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The Paperback Bookshop Newsletter for December 2018

    • Outline, Cusk,  Rachel
    Rachel Cusk

    A novel about writing and talking, self-effacement and self-expression, about the desire to create and the human art of self-portraiture in which that desire finds its universal form. A woman arrives in Athens in the height of the summer to teach a writing course. Once there, she becomes the audience to a chain of narratives as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives. In the stifling heat and noise of the city the sequence of voices begins to weave a complex human tapestry: the experience of loss, the nature of family life, the difficulty of intimacy and the mystery of creativity itself. Find out more

    • Axiomatic, Tumarkin,  Maria
    Maria Tumarkin

    Axioms about the role the past plays in our present are often evoked as if they are timeless and self-evident truths. They are neither, yet still we are persuaded by them. In a fusion of thinking and storytelling Tumarkin explores what this tells us about our culture and how we live. The past shapes the present — but often the past is nothing less than the beating heart of the present. So, how to speak of the power that the past — ours, our family’s, our culture’s — wields now? Find out more

    • Penguin Book Of Japanese Short Stories, Various Authors
    Penguin Book Of Japanese Short Stories
    Various Authors

    From it's modern origins in the nineteenth century to the contemporary this collection celebrates the fantastic scope of Japanese short story writing. Authors already well-known to English-language readers are all included here - Tanizaki, Akutagawa, Murakami, Mishima, Kawabata - but also many surprising new finds. From Yuko Tsushima's 'Flames' to Yuten Sawanishi's 'Filling Up with Sugar', from Shin'ichi Hoshi's 'Shoulder-Top Secretary' to Banana Yoshimoto's 'Bee Honey. Curated by Jay Rubin, who has himself freshly translated several of the stories, and introduced by Haruki Murakami. Find out more

    • Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Hawking,  Stephen
    Brief Answers to the Big Questions
    Stephen Hawking

    Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its greatest mysteries. But even as his theoretical work on black holes, imaginary time and multiple histories took his mind to the furthest reaches of space, Hawking always believed that science could also be used to fix the problems on our planet. And now, as we face potentially catastrophic changes here on Earth - from climate change to dwindling natural resources to the threat of artificial super-intelligence - Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind. Find out more

    • The Overstory, Powers,  Richard
    The Overstory
    Richard Powers

    The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of story that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These strangers are brought together in a last stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. Find out more

    • Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, Jarman,  Derek
    Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman
    Derek Jarman

    In 1986 Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the bleak coast of Dungeness. Facing an uncertain future, he nevertheless found solace in nature, growing all manner of plants. Modern Nature is both a diary of the garden and a meditation by Jarman on his own life- his childhood, his time as a young gay man in the 1960s, his renowned career as an artist, writer and film-maker. It is at once a lament for a lost generation, an unabashed celebration of gay sexuality, and a devotion to all that is living. Find out more

    • Flights, Tokarczuk,  Olga
    Olga Tokarczuk

    Flights is a series of imaginative and mesmerising meditations on travel in all its forms, not only the philosophy and meaning of travel, but also fascinating anecdotes that take us out of ourselves, and back to ourselves. We hear about the Russian sect who escape the devil by remaining constantly in motion; the anatomist Verheyen who writes letters to his amputated leg and the story of Chopin's heart as it makes its journey from Paris to Warsaw, stored in a tightly sealed jar beneath his sister's skirt. Tokarczuk brilliantly connects travel with anecdotes about anatomy, about life and death, about the very nature of humankind. Find out more

    • Ashland & Vine, Burnside,  John
    Ashland & Vine
    John Burnside

    Kate, a grieving, semi-alcoholic film student, invites an elderly woman to take part in an oral-history documentary. Jean declines, but makes her a bizarre counter-offer- if Kate can stay sober for four days, she will tell her a story. If she can stay sober beyond that, there will be another, and then another, amounting to the entire history of one family's life. Gradually, Jean offers a heart-breaking account, not only of her own history - a lost lover, a family scarred by war - but of the American century itself; as a deep connection emerges between the women which will transform both of their lives. Find out more

    • Shepherd's Hut, Winton,  Tim
    Shepherd's Hut
    Tim Winton

    Jaxie dreads going home. His mum's dead. The old man bashes him without mercy, and he wishes he was an orphan. But no one's ever told Jaxie Clackton to be careful what he wishes for. On one terrible day his life is stripped to little more than what he can carry and how he can keep himself alive. Through the saltpans of WA and through a young man's coming of age Winton charts an odyssey of survival and trust – and of love. Find out more

    • The Eastern Curlew, Saddler,  Harry
    The Eastern Curlew
    Harry Saddler

    Every year around August, large flocks of Eastern Curlews leave their breeding grounds in the Arctic and embark on a perilous 10,000km journey to the coast of Australia. It's a journey they have taken for tens of thousands of years, tracing invisible flyways in the sky in what is one of the most spectacular mass migrations in the animal kingdom. Following the Eastern Curlew along its migratory path, Saddler explores how the Curlews have impressed themselves on the cultures of the countries they fly through, the threat to their survival posed by development - and the remarkable ways these birds and humankind may be entwined. Find out more

    • Arsonist: A Mind on Fire, Hooper,  Chloe
    Arsonist: A Mind on Fire
    Chloe Hooper

    After Black Saturday, a February 2009 day marked by 47 degree heat and firestorms, arson squad detectives arrived at a plantation on the edge of a 26,000-hectare burn site. Eleven people had just been killed and hundreds made homeless. Here, in the Latrobe Valley, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs, but the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn't know. The Arsonist is the story not only of this fire - how it happened, the people who died, the aftermath for the community - but of fire in this country. Chloe Hooper takes us to a part of the country seldom explored, and reveals something buried but essential in our national psyche. Find out more

    • My Country: Stories, Essays & Speeches, Marr,  David
    My Country: Stories, Essays & Speeches
    David Marr

    David Marr is one of Australia's most subtle and eloquent biographers and one of our most unflinching, forensic reporters of political controversy. His has become a necessary voice in the national debate. My Country collects his reflections on religion, sex, censorship and the law; striking accounts of leaders, moralists and scandalmongers; elegant ruminations on the arts and the lives of artists. Plus some some memorable new pieces. Find out more

    • In The Distance, Diaz,  Hernan
    In The Distance
    Hernan Diaz

    A lyrical western about loneliness, companionship and wonder. A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels east in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing west. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Diaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre and offers a probing look at the stereotypes of foreignness. Find out more

    • Cost of Living, Levy,  Deborah
    Cost of Living
    Deborah Levy

    Picking up where Things I Don't Want to Know left off, this short, exhilarating memoir shows a writer in radical flux, facing separation and bereavement and emerging renewed. Faced with the restrictions of conventional living, she dismantles her life, expands it and puts it back together in a new shape. Writing about mothers and daughters, about social pressures and the female experience, Deborah Levy confronts a world not designed to accommodate difficult women and ultimately remakes herself in her own image. Find out more

    • Wild Sea, Mccann,  Joy
    Wild Sea
    Joy Mccann

    Unimpeded by any landmass, the Southern Ocean flows completely around Earth from west to east between the seasonally shifting continent of Antarctica and the coastlines and islands of Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa. Weaving together sea captains’ journals, whalers’ log books, explorers’ letters, scientific research and ancient beliefs with her own voyage of discovery, Joy McCann reveals the secrets of a little-known ocean and its importance as a barometer of climate change. Find out more

    • Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair, Harding,  Lesley
    Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair
    Lesley Harding

    Arriving in Melbourne in 1951 from Paris, Mirka and Georges Mora energised local society and transformed the culinary and artistic landscapes. Their apartment became a hub for the bohemian set, and their cafes and restaurants brimmed with sophisticated food, sexual intrigue and creative endeavours. Mirka's distinctive art, now collected by major galleries, was a vital part of this heady mix.  Mirka & Georges gloriously illustrates the Moras' extraordinary story, with the couple's classic French recipes, photographs from family albums and images from Mirka's studio. Find out more

    • Blue Lake: Finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp, Sornig,  David
    Blue Lake: Finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp
    David Sornig

    David Sornig examines how the 8km-square zone to the west of central Melbourne has passed through various incarnations – from fertile wetland with a large blue saltwater lagoon; to boneyards and rubbish tips; through the Depression-era Dudley Flats shanty town - to the modern-day docks. As well as a place-history Blue Lake is also a biography of three characters- Elsie Williams, a Bendigo-born singer of Afro-Caribbean origin; Jack Peacock, the king of Dudley Flats' tip-scavenging economy; and Lauder Heinrich Rogge, a German hermit who lived for decades with sixty dogs on a stranded ship. By charting the rises and falls in their individual fortunes, Sornig reveals cracks in the colonial mythology of the ordered vision of progressive, u ... Find out more

    • Normal People, Rooney,  Sally
    Normal People
    Sally Rooney

    Connell and Marianne have grown up in the same small town in rural Ireland, they are from very different worlds, but both gain places at Trinity College in Dublin. Rooney's second novel is a love story about how a person can change another person's life - a profound realisation that unfolds over the course of the novel. It tells us how clumsy yet important our words are and how tenderly we live our lives. And also how privilege and legitimacy cycle through our lives and from one generation to the next. Find out more

    • You Daughters of Freedom, Wright,  Clare
    You Daughters of Freedom
    Clare Wright

    For the ten years from 1902, when Australia's suffrage campaigners won the vote for white women, the world looked to this trailblazing young democracy for inspiration. Clare Wright tells the story of that victory - and of Australia's role in the subsequent international struggle - through the eyes of five remarkable players- Vida Goldstein, Nellie Martel, Dora Montefiore, Muriel Matters, and artist Dora Meeson Coates, who painted the controversial Australian banner carried in the British suffragettes' monster marches of 1908 and 1911. You Daughters of Freedom she brings to life a time when Australian democracy was the envy of the world - and the standard bearer for progress in a shining new century. Find out more

    • The New Silk Roads, Frankopan,  Peter
    The New Silk Roads
    Peter Frankopan

    In an age of Brexit and Trump, the themes of isolation and fragmentation permeating the Western world stand in sharp contrast to events along the Silk Roads since 2015, where ties have been strengthened and mutual cooperation established. Frankopan takes a fresh look at the network of relationships being formed along the length and breadth of the Silk Roads, providing a timely reminder that we live in a world that is profoundly interconnected. Find out more

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