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A book in the hand
 
   Click through for A SCROLLABLE SELECTION OF NEW RELEASES, all on our shelves (and on our website) now. Order on-line and have the books delivered anywhere you like. 

This week's Book of the Week is Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and apricot cocktails by Sarah Bakewell, a chatty guide to mid-twentieth century Continental philosophy and the intellectuals who touched off social revolution from their café tables. Click through to find out more about this book

The Nelson City Council's Works & Infrastructure Committee will be considering a plan to upgrade Church Street to make it more pedestrian-friendly. Have a look at the concept plan and consider making a submission before the meeting on Thursday 30th March. If you'd like to speak at the meeting let them know


 
 



 
VOLUMES READ
(Just let us know and we'll put copies aside for you)

 
STELLA  







 
The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami
A few years ago, I read Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami. Like the amazing Japanese food described throughout that book, the love story that between Tsukiko and her former teacher is careful, precise and beautiful. Kawakami's most recent novel is The Nakano Thrift Shop. Here the setting is a second-hand shop, one filled with curios, odds and ends, and the occasional antique. Hitomi, a slightly awkward young woman, works as a cashier at the shop. She is fascinated by Takeo, her fellow employee, who drives and collects for Mr Nakano, the shop owner. Mr Nakano is an eccentric character with his past three wives, a mistress, and his joy in getting the best deal when he’s bartering for goods. The other player in this quartet is Nakano’s sister, Mayaso, an unconventional artist, who plays ‘advisor’ to the naïve cashier. Hitomi is obsessed with developing a relationship with Takeo, who initially isn’t interested in anything beyond companionship. While the characters are slightly quirky, this is a novel about the ordinary texture of love and the relationships people form. Kawakami’s gift comes in her ability to slow you down as a reader, to observe and appreciate the obvious, surprising you with subtle nuances that are almost unseen.

 





 

Bruno: Some of the more interesting days in my life so far by Catharina Valckx and Nicolas Hubesch       
I like Bruno. He’s a kind cat with a checkered cap. Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days in my Life So Far is written by Catharina Valckx and illustrated by comic artist Nicolas Hubesch. It’s a funny and charming picture book for junior readers, and a great read-aloud for younger children, too! The drawings are delightful, with plenty to look at in the wonderful street scenes and subtle elements in the pictures that children will like to find. Mostly, it is the characters that will win you over. Bruno is thoughtful, curious and kind, and you’ll enjoy meeting his friends as he takes you through six days – that is six of the more interesting days in his life so far. The day that everything was topsy-turvy, the day it rained and the day the power went out to mention a few. Enjoyable stories about friendship and the small moments in life that can make you smile. Another charmer from Gecko Press.

 




 
THOMAS  
















 
At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and apricot cocktails by Sarah Bakewell  
Not only a chatty and enjoyable introduction to mid-century Continental philosophy from phenomenalism to existentialism and beyond but also a source of anecdotal gossip about the personalities, relationships, foibles, diets, hairstyles and other eccentricities of the group of writers and philosophers clustered either physically or thematically around Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’s Parisian café table (or should that read: Not only a source of anecdotal gossip about the personalities, relationships, foibles, diets, hairstyles and other eccentricities of the group of writers and philosophers clustered either physically or thematically around Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’s Parisian café table but also a chatty and enjoyable introduction to mid-century Continental philosophy from phenomenalism to existentialism and beyond), At the Existentialist Café is pointy-headed enough to satisfy your curiosity about what these thinkers thought and pointy-nosed enough to satisfy your curiosity about how these thinkers lived. Indeed, either integral or coincidental to the existentialist project was the drawing closer of life-as-lived and life-as-thought-about, and Sarah Bakewell manages to pleasantly reassert the importance of whichever half of the equation you may have neglected (with respect to your knowledge of the existentialists, anyway) or to advance both halves for your general education and amusement. She seems to know when to linger in the company of one intellectual so as to grasp the fundamentals of her or his thinking and when to stand up and move on to the table of another, and she demonstrates the ongoing relevance of phenominalist and existentialist approaches to the ordinary lives of ordinary people (who may or may not have realised that they are adopting phenominalist or existentialist approaches). By the time you have read this book you will be on chatting terms with (or at least about) Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger (though you may not wish to sit at his table), Albert Camus, Raymond Aron, Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Karl Jaspers, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others, and you will certainly have enhanced your rating as a conversationalist in whatever café you frequent.
>> This is this week's Book of the Week. Click here for information, links and amusements.  

 
 








 

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
A psychologist, Kelvin, is sent to a station on the ocean-covered planet Solaris to determine whether to terminate the mission because of lack of progress and a high rate of insanity. The station is beset by strange occurrences and appearances, including, eventually, the presence of Kelvin’s dead wife. As the scientists futilely attempt to observe the planet, the sentient planet is seemingly probing their psyches, giving form to their fears and desires. Ultimately, no communication is possible: all interaction with the Other is nothing but reflection, all observation reveals nothing but the observer. Containing passages of weird beauty and compelling philosophical speculation, this science fiction novel makes provocative points about the insularity of our (largely illusionary) realities and the impossibility of experiencing anything beyond ourselves.

>> Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film can be seen here


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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VOLUME · 15 Church Street (Radio House) · PO Box 364 · Nelson, 7010 · New Zealand

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