Our selection of new books and recommendations in Culture and Ideas, for curious eyes and questioning minds, seeking to understanding our present moment.
This list was selected by: Simon (Tate Modern & Tate Britain).
A perfect, mellow and thoughtful read this one. Fine company for lockdown. If you are missing hanging out and having those odd, meandering conversations about everything and nothing, or even just missing the possibility of doing that, thats basically what this book provides in haagen dazsian scoopfulls - a mash up of Pagel’s personal experiences, her research, and her observations that tease out connections between the visual and the invisible. She’s an Everyday magic seeker. A stream of random, enigmatic tales about a housemate that borrowed a car then disappeared, a football coach who faked his own death, a great piece on photography in Chicago, and a history of ‘sane hallucinations’ in the late 19th century. Much like our lockdown days, this book drifts, pauses, considers little everyday incidents and investigates seemingly ordinary things. Nothing is mundane or dull if you stay open and let it it in.
Eula Biss£15.99 £14.87
Mark Fisher£12.99 £12.08
When we try to understand what is happening in the world, it can all seem such a muddled and cloudy picture. Then along came the unique and gifted Mark Fisher, who was able to look around at culture, music, politics and society as if looking through glass, then write about it with clarity, insight and wit. Fisher is tragically lost to us now, but his work endures and is of far greater value than the price of this book!
Mark Taylor, Orian Brook, et al.£11.99
Using the first large-scale study of social mobility into cultural and creative jobs, this book shows how creative sector damages us all by reinforcing the structural inequalities that it believes it tears down. The 'Creative Class' is made up of the most privileged people in society, and always has been. The book is a compelling call to radically transform this system, and ensure the people involved are focussed on the mission.
Linda Nochlin£9.99 £9.29
Where the human and the non-human overlap, and why these fragile relationships may be the most important connections we have.
Stephanie LaCava£12.99 £12.08
A dark, comic novel about female friendship and the entangled relationship between the counterculture and the art industry.
Jorge Carrion£12.99 £12.08
Against Amazon and Other Essays explores the increasing pressures of Amazon and other new technologies on bookshops and libraries. In essays on these vital social, cultural, and intellectual spaces, Jorge Carrión travels from London to Geneva, from Miami’s Little Havana to Argentina, from his own well-loved childhood library to the rosewood shelves of Jules Verne’s Nautilus and the innovative spaces that characterize South Korea’s bookshop renaissance. Including interviews with writers and librarians―including Alberto Manguel, Iain Sinclair, Luigi Amara, and Han Kang, among others―Against Amazon is equal parts a celebration of books and bookshops, an autobiography of a reader, a travelogue, a love letter―and, most urgently, a manifesto against the corrosive influence of late capitalism.
A. Kendra Greene£14.99 £13.94
Iceland has 330 thousand inhabitants and over 260 museums. That's a museum for every 1,200 people. Sounds ideal. Many of them were started as bets, or jokes, or are created from very unlikely collections. There is a Museum of Icelandic wonders which covers elves, ghosts and trolls, a volcano museum, a sea monster museum, a herring museum, a witchcraft & sorcery museum, a house full of stones and of course, The Phallological Museum in Rekjavik which is dedicated to the penis. My favourite of all is the museum of curious items washed up on a particular beach, where the curator is credited as 'The Sea'. Artist and writer A. Kendra Greene visited them all then created this wonderful portrayal of Icelanders and a culture of esoteric collecting.
Julia Bell£6.00 £5.58
It's time to pay attention to our distractions. In today's online economy, attention has been commodified. We exchange our attention for information and entertainment, but at what cost? Julia Bell's essay glows with insights and offers pathways to reclaim our attention.
So Mayer£6.00 £5.58
In an era where identity politics is being weaponised against the very people it sought to make visible, how can we reclaim complexity? Drawing on work from South African artist Zanele Muholi, dissident sexologist Magnus Hirschfield, and the queer cinema work of Pedro Almodovar and Sergei Eisenstein, this excellent short book examines how artists can create new forms of resistance and routes to hope.
Joy White£10.99 £10.22
An uncompromising wake-up call. Joy White tells uncomfortable truths and blows apart our understanding of racism, crime and policing in our inner-cities.
Celebrating the work of thirty-one leading working class writers in Britain. Featuring writing, lyrics and images from Wiley, Maxine Peake, Riz Ahmed and many more. Packed with insights, advice and motivation from those who made it through the door but didn't forget to hold it open for others.
Lynne Tillman£12.99 £12.08
This kaleidoscopic novel by Lynne Tillman is a very contemporary take on art, memory, photography, culture and the politics gender.
Larry Mitchell and Ned Asta£12.99 £12.08
The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions is a beloved queer utopian text written by Larry Mitchell with illustrations by Ned Asta, originally published by Calamus Press in 1977. Part-fable, part-manifesto, the book takes place in Ramrod, an empire in decline, and introduces us to the communities of the faggots, the women, the queens, the queer men, and the women who love women who are surviving the ways and world of men. Cherished by many over the four decades since its publication, The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions offers a trenchant critique of capitalism, assimilation, and patriarchy that is deeply relevant today. This new edition features essays from performance artist Morgan Bassichis.
Lola Olufemi£9.99 £9.29
An outstanding book that reclaims feminism from consumerism and commodification and shows that the struggle for gendered liberation is a struggle for justice that can transform the world for everyone.
Lezlie Lowe£9.99 £9.29
To understand cities, societies and equity, examine the public toilets. A set of eye-opening stories emerge about access and exclusion, gender and politics.
Lily Cole£20.00 £18.60
Exploring fast fashion, fast food, gender equality and renewable energy, Lily Cole has been interviewing people around the world who are working on solutions to our biggest challenges. A beacon of hope and a call for optimism and focus to make change.
David Farrier£16.98 £15.79
A profound meditation on climate change and what the world will look like in ten thousand, or ten million years time. By travelling forward and looking at the fossils of the future, we can better understand what is happening in the world today.
How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division: From the Booker shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
Elif Shafak£4.99 £4.64
We were already in an age of contagious anxiety before Covid-19, now we are even more likely to be overwhelmed by the events around us, by injustice, by suffering, and by an endless feeling of crisis. How can we nurture the parts of ourselves that hope, trust and believe in something better? Highly recommended book from the Booker-Prize nominated novelist Elif Shafak.
Aaron Benanav£12.99 £12.08
Does the much-discussed rise of the robots really explain the jobs crisis that awaits us on the other side of the coronavirus? In Automation and the Future of Work, Aaron Benanav uncovers the structural economic trends that will shape our working lives far into the future. What social movements, he asks, are required to propel us into post-scarcity, if technological innovation alone can't deliver it?
Ursula Le Guin and Lee Bul£4.99 £4.64
What if technology was a bag, to carry culture and ideas in, rather than a weapon of domination? Le Guin's classic essay is republished here with an introduction by Donna Haraway, and it's no exaggeration to say this will open you up to the possibilities of human experience, knowledge and seeing the world anew.
Chatzidakis, Rottenberg, et al.£8.99 £8.36
In the wake of Covid-19, the need to acknowledge our mutual interdependence and vulnerabilities is more urgent than ever. The authors of the Care Manifesto propose a new kinship through 'promiscuous care', the construction of communities an co-operative practices. Place care everywhere!
Grace Blakeley£8.99 £8.36
In The Corona Crash, leading economics commentator Grace Blakeley theorises about the epoch-making changes that the coronavirus brings in its wake. We are living through a unique moment in history. The pandemic has caused the deepest global recession since the Second World War. Meanwhile the human cost is reflected in a still-rising death toll, as many states find themselves unable and some unwilling to grapple with the effects of the virus. Whatever happens, we can never go back to business as usual.
Matthew Ingram£14.99 £13.94
The counterculture of the Sixties and the Seventies and it's influence on health and wellness is explored in this illuminating cultural history. Matthew Ingram connects the dots between the beats, yoga, meditation, psychedelics, psychoanalysis, Eastern philosophy, sex, and veganism, showing how the hippies still have a lot to teach us about our wellbeing.
David Berry£10.99 £10.22
From Mad Men to MAGA: how nostalgia came to be and why we are so eager to indulge it. From movies to politics, social media posts to the targeted ads between them, nostalgia is one of the most potent forces of our era. On Nostalgia is a panoramic cultural history of nostalgia, exploring how a force that started as a psychological diagnosis of soldiers fighting far from home has come become a quintessentially modern condition. Cultural critic David Berry examines how the relentless search for self and overwhelming presence of mass media stokes the fires of nostalgia, making it as inescapable as it is hard to pin down. Holding fast against the pull of the past while trying to understand what makes the fundamental impossibility of return so appealing, On Nostalgia explores what it means to remember, how the universal yearning is used by us and against us, and it considers a future where the past is more readily available and easier to lose track of than ever before.
Leslie Kern£12.99 £12.08
Most stuff in the world has been designed by men for men using research data from men. Men even own the terminology: “Man-Made”. You see it everywhere in culture and commerce, but it is no less true of architecture, urban design and planning. To read this book is to understand that our public spaces need a more considered and inclusive approach. Public spaces rarely factor in women, especially mothers with children or women walking alone. The smarter future of urban living starts here.
Andy Sharp£12.99 £12.08
Andy Sharp delivers a visionary field report based on fifteen years of research expeditions to England's strangest landscapes. Tapping into the resurgent interest in horror, folk customs and witchcraft and exploring occult connections in art and literature across the British Isles.
Eileen Myles£12.99 £12.08
Mark Gevisser£25.00 £23.25
Audre Lorde£5.99 £5.57
Johny Pitts£10.99 £10.22
Jenny Hval£10.99 £10.22
M. NourbeSe Philip£13.99 £13.01
Shane O'Mara£8.99 £8.36
Influencers and Revolutionaries: How Innovative Trailblazers, Trends and Catalysts Are Transforming Business
Sean Pillot de Chenecey£14.99 £13.94
Sean Pillot de Chenecey£14.99 £13.94
Amelia Abraham£9.99 £9.29
Yanis Varoufakis£16.98 £15.79
Svante Thunberg, Greta Thunberg, et al.£16.98 £15.79
Joshua Sperling£11.99 £11.15
Rachel Cusk£9.99 £9.29
Eula Biss£8.99 £8.36
Diana Souhami£25.00 £23.25
Otegha Uwagba£6.99 £6.50
Kirsty Logan, Emma Glass, et al.£12.99 £12.08
Anne Helen Petersen£14.99 £13.94
John Sellars£9.99 £9.29