Staff Recommendations

Anne, Chris & the team give your their favourites & recommended must-reads.

The River of Consciousness

by Oliver Sacks

Advances in neuroscience have revolutionised our ability to visualise the brain in action. For the first time, we are able to close the gap between the philosophical questions which have consumed the world’s thinkers since the eighteenth century and the true physiological basis of perception and consciousness. In The River of Consciousness, Sacks will examine questions of memory, time, and consciousness. How do we think, how do we remember? Is memory reliable? How do the neural correlates of memory differ for true memories and false memories? How do we construct our sense of time, our visual world? What is consciousness, neurologically speaking? And most importantly, what is creativity? (Recommended by Kerry)

FORMAT: paperback | PRICE: $32.99

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Name of the Wind(web)The Name of the Wind

by Patrick Rothfuss

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe.You may have heard of me.’ So begins the tale of Kvothe – currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeeper – from his childhood in a troupe of travelling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin.(Recommended by Aston)

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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Choke(web)Choke

by Sofie Laguna

Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her Pop, a man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop’s chooks and The Choke, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow it seems they might touch – a place of staggering natural beauty. But the river can’t protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal. Justine is overlooked and underestimated, a shy and often silent observer of her chaotic world. She learns that she has to make sense of it on her own. She has to find ways to survive so much neglect. She must hang on to friendship when it comes, she must hide when she has to, and ultimately she must fight back. The Choke is a brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power and violence, in which grown-ups can’t be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature. This compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a society in trouble celebrates above all the indomitable nature of the human spirit. (Recommended by Gabi)

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $32.99

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Sapiens(web)Sapiens

by Yuval Noah Harari

Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.(Recommended by Sam)

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $24.99

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Salt Creek(web)Salt Creek

by Lucy Treloar

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route – among them a young artist, Charles – and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. Stanton’s attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people’s homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri’s subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated? (Recommended by Justine)

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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Rogue male(web)Rogue Male

by Geoffrey Household

An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes.However, England provides no safety from his pursuers – and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter becomes a hunted animal.(Recommended by Kita)

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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Monash and Chauvel

by Roland Perry

John Monash commanded the Australian forces on the Western Front in 1918. With his German Jewish heritage, Monash was an outsider who had risen to his position through his ground-breaking military achievements. He learned the lessons of past failures and devised the tactics that allowed his troops to break through the stalemate of trench warfare in France. In the war against the Ottoman Empire, Harry Chauvel led the 34,000-strong Desert Mounted Column. Chauvel realised he would have to ignore the directives of his British superiors and take the initiative in planning battle tactics himself. By the end of the war, Monash and Chauvel had brought an Australian sensibility to their areas of operation, involving flexibility, innovation and a deep respect for the troops they led. (Recommended by Chris)

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $34.99

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Our Souls at Night

by Kent Haruf

Early one evening in the small town of Holt, widow Addie Moore leaves her house, walks down the road and knocks on the door of Louis Waters. She has a proposition for him. She’s lonely, and she thinks he might be too. She senses Louis, a widower, is a good man and wonders if he would like to spend the nights with her. It’s not a sexual proposition she explains, she just wants to have someone lie next to her, someone she could talk to, maybe confide in. Addie has decided she’s done with living her life by other peoples’ rules and she thinks Louis might feel the same. What unfolds is a tender story of the growing relationship between Addie and Louis. Marriages, parenthood, tragedy and death are all revealed in the nighttime, and during the day, the people of Holt begin to talk. This small elegant novel is one to treasure. (Recommended by Anne)

 

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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Life 3.0

by Max Tegmark

The story of A.I. is the story of intelligence – of life processes as they evolve from bacteria (1.0) to humans (2.0), where life processes define their own software, to technology (3.0), where life processes design both their hardware and software. We know that A.I. is transforming work, laws, and weapons as well as the dark side of computing: hacking and viral sabotage. It raises questions that we all need to address: what jobs should be automated? How should our legal systems handle autonomous systems? How likely is the emergence of suprahuman intelligence? Is it possible to control suprahuman intelligence? How do we ensure that the uses of A.I. remain beneficial? (Recommended by Casey)

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $45

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