors for his artistic development as a print maker.
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire ($40, HB)
Over the span of his six-decade career, Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) has created a distinctively stylized vision of the modern American landscape of gas stations, highways, & industrial buildings. Incorporating text, stark typography, and commercial logos into his work, the artist’s multivalent images both portray & interrogate the contemporary world’s relentlessly packaged environment. Placing Ruscha’s celebrated Course of Empire—a ten-painting installation originally created for the 2005 Venice Biennale—in dialogue with Thomas Cole’s five-picture cycle The Course of Empire from the 1830s, this catalogue offers a fresh perspective on each of these disparate masterpieces.
Gerhard Richter: Abstraction ($90, HB)
This book that brings together 80 of Gerhardt Richter’s works to focus on the abstract strategies & processes contained in Richter’s body of work. In the early 1960s, the artist began to call painting into question, an exploration that continues to occupy him to this day—from the rejection of painting by creating a series of monochrome works in gray; to making brush strokes & the application of paint his subject; to his colour charts where he subjected painting to an objective process by leaving the arrangement of the colours to chance; to creating a series of abstract works by applying paint with a brush, scraper, and palette knife, alternating between conscious decision-making & random processes.
Say it With Flowers: Viennese Flower Painting from Waldmüller to Klimt ($105, PB)
Viennese artists, from Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller to Gustav Klimt, tested their skills by painting opulent floral works. The depiction of flowers in this period echoed the evolution of painting styles as artists liberated themselves from formal techniques. Women, excluded from painting academies, turned to flowers as a means of expression & emancipation. The book examines the role of the sunflower in particular & the role of orientalism in the Biedermeier period, while brief essays on porcelain painting & botany provide additional perspectives. Generously illustrated, this wide-ranging & informative history offers a veritable bounty of floral delights.
Victoria Crowe: Beyond Likeness ($33, PB)
Victoria Crowe is one of the world’s the most vital & original figurative painters. This extensively illustrated new book looks in depth at some of her own favourite portraiture. Looking at the psychology of her subjects & of herself in painting them, this is a fascinating book—whether you are intrigued by the enigmatic stare of a psychiatrist, struck by the haunted eyes of an Auschwitz survivor or curious about the meaningful surroundings of her own self-portrait, this is an absorbing & enthralling read.
Kiefer-Rodin ($80, HB)
Tor the centenary of Rodin’s death the Rodin museum gave carte blanche to Anselm Kiefer, aiming to highlight the similarity between these two men and their artistic journeys. Anselm Kiefer collaborated on this project for four years and offers new works specially created for the centenary exhibition—a mix of original large scale paintings, windows with sculptures/installations and large size book pages made of plaster and painted over.
Edward Weston: The Early Years ($75, HB) Before Edward Weston was ‘Edward Weston’ his early years in the field coincided with the height of the Pictorialist movement in America. While he was never a typical practitioner, he did make photographs that borrowed themes from paintings & other media, and experimented with soft-focused imagery that sometimes looks more like graphite drawings or inky dark prints than photographs. He would later disavow the gauzy, painterly experiments of his early years, claiming in his Daybooks that ‘even as I made the soft ‘artistic’ work ... I would secretly admire sharp, clean, technically perfect photographs’. Introducing rare surviving prints from the unplumbed holdings of the Lane Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this book offers new insights into Weston’s working methods and his evolution as a photographer. Adrian Piper: 1965–2016 ($95, HB)
Adrian Piper (born 1948) is a first-generation conceptual artist and analytic philosopher. Strongly inflected by her longstanding involvement with philosophy and yoga, her pioneering investigations into the political, social, psychological and spiritual potential of conceptual art have had an incalculable influence on artists working today. This catalogue presents more than 280 artworks that encompass the full range of Piper’s mediums and essays examine her extensive research into altered states of consciousness; the introduction of the Mythic Being—her subversive masculine alter-ego; her media & installation works which reveal and challenge stereotypes of race and gender.
what we're reading
Sophie: Hunger by Roxane Gay—The heart-wrenching memoir of one of my favourite feminist writers. It reveals the physical effects sexual trauma can have on your body, and the complicated relationship between food, hunger and self-image. I love this book because it doesn’t have the predictable ending of ‘weight loss triumph’, and it doesn’t command you to make peace with your body. Gay is still struggling with her unruly body, and that is refreshing to read. Scott D: To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann—The carnage and cruelty of battle seen through the eyes of two German teenage friends conscripted during the final weeks of World War 2. A fast paced and moving narrative of a most terrible coming of age. Follow with Günter Grass’s Peeling the Onion, a true account of the author’s experiences as a young SS soldier, his dramatic escape from the front and his uneasy relationship with the past as an old man looking back. Jonathon: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner—Something like Orange is the New Black. A prison novel of confinement and consequence. Kushner’s cast of female inmates is wonderful, as is the counterpoint of past and present—particularly her scenes of 1980s San Francisco. James: Sabrina by Nick Drnaso—The first graphic novel to be longlisted on the Man Booker, and rightfully so. Drnaso channels the malaise of our times through a story about murder, those left behind, and conspiracy theories in the wake of a national crisis. It’s touching, sad, and sometimes disturbing—much like life, I guess. (I’m also reading Sabrina. I agree with James. Drnaso piles on page after page of uneasy paranoid silence—in both word and image ... I wish I hadn’t chosen it for my bedtime reading, but am glad to see the Man Bookers acknowledging the graphic novel. Ed) Andrew: Kudos by Rachel Cusk—The last of a wonderful trilogy that starts with Outline. Basically the erudite narrator, Fay, sits and listens to people; often complete strangers, and in her relaying what they tell her, lays out a myriad of discursive, philosophical commentaries on the state of being alive. Lorrie Moore in a review describes them as akin to babushka dolls; Cusk refers to her technique as ‘annihilated perspective’. Charming and addictive, these books are rabbit warrens lined with mirrors. John: Scrublands by Chris Hammer—Sent by his editor to a dusty Riverland town 12 months after a mass shooting, a journalist with his own demons, asks why a priest murdered parishioners on the forecourt of the church? There is some great writing here. My pick for best Aussie crime novel this year.
Performing Arts Don’t Stop Believin’ by Olivia Newton-John
4-time Grammy Award winner, Olivia Newton-John is one of the world’s best-selling recording artists of all time, with more than 100 million albums sold. In addition to her music and screen successes, she well known for her own personal journeys with cancer—and as the founding champion of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in her hometown of Melbourne she has inspired millions around the world. In this memoir she shares her journey, from Melbourne schoolgirl to international superstar starring in movies like Grease. $1 from every hardback sold will be donated to the ON-J Cancer Wellness & Research Centre. ($45, HB)
The Only Girl: My Life and Times on the Masthead of Rolling Stone by Robin Green ($33, PB)
In 1971, Robin Green had just moved to Berkley, CA. Those days, job applications asked just one question, ‘What are your sun, moon and rising signs?’ Green thought she was interviewing for clerical job at Rolling Stone, but was hired as a journalist. This brutally honest, memoir chronicles the beginnings of her career—a humorous careening adventure full of stories of stalking the Grateful Dead with Annie Liebowitz, sparring with Dennis Hopper on a film set in the desert, scandalizing fans of David Cassidy & spending a legendary evening on a water bed in the dorm room of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. She was there as Hunter S. Thompson crafted Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and now she presents that tumultuous time in America in a distinctly gonzo female voice. Strange Stars by Jason Heller ($45, HB) Jason Heller recasts sci-fi & pop music as parallel cultural forces that depended on one another to expand the horizons of books, music, & out-of-this-world imagery—presenting a whole generation of musicians as the sci-fi-obsessed conjurers they really were: from Sun Ra lecturing on the black man in the cosmos, to Pink Floyd jamming live over the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing & Jimi Hendrix distilling the ‘purplish haze’ he discovered in a pulp novel into psychedelic song. Of course, the whole scene was led by David Bowie, who hid in the balcony of a movie theater to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, and came out a changed man.
David M: Hotel Silence by AuðurAva Ólafsdóttir—A sympathetic portrait, by a woman, of a man who feels that he has become terminally useless, and the story of his regeneration. A consideration of choices and their context in the lives of ordinary mortals. Small in scale, light of touch, spare and apt in its use of metaphor. A pleasure. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata James: This deceptively simple novel is filled with humour, nuance and profound moments found in everyday ‘small things’. Kieko (the narrator) will appeal to anyone who loves the way an outsider, largely overlooked by society, can often illuminate the very people that don’t see them with intelligence, precision and insight. Tamarra: Keiko is a square peg in a round hole—happy in her small role as a convenience store worker, but feeling the pressure from friends and family to conform. A quietly quirky little novel which speaks to us on what it means to be happy while challenging society’s perception of what happiness should look like. Tatjana: A smash hit in Japan, this is a weird, dark little novel. Keiko, who has long ago renounced her own identity, finds her job at a 24/7 convenience store is the perfect place to teach her how to be a ‘person’, using the store manual as a guide for her life. Keiko is definitely odd but the author is ambiguous on just how deranged she might also be. Don’t be fooled by the Pop Art design and bright lights of the transparent glass box that is the convenience store (all colour and movement and noise), the themes here are dark. Written with deadpan humour, Sayaka Murata deals with some of Japan’s current societal anxieties. Scott V: Oppy: The Life of Sir Hubert Opperman by Daniel Oakman— A warts-and-all biography of the legendary cyclist who eventually became a politician in the Menzies era. Fascinating to learn just how huge cycling was in Australia and Europe (especially in the 20s and 30s) and the almost inhumane endurance Oppy and his contemporaries displayed. Great read. Viki: Dictator Literature by Daniel Kalder—Daniel Kalder really does seem to have consumed the sum total tedium of all of the opuses written by the publishing-mad dictator fraternity of the 20th C. His book is a fantastic combination of history & literary criticism—laced with a liberal dose of sharp wit —with which Kalder does a particularly good job of skewering father of the canon, the logorrheic Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Lenin. I’d recommend this to anyone who is interested in history, politics or literature.
Ricochet: David Bowie 1983: An Intimate Portrait by Denis O’Regan
In 1990, on their 3rd world tour together, photographer Denis O’Regan told David Bowie what inspired him to take up rock photography. ‘It’s because of you,’ said Denis. He was inspired by Bowie’s 1973 Ziggy Stardust concert at the Hammersmith Odeon. Bowie’s response: ‘Nah, you’ll probably tell Bono the same thing tomorrow night.’ In Ricochet—Bowie 1983, the official photographer of one of the most celebrated musicians of all time reveals intimate stories and pictures that offer an exclusive insight into David Bowie the man and musician. ($70, HB)
Beyond Bach: Music and Everyday Life in the Eighteenth Century by Andrew Talle ($60, PB)
Reverence for JS Bach’s music & its towering presence in our cultural memory have long affected how people hear his works. In his own time, however, Bach stood as just another figure among a number of composers, many of them more popular with the music-loving public. Eschewing the great composer style of music history, Andrew Talle takes a journey that looks at how ordinary people made music in Bach’s Germany. He focuses in particular on the culture of keyboard playing as lived in public & private. As he ranges through a wealth of documents, instruments, diaries, account ledgers & works of art, Talle gives life to a cast of characters—amateur & professional performers, patrons, instrument builders, and listeners—teasing out the diverse roles music played in their lives & in their relationships with one another.
The Old Greeks: Cinema, Photography, Migration by George Kouvaros ($25, PB)
How should the people that initiated a journey be remembered? What obligations arise as a result of their passing away? What role do films and photographs play in the process of memorialisation? Drawing on the events surrounding the arrival of his family in Australia from Cyprus, George Kouvaros traces how film & photography serve as toolkits for making sense of the experience of migration—at the level of everyday life & creative practice. 23
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. Dark Emu: Black seeds agriculture or accident?
2. No Friend But the Mountains
3. A Shrink in the Clink: Crazy tales of criminal sin
and jail psychology
4. Loose Units
Tim Watson-Munro Paul F Verhoeven
5. Curing the Dread of Death
(eds) R G & R E Menzies and L Iverach
6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
7. Family: New Vegetable Classics to Comfort and Nourish
8. Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia
9. Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic
10. A Coveted Possession: The Rise & Fall of the
Piano in Australia
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. Boy Swallows Universe 2. Warlight
Trent Dalton Michael Ondaatje
3. Sun Music: New & Selected Poems
4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine 5. Scrublands 6. Less 7. The Shepherd’s Hut 8. Clock Dance 9. The Nowhere Child 10. The Other Wife
Gail Honeyman Chris Hammer Andrew Sean Greer Tim Winton Anne Tyler Christian White
and another thing.....
In the wake of last week’s Parliament House tomfoolery I found my jaded eye drawn to a title on the politics shelves by Archie Brown called The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age. The central misconception he sets out to expose is: ‘...the notion that strong leaders in the conventional sense of leaders who get their way, dominate their colleagues, and concentrate decision-making in their hands, are the most successful and admirable ....[this type of leader in a democracy] can do far less damage, precisely because there are constraints upon their power from outside government. It is, nevertheless, an illusion—and one as dangerous as it is widespread—that in contemporary democracies the more a leader dominates his or her political party and Cabinet, the greater the leader. A more collegial style of leadership is too often characterized as a weakness, the advantages of a more collective political leadership too commonly overlooked’. This quote from page one of the preface points directly at the demagoguery and celebrity overtaking Australian politics, so I look forward to Brown’s investigation. (The Chaser Guide to Business Administration is a good read-alongside—the Chaser gang do a great job of ripping into the pseudo-scientific language of business ‘leadership’ that infects political discourse these days). Another serendipitous read-along is Ken Saunders’ September release, 2028. Saunders deals with the two party gridlock by offering a utopian rather than dystopian vision of the near future in Australia. And ‘What have you got against a utopia?’says one young member of Australia’s nudely formed anarchic Luddite party to a member of one of the rusted-on two parties who still spout meaningless campaign approved one-liners. Saunders’ lightness of touch reminds me of Graeme Simsion’s Rosie Project. It’s not ‘great literature’, but with parking meter poker machines, driverless cars that have spawned the Free Drivers Party, Tax Payer lotto, and an algorithmic right-wing talk show host, Saunders’ leaderless near future is light-hearted with the occasional guffaw, but believable enough that it offers serious food for thought. I read it in one sitting—this was previous to the latest Prime Ministership coup, so I’m thinking a re-read whilst taking notes is called for. Give it to your kids, they’ll have the digital know-how to action the steps towards Saunders’ hopeful future. Viki
For more September new releases go to:
Main shop—49 Glebe Pt Rd; Ph: (02) 9660 2333, Fax: (02) 9660 9842. Open 7 days, 9am to 9m Thur–Sat; 9am to 7pm Sun–Wed Sydney Theatre Shop—22 Hickson Rd Walsh Bay; Open two hours before and until after every performance Blackheath—Shop 1 Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd; Ph: (02) 4787 6340. Open 7 days, 9am to 6pm Blackheath Oldbooks—Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd: Open 7 days 10am to 5pm Dulwich Hill—536 Marrickville Rd Dulwich Hill; Ph: (02) 9560 0660. Open 7 days, Tue–Sat 9am to 7pm; Sun–Mon 9 to 5 www.gleebooks.com.au. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2018 new releases from one of Australia's leading independent bookshops.