The Eyes Are The Best Part

Monika Kim     Recommended by Staff    

THE EYES ARE THE BEST PART is an outstanding debut, a feminist horror novel that tackles big social issues and also delivers the gory origin story of a female serial killer.’ – NEW YORK TIMES


This literary feminist howl-of-a-debut is going to crawl right under your skin…

Ji-won’s life is in disarray. Her father’s affair has ripped her family to shreds, leaving her to piece their crappy lives back together.

So, when her mother’s obnoxious new white boyfriend enters the scene, bragging about his flawed knowledge of Korean culture and ogling Asian waitresses in restaurants, Ji-won’s hold over her emotions strains. As he gawks at her and her sister around their claustrophobic apartment, Ji-won becomes more and more obsessed with his brilliant blue eyeballs.

As her fixation and rage grow, Ji-won decides that she must do the one thing that will save her family… and also curb her cravings.

Whalefall

Daniel Kraus     Recommended by Staff    

Jay Gardiner has given himself a fool’s errand—to find the remains of his deceased father in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Monastery Beach. He knows it’s a long shot, but Jay feels it’s the only way for him to lift the weight of guilt he has carried since his dad’s death by suicide the previous year.

The dive begins well enough, but the sudden appearance of a giant squid puts Jay in very real jeopardy, made infinitely worse by the arrival of a sperm whale looking to feed. Suddenly, Jay is caught in the squid’s tentacles and drawn into the whale’s mouth where he is pulled into the first of its four stomachs. He quickly realizes he has only one hour before his oxygen tanks run out—one hour to defeat his demons and escape the belly of a whale.

Refugia

Elfie Shiosaki     Recommended by Staff    

‘in ember and ash / the heart of the Noongar Nation beats buried…’

Refugia is an unparalleled work of vision and political fury from Noongar and Yawuru poet and scholar Elfie Shiosaki. Inspired by the beeliar (Swan River) and the NASA James Webb Space Telescope’s first year of science, this collection draws on colonial archives to contest the occupation of Noongar Country.

As the bicentennial year of the colony of Western Australia approaches, Shiosaki looks to the stars and back to the earth to make sense of memory and the afterlife of imperial violence.

The Spellshop

Sarah Beth Durst     Recommended by Staff    

Every home needs a little magic

Kiela has always had trouble dealing with people, and as librarian at the Great Library of Alyssium, she hasn’t had to. She and her assistant, Caz, a sentient spider plant, have spent most of the last eleven years sequestered among the empire’s precious spellbooks, protecting the magic for the city’s elite. But a revolution is brewing and when the library goes up in flames, Kiela and Caz steal whatever books they can and flee to the faraway island where she grew up. But to her dismay, in addition to a nosy – and very handsome – neighbour, she finds the town in disarray. The empire has slowly been draining power from the island, and now Kiela is determined to make things right. But opening up her own spellshop comes with its own risks – the consequence of sharing magic with commoners is death. And as Kiela starts to make a place for herself among the townspeople, she realizes she must break down the walls she has kept so high…

From award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst, The Spellshop is a cosy fantasy following a woman’s unexpected journey through the low-stakes market of illegal spell-selling and the high-risk business of starting over.

The Door

Magda Szabó     Recommended by Brock, Joe, & Luka    

Joe, Brock, & Luka all thoroughly enjoyed this strange and brilliant Hungarian novel. Originally published in 1987, it was not translated into English until 1995.

The Door is a tense domestic portrait of the relationship between a Hungarian writer and her housekeeper. “While it’s not strictly a thriller, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time,” says Luka. The narrative blossoms from the larger-than-life personality of Emerence, the steadfast and mysterious housekeeper. Emerence’s relationship to the protagonist is an emotional rollercoaster – devoted, dutiful, suspicious, utterly bizarre. At the centre of the mystery is the door to Emerence’s flat: closed to all, behind which her most potent secrets lay. As their relationship deepens, the writer is driven almost to total undoing by their growing dependence on one another. It all begins with the writer’s dark confession: that she has killed Emerence.

The Architecture of Iwan Iwanoff

Warren Andersen     Recommended by Staff    

THE ARCHITECTURE OF IWAN IWANOFF book is a comprehensive review of houses, commercial buildings, apartments, and shop fitouts from 1950 to 1986.

Iwanoff unified international modernism, Besser block relief, and innovation with material use and construction to create a unique aesthetic putting Perth, Western Australia onto the global architecture map. Including historical photography, drawings, furniture, lost structures, and unbuilt projects, this book provides a new perspective and authoritative resource.

Underpinned by five years of research in university archives in Australia, Germany, and Bulgaria, it examines Iwanoff’s legacy through recollections f his sons, Michael and Nicolai Iwanoff, professional architects, artists, contractors, and house owners.

‘One of the most exciting things was documenting all of the houses, some of which have never been open to the public. So you can look at bespoke woodwork, furniture and cabinets which are part of the whole package, not just the exteriors – Warren Andersen.’

This book takes the reader on a fresh journey through three decades of Iwanoff’s design innovation and influences from California moderne, geometric besser block, to Italian sculptural abstraction with a feast of biographical details and archive imagery.

Private Rites

Julia Armfield     Recommended by Staff    

From the bestselling author of Our Wives Under the Sea, a haunting, heart wrenching novel of three sisters navigating queer love and faith at the end of the world.


There’s no way to bury a body in earth which is flooded. It is a fact consigned to history along with almost everything else.

It’s been raining for a long time now, for so long that the lands have reshaped themselves. Old places have been lost. Arcane rituals and religions have crept back into practice.

Sisters Isla, Irene and Agnes have not spoken in some time when their estranged father dies. A famous architect revered for making the new world navigable, he had long cut himself off from public life. They find themselves uncertain of how to grieve his passing when everything around them seems to be ending anyway.

As the sisters come together to clear the grand glass house that is the pinnacle of his legacy, they begin to sense that the magnetic influence of their father lives on through it. Something sinister seems to be unfolding, something related to their mother’s long-ago disappearance and the strangers who have always been unusually interested in their lives. Soon, it becomes clear that the sisters have been chosen for a very particular purpose, one with shattering implications for their family and their imperilled world.

Photography: A Queer History

Flora Dunster and Theo Gordon     Recommended by Staff    

How has photography advanced fights against LGBTQ+ discrimination? How have artists used photography to develop a queer aesthetic? How has the production and circulation of photography served to satisfy the queer desire for images, and created transnational solidarities?

Photography – A Queer History includes the work of 84 artists. It spans different historical and national contexts, and through a mix of thematic essays and artist-centred texts brings young photographers into conversation with canonical images.

Navola

Paolo Bacigalupi     Recommended by Staff    

‘Steeped in poison, betrayal, and debauchery, reading Navola is like slipping into a luxurious bath full of blood.’ – Holly Black

Navola is a city built on trade. Its palazzos and towers are conjured from its merchant wealth – barley and rice, flax and wool, iron and silver, arms, armies, lives and kingdoms are all traded here. And presiding over it all, the Regulai bank.

By guile, force of arms and the cast-iron might of their money and promises, in just three generations the Regulai family have risen far from their humble origins – merchants beg their backing, artists their patronage, princes an invitation to dine at their table. The Regulai say they are not political, but their wealth buys cities and topples kingdoms.

Soon, Davico di Regulai will take the reins of power. But the boy is not well-suited for his role. His heart is soft where it should be hard. He is credulous when he should be suspicious. He is tired of being tested and trained to inherit a legacy he is not sure he wants.

But Davico is inextricably tangled in fate’s net and his doubts can only summon ruin. In the shade of Navola’s colonnaded porticoes, his family’s enemies gather and plot. In the shadows of its deep catacombs, assassins sharpen their stiletto knives. In the kingdoms of Cerulean Peninsula, princes and despots muster their armies.

Davico’s only hope rests in the heart of a girl whose own family was destroyed by the Regulai, and in a crystalline orb the size of a human head, said to be the eye of a long-dead dragon.

Bite Your Friends: Stories of the Body Militant

Fernanda Eberstadt     Recommended by Staff    

I bite my friends to heal them. – Diogenes, c. 350 BC

The example of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who lived “a dog’s life,” sleeping, teaching, having sex in the public square, sets the tone for this extraordinary, genre-bending memoir. Posing crucial questions about what drives certain individuals to risk physical suffering in the name of freedom, Bite Your Friends also asks what we ourselves might learn from such examples to become braver, more authentic individuals.

From a Roman amphitheatre in the 4th century, where martyrs are fed to wild beasts, to the S&M leather bars of New York in the 1970s and the programmatic defiance of groups like Pussy Riot, this sinuous and illuminating mix of memoir and social history explores the lives of uncommonly brave men and women-saints, philosophers, artists-who have used their own wounded or stigmatized bodies to challenge society’s mores and entrenched power structures. Running through her narrative of the body militant is Eberstadt’s own story, the life of her father, the photographer Frederick Eberstadt, and the vivid story of her mother, a New York writer and socialite of the 1960s, whose illness-scarred body first led Eberstadt to seek connections between beauty, belief, and the truths taught through the body.

Bite Your Friends is at once a subversive autobiography and a mesmerizing history of the body as a site of resistance to power.

Join the mailing list Sign up for the latest news, releases & specials.