Fiction & Anthology
by Tracy Chevalier, HarperCollins, HB, $39.99
Bristol port, 1850: Honor and Grace Bright walk up the gangplank to embark on a voyage across the Atlantic, join Grace’s fiancé and start a new life in America. One sister runs from heartache, the other craves adventure far from England. Honor’s few possessions on the journey include her signature quilt, a final gift stitched by friends from the Quaker community they have left behind, her patchwork memory of home. But when tragedy strikes, Honor is forced to continue on alone. In a country that is practical, precarious and unsentimental, she must rely often on the compassion of strangers. As she struggles to find her place and her voice, Honor discovers that Ohio is a land crisscrossed with runaways: slaves escaping north to freedom and settlers venturing west. Set in the sunlit cornfields and tangled woods of the rural Midwest, Tracy Chevalier’s new novel is a vivid story of unlikely friendships, of bad men and strong women, and of the remarkable power of defiance. View Details.
Penguin Drop Caps Series
by Various Authors, Penguin, HB, $30.00 each
Penguin Drop Caps is a series of twenty-six collectible hardcover editions of fine works of literature, each with a cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet by superstar type designer Jessica Hische, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom. A collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, whose series design encompasses a rainbow-hued spectrum across all twenty-six books, Penguin Drop Caps debuts with A through F and will continue with more perennial classics from Penguin.
A is for Austen. Few have failed to be charmed by the witty and independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet in Austen’s beloved classic Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth’s early determination to dislike Mr. Darcy is a prejudice only matched by the folly of his arrogant pride. Their first impressions give way to true feelings in a comedy profoundly concerned with happiness and how it might be achieved. View Details.
B is for Brontë. A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyredazzles and shocks readers with its passionate depiction of a woman’s search for equality and freedom. Orphaned Jane Eyre grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, where she endures loneliness and cruelty, and at a charity school with a harsh regime. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane’s natural independence and spirit-which proves necessary when she takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves? View Details.
C is for Cather. My Ántonia is considered one of the most significant American novels of the twentieth century. Set during the great migration west to settle the plains of the North American continent, the narrative follows Antonia Shimerda, a pioneer who comes to Nebraska as a child and grows with the country, inspiring a childhood friend, Jim Burden, to write her life story. The novel is important both for its literary aesthetic and as a portrayal of important aspects of American social ideals and history, particularly the centrality of migration to American culture. View Details.
D is for Dickens. The orphan Pip is destined to become a blacksmith like his brother-in-law Joe. But when Pip meets the beautiful Estella Havisham, he yearns for a gentleman’s education in order to woo her. A mysterious legacy answers his ambition, and changes the course of his life, taking him far from the Marshes of youth-far, so he thinks, from his early terrifying encounter with an escaped convict, and his sister’s class resentments. In this fictional autobiography, Pip’s coming-of-age story becomes representative of the changing social landscape of nineteenth century England. As Pip’s education provides upward social mobility, he must also learn hard lessons about self-delusion and forgiveness, love and loss, and the true nature of his Great Expectations. View Details.
E is for Eliot. Considered one the masterpieces of realist fiction, George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel-the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth. The appearance of two outsiders further disrupts the town’s equilibrium-Will Ladislaw, the spirited nephew of Dorothea’s husband, the Rev. Edward Casaubon, and the sinister John Raffles, who threatens to expose the hidden past of one of the town’s elite. Middlemarch displays George Eliot’s clear-eyed yet humane understanding of characters caught up in the mysterious unfolding of self-knowledge. View Details.
F is for Flaubert. Emma Bovary is the original desperate housewife. Beautiful but bored, she is married to the provincial doctor Charles Bovary yet harbors dreams of an elegant and passionate life. Escaping into sentimental novels, she finds her fantasies dashed by the tedium of her days. Motherhood proves to be a burden; religion is only a brief distraction. In an effort to make her life everything she believes it should be, she spends lavishly on clothes and on her home and embarks on two disappointing affairs. Soon heartbroken and crippled by debts, Emma takes drastic action with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter. When published in 1857, Madame Bovary was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for its heroine. Today the novel is considered the first masterpiece of realist fiction. In this landmark translation of Flaubert’s masterwork, Lydia Davis honors the nuances and particulars of a style that has long beguiled readers of French, giving new life in English to the book that redefined the novel as an art form. View Details.
by Graeme Simsion, Text Publishing, TR, $37.00
Don Tillman is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet.
But he has designed the Wife Project, using a sixteen-page questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent and beautiful. And on a quest of her own to find her biological father-a search that Don, a professor of genetics, might just be able to help her with.
The Wife Project teaches Don some unexpected things. Why earlobe length is an inadequate predictor of sexual attraction. Why quick-dry clothes aren’t appropriate attire in New York. Why he’s never been on a second date. And why, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love: love finds you. View Details.
edited by John Freeman, Granta Books, PB, $35.00
Without love there can be no betrayal – love of a country, a brother, a wife, a platoon mate, a family. In this issue of Granta, Janine di Giovanni witnesses a nation, Syria, betraying its people; Karen Russell imagines a soldier inscribing the memory of a fellow soldier on his back; and Colin Robinson writes about ancient brotherly friction resurfacing in a game of paddleball. From the playgrounds of New York City to the alleyways of Damascus, here is the theatre of betrayal. View Details.
by Jared Diamond, Penguin, TR, $37.00
Prize-winning author Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of the rise and fall of human civilizations with his previous international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel andCollapse. Now, he returns with another epic journey into our rapidly receding past. In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond reveals how tribal societies offer an extraordinary window into how our ancestors lived for millions of years – until virtually yesterday, in evolutionary terms – and provide unique, often overlooked insights into human nature.
In his most personal book to date, Diamond writes about his experiences over nearly five decades working and living in New Guinea, an island that is home to one thousand of the world’s 7,000 languages and one of the most culturally diverse places on earth. Drawing on his own fieldwork, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians and other cultures, Diamond explores how tribal peoples approach essential human problems, from childrearing to old age to conflict resolution to health, and discovers that we have much to learn from traditional ways of life. He unearths remarkable findings – from the reasons why modern afflictions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension are largely non-existent in tribal societies, to the surprising cognitive benefits of multilingualism. As Diamond reminds us, the West achieved global dominance due to specific environmental and technological advantages, but Westerners do not necessarily have superior ideas about how to raise children, care for the elderly, or simply live well. Panoramic in scope and brilliantly original, The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing first-hand picture of the human past that also suggests profound lessons for how we can live today. View Details.
by Stephen Davis, Penguin, PB, $26.00
She is one of the best writers of her generation, a woman whose original songs speak to the largest musical audience in history, often in the most revealing and soul-baring ways. Carly Simon’s story is one of the last untold epics of American rock and roll. In sharp detail recalled by Carly herself, More Room in a Broken Heart delves deep into Simon’s professional career and personal life, including many never-before-told parts of the story.
The first feminist pop star and an icon of the baby boom who has spoken for several generations through her songs, she has had a dramatic life full of adventures. She is most famous not just for her songs, like ‘Anticipation,’ ‘You’re So Vain,’ Haven’t Got Time for the Pain,’ and ‘Nobody Does It Better,’ but also for her stage fright; her marriage to American folk hero James Taylor; her relationships with the likes of Warren Beatty, Kris Kristofferson, Mick Jagger, and Cat Stevens; her battle with breast cancer; and her recent artistic and financial struggles. Including almost fifty never-before-published photographs taken by Carly’s brother, photographer Peter Simon, More Room in a Broken Heart is a candid, revealing, and juicy homage to a groundbreaking American female artist. View Details.
by Gerald Early et al., HarperCollins, TR, $29.99
Muhammad Ali-arguably the finest athlete of the twentieth century and incontestably one of the most famous Americans of his time-is known the world over, not only for his boxing prowess, but for his rebellious courage and resilience against controversy. He has been both underdog and champion, villain and prince, playboy and staunch Muslim, exalted American and punished conscientious objector. He was the ultimate athlete-Heavyweight Champion of the World-and today confronts the physical debilitations of Parkinson’s disease.
A one-of-a-kind volume, The Muhammad Ali Reader collects more than thirty of the best writings about this boxing legend in an incredible anthology by the greatest about The Greatest. This is the amazing story of Muhammad Ali-and the world’s reaction to him-told by a stellar array of authors, athletes, and social commentators. Floyd Patterson defends Ali’s right to criticize America’s participation in the Vietnam War; Malcolm X explains how Ali went from “entertainer” to “threat” with his declaration as “a man of race”; Ali himself shares some intimate and definitive thoughts in a Playboy magazine interview; and Gay Talese gives us a front seat on a ride to Cuba, where Ali meets up with Fidel Castro.
Organized by decade, chapters begin with a few opening remarks by Ali himself, and a spectacular sixteen-page photo insert captures The Champ in all his guises. With an introduction by Gerald Early, one of the finest contemporary writers on boxing, The Muhammad Ali Reader confirms Ali’s standing as one of the most controversial and charismatic Americans of our time. View Details.
by Aorewa McLeod, Victoria University Press, PB
Retail Price $35.00, Vic Books Price $31.50
Emerging brittle and cynical from a wildly dysfunctional family, Ngaio careers from ice cream factory to children’s home to Oxford to rehab. Along the way, she discovers herself and her sexuality — at raucous parties with trainee nurses, in feminist encounter groups and Wiccan covens, in university classrooms and legendary sapphic hotspots. This novel delivers vivid and hilarious snapshots of late 20th Century lesbian life: witty, tender, frank.
Aorewa McLeod taught in the University of Auckland English Department for 37 years until her retirement. She undertook the MA in creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington in 2011. She has published as a critic and edited anthologies. This is her first book. View Details.
by Alan F. Mark, Craig Potton Publishing, PB, $49.99
New Zealand’s alpine environment is challenging, not only for the humans who explore it but for the plants and animals that inhabit it. The extremes of temperature, short summers and high rates of erosion make for an uncertain environment, and the flora and fauna have evolved and adapted to it in interesting ways.
Above the Treeline: Nature guide to alpine New Zealand is a guide to the natural history of these fascinating ecosystems. It is the first book to be published that brings together the range of flora and fauna that inhabit the alpine environment. As well as our unique alpine plants, which constitute the majority of the book, this guide includes birds; frogs and lizards; butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, beetles and other invertebrates; and mosses and lichens. An informative introduction is followed by descriptions of more than 850 species, illustrated by approximately 1000 colour photographs. Written by eminent botanist and conservationist Sir Alan Mark, with contributions by Brian Patrick, Rod Morris, Mandy Tocher and David Galloway, this book is an important reference and field guide, and a celebration of the richness of New Zealand’s alpine environment. View Details.
Gardening & Cooking
by Josh Byrne, Hardie Grant Publishing, PB, $44.99
Small Space Organics follows the development of a small urban garden in Fremantle, Western Australia. Illustrated with technical diagrams, sketches and before-and-after photos, the book charts a process for creating innovative, sustainable and stylish ways to incorporate organic food production into urban residential landscapes. It includes the latest research and techniques for permaculture, water conservation and propagation, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to create your own urban organic food garden. View Details.
by David Thompson, Penguin, PB, $60.00
It’s hard to imagine a more knowledgeable and inspiring guide to the vibrant world of Thai street food than internationally renowned chef and Thai food expert David Thompson. Join him on a leisurely stroll to the curry shops and stir-fry stalls of Thailand: afloat on the canals of Bangkok, on the streets and in the markets – then try your hand at cooking the fast, fresh and irresistible dishes that feed a nation. With Earl Carter’s exquisite photographs of food and scenes from daily life, Thai Street Food so effectively captures the atmosphere of Thailand’s streets and markets it’s as if you were there. View Details.
by Rose Carrarini, Phaidon Press, HB, $50.00
How to Boil an Egg Etc, is a collection of simple and unusual recipes for cooking eggs from Rose Bakery. Renowned English chef Rose Carrarini of Rose Bakery has chosen her favourite classic and contemporary ways of using eggs, including all the basics like poached, scrambled and fried eggs, as well as muffins, pancakes, tarts, gratins, cakes and puddings. One of the most complete and nourishing of ingredients, this book shows how tasty and versatile eggs can be.
Boil will enable you to master the basics of cooking eggs as well as recreate some of the most popular dishes served in Rose Bakery, from breakfast classics such as pancakes and French toast to afternoon treats such as Welsh Tea Cakes, Walnut Cake and Orange Crème Caramel, as well as soups, quiches and tarts perfect for a light lunch. View Details.
Children’s and Young Adult
by Ole Konnecke, Gecko Press, PB, $19.99
Starring Anton and Luke from Anton Can Do Magic, this is another funny, child-centred picture book, full of imagination.
Anton and his friend Luke fight an epic battle to be declared the strongest-but will they be outdone by a puppy? View Details.
by Margaret Wild & Freya Blackwood (illus), Penguin,
From two of the most talented picture-book creators comes this celebration of things that can’t be destroyed by bombs or fire. A haunting and beautiful tale of the power of words, the importance of stories and the resilience of the human spirit.
When the enemy bombed the library, everything burned.
As war rages, Peter and his father flee their home, taking with them a treasure box that holds something more precious than jewels. They journey through mud and rain and long cold nights, and soon their survival becomes more important than any possessions they carry. But as the years go by, Peter never forgets the treasure box, and one day he returns to find it… View Details.
by Betsy Snyder, Random House, HB, $26.99
This giftable little picture book of haiku by award winner Betsy Snyder is something adults will love to give one another as much as they’ll enjoy sharing it with the youngest listeners. Perfect for Valentine’s Day and any day of the year, this book will inspire people to tell one another, “I haiku you!” View Details.
by Des Hunt, HarperCollins, PB, $19.99
It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild southwest coast. When Zac and his dad witness a boat sink during a storm Zac investigates further, finding a set of unusual animal prints on the beach. Whose boat is it? And what creature could have made the prints? Soon armed men are prowling the coast, and threatening Zac, his friends and his family. He must do all he can to protect the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it down. View Details.
by Marie Lu, Penguin, TR, $26.00
After escaping from the Republic’s stronghold of Los Angeles, June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the pair joins a group of Patriot rebels who, eager to help Day rescue his brother, offer them passage to the Colonies. The Patriots have only one request – June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s the chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood? What if the Patriots are wrong?
In this highly anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a gripping, breathtaking thriller with heartbreaking intensity and nonstop action. View Details.
by Ursula Dubosarsky, Penguin, PB, $23.00
Dear Readers, I’m back! Yes, I’ve returned to take you on a dizzying journey through the strange and wonderful wilderness of words . . .
For all those fans of The Word Spy, here she is again! Join her on a new expedition that goes even deeper into the magical realms of language. Discover hidden and silent languages, the secrets of grammar, dying words, newborn words . . . and even crack a code along the way. Are you ready? Open up the book and let’s go! View Details.