Block of Books
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  • DANTES DIVINE COMEDY
    DANTES DIVINE COMEDY
    THOMSON IAN
    ISBN: 9781789548778
    Title: DANTES DIVINE COMEDY
    Author: THOMSON IAN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: May 2021 New Release

    A biography of the great epic poem.

    A TLS Book of the Year. 'Erudite and urgent, Ian Thomson's Dante's Divine Comedy is another book that everyone ought to read' Spectator . 'Succinct but wide-ranging, Ian Thomson's richly illustrated exploration of Dante's masterpiece is ... fun ... ingenious ... fascinating' Observer . 'A book worth savouring as a chunky, chatty, richly illustrated guide that brings Dante and his world within our reach' Evening Standard . A lively and wide-ranging exploration of a literary masterwork and its influence on writers, poets, artists and film-makers up to our own time. Dante has no equal as he sings of other-worldly horror and celestial beatitude alike. Yet for all our distance from medieval theology, the Florentine poet's allegorical journey through hell, purgatory and paradise remains one of the essential works of world literature. At least fifty English language versions of the Inferno – the first part of Dante's poem – appeared in the twentieth century alone. If Dante's Divine Comedy speaks to our present condition, it is because it tells the story of Everyman who sets out in search of salvation in this world. Dante composed his great poem in the spoken Italian of his time. He wrote about suffering bodies and human weakness, and about divine ecstasy, in words that have resonated with readers and writers for the last seven hundred years.

    Imprint: Harper Collins
    RRP: $29.99
    Price: $29.99
  • DARK ARCHIVES
    DARK ARCHIVES
    ROSENBLOOM MEGAN
    ISBN: 9780374134709
    Title: DARK ARCHIVES
    Author: ROSENBLOOM MEGAN
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: NOT YET PUBLISHED NO DTE

    There are books out there, some shelved unwittingly next to ordinary texts, that are bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand? In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom, a medical librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind this anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world’s most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories? Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, mental patients, beautiful women, and indigents whose lives are bound together in this rare, scattered, and disquieting collection. It also tells the story of the scientists, curators, and librarians like Rosenbloom—interested in the full complicated histories behind these dark artifacts of nineteenth-century medicine—are developing tests to discover these books and sorting through the ethics of custodianship. A whip-smart and witty writer, Rosenbloom has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity. Thrilling, captivating, and macabre in all the right ways, Dark Archives encourages us to take another look at the very serious ways in which the powerful have objectified people over time—perfect for fans of Mary Roach, Lindsey Fitzharris, and the art of collecting.

    Imprint: Farrar Straus and Giiroux
    RRP: $44.99

    Price: $44.99
  • DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS DEFINITIVE EDITION
    DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS DEFINITIVE EDITION
    CIRLOT JUAN EDUARDO
    ISBN: 9781681371979
    Title: DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS DEFINITIVE EDITION
    Author: CIRLOT JUAN EDUARDO
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    From the Egyptians on, no form of learning was more vital to the ancient world than the knowledge of symbols, and it was no less important to the civilizations of the Orient, even into modern times. In the Occident, thinking about symbols shaped the great art of the medieval age, and, to a very large extent, the new developments of the renaissance and the baroque, before gaining a distinctly new importance with the discovery of the "unconscious" in the twentieth century. The poet and art critic Juan Eduardo Cirlot's Dictionary of Symbols first came out in 1958; soon translated into English, it has since proved an indispensable and endlessly stimulating resource for scholars and students of fields from art to literature to psychology to philosophy. Whether discussing the nature of the Mandala, the symbolic dimensions of the cow, heron, hippopotamus, or planet Saturn, Cirlot's book is an unrivaled source of information, instruction, inspiration, and simple pleasure. This new, expanded edition of the Dictionary includes new entries as well as an epilogue by Cirlot's daughter Victoria discussing her father's poetry and work as an art critic and its close connection to Surrealism.

    Imprint: NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
    RRP: $42.99

    Price: $42.99
  • DICTIONARY OF THE UNDOING
    DICTIONARY OF THE UNDOING
    FREEMAN JOHN
    ISBN: 9781472154774
    Title: DICTIONARY OF THE UNDOING
    Author: FREEMAN JOHN
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    For John Freeman - literary critic, essayist, editor, poet and 'one of the preeminent book people of our time' (Dave Eggers) - it is a rare moment when words are not enough. But in the wake of the election of 2016, words felt useless, even indulgent. Action was the only reasonable response. He took to the streets in protest, and the sense of community and collective conviction felt right. But the assaults continued - on citizens' rights and long-held compacts, on the core principles of our culture and civilization, and on our language itself. Words seemed to be losing the meanings they once had and Freeman was compelled to return to their defense. The result is his DICTIONARY OF THE UNDOING.

    From A to Z, 'Agitate' to 'Zygote,' Freeman assembled the words that felt most essential, most potent, and began to build a case for their renewed power and authority, each word building on the last. The message that emerged was not to retreat behind books, but to emphatically engage in the public sphere, to redefine what it means to be a literary citizen.

    With an afterword by Valeria Luiselli, DICTIONARY OF THE UNDOING is a necessary, resounding cri de coeur in defense of language, meaning, and our ability to imagine, describe, and build a better world.

    Imprint: CORSAIR
    RRP: $32.99

    Price: $32.99
  • DRAFT NO 4 : On the Writing Process
    DRAFT NO 4 : On the Writing Process
    MCPHEE JOHN
    ISBN: 9781925603651
    Title: DRAFT NO 4 : On the Writing Process
    Author: MCPHEE JOHN
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    The long-awaited guide to writing long-form non-fiction by the legendary author and teacher.

    In Draft No. 4 John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his long career, and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most highly regarded writers of our time. He discusses structure, diction and tone, observing that ‘readers are not supposed to notice the structure. It is meant to be about as visible as someone’s bones’.

    This book is a vivid depiction of the writing process, enriched by personal reflections on the life of a writer. Everything in this luminous book is enlivened by McPhee’s keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world.

    Imprint: Text Publishing
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
  • DREYERS ENGLISH : An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
    DREYERS ENGLISH : An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
    DREYER BENJAMIN
    ISBN: 9781787464131
    Title: DREYERS ENGLISH : An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
    Author: DREYER BENJAMIN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'An utterly delightful book to read, Dreyer's English will stand among the classics on how to use the English language properly.' ELIZABETH STROUT

    'A complete joy. For those who care about words - and for those who don't - Dreyer's English is the book we have all been waiting for. Wise, funny, no-nonsense, stylish and brilliantly practical. Ditch the beach books this year; take this instead.' RACHEL JOYCE
    _______________________

    An indispensable, New York Times-bestselling guide to the craft of writing from Random House's long-time copy chief and one of Twitter's leading language gurus.

    We all write, all the time- books, blogs, tweets, emails, emails, emails - and we all want to write better. Benjamin Dreyer is here to help.

    As Random House's copy chief, Dreyer has upheld the standards of the legendary publisher for more than two decades. He is beloved by authors and editors alike - not to mention his followers on social media - for playfully, brilliantly deconstructing the English language. Dreyer's English is the distillation of everything he has learned from copyediting thousands of books, the perfect guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best prose foot forward.

    Both authoritative and amusing, Dreyer's English offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en-dash; the rules and non-rules of grammar, including why it's OK to begin a sentence with 'And' or 'But' and to confidently split an infinitive; and why it's best to avoid the doldrums of the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers, including 'very', 'rather', 'of course', and the dreaded 'actually'.

    And yes- 'Only godless savages eschew the Oxford comma.'

    Stuffed with advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts, this book will prove to be invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people's prose, and - perhaps best of all - an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language.
    _______________________

    This book is written in British English.

    _______________________
    'A fascinating guide to grammatical "rights" and "wrongs" - practical and useful' SUNDAY TIMES

    'Benjamin Dreyer's brilliant, pithy, incandescently intelligent book is to contemporary writing what Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry was to medieval English- a gift that broadens and deepens the art and the science of literature by illustrating that convention should not stand in the way of creativity, so long as that creativity is expressed with clarity and with conviction.' JON MEACHAM

    'Meet the guardian of grammar who wants to help you be a better writer. Benjamin Dreyer sees language the way an epicure sees food. And he finds sloppiness everywhere he looks.' THE NEW YORK TIMES

    'A fascinating guide to grammatical 'rights' and 'wrongs' - practical and useful' SEBASTIAN FAULKS, SUNDAY TIMES

    'If learning about the pillars of punctuation and grammar doesn't excite you, let Benjamin Dreyer change your mind ... he analyzes the English language without dipping into the drab technicalities, crafting a pleasing read for anyone who has an appreciation for the written word.' TIME MAGAZINE, BEST 10 NON-FICTION BOOKS OF 2019

    'Witty and piquant ... full of jokes - and equally full of deliciously deprecating footnotes.' JEWISH CHRONICLE

    'Playful, smart, self-conscious, and personal . . . One encounters wisdom and good sense on nearly every page of Dreyer's English.' WALL STREET JOURNAL

    'Destined to become a classic.' THE MILLIONS

    'A mind-blower--sure to jumpstart any writing project, just by exposing you, the writer, to Dreyer's astonishing level of sentence-awareness.' GEORGE SAUNDERS, author of Lincoln in the Bardo

    'Pleasurable and instructive ... You can read Dreyer's English right through with unalloyed enjoyment, and learn a lot from it- not only from its rulings but from its attitude ... Benjamin Dreyer is wise and bitterly experienced and fantastically good company. You should buy his book and read it.' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

    'Dreyer can help you . . . with tips on punctuation and spelling. . . . Even better- He'll entertain you while he's at it.' NEWSDAY

    'Boisterously well written ... I recommend it highly.' INDEPENDENT

    'It is Benjamin Dreyer's intense love for the English language and his passion for the subject that make the experience of reading Dreyer's English such a pleasure, almost regardless of the invaluable and practical purpose his book serves in such dark and confusing times for grammar and meaning.' AYELET WALDMAN & MICHAEL CHABON

    'An informative and entertaining handbook on how to write clearer English. It's pithy, witty and a near perfect example of the kind of writing it advocates' STING

    'Dreyer promises to reveal "some of the fancy little tricks I've come across or devised that can make even skilled writing better", and does so with accuracy, style, and humour' GUARDIAN

    'This work is that rare writing handbook that writers might actually want to read straight through, rather than simply consult.' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

    Imprint: ARROW
    RRP: $19.99

    Price: $19.99
  • DUCKLING
    DUCKLING
    SHAMSIE KAMILA
    ISBN: 9781784876319
    Title: DUCKLING
    Author: SHAMSIE KAMILA
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Kamila Shamsie retells 'The Ugly Duckling'. A Fairy Tale Revolution is here to remix and revive our favourite stories.

    'A duck unlike other ducks. A raincloud-duck, with the heart of a lion, who struck out into the world on her own...'

    On the farm, some eggs are hatching. A flock of sweet ducklings are popping out. But one duckling looks different from all the others...

    Cast out and all alone, this odd duckling will need all her bravery and curiosity to survive. Her journey is a search for belonging, but what she finds is the right to be different.

    Imprint: Vintage
    RRP: $27.99

    Price: $27.99
  • EMIGRES : French Words That Turned English
    EMIGRES : French Words That Turned English
    SCHOLAR RICHARD
    ISBN: 9780691218854
    Title: EMIGRES : French Words That Turned English
    Author: SCHOLAR RICHARD
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    English has borrowed more words from French than from any other modern foreign language. French words and phrases-such as a la mode, ennui, naivete and caprice-lend English a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that would otherwise elude the language. Richard Scholar examines the continuing history of untranslated French words in English and asks what these words reveal about the fertile but fraught relationship that England and France have long shared and that now entangles English- and French-speaking cultures all over the world.

    Emigres demonstrates that French borrowings have, over the centuries, 'turned' English in more ways than one. From the seventeenth-century polymath John Evelyn's complaint that English lacks 'words that do so fully express' the French ennui and naivete, to George W. Bush's purported claim that 'the French don't have a word for entrepreneur,' this unique history of English argues that French words have offered more than the mere seasoning of the occasional mot juste. They have established themselves as 'creolizing keywords' that both connect English speakers to-and separate them from-French. Moving from the realms of opera to ice cream, the book shows how migrant French words are never the same again for having ventured abroad, and how they complete English by reminding us that it is fundamentally incomplete. At a moment of resurgent nationalism in the English-speaking world, Emigres invites native Anglophone readers to consider how much we owe the French language and why so many of us remain ambivalent about the migrants in our midst.

    Imprint: REAKTION BOOKS
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
  • EX LIBRIS : 100+ Books to Read and Reread
    EX LIBRIS : 100+ Books to Read and Reread
    KAKUTANI MICHIKO
    ISBN: 9780008421953
    Title: EX LIBRIS : 100+ Books to Read and Reread
    Author: KAKUTANI MICHIKO
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    From 'the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world' (Vanity Fair) comes an inspiring and beautifully illustrated selection of the life-changing books that none of us should miss

    'Why do we love books so much?'

    For legendary literary critic Michiko Kakutani, books have always been an escape and a sanctuary, the characters of some novels feeling so real to her childhood self that she worried they might leap out of the pages at night if she left the book cover open. In Ex Libris, she offers a personal selection of over 100 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with passionate essays on why each has had a profound effect on her life.

    From Homer's The Odyssey to The Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, Ex Libris covers a rich and vast range of classics, old and new, that will help build a well-rounded reader and citizen of the world. With gorgeous illustrations by lettering artist Dana Tanamachi that evoke vintage bookplates leafed between Kakutani's inspiring essays, Ex Libris points us to our next great read - and proves an unmissable reminder of why we fell in love with reading in the first place.

    Imprint: William Collins
    RRP: $34.99

    Price: $34.99
  • FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA 9TH EDITION
    FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA 9TH EDITION
    PIZZEY GRAHAM / KNIGHT FRANK
    ISBN: 9780732291938
    Title: FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA 9TH EDITION
    Author: PIZZEY GRAHAM / KNIGHT FRANK
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The definitive and most respected guide to Australian bird identification and a must for both experts and amateurs. First published in 1980, Graham Pizzey's field guide combines a depth and breadth of knowledge with beautiful, full-colour illustrations by Frank Knight. This 9th edition is even more user-friendly than the 8th edition. The species entries are ordered as per the new taxonomic order of C&B 2008 and the guide is more suitable to be used as a quick reference due to the inclusion of associated colour-tabs. It has also been brought up-to-date with the inclusion of a number of new species, encompassing significantly more Vagrants (very occasional visitors to Australia, mostly storm assisted) which will have their own discrete Vagrants section at the back of the book. It also contains a longer Quick Reference Guide than the 8th edition, spanning over a few pages, with presenting images alongside the species group names.

    Imprint: Harper Collins
    RRP: $45.00
    Price: $45.00
  • FIRST YOU WRITE A SENTENCE
    FIRST YOU WRITE A SENTENCE
    MORAN JOE
    ISBN: 9780241978511
    Title: FIRST YOU WRITE A SENTENCE
    Author: MORAN JOE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The sentence is the common ground where every writer walks. A poet writes in sentences, but so does the unsung author who came up with Items trapped in doors cause delays. A good sentence can be written (and read) by anyone if we simply give it the gift of our time.

    Enter widely-acclaimed author Professor Joe Moran. Using minimal technical terms, First You Write a Sentence is his unpedantic but authoritative explanation of how the most ordinary words can be turned into verbal constellations of extraordinary grace. Using sources ranging from the Bible and Shakespeare to George Orwell and Maggie Nelson, and scientific studies of what can best fire the reader's mind, he shows how we can all write in a way that is clear, compelling and alive. Along the way he reveals how good writing can help us notice the world, make ourselves known to others and live more meaningful lives. It's an elegant gem in praise of the English sentence.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
  • GIFTS OF READING : Essays on the Joys of Reading Giving and Receiving Books
    GIFTS OF READING : Essays on the Joys of Reading Giving and Receiving Books
    ORCHARD JENNIE [ED]
    ISBN: 9781474615686
    Title: GIFTS OF READING : Essays on the Joys of Reading Giving and Receiving Books
    Author: ORCHARD JENNIE [ED]
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'This story, like so many stories, begins with a gift. The gift, like so many gifts, was a book...' So begins the essay by Robert Macfarlane that inspired this collection.

    In this cornucopia of an anthology, you will find essays by some of the world's most beloved novelists, nonfiction writers, essayists and poets.

    'You will see books taking flight in flocks, migrating around the world, landing in people's hearts and changing them for a day or a year or a lifetime.

    'You will see books sparking wonder or anger; throwing open windows into other languages, other cultures, other minds; causing people to fall in love or to fight for what is right.

    'And more than anything, over and over again, you will see books and words being given, received and read - and in turn prompting further generosity.'

    Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of global literacy non-profit, Room to Read, The Gifts of Reading forms inspiring, unforgettable, irresistible proof of the power and necessity of books and reading.

    Inspired by Robert Macfarlane

    Curated by Jennie Orchard

    With contributions by: William Boyd, Candice Carty-Williams, Imtiaz Dharker, Roddy Doyle, Pico Iyer, Andy Miller, Jackie Morris, Jan Morris, Sisonke Msimang, Dina Nayeri, Chigozie Obioma, Michael Ondaatje, David Pilling

    Max Porter, Philip Pullman, Alice Pung, Jancis Robinson, S.F.Said, Madeleine Thien, Salley Vickers, John Wood and Markus Zusak

    Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    RRP: $32.99
    Price: $32.99
  • GREEK TO ME : Adventures of the Comma Queen
    GREEK TO ME : Adventures of the Comma Queen
    NORRIS MARY
    ISBN: 9781922268723
    Title: GREEK TO ME : Adventures of the Comma Queen
    Author: NORRIS MARY
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The Comma Queen returns with a buoyant book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea.

    In her New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, Mary Norris delighted readers with her irreverent tales of pencils and punctuation in the New Yorker's celebrated copy department. In Greek to Me, she delivers another wise and funny paean to the art of self-expression, this time filtered through her greatest passion- all things Greek.

    Greek to Me is a charming account of Norris's lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, goes searching for the fabled Baths of Aphrodite, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris's memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine-and more than a few Greek men-Greek to Me is the Comma Queen's fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.

    Imprint: Text Publishing
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
  • GUARDED BY DRAGONS
    GUARDED BY DRAGONS
    GEKOSKI RICK
    ISBN: 9781408715413
    Title: GUARDED BY DRAGONS
    Author: GEKOSKI RICK
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: July 2021 New Release

    Rick Gekoski has been traversing the rocky terrain of the rare book trade for over fifty years. The treasure he seeks is scarce, carefully buried and often jealously guarded, knowledge of its hiding place shared through word of mouth like the myths of old.

    In Guarded by Dragons, Gekoski invites readers into this enchanted world as he reflects on the gems he has unearthed throughout his career. He takes us back to where his love of collecting began - perusing D.H. Lawrence first editions in a slightly suspect Birmingham carpark. What follows are dizzying encounters with literary giants as Gekoski publishes William Golding, plays ping-pong with Salman Rushdie and lunches with Graham Greene. A brilliant stroke of luck sees Sylvia Plath's personal copy of The Great Gatsby fall into Gekoski's lap, only for him to discover the perils of upsetting a Poet Laureate when Ted Hughes demands its return.

    Hunting for literary treasure is not without its battles and Gekoski boldly breaks the cardinal rule never to engage in a lawsuit with someone much richer than yourself, while also guarding his bookshop from the most unlikely of thieves. The result is an unparalleled insight into an almost mythical world where priceless first editions of Ulysses can vanish, and billionaires will spend as much gold as it takes to own the manuscript of J.K. Rowling's Tales of Beedle the Bard.

    Engaging, funny and shrewd, Guarded by Dragons is a fascinating discussion on value and worth. At the same time, Gekoski artfully reveals how a manuscript can tell a thousand stories.

    Imprint: Hachette Publishers
    RRP: $32.99
    Price: $32.99
  • HANSEL AND GRETA
    HANSEL AND GRETA
    WINTERSON JANETTE
    ISBN: 9781784876333
    Title: HANSEL AND GRETA
    Author: WINTERSON JANETTE
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A retelling of 'Hansel and Gretel' from A Fairy Tale Revolution, a series designed to remix and revive our favourite stories



    Imprint: Vintage
    RRP: $27.99

    Price: $27.99
  • HISTORY OF WRITING
    HISTORY OF WRITING
    FISCHER STEVEN ROGER
    ISBN: 9781789143492
    Title: HISTORY OF WRITING
    Author: FISCHER STEVEN ROGER
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: PUBLICATION DELAYED

    From the earliest scratches on stone and bone to the languages of computers and the internet, A History of Writing offers an investigation into the origin and development of writing throughout the world.

    Illustrated with numerous examples, this book offers a global overview in a format that everyone can follow. Steven Roger Fischer also reveals his own discoveries made since the early 1980s, making it a useful reference for students and specialists as well as a delightful read for lovers of the written word everywhere.

    Imprint: REAKTION BOOKS
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
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