gleaner Vol. 26 No. 6 July 2019
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this month ...
Niki Savva, Plots and Prayers
Australian Literature Fabulous Lives by Bindy Pritchard ($27, PB)
In a collection of short stories spanning Australia & other continents, Bindy Pritchard embraces people with all their frailties & strengths, failures & hopes, as they reach critical junctures in their lives. Both funny & heart-rending, these 16 stories follow the struggles of life’s outsiders—the sick, the lonely, the poor and the ugly—as they try to find hope & belonging in a hostile world. ‘The stories are both generous and devastating. Somehow I feel both emptied and sated by them at the same time, like a fish that’s been gutted then stuffed.’ —Evan Fallenberg
Refuge by Richard Rossiter ($25, PB)
Quentin ‘Tinny’ Thompson & his German neighbour, Greta, have at least one thing in common. In their tin sheds close to the coast, they are attempting to live out of the firing line of modern society. Tinny’s sons are growing up & one of them, Rock, wants to head to the city & live with his mother, who is sometimes Prue & sometimes Peaches. Greta’s dream of life in Australia began with a school project on the explorer, Ludwig Leichhardt. Heedless of his fate, she decides to follow in his footsteps. However isolation does not guarantee safety. Violence—so visible in a disintegrating Europe—is not contained. It arrives at her shed in the bush in the figure of the disturbed Clive. Lives do not remain static, even for those who resist change. This is a tender exploration of love & friendship, families, race relations & the consolations of the natural world.
Shepherd by Catherine Jinks ($30, PB)
Fourteen-year-old convict Tom Clay lives in a shepherd’s hut in the bush, protecting his master’s sheep from wild dogs. When a vicious fellow shepherd returns to ensure there are no witnesses to his crimes, the bush-crafty Tom and his hapless mate Rowdy face a life-and-death battle to survive. Fortune by Lenny Bartulin ($30, PB) In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Prussia. Beginning on the day he leads his triumphant Grande Armée into Berlin through the Brandenburg Gate, Fortune traces the fates of a handful of souls whose lives briefly touch on that momentous day & then diverge across the globe. Spanning more than a century, Bartulin’s epic moves from the Napoleonic Wars to South America, and from the early penal settlement of Van Diemen’s Land to the cannons of WW1, mapping the reverberations of history on ordinary people. Some lives are willed into action & others are merely endured, but all are subject to the unpredictable whims of chance. ‘... savage and nihilistic, wise and kind, never less than gripping, and it is over far sooner than you want it to be.’— Geordie Williamson
The Emerald Tablet by Meaghan W. Anastasios
The Suez Canal, 1956. The world teeters on the brink of nuclear war & the Middle East is a tinderbox. Archaeologist Benedict Hitchens, however, is enjoying a peaceful existence after years in the professional & personal wilderness. His recent discoveries in western Turkey secured him a place in history, but when he learns that the woman who betrayed him is leading a team into the Sinai Desert in search of an ancient treasure, he puts everything at risk to seek his revenge. Having aligned herself with unprincipled and ruthless men to further her own interests, her motivations are laid bare as she confronts ghosts she’d rather forget, and makes amends for past wrongdoings. Both are forced to grapple with their own personal demons as they race to unearth a secret that will, in the wrong hands, mean the annihilation of humankind. ($30, PB)
The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth ($33, PB)
Viviane de Faitaud has grown up alone at the Chateau de Belisamasur-le-Lac in Brittany, for her father, the Marquis de Ravoisier, lives at the court of Louis XVI in Versailles. After a hailstorm destroys the chateau’s orchards, gardens and fields an ambitious young Welshman, David Stronach, accepts the commission to plan the chateau’s new gardens in the hope of making his name as a landscape designer. David & Viviane fall in love, but her father has betrothed her to a rich duke & Viviane goes to court & becomes a maid-in-waiting to MarieAntoinette. An embittered David catches the trade winds to Imperial China—where he receives news of the French Revolution, and knows he must return to France to save Viviane.
Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern ($30, PB)
One Thursday morning, Lexie Parker dashes to the shop for biscuits, leaving her daughter, Bella, in the safe care of the other mums in playgroup. Six minutes later, Bella is gone. Police & media descend on the tiny village of Merrigang on the edge of Canberra. Locals unite to search the dense bushland. But as the investigation continues, relationships start to fracture, online hate messages target Lexie, and the community is engulfed by fear. Is Bella’s disappearance connected to the angry protests at Parliament House? What secrets are the parents hiding? And why does a local teacher keep a photo of Bella in his lounge room? What happened in those six minutes & where is Bella? The clock is ticking.
The Yield by Tara June Winch ($33 , PB)
The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things—baayanha. Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind. August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief & burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin & news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land—a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.95 A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop ($30 , PB)
Before the bushfires—before the front of flames comes roaring over the hills—the ridges are thick with gums. After the fires, the birds have gone. There is only grey ash & melted metal, the blackened husks of cars. And the lost people—in temporary accommodation on the outskirts of the city, on the TV news in borrowed clothes, or remembered in flyers on a cafe wall. The stories in this debut collection grapple with the aftermath of disaster—some cut to the bone; others are empathetic stories of survival, even hope. All are gripping & beautifully written.
While You Were Reading by Ali Berg ($25 , PB)
Meet Beatrix Babbage—29-year-old dog-earer of books & accidental destroyer of weddings. After ruining her best friend’s nuptials, she relocates to the other side of the country in search of a fresh start. But after a few months, life is more stagnant than ever. Bea’s job is dead-end. Her romantic life? Non-existent. And her only friends are her books, her barista & her cleaning lady. Then she stumbles across a second-hand novel, inscribed with notes. Besotted with the poetic inscriptions, Bea is determined to find the author—and along the way, she finds herself entangled in one hell of a love quadrangle.
Now in B Format The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman, $23
GETTING PUBLISHED AS A WRITER FOR CHILDREN with Jane Godwin and guest Davina Bell This one-day course offers children’s writers an understanding of what goes on inside a publishing house. Saturday, 31 August 2019
WRITING FOR CHILDREN - BEGINNERS with Anna Feinberg
Learn how to craft a compelling story, create memorable characters and write authentic dialogue, over four weeks with Anna Feinberg, the creator of Tashi. Thursdays 3 - 24 October 2019
FABER WRITING ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIPS 2020 FOUR scholarships available for a chance to study for FREE Visit our website for details on how to apply. For more information: Talk to us: (02) 8425 0171 Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us: www.faberwritingacademy.com.au Follow us: www.facebook.com/faberwriting https://twitter.com/faberwriting
l l i H ’ D n O
Quite coincidentally, I read two books this month by Turkish women. The first, Walking on the Ceiling by young writer Aysegul Savas (who teaches at the Sorbonne and lives in Paris), is a meditative novel which resides in the company of Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, Olivia Laing’s Crudo and The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez. I loved those books which I’ve written about before and Walking on the Ceiling garners as much admiration from me. Set in Paris and Istanbul it is a gentle story about Nunu, a young writer who meets an older, more famous writer she admires for his novels about Istanbul. A platonic friendship begins and they flâneur their way around Paris while talking about all manner of things. Nunu, especially, looks back on her life in Istanbul, her father’s suicide and her relationship with her odd, withdrawn mother. Now, living back Istanbul, she writes subtly about how that beautiful city is being destroyed by the new regime hungry for progress at whatever cost. A truly beautiful book. While I’ve read and enjoyed the work of the famous Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk, I had never read his female counterpart (in skill and fame) Elif Shafak (Forty Rules of Love). In her new novel, tantalisingly titled, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, Shafak writes compassionately and clear-eyed about Leyla, a prostitute who has been murdered and disposed of in a wheelie-bin in a park in Istanbul. While Leyla’s heart has stopped beating there is still 10 minutres and 38 seconds during which her synapses still fire and she remembers key events in her life and especially, her loving friends. Each memory is sparked by a smell, of cardamom or lemon, coffee or roses. Shafak is known as a very political feminist but she is never didactic. She imbues Leyla with intelligence, warmth and dignity—a woman doing her best to survive in a city and culture which shuns women such as her—just as her father disowned her after she argued against his increasing devoutness to Islam. Equally as fascinating as Leyla’s story is those of her five friends—people living on the edges of society—whose wonderful but often painful stories, are interwoven with hers. And if this sounds like a sad book, it’s not. There are moments of great beauty, of uplifting kindness, and a great deal of humour. I adored it. For some time I had been hearing good things about An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, so when I heard it had won the British Women’s Prize (once the Orange) I knew I must read it. African-Americans, Celestial and Roy are not dirt poor—she’s an artist and he’s in marketing— but being middle class does not protect them from the forces of the American justice system—as on one awful night Roy is arrested and then convicted of murder. How this affects him, Celestial, and everyone around them makes for powerful storytelling. This is a spectacular book about race, about love and commitment and marriage and family and ultimately about what it means to be black in modern America. It’s about how a man’s soul can be destroyed but how he can still have hope, about how a woman can wish to be loyal, but stuggle with the consequences of that. Brilliant. A heads up about Dulwich Hill Fair Day on Sunday, September 15th. The dynamic new events managers for the Inner West Council have asked us to put together a children’s writers program. There’ll be a dedicated tent and we’ll have a mini children’s writers festival! Put the date in your diary now. I already have a few fantastic local writers locked in and more to be announced! See you on D’Hill! Morgan
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling ($30, PB)
‘This gem of a novel entertains and moves in equal measure’ Daily Mail
Buckling under the weight of being a single parent—her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States due to a ‘processing error’—Daphne flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler, Honey—taking refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hope that the quiet will bring clarity. Lydia Kiesling’s razor-sharp debut novel is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds.
The Convert by Stefan Hertmans ($30, PB)
When author Stefan Hertmans learns that Monieux, the small Provençal village in which he lives, was the scene of a pogrom a thousand years ago. Looking for clues he finds a letter, written in Hebrew nearly 1000 years ago—which sends Hertmans on the trail of a young woman who fled her powerful Christian family to marry the love of her life, the son of the chief rabbi of France. Originally known as Vigdis, the young woman changed her name to Hamoutal upon converting to Judaism. Her father offered a large sum to anyone who could bring her back, but the lovers managed to escape to Monieux. After the bloody pogrom, Hamoutal has to flee alone. Hertmans retraces Hamoutal’s footsteps—through the French cities of Rouen, Narbonne & Marseille, as she makes her way south, fleeing her family, and then on to Sicily & ultimately to Cairo, where she sought asylum. It is a dizzying, often terrifying journey, full of hardships, that unfolds against the backdrop of the death & destruction of the Crusades.
Night Soil by Dale Peck ($26, PB)
A compelling true story of homicide and injustice in an outback town
RECLAIM YOUR KID’S CHILDHOOD (AND YOUR FA M I LY ’ S S A N I T Y ) .
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead ($33, PB)
Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clear-sighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enrol in the local black college. But one innocent mistake sends him to The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual and moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honourable and honest men’. In reality, it is a chamber of horrors where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’. Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But Elwood’s fellow inmate & new friend Turner the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty & cynicism of their oppressors. Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for 111 years & warped & destroyed the lives of thousands of children.
Starling Days by Rowan Buchanan ($30, PB)
Mina is staring over the edge of the George Washington Bridge when a patrol car drives up. She tries to convince the officers she’s not about to jump but they don’t believe her. Her husband, Oscar is called to pick her up. Oscar hopes that leaving New York for a few months will give Mina the space to heal. They travel to London, to an apartment wall-papered with indigo-eyed birds, to Oscar’s oldest friends, to a canal & blooming flower market. Mina, a classicist, searches for solutions to her failing mental health using mythological women. But she finds a beam of light in a living woman. Friendship & attraction blossom until Oscar & Mina’s complicated love is tested.
The Archipelago of Another Life by Andrei Makine ($33, PB)
On the far eastern borders of the Soviet Union, in the sunset of Stalin’s reign, soldiers are training for a war that could end all wars, for in the atomic age man has sown the seeds of his own destruction. Among them is Pavel Gartsev, a reservist. Orphaned, scarred by the last great war & unlucky in love, he is an instant victim for the apparatchiks & ambitious careerists who thrive within the Red Army’s ranks. Assigned to a search party composed of regulars & reservists, charged with the recapture of an escaped prisoner from a nearby gulag, Gartsev finds himself one of an unlikely quintet of cynics, sadists & heroes, embarked on a challenging manhunt through the Siberian taiga. But the fugitive, capable, cunning & evidently at home in the depths of these vast forests, proves no easy prey. As the pursuit goes on, the pursuers are struck by a shattering discovery, Gartsev confronts both the worst within himself & the tantalising prospect of another, totally different life.
The art world falls in love with Dixie Stammers when it is discovered that not only are her pots mechanically perfect spheres, they are also identical, despite the fact that they are made entirely by hand, without benefit of a wheel, measuring device, or any other tool. Her pathologically shy teenage son, Judas retreats into a world of anonymous sexual encounters at a roadside rest area. What he really longs for though is a relationship with one of the boys at the private school he attends. The Academy was founded by Judas’s ancestral grandfather, a 19th century coal magnate. Driven by his mother’s secretive nature, Judas begins digging into his family’s history, and the Academy’s, until he unearths a series of secrets that cause him to question everything he thought he knew about his world.
Orange World by Karen Russell ($33, PB)
A couple are on a road trip stop in Joshua Tree National Park, when the spirit of a giant tree accidentally infects the young woman and their fates becoming permanently entangled. Two opportunistic young women fleeing the Depression strike out for new territory, but find themselves fighting for their lives. A new mother desperate to ensure her baby’s safety strikes a diabolical deal—as long as the devil protects her baby, she’ll do anything. Karen Russell’s comedic genius & talent for creating outlandish predicaments that uncannily mirror our inner lives fill these exuberant, unforgettable stories.
The Rapture by Claire McGlasson ($30, PB)
Dilys is a devoted member of a terribly English cult: The Panacea Society, populated almost entirely by virtuous single ladies. Dilys lives a careful life in Bedford attending sermons presaging the end of the world delivered by the charismatic leader, Octavia. With the Great War having claimed so many brothers, husbands and sons, women flock to join the Society and follow Octavia’s teachings. So when Dilys strikes up a friendship with a new recruit, Grace, finally God seems to be smiling upon her. But as Dilys’ feelings for her friend bud & bloom the Society around her begins to crumble. Both women come to question what is true & fear for what is real. Faith & devotion are supplanted by fear & suspicion and those at Octavia’s bosom will do anything to maintain their influence, even unto death. Based on actual religious society this is wonderful & strange tale of devotion, sexual frustration, sublimated desire, religious ecstasy & mental ill-health.
Confession With Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach
Tobi & Ella’s childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery. Now adults living in London, they remember their family’s daring attempt to escape, which ended in tragedy. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? What happened to Heiko, their little brother? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses? In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for the archive piecing together the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye, and unravelling the secrets becomes an obsession. When Ella is left a stash of notebooks by her mother, and she & Tobi embark on a search in Berlin, her fate clashes with Aaron’s, and together they piece together the details of Ella’s past... and a family destroyed. ($33, PB)
Now in B Format Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures by Stephen Fry, $23 Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, $20 Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, $23 Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, $23
Whisper Network by Chandler Baker ($33, PB)
Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita have worked at Truviv, Inc. for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching this promotion differently. This time, when they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren’t willing to let it go. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough. Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies will be uncovered. Secrets will be exposed. And not everyone will survive.
Live a Little by Howard Jacobson ($33, PB)
At the age of 90-something, Beryl Dusinbery is forgetting everything—including her own children. She spends her days stitching morbid samplers & tormenting her two long-suffering carers, Nastya & Euphoria, with tangled stories of her husbands & love affairs. Shimi Carmelli can do up his own buttons, walks without the aid of a frame & speaks without spitting. Among the widows of North London, he’s whispered about as the last of the eligible bachelors. Unlike Beryl, he forgets nothing—especially not the shame of a childhood incident that has hung over him like an oppressive cloud ever since. There’s very little life remaining for either of them, but perhaps just enough to heal some of the hurt inflicted along the way, and find new meaning in what’s left. In equal parts a funny, irreverent & tender novel that considers all the paths not taken, and the possibility of changing course.
The Fourth Pig by Naomi Mitchison ($40, PB)
The Fourth Pig, originally published in 1936, is a wide-ranging collection of fairy tales, poems & ballads that reflect the hopes & forebodings of their era but also resonate with those of today. From a retelling of Hansel & Gretel to the experimental title story, a dark departure from The Three Little Pigs, this book is a testament to the talents of Naomi Mitchison (1897–1999), who was a prominent & irrepressible Scottish political activist as well as a prolific author. Her work, exemplified by the tales in this superb new edition, is stamped with a sharp wit, magical invention, and vivid political & social consciousness. Marina Warner provides an insightful introduction.
Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang ($30, PB)
In a crowded apartment on Mott Street, an immigrant family raises its first real Americans. At the Beijing Olympics, a pair of synchronized divers stand poised at the edge of success & self-discovery. On a snowless New York evening, a father creates an algorithm to troubleshoot the problem of raising a daughter across an ever-widening gulf of cultures & generations. From fuerdai (‘second-generation-rich’ kids) and livestream stars to a glass-swallowing qigong grandmaster, these stories upend the well-worn path of the immigrant experience to reveal a new face of belonging: of young people testing the limits of who they are & who they will one day become, in a world as vast & various as their ambitions.
Crossing by Pajtim Statovci ($33, PB)
Amid the conflict & desolation of post-Communist Albania, teenage boys Agim & Bujar share restless dreams of escape. After Bujar’s father dies & Agim’s family discover him dressed in his mother’s clothes, the pair flee to the Albanian capital of Tirana, hungry for a chance to shape their own lives. From Tirana to Rome, from Madrid to New York, Statovci charts the refugee’s struggle for another identity & another story in a world that seems to offer only dead ends. The novel is by turns playful & heartbreaking, as its characters’ attempt to cross boundaries of nationality, gender & sexuality.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo ($33, PB)
All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her? All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town? All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women? Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions. Lisa Taddeo spent 8 years & thousands of hours tracking the women whose stories comprise Three Women, moving to the towns they lived in to better understand their lives.
The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino by Hiromi Kawakam
Who loves Mr Nishino? Minami is the daughter of Mr Nishino’s true love. Bereaved Shiori is tempted by his unscrupulous advances. His colleague Manami should know better. His conquest Reiko treasures her independence above all else. Friends Tama & Subaru find themselves playing Nishino’s game, but Eriko loves her cat more. Sayuri is older, Aichan is much younger & Misono has her own conquests to make. Elusive womaniser Mr Nishino will bring the all torments, desires & delights. ($25, PB)
The Knausgaard Experience I know Karl Ove Knausgaard better than I know anyone else. Better than my husband, child, parents, brother, friends or colleagues. Perhaps even better than my dog, because who knows, maybe she has thoughts going on inside her small spaniel head that I’ll never know. But Karl Ove has told me everything. I know how he feels about each and every family member, friends present and past. I know the order in which he likes to stack a dishwasher, and I know about (and share) his belief that driving is essentially a death game. I know the brand of detergent he uses to clean out the bath before his kids get in it every night—and it has left me wondering if I am doing something wrong. I share his scorn for what has to be the Stokke Xplory stroller: ‘The buggy was the ridiculous type with a thin stalk-like rod going from the wheels which the basket-seat with the child rested on- (A Man in Love). I know about the time he took a dump out of a tree and I know each and every step he took one New Year’s Eve in the mid-1980s. I know about every girl he has felt a mild or strong attraction to and I know some things about Karl Ove that are so mortifying, I can’t bring myself to write them. I know how his first marriage ended and his second marriage began. I know the exact order in which he cleaned his grandmother’s putrid home after his father had died there, and the cleaning products he used. Strangely, I also know a lot about what he thinks about Hitler. I know all this because Knausgaard has told me, and anyone else who has the stamina, in over 3,600 pages of meticulously detailed text—and now I’m not sure that I’ll ever be the same. After reading the first book in the My Struggle series over the new year (A Death in the Family), I needed the rest of the series, as Zadie Smith has said, like crack. What I hadn’t quite realised is how immersive the experience would be. I have spent six months snatching moments intended for something else to spend with Karl Ove, whether he was writing about his first years in Sweden (A Man in Love), his childhood and early teenage years in Tromøya (Boyhood Island), setting off at age 18 to the remote north of Norway to teach in a school (Dancing in the Dark), his years as a student, the publication of his first book and his first marriage in Bergen (Some Rain Must Fall) and finally, the impact of the publication of the preceding books (The End). While the subsequent books perhaps don’t quite match the level of detail found in Book One, as a reader Knausgaard is ever-present with you. From almost every experience, there is something to relate to, and because of his brutal honesty, you are constantly worried about how these books are going to affect those that appear in it when they end up in the world. In this way, to read Knausgaard is to live your own life more intensely. For the last six months, whenever I have been stuck with my own thoughts, I begin to describe every mundane action in Karl Ove’s exacting detail—from getting my daughter ready for school in the morning to stacking the dishwasher at night. Particularly for parents of young children, reading Knausgaard becomes an inherently meta experience. Writing this review, I have stolen moments while ostensibly watching my daughter’s swimming lesson, while she played in Småland at IKEA, and composed parts of it in my head while doing laps in the outdoor pool. (While Knausgaard can drink, smoke and write me under the table, I can smugly say that his idea of a decent distance and speed at which to swim are decidedly, well, Scandinavian). Chloe Groom (This is just the first part of Chloe’s fantastic review of the Knausgaard books—I’m sure Karl Ove would be pleased that there’s much more. You can find the full review on the website, ed.)
THE WILDER AISLES
Recently, I saw a snatch of the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre and was reminded about how much I loved it—perhaps a reread was called for. So I bought a copy. When I told my daughter she decided to follow my lead, and going to my bookshelf, she found 2 copies—so now I have 3. I don’t think I need to tell the story of Jane and Mr Rochester, as I am sure Gleaner readers know it well. But the experience of reading it this time around, was different yet again. I feel that I had a greater appreciation for the work, and particularly admired Jane’s strength of character in facing all the difficulties that are thrust upon her. Re-readings at different times of life always bring up new understandings of a much-loved text. So, whilst on the Brontës, I thought I may as well reread another of my favourites—Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The tale of Helen Graham and Gilbert Markham is a great love story—of course beset with many problems and misunderstandings. It is a marvellous moment when Helen entrusts Gilbert with her diary, revealing her reclusive and secret life, hidden away from the village with her small son, and the terrible marriage in her past. Here is another wonderful Brontë woman, struggling for domestic freedom and creative power. This is one of the books that I recommend to younger people, who want to start reading the classics. On a bit of a roll I picked up North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell again. Gaskell has long been another of my favourite authors. She was married to William Gaskell, a Unitarian minister and as a couple they were devoted to good works, in education and among the poor. Gaskell’s book addresses the great divide between not only the titular North and South of England, but also between wealth and poverty. It is the story of a strong, independent woman, Margaret Hale, who sees the misery and suffering of the mill-workers, and her attempts to help them. This brings her into conflict with the mill owner, John Thornton—with whom (of course) underlying their fierce opposition, she has a deeper attraction. In the character of Margaret Hale, Gaskell has created an original heroine of the industrial revolution. Such a wonderful book—I hope I can inspire others to re-read, or read for the first time, some of these great works of literature. I do feel there are still things we can learn from these works written so long ago. Next up I’m heading back to the Brontës, and Emily’s Gothic masterpiece, Wuthering Heights. I hasten to say, although all these books are written by women and feature female protagonists, in my return to the classics I don’t intend to ignore the men. Meanwhile, on a less lofty plane, while browsing the crime aisles this month I came across a book with a very distinctive cover. The book is Absent in the Spring—written by Agatha Christie, under the name of Mary Westmacott. Sometimes judging a book by its cover doesn’t pay off, but this time I discovered a book well-worth reading. I’d never read a Westmacott before, so I was intrigued. Joan Scudmore is a middle-aged, middle-class woman, married to Rodney, a successful Solicitor in a small English town. She is very busy good works—the hospital fund-raising committee, the garden society and the Guides, and of course looking after Rodney. On her way home from Baghdad, where she has been visiting her daughter, son-in-law and their new baby, she bumps into an old school friend. The encounter doesn’t go well for Joan, her friend brings up old history she prefers to leave in the past. However, when she is stranded by floods, Joan finds herself filling these unexpected empty hours assessing her life, and has to face up to many truths about herself. This selfdiscovery becomes quite painful and she finds she is not the person she thought she was. Joan’s lack of self-awareness is difficult to read about (perhaps for personal reasons, you never know). Lastly, a new Andrea Camilleri, Death at Sea. This is another collection of short stories (but don’t worry fellow fans—there’s another novel in the works, The Other End of the Line, which is due in September). This collection of 8 stories is as satisfying as always—all the main characters are here: Montalbano, Catarella, Fazio, Augello and Galluzzo. The mysteries include an arson attack on a hotel, a death by ‘accident’ on a boat, a missing woman in possession of a million lira, and a threat on Montalbano’s own life when a motorcyclist takes a shot at him. If you are a fan maybe you’ve already read it, but if not a fan (yet) I urge you to pick up any Camilleri give him a go. There is so much richness of character and plot in Camilleri’s novels and short stories that you will be well rewarded—and with number 24 coming in September, you have many books to catch up with. I am a great admire of Camilleri as a person as well as his books. Now 93, he describes himself as a non-militant atheist. He has won many awards in Italy, and his books have been translated into many languages throughout the world. He has recently acquired more fame by appearing on an RAI radio comedy show, where he presents himself as a raspy voiced, caustic character, madly in love with cigarettes—Camilleri is well known in Italy as a smoker. Basically he’s as great a character as his creation Salvo Montalbano. Janice Wilder
Minotaur by Peter Goldsworthy ($33, PB)
Peter Goldsworthy’s new novel features a blind detective determined to deliver justice to the man who shot him, even though his failed assassin has broken out of jail and is equally determined to finish the job. Structured around the five senses, the action confined to one week, Goldsworthy is interested in all that his protagonist cannot see, as he is forced to meet evil, acting on a trust in his senses, and the ineluctable mystery that is memory.
The Chain by Adrian McKinty ($33, PB)
The morning starts like any other. Rachel Klein drops her daughter, Kylie, at the bus stop and heads into her day. But then a phone call changes everything. A woman has Kylie bound & gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will ever see her again is if she pays a ransom— and kidnaps another child. The caller is a mother herself, whose son has also been abducted, and if Rachel doesn’t do exactly as she’s told, both children will die. Rachel is now part of ‘The Chain’. And what the anonymous masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. But what they don’t know is that they may have met their match in Rachel.
Shoot Through by J. M. Green ($30, PB)
All Stella Hardy wants is a romantic country getaway with her artist boyfriend, Brophy. Instead, she must head to the Athol Goldwater Agricultural Prison (aka Arsehole Bogwater) to visit her jailbird brother, Ben, and sort out some ‘urgent’ family paperwork. But Stella has barely set foot in the prison when a prisoner, Joe Phelan, is found dead. She finds herself tasked, against her will, with investigating Joe’s suspicious death away from the eyes of police & as the clock counts down, she becomes embroiled in a story of corruption, conspiracy & high-tech cattlewrangling, all while trying to manage her brother’s pregnant girlfriend, Loretta, get to the bottom of Brophy’s increasingly strange behaviour, & evade the murderous intentions of a shadowy mercenary.
The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran ($20, PB)
Driven off the desert road and left for dead, Claire DeWitt has to think fast to avoid the cops who arrive first on the scene. Making a break for it, she sets off in search of the person who tried to kill her, and the reasons why. But perhaps the biggest mystery of all lies deeper than that, somewhere out there on the ever rolling highway of life. Set between modern day Las Vegas and LA, The Infinite Blacktop sees ‘the best detective in the world’ wounded and disorientated, but just about standing.
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter ($33, PB)
A scientist from the CDC is grabbed by unknown assailants in a parking lot. One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast-followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest & most important neighbourhoods has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC. Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives.
The Dance of Death by Oliver Bottini ($30, PB)
The third in the Black Forest Investigations series (Zen & the Art of Murder highly recommended in a previous Wilder Aisles). One wet and misty weekend in October, the Niemann family find a stranger in their garden. He is armed and tries to force his way into the house, but disappears as soon as the police are alerted. That night he’s back with an impossible ultimatum. Freiburg detective Louise Boni and her colleagues are put under enormous pressure. Traces of evidence lead her to a noman’s-land, and to a ruthless criminal who brings with him the trauma of conflict in the Balkans.
The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl ($33, PB)
When Alison learns that the girl who received her daughter’s heart lives just a few streets away, in the darkest recess of her brain an idea begins to take shape. It’s been 3 months since Alison’s 6-year-old daughter, Amalie, died in an accident. Three months of sympathy cards, grief counselling & gritting her teeth, but it’s still only the vodka & pills that seem to help. Across town, Iselin’s life is finally looking up. Her 7-year-old daughter, Kaia, has survived a life-changing operation. After years of doctors, medication & hope, they can now start thinking about the future. These two mothers couldn’t be more different, but fate will bring them together. And when it does, the consequences will be devastating.
Those People by Louise Candlish ($30, PB)
Until Darren and Jodie move in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. Beautiful homes. Friendly neighbours. Kids playing out in the street. But Darren and Jodie don’t follow the rules and soon disputes over loud music and parking rights escalate to threats of violence. Then, early one Sunday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-tohouse, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: They did it. But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree. ‘a masterfully plotted, compulsive page-turner’—Laura Wilson, Guardian
Knife: Harry Hole 12 by Jo Nesbo ($33, PB)
Harry Hole is in a bad place—Rakel has left him, he’s working cold cases and notorious rapist & murderer Svein Finne is back on the streets. Harry is responsible for the many years Finne spent in prison but now he’s free and ready to pick up where he left off. When Harry wakes up with blood on his hands, and no memory of what he did the night before, he knows everything is only going to get worse
Don’t Eat Me by Colin Cotterill ($25, PB)
Dr Siri Paiboun, the 75-year-old ex-national coroner of Laos, may have more experience dissecting bodies than making art, but he’s managed to smuggle a fancy movie camera into the country & is planning to shoot a Lao adaptation of War and Peace with his friend Civilai. However—the Ministry of Culture must approve the script before they can get rolling. Meanwhile, the skeleton of a woman is found under the Anusawari Arch. Siri stops trying to figure out how to turn the camera on to help his friend, newly promoted Snr Police Inspector, Phosy. Though the death of the unknown woman seems to be recent, the flesh on her corpse has been picked off in places as if something—or someone-has been gnawing on the bones. The plot Siri & friends uncover involves much more than a single set of skeletal remains.
THE NEW KID: VERY POPULAR ME The second hilarious novel in the middle-grade series written by comedian James O’Loghlin and illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Matthew Martin.
HEAL Pete Evans shares some of his favourite ways to live well. Take charge of your life with these 101 simple, practical ways to be healthier and happier in today’s world.
Into the Night by Sarah Bailey ($15, PB)
DS Gemma Woodstock’s new workplace is a minefield, her new partner, Nick Fleet, uncommunicative & often hostile. She feels a connection with a murdered homeless man & the isolated life he led despite being in the middle of a bustling city. When a movie star is killed in bizarre circumstances Gemma & Nick have to put aside their differences to unravel the mysteries surrounding the actor’s life & death. Who could commit such a brazen crime & who stands to profit from it? Far too many people, she discovers—none of whom can be trusted. But it’s when Gemma realises that she also can’t trust the people closest to her that her world starts closing in.
One Good Deed by David Baldacci ($30, PB)
In 1949, Aloysius Archer arrives in the dusty Southern town of Poca City looking for a fresh start after his wartime experiences in Italy & a prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. But he takes on more than he bargained for by working as debt collector for local business tycoon Hank Pittleman—becoming embroiled in a long-running feud between the drought-struck town’s most dangerous residents. When one of them dies, the authorities label Archer as their number one suspect. A bloody game is being played above and below the law.
Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie ($33, PB)
After the violent death of her husband, Callie Jones retreats to a cottage in the grounds of an old mansion in Tasmania—remoteness & wild beauty a balm to her shattered nerves, and the locals seem friendly. But the old mansion has a sinister past, one associated with witchcraft and murder. As Callie is threatened by odd events in the night and strange dreams overtake her sleep, she begins to doubt her own sanity. What’s really going on beneath the surface of this apparently peaceful town? Are her friends and neighbours really who they seem?
Call Him Mine by Tim MacGabhann ($33, PB)
Jaded reporter Andrew & his photographer boyfriend, Carlos, are sick of sifting the dregs of Mexico’s drug war: from cartel massacres to corrupt politicians, they think they’ve seen it all. But when they find a body even the police are too scared to look at, what started out as just another reportage becomes the sort of story all reporters dream of—until Carlos pushes for answers too fast & winds up murdered. Andrew, grief-stricken and flailing for answers, justice, and revenge, is caught in a web of dirty money that stretches from the boardrooms of the US to the death squads of El Salvador—and he must decide whether to save himself, or find out who killed the man he loves, and destroyed the only home he’s ever known.
Date with Poison by Julia Chapman ($18, PB)
THE EMERALD TABLET
In a striking dystopian world, has Hayley finally found somewhere she can belong? The thrilling sequel to Hive from award-winning and bestselling author A.J. Betts.
A fast, action-packed adventure with political overtones, conspiracy and intrigue. This is a gripping read from Meaghan Wilson Anastasios, the bestselling author of The Water Diviner.
Tour de Force by Roman Quaedvlieg
($35, PB) As a rookie policeman on the mean streets of Fortitude Valley in the dying days of the Moonlight State, Roman Quaedvlieg’s first arrest was Brisbane’s most wanted escapee. 3 decades later, he found himself navigating through the corridors of power in Canberra. This book charts the years in between, during which he truly sees it all. From policing on the beat to going undercover with bikies & gangs, to eventually running covert operations at the Australian Crime Commission, exposing major drug importations while working in customs services & leading the operation to turn back boats on international waters. Right up to being appointed as the very first head of the Australian Border Force—this is a personal & political story that exposes a deeply conflicted national security system and doesn’t shy away from his notorious sacking from the top job.
Mandatory Murder by Steven Schubert
The grader driver found the body just off the road outside the outback town of Katherine in NT. Police quickly identified the dead man as Ray Nicefero, who’d recently appeared in court for aggravated assault & breaching a domestic violence order. 3 days later, 3 young local suspects were arrested, including 19-year-old Indigenous man Zak Grieve. A month later, Ray’s former partner was also arrested. But when the accused faced court in the rough justice system of the Territory, it quickly became apparent that depending on who was talking, a loving friend could be an abusive monster, a battered wife a conniving temptress. And a joke between mates about the best way to dispose of a body could be a conspiracy to murder. This is the compelling true story of murder in an outback town & the extraordinary aftermath—raising questions that include how an Indigenous man who didn’t attend a murder can be sentenced to jail for 20 years. (33, PB)
Implicated in the murder of a man in Leeds, the Dales Detective Agency’s Samson O’Brien is facing tough questions from the police, while his business partner Delilah Metcalfe is facing criticism from her family & friends for her loyalty to the town’s black sheep. Especially when her nephew, Nathan Metcalfe, accused of having been under the influence of the corrupt O’Brien, runs away from home. Meanwhile the local vet notices a worrying spate of deaths amongst his canine clientele. Suspecting foul play, he arrives at Samson’s door. Will Delilah be able to overlook Samson’s transgressions in order to help him Bowraville by Dan Box ($35, PB) uncover the source of the poison that is threatening her community? A Three Aboriginal victims—all killed within 5 months, between poison that has the potential to tear her life apart. 1990 & 1991, the same white man linked to each, but nobody was convicted. More than two decades later Dan Box is asked The Throne of Caesar by Steven Saylor ($27, PB) Gordianus the Finder, raised to Equestrian rank after decades of in- by detective Gary Jubelin to pursue this forgotten serial killing. vestigating crimes & murders involving the powerful, has decided to Box spoke to the families of the victims, Colleen Walker-Craig, retire. But on the morning of March 10th, he’s summoned to meet with Evelyn Greenup & Clinton Speedy-Duroux, as well as the lawCicero & then with Caesar himself. Both wish him to ask around, & yers, police officers & even the suspect. His investigation, as find out if there are any conspiracies against Caesar’s life. Caesar plans well as the families’ own determined campaigning, forced the to bestow a great honour on Gordianus when the Senate next convenes authorities to reconsider the killings. Box’s account asks painon the 15th of March. So Gordianus must dust off his old skills and see ful questions about what ‘justice’ means & how it is delivered, what plots against Julius Caesar, if any, he can uncover. But more than as well as describing his own shifting, uncomfortable realisation that he was a reporter who crossed the line. one conspiracy is afoot, and the Ides of March approaches.
Fake by Stephanie Wood ($35, PB)
When Stephanie Wood meets a former architect turned farmer she embarks on an exhilarating romance with him. He seems compassionate, loving, truthful. They talk about the future. She falls in love. This work of creative non-fiction details Jessica White’s experiencShe also becomes increasingly beset by anxiety at his frequent canes of deafness after losing most of her hearing at age 4. As she grew cellations, no-shows & bizarre excuses. When Wood ends the relaup, she was estranged from people & turned to reading & writing tionship she reboots her journalism skills & embarks on a romantic for solace—eventually establishing a career as a writer. Central to investigation—discovering a story of mind-boggling duplicity & maher narrative is the story of Maud Praed, the deaf daughter of 19th nipulation. She learns that the man she thought she was in love with century QLD expatriate novelist Rosa Praed. Although Maud was doesn’t exist. She also finds she is not alone; that the world is full of deaf from infancy, she was educated at a school which taught her to smart people who have suffered at the hands of liars, cheats, narcissists, fantasists & speak rather than sign, a mode difficult for someone with little hearing. The breakup of phonies, people enormously skilled in the art of deception. Maud’s family destabilised her mental health & at age 28 she was admitted to an asyA Stolen Life: The Bruce Trevorrow Case lum, where she stayed until she died almost 40 years later. It was through uncovering by Antonio Buti ($33, PB) Maud’s story that White began to understand her own experiences of deafness & how On Christmas Day 1957, Joe Trevorrow walked through the blisterthey contributed to her emotional landscape, relationships & career. ing heat to seek help for his sick baby boy. When relatives agreed to The Art Of The Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl take Bruce to hospital, Joe was relieved—his son was in safe hands— Patricia Hampl visits the homes of historic exemplars of ease who but, within days, Bruce would be living with another family, and Joe made repose a goal, even an art form. She begins with two celwould never see his son again. At the age of 10, Bruce would be reebrated 18th century Irish ladies who ran off to live a life of ‘retireturned to his Indigenous family, sparking a lifelong search for an idenment’ in rural Wales. Her search then leads to Moravia to consider tity that could never truly be known & a court case that made history. the monk-geneticist, Gregor Mendel, and finally to Bordeaux for This is the story of Bruce Trevorrow’s journey from childhood to the Michel Montaigne—the hero of this book—who retreated from courtroom where, in a landmark trial, he became the first & so far the court life to sit in his chateau tower & write about whatever passed only successful plaintiff in a Stolen Generations case. through his mind, thus inventing the personal essay. Hampl’s own
Hearing Maud: A Journey for a Voice by Jessica White ($28, PB)
life winds through these pilgrimages, from childhood days lazing under a neighbour’s beechnut tree, to a fascination with monastic life, and then to love-—and the loss of that love which forms her book’s silver thread of inquiry. Finally, a remembered journey down the Mississippi near home in an old cabin cruiser with her husband turns out, after all her international quests, to be the great adventure of her life. The real job of being human, Hampl finds, is getting lost in thought, something only leisure can provide. ($28, PB)
Tough Customer: Chasing a better deal for battlers by Allan Fels ($40, PB)
Allan Fels has never been one to shy away from a fight, especially when the big end of town is exploiting small businesses or consumers. During his 12 years as head of Australia’s competition watchdog, he took on banks, airlines, supermarkets & big telcos to make sure Australians were getting a fair deal. Since leaving the ACCC in 2003, he’s continued to champion the underdog. From fighting for the rights of those with a mental health disability, to overseeing the payment of millions of dollars in wages to illegally underpaid 7-Eleven workers, Fels has used his wily political skills & media savvy to get the job done. Along the way, he’s also helped radically transform Victoria’s taxi industry & investigated grossly overpaid corporate executives. Fels also opens up about how his family has coped with daughter Isabella’s schizophrenia, what it was like to be controversially sacked by 7-Eleven & what he’s learned over his 50 years of dedicated public service.
The Borgias by Paul Strathern ($50, HB)
The Borgia family have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthless megalomania, avarice & vicious cruelty—all have been associated with their name. But the story of this remarkable family is far more than a tale of sensational depravities, it also marks a decisive stage in European history. During this crucial period when the Renaissance was coming into its own, it was the rise & fall of the Borgia dynasty which held centre stage. These were leading players at the very moment when our modern world was creating itself. By relating this influential family to their time, together with the world which enabled them to flourish, Paul Strathern tells the story of this great dynasty as never before.
Guinea Pig in White Wine Sauce by Alan Rochford ($30, PB)
Alan Rochford was living the dream when he started Stone Cottage, an idyllic French restaurant nestled in the Adelaide Hills. He had everything going for him apart from experience, money, and the first idea about what he was doing. After two years and one divorce, he began to see the funny side, fed on an endless diet of characters and occurrences so crazy that you couldn’t make them up. Australia’s answer to Basil Fawlty, Alan serves up a degustation of lip-smacking anecdotes, from his side-line in snail trading across the French countryside, to the time two customers got a touch too ‘intimate’ in the middle of his dining room.
Castaway by Robert Macklin ($33, PB)
In 1858, 14 year-old French cabin boy Narcisse Pelletier was aboard the trader Saint-Paul when it was wrecked off the eastern tip of New Guinea. Narcisse & the other survivors crossed almost 1000 kilometres of the Coral Sea in a longboat before reaching the shores of Far North QLD. For 17 years he lived with the local Aboriginal people—participating fully in their Uutaalnganu world. Then, in 1875, his life was again turned upside down. Drawing from firsthand interviews with Narcisse after his return to France Robert Macklin weaves an unforgettable tale of a young man caught between two cultures in a time of transformation and upheaval.
Something to Believe In by Andrew Stafford For An-
drew Stafford, music was a way up and a way out. There was just one little problem—he couldn’t play. Because those who can do and those who can’t review, he carved out a niche writing about it instead. This is the story of a self-confessed wannabe’s life—of growing up in public, of family, of falling in and out of love, and music, sweet music, everywhere. Written with enormous heart and a thumping rhythm, Something To Believe In is an uncompromising, inspiring book for anyone whose life has been saved by rock & roll. (Littered with reviews of his favourite albums this is a very entertaining read that has you heading to Spotify to relisten to old favourites, or finally discover something you missed back in the day. (ed) ($32.95, PB)
Born at the Right Time by Ron McCallum ($30, PB)
Ron McCallum has been blind from birth. When he was a child, many blind people spent their lives making baskets in sheltered workshops, but his mother had other ideas for her son. Ron recounts his social awkwardness & physical mishaps, and shares his early fears that he might never manage to have a proper career, find love or become a parent. He has achieved all this & more, becoming a professor of law at a prestigious university, and chairing a committee at the UN. He has taken advantage of every new assistive technology and is in awe of what is now available to allow him & other blind people to realise their potential. His is a life richly lived, by a man who remains open to all people from all walks of life.
One Hundred Miracles: A Memoir of Music and Survival Zuzana Růžičková ($38, PB)
Zuzana Růžičková grew up in 1930s Czechoslovakia dreaming of two things—Johann Sebastian Bach & the piano. But when the Nazis invaded in 1939 she was transported from Auschwitz to Hamburg to Bergen-Belsen, bereaved, starved & afflicted with crippling injuries to her musician’s hands. Yet with every truck & train ride, a small slip of paper printed with her favourite piece of Bach’s music became her talisman. Armed with this ‘proof that beauty still existed’, Růžičková’s fierce bravery & passion ensured her survival, and continued to sustain her through the brutalities of post-war Communist rule. Harnessing her talent and dedication, and fortified by the love of her husband, the Czech composer Viktor Kalabis, Růžičková went on to become one of the 20th century’s most renowned musicians & the first harpsichordist to record the entirety of Bach’s keyboard works.
The Apology by Eve Ensler ($38, HB)
Like millions of women, Eve Ensler has been waiting much of her lifetime for an apology. Sexually & physically abused from the age of 5 by her father, Ensler has struggled & suffered her whole life from this betrayal, longing for an honest reckoning from a man who is long dead. After years of work as an artist & anti-violence activist, she decided she was no longer waiting; an apology could be imagined, by her, for her, to her. She has writtern this book from her father’s point of view in an attempt to transform the abuse she suffered, with unflinching truthfulness, compassion, and an expansive vision for the future.
Back on Track by Bernie Shakeshaft ($35, PB)
After a life of working all sorts of jobs around the Northern Territory, Bernie Shakeshaft developed deep connections with the Indigenous people of the territory. He started the youth program, BackTrack, with three aims: To keep indigneous kids alive, out of jail and chasing their hopes & dreams. For most, this was their last chance. Combining life skills, education, job preparedness with rural work, Bernie threw in one other factor: dogs! And it works. With the help of these working dogs, the lost boys (and girls) find their way back on track.
The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance by Adharanand Finn
Once the preserve of the most hardcore enthusiasts, ultra running is now a thriving global industry, with hundreds of thousands of competitors each year. But is the rise of this most brutal & challenging sport—with races that extend into hundreds of miles—an antidote to modern life, or a symptom of a modern illness? Adharanand Finn investigates the reasons behind its rise, and discovers what it takes to be an ultra runner. Through encounters with the extreme & colourful characters of the ultramarathon world, & his own experiences of running ultras everywhere from the deserts of Oman to the Rocky Mountains, Finn offers a fascinating account of people testing the boundaries of human endeavour. ($30, PB)
Slow Trains to Venice: A Love Letter to Europe by Tom Chessyre ($40, HB)
Escaping the rat race for a few happy weeks, Tom Chesshyre indulges in the freedom of the tracks. From France (dogged by rail worker strikes), through Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland he goes, travelling as far east as Odessa by the Black Sea in Ukraine. With no set plans, simply a desire to let the trains lead the way, his trip takes him onwards via Hungary, the Balkans and Austria. Along the way he enjoys many an encounter, befriending fellow travellers as well as a conductor or two.
Walks in the Wild: A guide through the forest with Peter Wohlleben ($30, PB) Take a woodland walk with Peter Wohlleben as lets you in on the quintessentials of his forestry knowledge. He invites you on an atmospheric journey of discovery. Learn to find your way around the woods without a compass or GPS, which berries & mushrooms are good to eat, how to read animal tracks & what it’s like to spend a night alone in a forest—everything you need to make a walk in the forest—be it spring, summer, autumn or winter—into a very special experience.
Perfect Motion: How walking makes us wiser by Jono Lineen ($35, PB)
After the tragic loss of his younger brother, Jono Lineen, grief-stricken & adrift, he set off on a 2700-kilometre solo trek across the Himalayas. He walked for months until his legs ached & feet blistered, and by the end of the expedition something had changed in him. He was stronger—not just physically, but psychologically & emotionally. He began researching the science & history of walking & running, & discovered that there were fascinating reasons for his metamorpho- sis. In this book he weaves together his personal story with evolutionary research, psychology, neuroscience, anatomy & philosophy—revealing the powerful effect that even the shortest strolls can have on us. And why walking is what we’re made to do; it is our perfect motion.
Mud & Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin & Other Geniuses of the Golden Age by Sara Wheeler
Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol & Turgenev, among others guide Sara Wheeler across 8 time zones, from rinsed north-western beetroot fields & far-eastern Arctic tundra to the cauldron of ethnic soup that is the Caucasus. She follows 19th century footsteps to make connections between then & now—between the places where flashingepauletted Lermontov died in the aromatic air of Pyatigorsk, and sheaves of corn still stand like soldiers on a blazing afternoon, just like in Gogol’s stories. On the Trans-Siberian railway in winter she crunches across snowy platforms to buy dried fish from babushki, and in summer she sails the Black Sea where dolphins leapt in front of violet Abkhazian peaks. At a time of deteriorating relations between Russia & the West, Wheeler searches for a Russia not in the news—a Russia of humanity & daily struggles, giving voice to the ‘ordinary’ people of Russia & discovering how the writers of the Golden Age continue to represent their country today. ($35, PB)
Booked: A Traveler’s Guide to Literary Locations Around the World by Richard Kreitner ($45, HB)
Harper Lee’s Monroeville, Jane Austen’s Pemberley—Chatsworth House, the Kyoto Bridge from Memoirs of a Geisha. Organized by regions around the world, Richard Kreitner explains the importance of each literary landmark including the connection to the author & novel, cultural significance, historical information & little-known facts about the location. He offers travel advice like addresses & must-see spots & special sections on cities that inspired countless literary works like Betty Smith’s Brooklyn Tennessee Williams & Anne Rice’s New Orleans. Map Of Another Town by M.F.K. Fisher ($20, PB) M.F.K. Fisher moved to Aix-en-Provence with her daughters after the WW2. She traces the history of this ancient town—and beyond the tourist sights, Fisher introduces its inhabitants: the waiters & landladies, down-and-outs & local characters—all recovering from the affects of the war in a drastically new France. In this companion piece to The Gastronomical Me, Fisher finds herself alone, older and with two small children to care for, while at the same time discovering a sense of belonging & acceptance.
veryone has the right to seek asylum under international
law. However, successive governments in Australia have declared the need to ‘stop the boats’ whatever the cost, be it human, economic, moral or legal. Bringing facts to bear on a highly politicised debate, McAdam and Chong explain why Australia falls short of its own international commitments when it comes to
policies on offshore processing, detention and boat turnbacks, among others. This up-to-date account of Australia’s refugee laws and policies could not come at a more crucial time and is compelling reading for anyone seeking to understand the human impacts of Australia’s practices.
ake Newhouse is a pickup artist who sells seduction
techniques to the lovelorn men of the internet. Ish Madigan is a feminist academic whose life’s been destroyed by male internet trolls. They are natural enemies … until Jake grows desperate for a favour. Van Badham throws a bomb at the rom-com in a badlybehaved comedy of sex, love, modern manners and ancient vanities. Banging Denmark is breathless, relentless and a laughout-loud battle of the sexless.
w w w. n ews o u t h p u b l i s h i n g .co m
books for kids to young adults
Goodbye House, Hello House by Margaret Wild (ill) Ann James ($25, HB)
compiled by children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
A new book by either of these luminaries of children’s literature is always welcome; this collaboration even more so, as it addresses a common life experience in a way that portrays the difficulty of change in a positive way. A non-gendered child farewells the family’s country home in a series of ‘lasts’: ‘This is the last time I’ll run through these trees. This is the last time I’ll eat at this table. Goodbye, old house. Goodbye.’ By contrast, the new city home provides opportunity to start again, to revel in different surroundings and pursuits: ‘Hello, new house. Hello!’ In a mixed medium variation on her usual style Ann excels again in fulfilling her mission ‘It’s my responsibility to draw out the emotion behind the words on the page’, and combined with Margaret Wild’s masterful simplicity, this story for 3-6 year-olds is yet another award contender from these two Australian favourites. Lynndy
Fashionista by Maxine Beneba Clarke ($20, HB)
Clarke, the multi-award winning Afro-Caribbean Australian author renowned for writing beautifully about ugly things, here celebrates self-expression in a paean to individuality. ‘Wear it! Flaunt it!’ Above all, don’t be afraid to believe in yourself. This is truly a picture book for all ages. Lynndy
The Good Son: A Story from the First World War, Told in Miniature by Pierre-Jacques Ober (ills) Jules Ober & Felicity Goonan
What an extraordinary book this is! Illustrated with tableaux made in miniature, it is a story of a young man who ‘deserted’ the French army, to visit his mother at Christmas. He wanted to be a good son, but he wanted to be a good soldier too, so he returned to the army after two days. All materials used to make the story come from hobby shops, and are painted by hand. The photography used to create the scenes is spectacular, moody lighting, life-like shadows and incredible depth of field make this a book you can fall into. The very deliberate use of little soldiers is also used as a metaphor, the senseless loss of life in this particular war is very well illustrated by using the little plastic people. Based on a true story, this poignant telling will no doubt spawn many imitators, as works of originality usually do these days. ($35, HB) Louise
Playing With Collage by Jeannie Baker
For anyone who has been intrigued and beguiled by Jeannie Baker’s exquisite collages, this is the book for you! Playing with Collage is a marvellous introduction into the possibilities of collage. It’s not overly directive or instructive, but the author generously shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for the art, and inspires the reader to go out and look, and collect, and most importantly to PLAY. This is a fabulous book for children, for teachers, and generally anyone who would like to have a go—the artist author makes it look really easy!! ($28, PB) Louise
Nine Months: Before a Baby is Born by Miranda Paul (ill) Jason Chin ($30, HB)
This excellent guide to the growth of a baby, from a fertilised egg to fully formed, is far more than the usual nonfiction book, it is also a really delightful picture book. The left hand pages show carefully painted anatomically accurate pictures, while the opposite pages are richly illustrated pictures of a family of three, slowly but surely about to become four. Full of humour and detail, these very inclusive pictures extend the minimal but dynamic text, mirroring an ideal but reasonable journey towards birth. The illustrative style is realistic, with the baby in utero becoming larger and more recognisably human with every page, as the family prepares for its new member on the opposite pages. There is more information at the end of the book, appropriate for the age of the child reader, and quite illuminating for an adult—babies dream! Who knew? Louise (Nine Months is a co-winner, 2019 Boston Horn-Globe Honor Book for Nonfiction. LB)
The First: 2 Endling series by Katherine Applegate ($20, PB)
Regular readers of this page might recall how effusively I lauded the first book in this epic fantasy series, and although I’ve not yet read this volume I am confident it will prove just as alluring. Accompanied by allies from other hybrid beast clans and two human children, Byx, a doglike hybrid animal is on a quest to discover whether she really is the last of the dairne species. Around this focal theme are wound other strands of story: escape from a dictator enslaving sentient animal species, human trafficking, war and conservation, and most importantly, trust and friendship. Astute readers will recognise the human parallels alluded to in both books. I can’t wait to read of Byx’s journey and transformation into a leader, in this second instalment of Applegate’s powerful series. Lynndy
book to screen news
An eight-part TV adaptation of His Dark Materials, the award-winning series by Philip Pullman, is due for release later this year. It is a co-production by the BBC and HBO, who have committed already to a second season. Check out the star-crammed film trailer! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eudsYr0iER0 Under way is a film of the classic One Thousand Paper Cranes, the story of Hiroshima survivor Sadako Sasaki and author Eleanor Coerr, who wrote the bestselling children’s book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.The film will tell the true story of Sasaki, who was a 2-year-old in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city in 1945. She was later diagnosed with leukemia caused by exposure to radiation from the blast. She drew strength from a Japanese legend that, if she folded 1,000 paper cranes, she would be granted a wish, which in her case was to live. Lynndy
The Mysterious Mansion by Daria Song ($30, PB)
Celebrated Korean illustrator Song has created a new highly interactive story with a twist. Featuring gorgeous art, it is the tale of a young girl who discovers a mansion in the countryside; on entering it, she must solve puzzles to escape. Along with the reader, she navigates mazes, riddles, optical illusions, intricate colouring challenges and an assortment of other obstacles before emerging again. Described as ‘a mind-bending book stranger than a fairy tale’, this is an immersive activity book to enchant and mesmerise anyone from 7 to adult. Lynndy
for primary level readers Wombat, Mudlark & Other Stories by Helen Milroy ($15, PB)
In her collection of eight sympathetically told Dreamtime-like stories, Australian native animals encounter natural elements, highlighting the strengths of each and the universality of their situations. With illustrations by the author, this book of indigenous teaching stories is extra special because of her short attribution with every story of the positive traits shared by children and the featured animal, such as enthusiasm for life, loyal friendship, patience, thirst for knowledge or tendency to spread joy. Recommended for adults to read with and reassure the children in their life, and for young readers who enjoy traditional tales. Lynndy
Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis ($15, PB)
If you fell under the spell of The War That Saved My Life—the Newbery Honor Book we so loved—or Australian triumph Lenny’s Book of Everything, I’m sure you’ll be equally beguiled by the vulnerability of ornithology-obsessed December, who is yet to find a true home or connection. ‘Eleven-year-old December knows everything about birds, and everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. All she has of her biological mum is the book she left behind, The Complete Guide to Birds, Volume One, and a photo with a message: ‘In flight is where you’ll find me.’ December knows she’s truly a bird, just waiting for the day she transforms and flies away to reunite with her mum. The scar on her back must be where her wings have started to blossom—she just needs to practise and to find the right tree. When she’s placed with Eleanor, a new foster mum who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue, December begins to see herself and what home means in a new light. But the story she tells herself about her past is what’s kept December going this long, and she doesn’t know if she can let go of it ... even if changing her story might mean that she can finally find a place where she belongs.’ Tender and moving, Extraordinary Birds—with its details about bird characteristics, the gradual development of trust, December’s unquestioning acceptance of transgender school friend Cheryllynn although both are reviled by bullies, and her autobiographical book-within-a-book Bird Girl: An Extraordinary Tale, is a saga that will linger with you. Highly recommended. Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon by Rahul Jandial ($35, PB)
For years Dr Rahul Jandial has transformed the lives of his neurosurgery patients by putting them through ‘brain rehab’, his specially developed boot camp for restoring brain function. In this accessible guide, he uses a combination of scientific research & fascinating reallife stories from his own operating room to show how healthy people can rewire their brains to work in a higher gear. With quick and easy daily exercises, Neurofitness shows how to: boost your memory; control stress and emotions; minimize pain; unleash creativity; raise smart kids; avoid Alzheimer’s.
Use It or Lose It by Paul McIntyre ($33, PB)
The host of ABC Radio’s ‘Medical Matters’, sorts the fact from the fiction to reveals the practical measures we can all take to keep our body in good shape & our brain sharp & alert. When it comes to positive ageing, our physical & mental health are one and the same—preventing a disease as serious as dementia is as much about pursuing interests & having a flourishing social life as it is about standard health prescriptions. Good nutrition, regular exercise, relaxation, social interaction & healthy activities are paramount for your body & your brain & your emotional outlook as you get older. This book offers key advice from experts in diet, nutrition, dementia research & psychology, with lots of activities & some delicious health-boosting recipes.
Live Like A Stoic: 52 Exercises for Cultivating a Good Life by Massimo Pigliucci & Gregory Lopez
Philosopher, Massimo Pigliucci, & biophysicist, Gregory Lopez, have created a unique, personalised Stoic curriculum for a lifetime of practice, showing how relevant this ancient philosophy is to modern life. They offer a year-long programme of 52 weekly exercises aimed at mastering an array of real-life troubles. Full of practical lessons & sections for journaling, it provides all the tools needed to overcome any life obstacles you might face. ($33, PB)
On Eating Meat: The truth about its production and the ethics of eating it by Matthew Evans ($33, PB)
How can 160,000 deaths in one day constitute a ‘medium-sized operation’? Think beef is killing the world? What about asparagus farms? Or golf? Eat dairy? You’d better eat veal, too. Going vegan might be all the rage, but the fact is the world has an insatiable appetite for meat—especially cheap meat. Chef, farmer & restaurateur Matthew Evans grapples with the thorny issues around the ways we produce & consume animals. From feedlots & abattoirs, to organic farms & animal welfare agencies, he has an intimate, expert understanding of the farming practices that take place in our name—and calls for less radicalisation, greater understanding, and for ethical omnivores to stand up for the welfare of animals & farmers alike.
Plant Parenting: Easy Ways to Make More Houseplants, Vegetables & Flowers by Leslie Halleck ($35, PB)
This is a beginner-friendly introduction to plant propagation through cuttings, layering, dividing, and more. Horticulturalist, Leslie Halleck, details the basic tools necessary, demystifies seed starting & saving, and shares easy-to-follow instructions for the most practical techniques. She also provides additional information on controlling pests & diseases & transplanting seedlings and cuttings.
Food Plants of the World: Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value by Ben-Erik van Wyk
A comprehensive overview of the plants that provide us with food, beverages, spices and flavours, this newly expanded & revised edition includes: Descriptions of more than 400 food & flavour plants & their close relatives, including origin, history, cultivation, harvesting, properties & culinary uses. More than 1000 full-colour photographs, showing the plants, flowers & useable plant parts. Introductory chapters on cereals, pulses (legumes), nuts & seeds, fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs, sugar plants, beverages, spices & flavourings. Facts about the historical & contemporary uses of the various plant-derived products. And a checklist of more than 800 of the most important & well-known food plants of the world. ($90, HB)
Magic Little Meals: Making the most of homegrown produce by Lolo Houbein & Tori Arbon
Put yourself in the expert hands of gardening guru Lolo Houbein, author of the international hit One Magic Square, and organic farmer Tori Arbon, of urban food-growing workshops Magic Harvest. Find out how to grow (and prepare) more than 50 fruits & vegetables, with recipes ranging from simple snacks & finger food to inventive soups & salads; and warming stews & curries, to dinner-party risottos & vegetable roasts. Whether your taste runs to French onion soup or Hungarian goulash, spanakopita or sweet potato fritters, you’ll find plenty to cook, and the includes a host of bonus garden tips, on everything from edible garden activities for children to filling a raised garden bed. ($49.95, HB)
Noongar Bush Tucker: Bush Food Plants & Fungi of the South-West of Western Australia by Vivienne Hansen & John Horsfall ($35, PB)
Before the colonisation of Australia, Aboriginal Australians lived on a wonderful larder of fresh fruit, vegetables 7 lean meat, in a land largely free from disease. This book is an attempt to preserve bush tucker knowledge for future generations with descriptions of over 260 species of the edible plants & fungi that were regularly gathered by the Noongars of the Bibbulmun Nation of the south-west of WA before & after colonisation—many of which are difficult to find today because of land clearing for crops & the farming of sheep & cattle.
Hunter Gather Cook: Adventures in Wild Food by Nick Weston ($50, HB)
This book will makes wild food accessible, and take away any sense of trepidation at making your first brew, burger or carpaccio. And if you’re already a 21st century hunter-gatherer, then it will help you to expand your culinary repertoire, taking your experimentation and enjoyment to the next level. Includes butchery guides and wild-plant indexes. Recipes include wild meats, vegetables, sauces, sides, oils & cocktails .
Pam the Jam: The Book of Preserves by Pam Corbin ($35, HB)
Making jams, jellies & chutneys has always been about preserving produce at the peak of its season, allowing it to be enjoyed all year round. In this compendium of preserves, Pam Corbin challenges the traditions of jam-making & the recipes that have been passed down through generations. Armed with brand new research & with a strong focus on low-sugar jams, she has devised new methods & techniques that are revolutionising modern preserving. There are reduced-sugar versions of strawberry jam, raspberry jam & Seville orange marmalade as well as the more creative pairings of Kiwi & banana jam, Blueberry & mint compote, Turkish delight jelly & Passionfruit & coconut curd.
Eat Like a Local: Shanghai Barcelona $22 each
Food-focused travel guides for the world’s most exciting cities these books are a food tour in your pocket, with more than 100 of the best restaurants, cafes, bars & markets recommended by in-the-know locals.
Only In Tokyo: Two chefs, 24 hours, the ultimate food city by Michael Ryan & Luke Burgess ($40, HB)
Join intrepid chefs Michael Ryan and Luke Burgess on the best sort of culinary adventure – one that could happen only in Tokyo. From daybreak to late night, discover the creative people and compelling stories behind the restaurants, bars and tea houses of the world’s most exciting food destination. This is a book as much for people travelling to the city as it is for those with an appreciation of its special magic.
Provence: Recipes from the French Mediterranean by Caroline Craig ($40, HB)
Provence is the fruit & vegetable garden of France. These ingredients combined with Provence’s unique identity, position & history have resulted in a cuisine that showcases its peoples’ reverence for the produce, the changing seasons & the land. Caroline Rimbert Craig’s maternal family hail from the southern foothills of Mont Ventoux, where the sun beats hard & aromatic herbs, vines & fruit trees prosper. This is her guide to cooking the Provençal way, for those who want to eat simply & well, rhyme with the seasons, and recreate the flavours of the Mediterranean at home.
Leon Happy Baking by Henry Dimbleby & Claire Ptak ($30, HB)
With more than 100 sweet and savoury bakes, This book contains recipes for everyone, from the novice cook to the expert baker. Following the ‘Leon’ principle that what tastes good can also do you good, many of the recipes are sugar-, dairy-, wheat- or gluten- free—so there’s plenty to indulge in even if you have a food allergy, an intolerance or an eye on your waistline.
The Book of Ice Cream by Capasso & De Feo
Simone De Feo manages the Cremeria Capolinea ice cream parlour in Reggio Emilia. She & ice cream lover Lydia Capasso’s book is about making great ice cream at home, using amateur equipment. It shows you how quickly & easily you can prepare a perfect ready solution to round off a meal . With 105 colour images. ($50, HB)
Events r Calenda
Event—6 for 6.30 Eric Jensen
Event—6 for 6.30
Tara June Winch
QE 74: Prosperity Gospel: How Scott Morrison Won and Bill Shorten Lost in conv. with Josephine Tovey A dazzling and insightful look at the forthcoming federal election, built from pen portraits and reports from the campaign trail. Does anyone have an answer to the voters’ disgust with politics as usual?
The Yield Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper, determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.
Son Launcher: Ric Interspersed with sketches & anecd ing classics such as Trees & Cheap Wi lyrics live on the p out the memo
16 Event—6 for 6.30 Hugh White
How to Defend Australia in conv. with Peter Hartcher Can Australia defend itself in the Asian century? How seriously ought we take the risk of war? Do we want to remain a middle power? What kind of strategy, and what Australian Defence Force, do we need? Hugh White considers these questions & more.
23 Event—6 for 6.30 Jess Hill
See What You Made Me Do? in conv. with Monica Attard Journalist Jess Hill puts domestic abuse perpetrators, and the systems that enable them, in the spotlight. This is a deep dive into the abuse so many women and children experience—abuse that is often reinforced by the justice system they trust to protect them.
Event—6 for 6.30
Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong
Rebecca and Sarah M
Refugee Rights & Policy Wrongs Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong provide a wholly updated account of Australian refugee law & policy, and and whether Australia’s policies on offshore processing, detention, boat turnbacks etc violate Australia’s obligations under international law.
The Full Ca A domestic dram or just a run-of-th well-known Austr walks of life shar a kind of mass the tonic for when th hits th
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
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ngs chard Glover autobiographical dotes, and includs Khe Sanh, Flame ine, Don Walker’s page, with or withory of music.
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atastrophe ma, career cockup he-mill disaster— ralians from all re their stories as erapy; a feel-good he proverbial sh*t he fan.
Offcuts Launcher: Eric Jensen Artist Patrick Hartigan recalls the weeks leading to his father’s death and his daughter’s birth. The people he meets, the places he visits, even the objects he touches for a moment, take on a radiance usually seen in artworks we admire.
Coming in August
Fri 2: Lizzie O’Shea with Mary Kostakidis—Future Histories Mon 5: Adele Ferguson with James Chessell—Banking Bad Tue 6: Nikki Savva—Plots & Prayers Wed 7: Megan Stack with Prof. Elizabeth Hill—Women’s Work for more information go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths is her 11th Dr Ruth Galloway mystery, and it’s a cracker. It starts with some letters to DCI Nelson saying ‘go back to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. Then Leif Ericsson, son of Erik from The Crossing Places (first in the Galloway series), turns up, and the body of Margaret Lacey who disappeared 30 years ago is unearthed in the henge in the Saltmarsh where Ruth is digging, causing the North Norfolk police to reopen the cold case. It looks as if the letter writer knew all along where Margaret would be found, but Ruth’s examination of plant residue determines that Margaret’s body had been moved from a previous burial place. The police investigation has to find out where, which might lead them to uncover the perpetrator. At last Michelle’s baby is born, but another tiny baby vanishes while her mother is asleep. Read the book. You will be amply repaid because the twists and turns in the plot will keep your heart in your mouth until the surprising end. Trust Alexander McCall Smith to poke gentle fun at the Scandi noir genre by writing The Department of Sensitive Crimes—a Scandi ‘blanc’ detective novel. Ulf (the name means ‘wolf’) Varg is the department’s gentle and kind-hearted head detective. Others in the squad are Anna Bengsdotter, married, though she and Ulf find each other satisfactorily simpatico; Carl Holgersson, a paperwork junkie; Erik Nykvist, a fly-fishing junkie and Blomquist—a loquacious cop foisted on them by the Chief Commissioner. All the local ‘vanilla’ crimes are entrusted to this crack team: a merchant’s minor knee wound, an imaginary boyfriend’s disappearance, and a suspected case of lycanthropy at a spa owned by the Chief’s cousin. As a bonus, you’ll find out exactly what lycanthropy involves. I’ve been a devotee of McCall Smith’s inspired silliness for longer than I can remember and I look forward to the next exciting instalment in the series. Human Relations and Other Difficulties is a collection of the journalism of Mary-Kay Wilmers, who has just celebrated her 80th birthday. She’s the long-time editor of The London Review of Books and most of her pieces are LRB reviews— though a few, like the one about the menopause, are personal. Some of the pieces are about women, including Jean Rhys, Vita Sackville-West, Ann Fleming (Ian’s widow), Sonia Orwell and Germaine Greer, whom she rather likes. There’s an amusing examination of obituaries in The Times, and an astringent dissection of the way reviewers write about novels. Wilmers is pessimistically convinced that people who read book reviews never buy the books. (I hope she’s wrong about that.) The introduction is by her colleague John Lanchester, and the striking cover design is from the work of the late Peter Campbell, the LRB’s artist. It is a truth universally acknowledged that governments don’t like newspapers which criticize them. It’s also true that ‘newspapers have found it difficult to tell the truth about themselves’. Sally Young illustrates these truths in Paper Emperors, a history of the Australian press from 1803 to 1941—that is from the birth of our first newspaper to the downfall of the wartime government of the late Sir Robert Menzies, who attributed this personal catastrophe to the machinations of press barons. Our first newspaper owner was an ex-convict who kept government house onside and became a wealthy banker, while his rivals, who made some adverse comments on the actions of governors Darling and Arthur, ended up in gaol (shades of The Ink Stain, latest in Meg & Tom Keneally’s Monsarrat series ed.). At first newspapers were so heavily taxed that only the wealthy could afford them, but when the tax was removed and papers sold for a penny, they became the main source of public information, which over time gave their owners enormous prestige, wealth and political influence. The newspaper environment being highly competitive, there were ultimately only a small number of press dynasties, such as those of the Murdochs, Fairfaxes, Packers and Symes—still household names today. From the 1920s newspaper proprietors added to their print empires significant chunks of the broadcasting spectrum. Though the pace of transmission of information has speeded up enormously in the present digital age, the surviving barons, like their forebears, remain just as ruthlessly acquisitive. Written in a very accessible style, this book reads almost like a crime novel. The chapter The Real Story of the Birth of News Limited is an eye-opener, and it alone is worth the price of the book. The Appendix sums up the rise and fall or amalgamation of all the proprietors mentioned in the body of the work, bringing the reader usefully up to 2018. An enthralling read. Sonia
Australian Studies Plots & Prayers: Malcolm Turnbull’s demise & Scott Morrison’s ascension by Niki Savva In an enthralling sequel to her bestselling The Road to Ruin, Niki Savva reveals the inside story of a bungled coup that overthrew the Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and installed a surprise successor, Scott Morrison, who went on to take the party to a miraculous electoral victory. ($35, PB)
special price $29.95 A Wunch of Bankers: A year in the Hayne royal commission by Daniel Ziffer ($33, PB)
It wasn’t just its exhaustive rounds of hearings around the country on topics from farming finance to financial planning. It wasn’t even the long list of scandals exposed to a horrified nation—charging fees to dead people, blatant conflicts of interest, and taking $1 billion from customers in fees that banks were never entitled to. What made it so fascinating, so heart-breaking, and so enraging was the procession of faces through the witness box, and the team of counsel gazing into the dark heart of banking. In a mixture of analysis & reportage Daniel Ziffer brings out the colour & grit of the royal commission’s proceedings, and explores broader issues raised by the testimony.
Refugee Rights & Policy Wrongs by Jane McAdam & Fiona Chong ($30, PB)
Everyone has the right to seek asylum under international law. However, successive governments in Australia have declared the need to ‘stop the boats’ whatever the cost, be it human, economic, moral or legal. Jane McAdam & Fiona Chong find that Australia’s policies towards refugees have hardened since their book Refugees: Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not was published in 2014. This book provides a wholly updated account of Australian refugee law & policy. Bringing facts to bear on a highly politicised debate, McAdam & Chong explain why Australia falls short of its own international commitments when it comes to policies on offshore processing, detention & boat turnbacks, among others—this is compelling reading for anyone seeking to understand the human impacts of Australia’s practices.
The Difference Identity Makes (eds) Bamblett, Myers & Rowse ($39.95, PB)
The editors introduce this collection of essays with a path-finding argument that ‘Indigenous cultural capital’ now challenges all Australians to re-position themselves within a revised scale of values. Each chapter looks at one of five fields of Australian cultural production: sport, television, heritage, visual arts & music, revealing that in each the Indigenous/non-Indigenous distinction has effects that are specific—bringing new depth & richness to the understanding of what ‘Indigeneity’ can mean in contemporary Australia. In demonstrating the variety of ways that ’the Indigenous’ is made visible & valued the essays, by 13 Indigenous & non-Indigenous academics provide a powerful alternative to the ‘deficit’ theme that has continued to haunt the representation of Indigeneity.
Australia’s Original Languages: An introduction by R. M. W. Dixon ($33, PB)
Bob Dixon has been working with elders to research Australian languages for half a century, and he draws on this deep experience to outline the common features. He provides a straightforward introduction to the sounds, word building, and wide-ranging vocabulary of Indigenous languages, and highlights distinctive grammatical features. He explains how language is related to culture, including kinship relationships, gender systems, and naming conventions. With examples from over 30 languages and anecdotes illustrating language use, and avoiding technical terms, this is the indispensable starting point for anyone interested in learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages. .
How to Defend Australia by Hugh White ($35, PB)
Can Australia defend itself in the Asian century? How seriously ought we take the risk of war? Do we want to remain a middle power? What kind of strategy, and what ADF, do we need? Hugh White, Australia’s most provocative, revelatory & yet realistic commentator on Australia’s strategic & defence orientation, makes the case for a reconceived defence of Australia. Along the way he offers intriguing insights into history, technology & the Australian way of war. In an age of power politics & armed rivalry in Asia, it is time for fresh thinking—White sets new terms for one of the most crucial conversations Australia needs to have.
AFA 6: Our Sphere of Influence—Rivalry in the Pacific (ed) Jonathan Pearlman ($23, PB)
This issue of Australian Foregn Affairs examines Australia’s struggle to retain influence among its Pacific island neighbours as foreign powers play a greater role and as small nations brace for the impacts of climate change. Contributors include Hugh White, Jenny Hayward-Jones, Elizabeth Becker & Richard Cooke.
Mad Dogs and Thunderbolts by Ben Pobjie ($33, PB)
Ned Kelly’s tin helmet looms large over Australia’s bushranging past, but what about all the unsung outlaws of the Australian bush? What about Black Caesar, who escaped his tyrannous British overlords 4 times & indeed invented the great Australian tradition of bushranging? Or Mad Dog Morgan who set out to write his name in blood on history’s ledger, the dynamic Captain Thunderbolt & his loyal wife Mary Ann Bugg, bushranging’s greatest queen, and Matthew Brady, the gentleman bushranger, who showed us all the cilivised side of armed robbery? Ben Pobjie celebrates the derringdo and revolutionary passion of all the wild colonial boys and girls who raided our towns and stole our hearts, all while wearing sensible headgear.
Updated The Sydney Language by Jakelin Troy ($34.95, PB) The Good, the Bad and the Unlikely: Australia’s Prime Ministers by Mungo MacCallum ($33, PB)
Xi Jinping: The Backlash by Richard McGregor
Xi Jinping has transformed China at home & abroad with a speed & aggression that few foresaw when he came to power in 2012. Finally, he is meeting resistance, both at home among disgruntled officials & disillusioned technocrats, and abroad from an emerging coalition of Western nations that seem determined to resist China’s geopolitical & high-tech expansion. With the US & China at loggerheads, Richard McGregor outlines how the world came to be split in 2. ($12.95, PB)
The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown-up Economy by Katherine Trebeck & Jeremy Williams
What do people & planet really need from the economy? Is quality of life undermined by the drive for economic growth at all costs? While everyday economics assumes all growth is good, the richest countries already have plenty of wealth & resources—they have ‘arrived’. But in pushing for more, wealthy countries could undermine these achievements & make it impossible for people elsewhere to escape poverty. In this provocative book, Trebeck & Williams describe a new challenge: a move from expansion to inclusion. Using global examples, they argue for an economy that delivers quality rather than quantity: an economy for everyone. ($35, PB)
The Anxious Triumph: A Global History of Capitalism, 1860–1914 by Donald Sassoon
Capitalism has co-existed with many different kinds of states, from Victorian Britain to republican France & confederate Switzerland, from Fascist & Nazi regimes to post-war European democracies, from post-Meiji Japan to south-east Asian & Latin American dictatorships, communist China & even Russia. Today, the march of capitalism appears inexorable—but it was not always so. Donald Sassoon describes how after industrialization swept the world in the early 19th century the modernization of society & global capitalism followed. For the first time in the history of humanity, there was a social system able to provide a high level of consumption for the majority of those who lived within its bounds; its only rival, communism, was to fail miserably. But, in time, capitalism proved a devastating force in need of regulation, whose inbuilt traits were anxiety & crisis. With a great breadth of vision & scholarship, Sassoon encompasses the first great modern economic globalization, forerunner to today’s consumer society. ($70, HB)
I You We Them: Journeys Beyond Evil: The Desk Killer in History and Today by Dan Gretton This is a study of the psychology of some of the least visible perpetrators of crimes against humanity, the ‘desk killers’ who ordered & directed some of the worst atrocities of the last 200 years. It is also an exploration of corporate responsibility & personal culpability today, connecting the bureaucratic blindness that created desk killing to the same moral myopia that exists now in the calm, clean offices of global capitalism. In a synthesis of history, reportage & memoir, based on decades of research, interviews with hundreds of participants, Dan Gretton moves from the brutalities of Empire to the scorched gas fields of the Niger Delta, from the industrial complex of Auschwitz to the empty sites of the Bosnian genocide; bearing witness, recording & attempting to understand. ($35, PB)
Capitalism: A Graphic Guide by Sharron Shatil & Dan Cryan ($25, PB)
From its beginnings to the present day, Capitalism: A Graphic Guide tells the story of capitalism’s remarkable and often ruthless rise, evolving through strife and struggle as much as innovation and enterprise. This non-fiction graphic novel explores the key developments that have shaped our modern world, from early banking to the founding of the USA, the Opium Wars, financial crashes and the rise of big data. It also introduces us to the leading proponents and critics of capitalism - including Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno and Milton Friedman - providing both a theoretical and practical understanding of this fascinating subject.
One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson ($33, PB) In White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically aimed at impeding black progress in America. In this book she chronicles a related history—the rollbacks to African American participation in the democratic vote since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which hindered politicians in racist counties & states from diminishing the electoral strength of African Americans & Latinos at the polls. While the VRA has required vigilant safeguarding against the efforts of the GOP, its blanket protections remained in effect until 2013, when the Shelby County Supreme Court decision effectively stripped it, allowing states, counties, and municipalities with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice. Focusing on the aftermath of the Shelby ruling, Anderson follows an astonishing series of undemocratic electoral actions fuelled by Republican-sponsored hysteria about massive voter fraud. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance—the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans. Be The Change: A Toolkit for the Activist in You by Gina Martin ($33, PB)
If you want to challenge injustice in your school, workplace or community; if you want to lend your voice—and more—to a charitable cause close to your heart; or if you are inspired to take on a complex issue on a massive scale, Gina Martin’s practical & empowering advice will give you the tools you need to ensure your voice is heard, your actions are noticed & your demands are met. ‘Gina Martin is a force of nature; a living, breathing, campaigning example of how a single individual can bring about vital change in our justice system. Through sheer force of will, she managed to correct a serious flaw in the criminal law which saw victims of serious offences failed by the system that is supposed to protect them, smashing through the barriers that had frustrated lesser campaigners. My admiration for her courage & brilliance knows no bounds’ —The Secret Barrister
Proud Boys & the White Ethnostate by Alexandra Minna Stern ($43, HB)
From a loose movement that lurked in the shadows in the early 2000s, the ‘alt-right’ has achieved a level of visibility that has allowed it to expand significantly through America’s cultural, political & digital landscapes—providing a big & porous tent to those who subscribe to varying forms of race & gender-based exclusion. Historian Alexandra Stern begins with the premise that alt-right literature, most of which exists online, should be taken seriously as a form of intellectual production that has distinct lineages, assumptions & objectives. Applying the tools of historical analysis, cultural studies & other interdisciplinary approaches, she explores its conceptual frameworks, language & narratives—probing the deeper meanings & underlying constructs, concepts & frameworks that guide the alt-right & animate its overlapping forms of racism, xenophobia, sexism & other social hostilities.
Measuring Poverty around the World by Anthony B. Atkinson ($58, HB)
The persistence of poverty in rich and poor countries alike is one of the most serious problems facing humanity. Better measurement of poverty is essential for raising awareness, motivating action, designing good policy, gauging progress, and holding political leaders accountable for meeting targets. Economist, Anthony Atkinson, provides a critically important examination of how poverty is & should be measured—bringing together evidence about the nature & extent of poverty across the world with case studies of 60 countries to address both financial poverty & other indicators of deprivation. He starts from first principles about the meaning of poverty, translates these into concrete measures, and analyses the data to which the measures can be applied. Crucially, he integrates international organizations’ measurements of poverty with countries’ own national analyses. This is an essential contribution to efforts to alleviate poverty around the world.
People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger & How to Save It by Yascha Mounk ($45, PB)
Democracy is going through its worst crisis since the 1930s. From Russia and Turkey across Europe to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power as two core components of liberal democracy—individual rights and the popular will—are increasingly at war. As the role of money in politics soared, a system of rights without democracy has taken hold. Populists who rail against this say they want to return power to the people. But in practice they create something just as bad: a system of democracy without rights. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Yascha Mounk identifies 3 key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fear of multiethnic democracy & the rise of social media. To reverse the trend, politicians need to enact radical reforms that benefit the many, not the few. For those unwilling to give up either individual rights or the concept of the popular will, Mounk argues, in a clear & trenchant analysis of what ails our democracy & what it will take to get it back on track, that urgent action is needed.
Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories by Svetlana Alexievich ($30, PB)
What did it mean to grow up in the Soviet Union during the WW2? In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich started interviewing people who had experienced war as children, the generation that survived & had to live with the trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history of one of the most important events of the 20th century. Published in the USSR in 1985 and now available in English for the first time, this masterpiece offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war—and an extraordinary chronicle of the Russian soul.
Fifty Maps and the Stories they Tell by Jerry Brotton & Nick Millea ($30, PB)
From medieval maps to digital cartograms, this book features highlights from the Bodleian Library’s extraordinary map collection together with rare artefacts & some stunning examples from 21st century map-makers. Each map is accompanied by a narrative revealing the story behind how it came to be made & the significance of what it shows. Arranged chronologically to highlight how cartography has evolved over the centuries & how it reflects political & social change, the book features a 12th century Arabic map of the Mediterranean, highly decorated portolan charts, military maps, trade maps, a Siberian sealskin map, maps of heaven & hell, C.S. Lewis’s map of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien’s cosmology of Middleearth & Grayson Perry’s tapestry map—a treasure-trove of cartographical delights spanning over a thousand years.
Science & Nature
The Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence by James Lovelock ($30, PB)
At the age of 100, creator of Gaia, James Lovelock’s new argument is that the anthropocene—the age that humans acquired planetaryscale technologies—is, after 300 years, coming to an end. A new age—the novacene—has already begun. New beings will emerge from existing artificial intelligence systems. They will think 10,000 times faster than we do & they will regard us as we now regard plants—as desperately slow acting and thinking creatures. But rather than the imagined violent sci-fi machine takeover, these hyper-intelligent beings will be as dependent on the health of the planet as we are, and we will be partners in this project. Lovelock doesn’t believe here are intelligent aliens, so we are the only beings capable of understanding the cosmos. Maybe, he speculates, the novacene could even be the beginning of a process that will finally lead to intelligence suffusing the entire cosmos.
The Weather Machine: How We See Into the Future by Andrew Blum ($35, PB)
When Superstorm Sandy hit North America, weather scientists had predicted its arrival a full 8 days beforehand—their skill is unprecedented in human history & draws on nearly every major invention of the last 2 centuries—Newtonian physics, telecommunications, spaceflight & super-computing. Andrew Blum takes a global journey to explain this awe-inspiring feat—from satellites circling the Earth, to weather stations far out in the ocean, through some of the most ingenious minds & advanced algorithms at work today. Our destination—the simulated models they have constructed of our planet, which spin faster than time, turning chaos into prediction, offering glimpses of our future with eery precision.
100 Days: How Four Events in 1969 Shaped Now You’re Talking: Human Conversation from America by Harlan Lebo ($45, HB) the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence Some events that transform a nation are frozen in time. Oth- by Trevor Cox ($23, PB)
ers pass with little public awareness & are only appreciated for their momentous nature long after they occurred. Usually these events are few & far between, in 1969 four such events took place within the span of only 100 days. Cultural historian Harlan Lebo looks back at the first Moon landing, the Manson family murders, Woodstock, and the birth of the Internet to tell the story of how each event shaped the nation. Based on extensive interviews to provide historical insight & contemporary context, Lebo offers a deep appreciation of how four seemingly unrelated events captured America’s emergence as the nation it has become.
If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others not just by their words, but by the way they talk—their intonation, their pitch, their accent. Trevor Cox talks to vocal coaches who help people to develop their new voice after a gender transition; to record producers whose use of technology has transformed the singing voice; and to computer scientists who replicate the human voice in their development of artificial intelligence—exploring the full range of our voice: how we speak & how we sing; how our vocal anatomy works; what happens when things go wrong; and how technology enables us to imitate & manipulate the human voice.
Age of Conquests: The Greek World from Alex- Taking on Gravity: A Guide to Inventing the Imander to Hadrian by Angelos Chaniotis ($25, PB) possible by Richard Browning ($35, PB) The ancient world that Alexander the Great transformed in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death. From Alexander the Great’s early days building an empire, via wars with Rome, rampaging pirates, Cleopatra’s death and the Jewish diaspora, right up to the death of Hadrian, Chaniotis examines the social structures, economic trends, political upheaval and technological progress of an era that spans five centuries and where, perhaps, modernity began.
Imperial Twilight: The Opium War & the End of China’s Last Golden Age by Stephen R. Platt
In 1839 Britain embarked on the first of its wars with China, sealing the fate of the most prosperous & powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. Motivated by drug profiteering & free-trade interests, the Opium War helped shaped the China we know today, sparking the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty & the rise of nationalism & communism in the 20th century. Financial Times’ & Sunday Times’ best history books of the year, this is a riveting & revealing account of the end of China’s Golden Age & the origins of one of the most unjust wars in history. ($25, PB)
Richard Browning built an aviation business from his garage, and he has invented a whole new form of personal flight, a dream previously reserved for the pages of science fiction. His iconic jet suit has triggered ongoing developments in technology & engineering, and inspired a new generation of creative minds to pursue their dreams. In this book he reveals the creative principles of his company, Gravity Industries, and shows how grass roots innovation can disrupt established industries in exciting & unexpected ways. Experience what it’s like to take flight, to test the limits of the human body, and to convert moonshot ideas into tangible results.
Taste for the Beautiful: The Evolution of Attraction by Michael Ryan ($30, PB)
Michael Ryan, one of the world’s leading authorities on animal behaviour, tells the remarkable story of how he & other scientists have taken up where Darwin left off, transforming our understanding of sexual selection & shedding new light on animal & human behaviour. Drawing on cutting-edge science, Ryan explores key questions: Why do animals perceive certain traits as beautiful & others not? Do animals have an inherent sexual aesthetic and, if so, where is it rooted? Ryan argues that the answers lie in the brain—particularly of females, who Empire of Democracy by Simon Reid-Henry act as biological puppeteers, spurring the development of beautiful traits in males. Vividly Half a century ago, at the height of the Cold War and amidst a written & filled with fascinating stories, this will change how you think about beauty & world economic crisis, the Western democracies were forced to attraction in the animal world & beyond. undergo a profound transformation. Against what some saw as a full-scale ‘crisis of democracy’ - with race riots, anti-Vietnam The Secret Lives of Planets: A User’s Guide to the marches and a wave of worker discontent - a new political-eco- Solar System by Paul Murdin ($33, HB) nomic order was devised and the post-war social contract writ- We have the impression that the solar system is perfectly regular ten anew. Simon Reid-Henry shows how liberal democracy, and like a clock, or a planetarium instrument. On a short timescale it is. Western history with it, was profoundly re-imagined when the But, seen in a longer perspective, the planets, and their satellites, post-war Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule have exciting lives, full of events - for example, did you know that were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mit- Saturn’s moon, Titan, boasts lakes which contain liquid methane terrand, Kohl. The late twentieth-century heyday they oversaw carried the Western surrounded by soaring hills and valleys, exactly as the earth did democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War, ushering in an economic boom before life evolved on our fragile planet? Or that Mercury is the and a new spirit of optimism by the millennium. But the war on terror and the high shyest planet? Or, that Mars’ biggest volcano is 100 times the size of drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8 shone a different light upon the decisions taken Earth’s, or that its biggest canyon is 10 times the depth of the Grand Canyon, or that it to secure capitalist democracy in the 1970s—the present crisis of liberalism demands wasn’t always red, but blue? The culmination of a lifetime of astronomy and wonder, Paul us to revisit these unscripted decades—the choices we make going forward require us Murdin’s enchanting new book reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the first to understand where we have been. ($35, PB) planets, their satellites, and our place in the solar system.
Psychology It starts with science.
Attention Seeking by Adam Phillips ($17, PB)
‘Everything depends on what, if anything, we find interesting—on what we are encouraged & educated to find interesting, and what we find ourselves being interested in despite ourselves. There is our official curiosity & our unofficial curiosity (and psychoanalysis is a story about the relationship between the two) . . .’ Based on 3 connected talks on the subject of attention, this pocket-sized book from Adam Phillips is a fascinating & memorable introduction to the nature and the uses of our attention.
Mindfulness: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology by Christina Feldman & Willem Kuyken
How does mindfulness promote psychological well-being? What are its core mechanisms? What value do contemplative practices add to approaches that are already effective? From leading meditation teacher Christina Feldman & distinguished psychologist Willem Kuyken, this book provides a uniquely integrative perspective on mindfulness & its applications. The authors explore mindfulness from its roots in Buddhist psychology to its role in contemporary psychological science. In-depth case examples illustrate how & why mindfulness training can help people move from distress & suffering to resilience & flourishing. Readers are guided to consider mindfulness not only conceptually, but also experientially, through their own journey of mindfulness practice.. ($60, PB)
Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process by C. G. Jung ($77, HB)
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Philosophy & Religion
In 1936 and 1937, C. G. Jung delivered two legendary seminars on dream interpretation. The dreams presented here are those of Nobel Prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who turned to Jung for therapeutic help because of troubling personal events, emotional turmoil, and depression. Linking Pauli’s dreams to the healing wisdom found in many ages and cultures, Jung shows how the mandala - a universal archetype of wholeness - spontaneously emerges in the psyche of a modern man, and how this imagery reflects the healing process. Touching on a broad range of themes He also reflects on modern physics, the nature of reality, and the political currents of his time. Jung draws on examples from the Mithraic mysteries, Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, Kundalini yoga, and ancient Egyptian concepts of body and soul. With an incisive introduction & annotations, this book provides a rare window into Jung’s interpretation of dreams & the development of his psychology of religion.
The History of Philosophy by A. C. Grayling
The story of philosophy is an exploration of the ideas, views & teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic, Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive & entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey. With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views & moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius, and Socrates, through Christianity’s dominance of the European mind, to the Renaissance & Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre & philosophy today. And he completes the story with a comparative survey of the great philosophical traditions of India, China & the Persian-Arabic world. ($33, PB)
Dorling Kindersley’s How Philosophy Works
A clear and accessible guide to philosophy, this volume combines bold infographics & jargon-free text to demystify fundamental concepts. Covering everything from ethics to epistemology & phenomenology, the book presents the ideas & theories of key philosophical traditions & philosophers—from Plato & Socrates to Nietzsche & Wittgenstein via Kant. ($35, HB)
The Reasons of Love by Harry G. Frankfurt
Moral philosopher, Harry Frankfurt, argues that the key to a fulfilled life is to pursue wholeheartedly what one cares about, that love is the most authoritative form of caring, and that the purest form of love is, in a complicated way, self-love. Through caring, we infuse the world with meaning. Caring provides us with stable ambitions and concerns; it shapes the framework of aims and interests within which we lead our lives. Frankfurt goes on to explain that the most important form of caring is love, a nonvoluntary, disinterested concern for the flourishing of what is loved. And he contends that the purest form of love is self-love. This sounds perverse, but self-love as distinct from self-indulgence is at heart a disinterested concern for whatever it is that the person loves. The most elementary form of self-love is nothing more than the desire of a person to love. Insofar as this is true, self-love is simply a commitment to finding meaning in our lives. ‘A thought-provoking work that should appeal to those interested in love, practical reasoning, and questions concerning the good life.’—Jason Kawall, Philosophy in Review ($25, PB)
Tolerance among the Virtues by John R. Bowlin
In a pluralistic society such as ours, tolerance is a virtue—but some suspect that it entangles us in unacceptable moral compromises & inequalities of power, while others dismiss it as mere political correctness or doubt that it can safeguard the moral & political relationships we value. Drawing inspiration from St. Paul, Aquinas & Wittgenstein, John Bowlin offers a nuanced inquiry into tolerance as a virtue. He explains why the advocates & debunkers of toleration have reached an impasse, & he suggests a new way forward by distinguishing the virtue of tolerance from its false lookalikes, and from its sibling, forbearance. Bowlin offers invaluable insights into how to live amid differences we cannot endorse, beliefs we consider false, actions we think are unjust, institutional arrangements we consider cruel or corrupt, and persons who embody what we oppose. ($56, PB)
The Dwarf in the Chess Machine: Benjamin’s Hidden Doctrine by Lieven de Cauter ($72, PB)
Belgian philosopher, art historian, writer & activist Lieven De Cauter takes Walter Benjamin’s own metaphor—that there is a ‘dwarf of theology’ hidden inside the seemingly mechanical, seemingly inevitable power of historical materialism—and traces its presence throughout Benjamin’s oeuvre, showing how it produced his unique take on historical materialism. In the course of demonstrating this thesis, De Cauter examines Benjamin’s language theory, his art theory, his philosophy of history & his legendary, labyrinthine unfinished magnum opus on Paris, the Arcades Project. The resulting book is a detailed, meticulous & lucid analysis of the structure of Benjamin’s texts & an indispensable resource for anyone who admires the work of this most influential & prophetic 20th century thinker.
The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography by Alan Jacobs ($33, PB)
‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here. . .’ or ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust’, originated in The Book of Common Prayer, which first appeared in 1549. Like the words of the King James Bible & Shakespeare, the language of this prayer book has saturated English culture & letters. Alan Jacobs tells its story— from its beginnings as a means of social & political control in the England of Henry VIII to its worldwide presence today as a venerable work whose cadences express the heart of religious life for millions.
The frosty clime I live in definitely affects the books I want to read in Winter. As the cold dark draws in, I really don’t want to read anything scary or even slightly threatening, so I find I often reread old favourites, and keep the challenging new books for Spring reading. To that end, I reread the last book of the wonderfully reassuring Cazalet Chronicles, by the late English author Elizabeth Jane Howard. There are five books in the series—they start just before WW2 and come to a close in the mid 50s. Like Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell, it’s a sharply observed look at life in England during that period—with a complete focus on just one family, the Cazalets. The Cazalets are privileged, secure, but satisfying flawed. Howard draws a fascinating picture of both the adults and the children in this family, and, of course, the adults the children eventually become. I think the strength of the books lies in the detailing of their daily life—to read this series is to be in the story; with the absolutely brilliant dialogue, particularly between the children, it really is like being part of the conversation. The last book, All Change, was written some time after the series’ penultimate volume, Casting Off. Howard was 89 by then, and I think it’s not as good as the previous four. Perhaps because as the family naturally dissipates and increases, the characters have become more disparate, and their paths are slightly harder to follow. The parts of this series are equally good as the whole, but I recommend you start at book one, The Light Years, and settle into a few weeks happy reading.
Cultural Studies & Criticism
Staying with the Winter theme, I have been reading and trying to follow the wonderful knitting books of the Norwegian knitters, Arne and Carlos. These two men have their own You Tube show, where they demonstrate knitting, crocheting , and sometimes cooking and gardening, in their home in the south of Norway— a former railway station by the side of a lake. They are fashion designers, specialising in woollen knitwear designs, as well as writing books. Most of their patterns are way beyond my ability, but they offer patterns for all kinds of projects, with varying degrees of difficulty. I am particularly charmed by their beautiful knitted birds, and their knitted Christmas baubles, as well as the stunning crochet blankets, and of course, pullovers and cardigans. They have written a number of books, but the one I’m currently reading is Arne and Carlos, Greatest Knits. Even if you’re not up for ‘steeking’ a complicated cardigan, you can try a beginners scarf—that’s what I’m doing. Louise
So Real It Hurts by Lydia Lunch ($24.95, PB)
Through personal essays, interviews & poetic verse, punk musician & cultural icon Lydia Lunch claws & rakes at the reader’s conscience in this powerful, uninhibited feminist collection— one that oscillates between provocative celebrations of her own defiant nature & nearly-tender ruminations on the debilitating effects of poverty, abuse & environmental pollution, along with a visceral revenge fantasy against misogynistic men. Her interview with Hubert Selby Jr & profile of Herbert Hunke, her short unromanticized histories of No Wave & of the late 60s, and her scathing examination of the monetization of counterculture (thanks, Vivienne Westwood!) all serve to reinforce the notion that, while it may appear that there are no more heroes, we are actually just looking for heroes in the wrong places—Lunch challenges the reader to dig deeper.
The Lark Ascending: The Music of the British Landscape by Richard King ($33, PB)
In a lyrical exploration of how Britain’s history & identity has been shaped by the mysterious relationship between music & nature, Richard King offers a series of ‘headphone walks’ & reflective interviews with musicians & filmmakers. King listens closely to Britain’s rural landscapes & the compositions of musicians inspired by its beauty and drama—his journey taking him from the west coast of Wales to the Lothian Hills, from the Thames Estuary to the Suffolk shoreline—and from Vaughan Williams to Brian Eno, Kate Bush to Boards of Canada, The Sinking of the Titanic to Greenham Common. His survey dissects the mythical concept of Englishness underlying the bucolic fantasy of an ‘English Holy Land’ by exploring the cultural creations that shaped this myth. His unique and intimate history of a nation celebrates the British countryside as a living, working, and occasionally rancorous environment—rather than an unaffected idyll that forged a nation’s musical personality.
Now in paperback Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions by Alberto Manguel, $25 The Essential Paradise Lost by John Carey, $25
Gender Violence in Australia: Historical Perspectives Alana Piper & Ana Stevenson ($34.95, PB)
In 2015, the Australian federal government proclaimed that violence against women had become a national crisis. Despite widespread social & economic advances in the status of women since the 1970s, including growing awareness & action around gender violence, its prevalence remains alarming. A third of all women in Australia have been assaulted physically; a fifth of all women have been assaulted sexually. Intimate partner violence is significantly more prevalent in Australia than western Europe or North America. One woman each week is murdered by an intimate partner, and recent research suggests that nearly 40% of all women who suicide have a history of domestic or family violence. Domestic violence is a precipitating factor in a third of all homelessness. The resulting strain on government services & lost productivity means that family violence has been estimated as costing the Australian economy around $13.6 billion a year. The histories presented in this collection indicate exactly where these violent behaviours come from & how they have been rationalised over time, offering an important resource for addressing what amounts to a widespread, persistent &urgent social problem.
The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt & Greg Lukianoff
($25, PB) Have good intentions, over-parenting & the decline in unsupervised play led to the emergence of modern identity politics & hypersensitivity? In this book, free speech campaigner Greg Lukianoff & social psychologist Jonathan Haidt investigate a new cultural phenomenon of ‘safetyism’, beginning on American college campuses in 2014 & spreading throughout academic institutions in the English-speaking world. Looking at the consequences of paranoid parenting, the increase in anxiety & depression amongst students & the rise of new ideas about justice, Lukianoff & Haidt argue that well-intended but misguided attempts to protect young people are damaging their development & mental health, the functioning of educational systems and even democracy itself.
Jerusalem: City of the Book by Merav Mack & Benjamin Balint ($50, HB)
Merav Mack & Benjamin Balint explore Jerusalem’s libraries to tell the story of this city as a place where some of the world’s most enduring ideas were put into words. The writers of Jerusalem, although renowned the world over, are not usually thought of as a distinct school; their story as Jerusalemites has never before been woven into a single narrative. Nor have the stories of the custodians, past & present, who safeguard Jerusalem’s literary legacies. By showing how Jerusalem has been imagined, safeguarded & shelved in libraries, Mack & Balint tell the untold history of how the peoples of the book have populated the city with texts. In their hands, Jerusalem itself perched between East & West, antiquity & modernity, violence & piety comes alive as a kind of labyrinthine library.
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch ($40, HB)
The internet isn’t the first technology to alter how we communicate, but it is making our language change faster than ever before. The programmers behind the apps & platforms we use decide how our conversations are structured, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments & @replies. Linguistically inventive niche online communities spread slang & jargon exponentially faster than in the days when new dialects were constrained by physical space. What’s more, social media provides a fascinating laboratory for watching language evolve in real time. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language & influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how the year you first accessed the internet determines how you talk online; whether emoji are replacing words; and why internet dialects like doge, lolspeak & snek are linguistically significant.
What We Really Do All Day: New Insights from Time Use Research by Gershuny & Sullivan Are we spending more time at work than we would have done 50 years ago? Are we sleeping less? How has the internet affected the way we use our spare time? Everything we do happens in time, and a detailed look at our daily lives reveals some surprising truths about the social & economic structure of the world we live in. This book delves into the unrivalled data collection & expertise of the Centre for Time Use Research to explore 55 years of change in our activities & behaviour & what it means for us today. ($23, PB)
Made in Sweden: 25 ideas that created a country by Elisabeth Åsbrink ($30, PB)
These days the Swedes & their Scandinavian neighbours are seen as altogether more sophisticated, admirable, and evolved than us. But what if Sweden has in fact never been as moderate, egalitarian, dignified, or tolerant as it would like to (have us) think? The recent rise to political prominence of an openly neo-Nazi party has begun to crack the illusion, and Elisabeth Åsbrink, who loves her country ‘but not blindly’, presents 25 of her nation’s key words & icons afresh, in order to give the world a clearer-eyed understanding of this fascinating country.
Out of Our Minds: A History of What we Think & How we Think it Felipe Fernández-Armesto
To imagine—to see that which is not there—is the startling ability that has fuelled human development & innovation through the centuries. As a species we stand alone in our remarkable capacity to refashion the world after the pictures in our minds. Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy & history, Felipe Fernández-Armesto reveals the thrilling & disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps—from the first Homo sapiens to the present day. Using new discoveries in cognitive science he explores how & why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalising glimpse into who we are & what we might yet accomplish. Fernández-Armesto shows that bad ideas are often more influential than good ones; that the oldest recoverable thoughts include some of the best; that ideas of Western origin often issued from exchanges with the wider world; and that the pace of innovative thinking is under threat. ($33, PB)
Rape by Mithu Sanyal ($30, HB)
Mithu Sanyal is picking up where Susan Brownmiller left off in her 1975 book Against Our Will to argue that the way we as a society understand rape tells us not just how we understand sexual violence, but how we understand sex, sexuality & gender itself. For instance, why is it so hard to imagine men as victims of rape? Why do we expect victims to be irreparably damaged? When we think of rapists, why do we still think of strangers in dark alleys, rather than uncles, husbands, priests, or boyfriends? Sanyal’s book examines the role of race & the trope of the black rapist, the omission of male victims, and what we mean when we talk about rape culture. She provocatively takes every received opinion we have about rape, and turns it inside out arguing with liberals, conservatives, feminists & sexists alike.
Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions by Briallen Hopper ($33, HB)
Briallen Hopper draws from personal experience, sharing stories about her loving but combative family, the fiercely independent Emerson scholar who pushed her away, and the friends who have become her invented or found family; pop culture touchstones like the Women’s March, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and the timeless series Cheers; and the work of writers like Joan Didion, Gwendolyn Brooks, Flannery O’Connor, and Herman Melville (Moby-Dick like you’ve never seen it!). Hard to Love pays homage and attention to unlikely friends and lovers both real and fictional. It is a series of love letters to the meaningful, if underappreciated, forms of intimacy and community that are tricky, tangled, and tough, but ultimately sustaining.
The Scandal of the Century: And Other Writings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ($50, HB)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez considered his journalism from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s more important to his legacy than his works of fiction. And while some of his journalistic writings have been made available over the years, this is the first volume to gather a representative selection from across the first four decades of his career—years during which he worked as a full-time, often muckraking, and controversial journalist, even as he penned the fiction that would bring him the Nobel Prize in 1982. The first pieces he wrote while working for newspapers in the coastal Colombian cities of Cartagena & Barranquilla, his longer, more fictionlike reportage from Paris & Rome, his monthly columns for Spain’s El País—these 50 pieces are a revelation of the writer working at the profession he believed to be ‘the best in the world’.
Who Wants to Be a Jewish Writer? And Other Essays by Adam Kirsch ($40, HB)
In this wide-ranging collection, Adam Kirsch brings together essays on poetry, religion & the intersections between them, with a particular focus on Jewish literature. He explores the question of what defines Jewish literature, the relationship between poetry & politics, and the future of literary reputation in the age of the internet. Several essays look at the way individual Jewish writers like Stefan Zweig & Isaac Deutscher, who coined the phrase the non-Jewish Jew’, have dealt with politics. Kirsch also examines questions of spirituality & morality in the writings of contemporary poets, including Christian Wiman, Kay Ryan & Seamus Heaney.
Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away & Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns by Kerry Hudson
Kerry Hudson grew up in an all-encompassing, grinding & often dehumanising poverty. Always on the move with her single mother, Kerry attended 9 primary schools & 5 secondaries, living in B&Bs & council flats. Now a novelist who has a secure home she often finds herself looking over her shoulder, caught somehow between two worlds. This is her exploration of where she came from—revisiting the towns she grew up in to try to discover what being poor really means in Britain today & whether anything has changed. ($33, HB)
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The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole by Frederick Rolfe The First Complete Edition. Hardcover. (Quartet Books, London. 1993) Edited with an Introduction by Andrew Eburne and with a Preface by John Bayley. xx, 297pp. Tanned edges. Minor spotting to top edge and light marking to the fore edge. Adhesive tape residue mark on the free front endpaper. Light shelf wear to dustjacket. Very Good Condition. $35.00. Frederick Rolfe (1860–1913) who wrote under the pen name of Baron Corvo, was an English writer and artist. A true eccentric and fantasist, Rolfe possessed a genius for making enemies of many of his literary and personal friends. These included Aubrey Beardsley and Havelock Ellis, along with numerous scholars, churchmen and the idle rich. Rolfe—with a bottomless capacity for ingratitude—immortalised many by the savage abuse and caricatures of them found within his novels. Set in Venice, its protagonist, Nicholas Crabbe, also has a talent for making enemies and, like Rolfe, Crabbe is rejected for the priesthood by the Roman Catholic Church. He takes up painting and writing, aboard a small, provisioned boat, determined to completely retreat from mankind for months on end. However, one night an earthquake ashore destroys a town before his eyes, and the next morning he rescues the only person there still alive: an androgynous boy/girl of 17 who goes variously as Ermengilda and Zildo and who becomes Crabbe’s shipboard assistant and gondolier. Though brought up as a boy, Ermengilda is the daughter, through many generations, of three Venice Doges of the Middle Ages. Crabbe falls into an obsessive craving for him/her while sinking into destitution among the beautifully described glories of Venice. Can he be saved by his ‘exquisite angel’? Written in Venice between 19091910, when Rolfe’s circumstances swung wildly between comfortable living and dire poverty, the author self-indulgently added increasingly elaborate, libellous insults to the work up until his death. Thought lost, the manuscript was located two decades later. Rolfe’s relatives were appalled at this posthumous work and believed it should be burned. It was finally published in 1934 with almost every page altered: names were changed, attacks on the Church were removed and its scandalous homoeroticism was pruned. This is the first complete edition of a unique book—‘not quite like anything else and impossible to describe’. Hebdomeros: A Novel by Giorgio de Chirico, $20 Says John Ashbery in his introduction (titled The Decline of the Verbs) suggests Hebdomeros is the finest of the Surrealist novels, written by de Chirico in 1929... ‘he wrote it a decade after his genius as a painter had mysteriously evaporated. He wrote it in French, a language not his own, and he invented for the occasion a new style and a new kind of novel ... it has no story, though it reads as if it did. Its sole character is Hebdomeros, a kind of ‘metaphysician’ who evolves through various landscapes and situations, alone or accompanied by a shadowy band of young disciples ... his ancestry can be traced back to Maldoror, Manfred and Melmoth, via Nietzsche. De Chirico’s long run-on sentences, stitched together with semicolons, allow a cinematic freedom of narration ... in this fluid medium, trivial images or details can suddenly congeal and take on a greater specific gravity, much as a banal object in a de Chirico painting—a rubber glove or an artichoke—can rivet our attention merely through being present. His language, like his painting, is invisible: a transparent but dense medium containing objects that are more real that reality.’ This book also contains a selection of de Chirico’s other ‘metaphysical’ writings Furred Animals of Australia by Ellis Troughton, $25 This third revised edition, published in 1946, has gorgeous colour plates by Neville W. Cayley. Troughton’s ‘Creed for Nature Lovers’ which begins: ‘I believe that because the Australian continent fostered all the fascinating furred animals, birds and flowers that awaited the coming of civilization should provide their everlasting sanctuary’ reads particularly poignantly given quite a few species presented in this 1946 volume are now extinct or on the cusp of extinction. (boards, no dust jacket) The Dawn is At Hand by Kath Walker, $25 Kath Walker’s second collection of poems, published in 1966. According to the dustjacket, she was the first Aboriginal to be published, her first book We are Going was record-breaking in other ways—it went into 7 editions in as many months, and was the first collection by an Australian poet to achieve American publication. Her poems, said one reviewer, are like fists. Hardcover, with dustjacket.
Countdown 99 to 69
The Girls of Summer:The US Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World by Jere Longman ($30) 1999: 10 July—The world of women’s sports was kicked upside down when the US Women’s National Soccer Team defeated China 5–4 on penalties in the Final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California. Played in 38° heat before a crowd of over 90,000—the largest crowd ever to watch a women’s sporting event—and a viewing audience of 40 million. The photo of US defender Brandi Chastain, having scored the winning goal, removing her jersey and dropping to her knees in exultant triumph is now an iconic image of women’s strength and athleticism. Longman details the growth and development of both this winning team squad of 20 and women’s soccer. Highlighting the sacrifices and hardships experienced by female players along the way: the prejudices in junior leagues in the 1970s, poor facilities, shoddy uniforms, erratic coaching of the 1980s and early 90s and lukewarm support from the sport’s governing body, US Soccer. The women’s team had won the inaugural ‘Championship’ held in China in 1991. FIFA declined to call it a World Cup in case it was a commercial and sporting failure. The US team finished second in 1995 in Norway. On a summer’s day in 1999, they transformed a sport and created a defining moment in women’s sports history. Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen ($26) 1989: 9 November—I missed the fall of the Berlin Wall by two weeks. I had been living in Cologne and travelling in West Germany most of 1989. However, I was working part-time in a London bookshop when that momentous event happened. 1989 began quietly. Six European countries remained Soviet vassal states, as they had been since 1945. By year’s end, these nations had overthrown Communism and declared national independence. Sebestyen deftly chronicles the year of—almost—peaceful revolutions. One that defines modern history. Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski ($20) Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic by Michael Axworthy ($25) 1979: 11 February—The culmination of a series of events that began in January 1979 that saw the overthrow of Iran’s last Monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and the creation of an Islamic Republic led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. We live with the repercussions four decades later. Kapuscinski memorably describes the last days of the US backed Pahlavi regime. Axworthy provides a cool, clear, detailed narrative and analysis of the turbulent, enduring Republic. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin ($27) Carrying the Fire: 50th Anniversary Edition by Michael Collins ($22) 1969: 20 July—The Apollo space missions, culminating with Apollo 11’s landing of men on the Moon is the greatest event of the 20th Century. In fact—as I have endlessly told lots of people—it may be our greatest accomplishment as a species. So, with a deluge of books to celebrate the Half Century Anniversary, it’s great to see two of the best reissued. Chaikin’s book, first published in 1994, remains the best account of the entire Apollo programme. From the triumphs (Apollo 11), the tragedies (Apollo 1) and the near tragedies (Apollo 13). This powerfully written work captures the courage, endurance, endeavour and yes, heroism of that now distant age. This period of waiting atop a rocket is nothing new. I am just as tense this time, from an appreciation of the enormity of our undertaking…I am far from certain that we will be able to fly this mission as planned. I think we will escape with our skins, but I wouldn’t give better than even odds on a successful landing and return. There are just too many things that can go wrong.’ Michael Collins was the man in the Command Module who circled the Moon, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on it. As a consolation, he wrote the best of the astronaut memoirs. Originally published in 1974, this 50th Anniversary Edition includes a new Preface, the 2009 Preface and the original Foreword by pioneer aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry ($23) Sharon Tate: Recollection by Debra Tate ($54, HB) 8-9 August—From the heights of human accomplishment with Apollo 11 at the Sea of Tranquillity, to the depths of human depravity at 10050 Cielo Drive, Los Angles, California. Although written more than four decades ago, then Los Ange-
les District Attorney and Prosecutor Bugliosi’s book remains the best account of the Charles Manson ‘Family’ and their mass murder spree. Sharon Tate, 26-year-old fashion model, actress and wife of director Roman Polanski—and eight months pregnant at the time of her murder—was the most famous of the victims. Her younger sister Debra, fondly recalls her older sibling in this lush photographic compilation which includes remembrance essays and quotes by—among others—Patty Duke, Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty, Mia Farrow and Kirk Douglas. Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music by Michael Lang 15-18 August—One week later, at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre (240 hectares) dairy farm in the town of Bethel, New York, some 400,000 people attended an ‘An Aquarian Exposition: Three Days of Peace and Music’ aka Woodstock. Originally organised to be a fundraising event to build a music and art studio in upstate New York, it became instead a cultural touchstone of 1960s counterculture. The three-day concert festival—which ran into a fourth—saw plenty sex, drugs, rock ’n roll (and mud). Here is the official 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock, compiled by the festival’s creator and founder, Michael Lang. A large volume, it contains much ephemera from Lang’s archive: correspondence, artists appearing, stage designs, set lists and organising basic facilities—which were completely overwhelmed by the unexpected size of the eventual crowd. The original estimate had been a maximum of 50,000 people. There are the hundreds of photos—taken by Bill Eppridge, Baron Wolman and official photographer, Henry Diltz—that one would expect, of both the vast crowd and all the music titans. Stephen Reid
Songs by Don Walker ($33, HB)
Don Walker is widely considered one of Australia’s greatest songwriters. For over 40 years—from Cold Chisel & Tex, Don & Charlie to his solo work—he has written songs that capture what it is to be Australian. Collected here, for the first time, are lyrics from his extensive career—from Khe Sanh to Flame Trees, Cheap Wine to Harry Was a Bad Bugger, Walker’s words live on the page, with or without the memory of music. The songs are interspersed with autobiographical sketches & anecdotes.
Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic by Simon Armitage ($35, HB)
Over the course of several years, Simon Armitage has written hundreds of poems for various projects, commissions, collaborations and events, which stand outside of his mainstream collections but now form a substantial body of work in their own right. They vary from single poems, such as Zodiac T Shirt, written to be performed at the launch of Beck’s Song Reader, to the suite of ten poems about Branwell Bronte written at the time of the writer’s bicentenary. Some have been published—such as the Walking Home and Walking Away poems—but the majority has not, and together they cover an eclectic array of subjects including sculpture, the environment, travel, drama, and media. This collection is a reflection of Armitage’s public engagement as a poet & the astonishing range of his interests & talents.
Don’t Tell Me Not to Ask Why: Poetry & Prose by Samantha King Holmes ($33, PB)
In Samantha King Holmes’ second solo poetry collection her poems are like little stories, hooking readers while navigating issues like body image, family relationships, loneliness, failed relationships, and finding belonging—a call to introspection, a demand for honesty, and an affirmation of second chances. The Twenty-Ninth Year Hala Alyan ($32, PB) In Islamic & Western tradition, age 29 is a milestone, a year of transformation & upheaval. For Hala Alyan, this is a year in which the past—memories of family members, old friends & past lovers, the heat of another land, another language, a different faith—winds itself around the present. Ayan’s ever-shifting, subversive verse sifts together & through different forms of forced displacement & the tolls they take on mind & body— from war-torn cities in the Middle East, to an Oklahoma Olive Garden, a Brooklyn brownstone; from alcoholism to recovery; from a single woman to a wife. Brute: Poems by Emily Skaja ($24, PB) The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage, as it closes in on a hard-won freedom. Emily Skaja’s debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence
Pour Me, a Life A. A. Gill, HB
Small Fry Lisa Brennan-Jobs, PB
The Blue Touch Paper David Hare, HB
A Street Through Time: A 12,000Year Walk Through History, HB
The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, Literature & the Dreyfus Case Michael Rosen, PB
Now $16.95 Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds Rachelle Bergstein, HB
Minefields Hugh Riminton, PB
Historium Jo Nelson, HB
Now $17.95 Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art Julian Barnes, HB
Into Thin Air Jon Krakauer, PB
Rome: A History in Seven Sackings Matthew Kneale, HB
Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy Paul Thomas Murphy, HB
Born to Drum : The Truth About the Worldâ€™s Greatest DrummersTony Barrell, HB
Reckless Daughter David Yaffe, HB
The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise Brix Smith Start, PB
Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 Volker Ullrich, HB
Al Dente: Madness, Beauty and the Food of Rome David Winner, PB
The Storied City: The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save Its Past Charlie English, HB
My Family Table Eleanor Ozich, HB
The Photograph and Australia Judy Annear, HB
The Arts The Advent of Abstraction: Russia 1914–1923 by Andrei Nakov ($70, HB)
The Russian Avant-Garde movement is a common term denoting a most remarkable art phenomenon that flourished in Russia from 1890 to 1930 which covered art, literature, cinema, sculpture, architecture & political propaganda. Work from this period is easily recognisable thanks to bright colours, geometric shapes & bold lettering. This lavishly illustrated exhibition catalogue features 6 major works from renowned Russian Avant-Garde artists: Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Ivan Kliun, Ilja Chashnik, El Lissitzky & Lyubov Popova.
African Fetishes and Ancestral Objects by Francois Neyt & Hughes Dubois ($125, HB)
The 70-plus carved objects from the Democratic Republic of the Congo presented in this book have something remarkable in common: They are permeated with the powers of magic & sorcery, and are believed to be inhabited by the spirits of nature & the ghosts of ancestors. Selected by Patric Didier Claes, a Belgian expert in African art, the works are from the Kingdom of Luba, at the source of the Congo, and the Kingdoms of Kongo & Teke. Each sculpture is identified, indexed, meticulously described, placed in context, and pinpointed as an example of the particular carving style of a specific workshop. 163 colour images.
Bad Blood: Rivalry and Art History by Clayton Schuster ($30, PB)
Why did Michelangelo loathe Raphael for decades after the latter had died? How did Pablo Picasso & Henri Matisse balance their perpetual competition with a lifelong friendship? What transgression pitted the notorious titans of the London graffiti scene, Banksy & King Robbo, in a rivalry that ended with a tragic & unforeseeable death? Art critic, Clayton Schuster’s investigative journey transforms some of the ‘big names’ of the art world into real people—often grumpy, ornery, antagonistic & flawed—and reveals how all of us respond to art. Asia Chic by Estelle Nikles van Osselt ($145, HB) European fashion was profoundly influenced in the early decades of the 20th century—the kimono, in particular, with its loose cut, fluid lines and broad range of decorations, captivated the great couturiers of the period. Women in the Roaring Twenties cast out their corsets & social straightjackets, garbed in a new, daring kind of elegance with exotic overtones. From the meeting of these two sartorial cultures has sprung an exhibition and this catalogue in which the drawings of Paris fashion designers are compared with examples of contemporary EastAsian textiles from the Baur Foundation in Geneva.
Women of Atelier 17 by Christina Weyl
Atelier 17 operated as an uncommonly egalitarian laboratory for revolutionising print technique, style & scale. It facilitated women artists’ engagement with modernist styles, providing a forum for extraordinary achievements that shaped postwar sculpture, fibre art, neo-Dadaism & the Pattern & Decoration movement. Christina Weyl enters the Atelier 17 to highlight the women whose work there advanced both modernism & feminism in the 1940s & 50s. She focuses on 8 artists—Louise Bourgeois, Minna Citron, Worden Day, Dorothy Dehner, Sue Fuller, Alice Trumbull Mason, Louise Nevelson & Anne Ryan who bent the technical rules of printmaking & blazed new aesthetic terrain with their etchings, engravings & woodcuts. ($120, HB)
Mirka Mora: A Life Making Art by Sabine Cotte
From Holocaust survivor to Melbourne cultural icon, Mirka Mora expressed the intensity of her personal life through artworks that embodied feminism, the craft movement as well as community art policies of the 1980s. Her breadth of practice, idiosyncratic processes & blend of traditional methods & modern creativity connected deep emotions, stories of displacement & loss with major movements of the 20th century. With privileged access to the artist and her studio, Sabine Cotte reveals an unseen side of Mora through both her materials and practice, sharing her complex and truly innovative techniques. ($50, HB)
52 Artists 52 Actions: Small Acts of Disobedience
The mainstream media keeps us in a constant state of emergency where the word ‘crisis’ is used daily and ‘breaking news’ is a permanent banner across our screens. The real emergencies we should be facing are often disguised behind biased rhetoric or consciously omitted altogether: Climate change! Severe economic inequality! Decay of democracy! Brexit! Trump! The alt-right! This book sets out to address the real and daunting trials of everyday life across contemporary Asia. Each of the 52 artists includes a statement about their work, which often reads as a compelling, heartbreaking memoir in miniature, giving deep insights into cultural traditions. ($70, HB)
Brought to Life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered
Eliot Hodgkin is best known for his still life paintings in tempera—an exquisite painter of objects, usually of ordinary things like lemons, radishes, birds’ eggs, dead leaves etc, but there are several other facets of his career which this volume also explores. In the 1930s he painted almost flamboyant flower pieces in oil, towards the end of the decade his style became more precise & his subjects took on a distinctly surrealist treatment—leading to on to an obsessive attention to detail, each painting being preceded by an elaborate, scaled drawing in pencil & brown wash with colour notes scribbled all over the sheet. His 1940s paintings of the City of London after bombing—half-ruined buildings, mounds of rubble & rank weeds are mesmerising, and in the 50s he returned to still life subjects, although there are some highly evocative landscapes in the 1950s & 1960s resulting from holiday tours through France, Switzerland & Italy. 130 colour illustrations. ($105, HB)
It Speaks to Me: Art that Inspires Artists by Jori Finkel ($45, HB)
Imagine your favourite artist leading you through a museum to the very work of art they can’t stop thinking about. In lively and intimate interviews, some of today’s most acclaimed artists share the compelling details that make an artwork memorable and meaningful to them—including David Hockney on Edgar Degas, Marina Abramovic on Umberto Boccioni, Ai Weiwei on a Shang Dynasty jade, Nick Cave on Jasper Johns, Judy Chicago on Agnes Pelton, William Kentridge on Antoine Bourdelle, Luc Tuymans on Jan van Eyck, and Gillian Wearing on Rembrandt.
Learn Skills to Sew Like a Professional Naoko Domeki & Shihoko Makino ($35, PB)
There are a lot of books on sewing basics, but few can satisfy those who are beyond a beginner level. This book explains how to get an expert finish on those difficult parts of clothes—neck, collar, sleeves, pleats & more. All of the techniques are based on domestic sewing machines, so readers can follow the full-colour and detailed step-by-step instructions with their own machine.
Little Upholstery Book: A Beginner’s Guide to Artisan Upholstery by Shelly M. Leer ($47, PB)
These 5 projects have been designed to help the beginner build basic upholstery skills, learn techniques & progressively take on more-complicated pieces. Beginning with simple projects like the Buttoned Down Blue Velvet Footstool and wrapping up with the Rockin’ Moroccan Hanging Headboard, the 6 informationpacked chapters cover upholstery concepts, terminology, tools, materials & supplies, as well as advice on setting up an in-home shop or looking for shop space to lease.
Natural Botanical Dyeing: 20 Projects for Every Season by Mariko Asada Veriteco ($30, PB)
Plant and tree dyes, characterised by gentle colourisation, are born from the blessings of nature. Interestingly, dyeing is also possible with familiar foods and plants. Authors ‘Veriteco’ (married couple Mikio and Mariko Asada) make a living creating artwork on an island famous for art in the Seto Inland Sea—introduces ideas for bringing dyeing into your life. From original accessory design to simple cloth dyeing, Mariko Asada teaches you everything you need to know about dyeing.
Wright and New York: The Making of America’s Architect by Anthony Alofsin ($70, HB)
Frank Lloyd Wright took his first major trip to New York in 1909, fleeing a failed marriage & artistic stagnation. He returned a decade later, his personal life & architectural career again in crisis. 1920s New York served as a refuge, but it also challenged him & resurrected his career—connecting him with important clients & commissions that would define his role in modern architecture. Wright denounced New York as an unlivable prison even as he revelled in its culture—the city becoming an urban foil for his work in the desert & in the organic architecture he promoted as an alternative to American Art Deco & the International Style. Anthony Alofsin breaks new ground in this book by mining the recently opened Wright archives held by Columbia University & the MOMA.
Margaret Olley: A Generous Life ($49.95, HB)
Margaret Olley was a deeply charismatic figure, mentor and friend, and exerted an enduring influence on a number of Australian artists, particularly in Queensland. This richly illustrated gift book pays tribute to Olley’s art, friendships and philanthropy, and demonstrates her ongoing legacy. This book features not only works spanning Olley’s entire career but also portraits of her by artists including William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Ben Quilty and Jeffrey Smart, photographs of Olley taken by Lewis Morley, Greg Weight and William Yang, among others, as well as ephemera from Olley’s colourful life.
Judy: Milkman by Anna Burns—Swept into a divided neighbourhood in 1970s Northern Ireland on a tide of rich English Irish prose—think Eimear McBride meets Anne Enright—that is the experience of reading Milkman. Years of violence and local warfare drives people crazy. But precisely what sort of crazy? Well this is the novel that will take you to scenarios to rival Samuel Beckett. How walking-while-reading puts a person beyond-the-pale. How attracting the ownership intentions (otherwise called ‘romantic hostilities’) of a Renouncer Official—Milkman—can mark you out for death from Renouncers and The State alike. How working assiduously on your skills of not being present, being non-responsive, eats away and hollows you out in bizarre ways. How looking at, and seeing, a sunset is probably subversive. The book is frightening, so disquieting, and outrageously funny. Our narrator is known to us only as ‘maybe–girlfriend’, sister-in-law, daughter, older sister to ‘wee sisters’, and yet I was so drawn to her. She is a deeply compassionate survivor along with her community of ‘people of the rumour’. Stef: The Burnt Country by Joy Rhoades—This is the sequel to The Woolgrower’s Companion, but can be read as a stand-alone. I’ve been glued to my armchair finishing it this morning—it’s not normally my genre, but I really wanted to see if Rhoades could follow up with a good sequel to Woolgrower’s, and she has. It’s 1948 and Kate Dowd is running Amiens, a sizeable sheep station in NSW. The cards are stacked against her—estranged husband Jack wants an outlandish amount of money to walk away from their marriage and keep her honour intact; the neighbouring farmer who has neglected his property and put both properties at risk is sowing seeds of doubt about Kate’s farming and fire protection management; a disgruntled former property manager is out to seek revenge; not to mention the local policeman, bank manager and store owner, come volunteer fire Captain—who all disapprove of Kate as a landholder; plus the Aborigines Welfare Board, who are threatening to dismantle Kate’s household by removing either Daisy, Kate’s domestic, or Pearl—Daisy’s daughter and Kate’s half-sister. What a thrilling read! Drama, plenty of tension and a touch of romance—just enough to keep hope alive. Due for release in August.
David M: Careful He Might Hear You by Sumner Locke Elliott— I am ashamed to reveal that I have only just caught up with this Australian classic. With superb control of narrative voice and flow, and a wonderful ear for language, thought and feeling, a compelling story that is guided to its satisfying conclusion. Careful, don’t miss it. Jonathon: Clear Bright Future by Paul Mason—A call to arms, for a new radical humanism, inspired by Aristotle, The Enlightenment and Marxism. Mason has a similar diagnosis of our present to alt-right figures like Jordan Peterson: postmodernism and the chaos and disorientation, he argues, it has lead to. The coming age of AI and machines that may well control us—that some already call for our surrender to—is the fire behind Mason’s plea for a return to an ethics based on global, human-oriented goals. Some great analysis of the present moment here; and some interesting takes on Marx’s legacy—and the legacy of humanism.
Andrew: The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith—Dominic Smith has produced a wonderful follow-up to his bestseller, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, with an international adventure seen through the eyes of a brilliant silent film auteur. Smith has that wonderful juggler’s skill of keeping all the balls in the air with his fiction. He effortlessly uses social and historical research across a range of locales (this one opens in a seedy dive of a hotel in fifties Hollywood, but then zig zags from 1890s Paris, to a vaudeville addicted New Jersey to battlelines of the First World War), and he conjures up engaging characters in a matter of sentences. Throw in a knack for moving plot along at a cracking pace, and a consummate knowledge of his subject, and you’ve got a singularly good fiction writer of the William Boyd ilk. I was delighted by the cameo appearance of a late nineteenth century Tamarama too—if you don’t know why Wonderland Avenue is named as such, I implore you to Google it!
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Jack: The Porpoise by Mark Haddon— Oh dear, one of those compulsive novels that turn the stomach, break the heart and create an urgent need to witness violent retribution. Is that a recommendation? Nervously, yes...
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. Every Woman’s Guide To Saving The Planet
2. Dark Emu
3. The Kabul Peace House: How a group of young
people are daring to dream in a land of war
4. Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (ed) Anita Heiss 5. Australia Day
6. Bright Swallow
7. Winning for Women: A Personal Story
8. The Snowy: A History
9. Our Mob Served: Aboriginal & Torres Strait
Islander Histories of War & Defending Australia
(eds) Allison Cadzow & Mary Anne Jebb
10. Underland: A Deep Time Journey
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. Boy Swallows Universe
2. The Overstory
3. Normal People
4. Machines Like Me 5. No One 6. Blood on the Stone 7. Frankissstein: A Love Story 8. City of Girls
Ian McEwan John Hughes Jake Lynch Jeanette Winterson Elizabeth Gilbert
10. The Shepherd’s Hut
and another thing..... This month I’ll be interested to read Niki Savva’s breakdown of the PM-ousting shenanigans in the Liberal camp last year (seems like only yesterday). Savva is coming to Gleebooks in early August to talk about her book, and I’ll definitely be in attendance. Rumour has it that Malcolm Turnbull is going to join the league of memoir-publishing deposed leaders in the second half of 2019, and we may well be hosting an event either here or at the Seymour centre. I do hope he keeps the page count in control, and doesn’t emulate the two volume Rudd extravaganza. But first, after I’ve learned how to draw cats as well as Coopes, I’m going to re-upholster my lounge, the shredding of which my cats have made a long-term project of—Shelly M. Leer says it’s easy (page 22). Continuing along the DIY/self help trail, I’ve been reading master memory-ist Lynne Kelly’s new book Memory Craft—my ageing brain is resistant, but she is very convincing, so I’m working on my bestiary, plotting a memory palace, and hopefully won’t continue to walk out the front door without my keys like I did this morning. But before all of this, I think I’ll go back to Joy Rhoades’ debut novel The Woolgrower’s Companion in preparation for the August release of the sequel The Burnt Country—Stef has me utterly convinced on page 23 that this will be a good way wind down after July Gleaner is put to bed. Viki
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