books

Extinctions

Author: Josephine Wilson (Published by UWA Publishing, rrp $30)

Winner 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life – objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter – he is determined to be miserable, but is tired of his existence and of the life he has chosen.

When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings. Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.

Humorous, poignant, and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction – natural, racial, national, and personal – and what we can do to prevent them.

What’s Up Top?

Author: Marc Martin (Publisher: Viking Australia, rrp $25)

What’s at the top of the ladder? Is it a hat? Is it a cat? Is it a snail on a whale?

Simple, playful and absurdist, this new picture book by Marc Martin is about imagination and creativity. Reminiscent of Press Here by Herve Tullet, Dr Seuss and I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen.

Meet Me In the Bathroom

Author: Lizzy Goodman (Publisher: Faber & Faber, rrp $40)

In the second half of the twentieth-century New York was the source of new sounds, including the Greenwich Village folk scene, punk and new wave, and hip-hop. But as the end of the millennium neared, cutting-edge bands began emerging from Seattle, Austin, and London, pushing New York further from the epicentre. The behemoth music industry, too, found itself in free fall, under siege from technology. Then 11/9/2001 plunged the country into a state of uncertainty and war – and a dozen New York City bands that had been honing their sound and style in relative obscurity suddenly became symbols of glamour for a young, web-savvy, forward-looking generation in need of an anthem.Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it – including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend – and the cultural forces that shaped it, from the Internet to a booming real estate market that forced artists out of the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Drawing on 200 original interviews with James Murphy, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Ezra Koenig, and many others musicians, artists, journalists, bloggers, photographers, managers, music executives, groupies, models, movie stars, and DJs who lived through this explosive time, journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.

Chuck Klosterman X

Author: Chuck Klosterman (Publisher: Blue Rider Press, $45)

New York Times bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman sorts through the past decade and how we got to now.
Chuck Klosterman has created an incomparable body of work in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. His writing spans the realms of culture and sports, while also addressing interpersonal issues, social quandaries, and ethical boundaries. Klosterman has written nine previous books, helped found and establish Grantland, served as the New York Times Magazine Ethicist, worked on film and television productions, and contributed profiles and essays to outlets such as GQEsquireBillboard, The A.V. Club, and The Guardian.
Chuck Klosterman’s tenth book (aka Chuck Klosterman X) collects his most intriguing of those pieces, accompanied by fresh introductions and new footnotes throughout. Klosterman presents many of the articles in their original form, featuring previously unpublished passages and digressions. Subjects include Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns, and many more cultural figures and pop phenomena. This is a tour of the past decade from one of the sharpest and most prolific observers of our unusual times.

City of Crows

Author: Chris Womersley (published by Picador, rrp $33)

A woman’s heart contains all things. Her heart is tender and loving, but it has other elements. It contains fire and intrigue and mighty storms. Shipwreck and all that has ever happened in the world. Murder, if need be…1673. Desperate to save herself and her only surviving child Nicolas from an outbreak of plague, Charlotte Picot flees her tiny village in the French countryside. But when Nicolas is abducted by a troop of slavers, Charlotte resorts to witchcraft and summons assistance in the shape of a malevolent man. She and her companion travel to Paris where they become further entwined in the underground of sorcerers and poisoners – and where each is forced to reassess their ideas of good and evil. Before Charlotte is finished she will wander hell’s halls, trade with a witch and accept a demon’s fealty. Meanwhile, a notorious criminal is unexpectedly released from the prison galleys where he has served a brutal sentence for sacrilege…

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