Books of the Year 2022: Stocking Stuffers!

Part 2 of our Books of the Year covers those handy, gorgeous, intriguing stocking stuffers: small books with big hearts that can get a bit lost and shouldn't - because these are books to get lost in! Wild travelogues, gorgeous and haunting poetry, and our very first ever Zines of the Year list!

Xmas Crackers!

Quantum Listening, Pauline Oliveros

Emma says...

Quantum Listening was a lecture from 1999 by Pauline Oliveros, expanding on Deep Listening - a meditation practice focusing on sound from within, sound from one’s environment and the ever-changing relationship between the two. Deep Listening promises to take us ‘below the surface of our consciousness’ and ‘dissolve limiting boundaries’ by illuminating the interconnectedness between all sounds and, in turn, all things. Following on from this practice, Quantum Listening explores the community value of enhanced sensory perception in the technological age and fantasises about a future in which empathy is built through unspoken bonds, the exchange of sonic energy and trespass into the imagination, unreality and the mystery of the universe. The reader of this chapbook is invited to listen to everything, in as many ways as possible, and bring about social change by starting from within. Beautifully concise and argued with calm precision. Profoundly psychedelicious. Recommended reading setting: dawn or dusk.

Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping, Derek Jarman

A luminous novella brief and bright as a shooting star. In 1972, Derek Jarman published his first and only poetry collection (A Finger in the Fishes Mouth, available from Prototype) with the phrase Through the Billboard… on its back cover. In the same year, he wrote this extended journey narrative - let’s call it a trip, in all senses - but never published it. Declan Wiffen’s deep-dive poetic afterword, along with Philip Hoare’s elegant foreword, a biographical sketch by Jarman’s friend and housemate Michael Ginsborg, and an impassioned final note by publisher Gareth Evans add layers to this labour of love, a postcard from the wild and technicolor edges of American culture that seared into Jarman’s brain.



Heritage Aesthetics, Anthony Anaxagarou

Sam says...

it's hard to accept
that this is the life that we'll die in
feeding us its uncertainty
we load up on ginger shots
knowing almost anything can
be cooked on a legacy of steam
In the title poem of his new collection, Anaxagorou breaks down a dialogue between religious philosopher Krisnamurti and physicist Bohm, grounding their discussion of the 'big questions' with quotidian, domestic episodes to ask: is this it? This nationalist legacy of colonial violence, permeating everything from what we eat to how we fuck; will it continue to chase us through generations, can we outlive it? 
Deeply political, formally light-footed and full of feeling, Heritage Aesthetics is a collection to make you believe in the attempt. One to sit with and return to!

Cane, Corn & Gully, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa 

So says...

Choreography as chronicle, music as medicine: this first collection changes everything, flexing poetry to its fullness with the rhythms of Caribbean dances crossing the pages and resonating with powerful words. Welcoming in ancestral voices of all kinds - verbal, gestural, spiritual, rooted - Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa listens through her words to a black West Indian past-present-future, suffused with continuities of rage and grace. Here is one of this generous book’s guest choreographers, the bearded fig tree, leaving a note to accompany the hand-drawn labanotation of its elliptic and embracing moves:

when you are not able to bury your roots
you must remain vigilant
& become de prayers you offer

Tractatus Philosophico-Poeticus, Signe Gjessing, translated by Denise Newman 

So says...

Extremely seasonal stocking stuff, filled with silk, stars, snow and a deadpan sense of beauty. If you think that a soaring poetic glow-up of Wittgenstein’s famously incomprehensible Ph.D thesis couldn’t make you lol (and see language differently), challenge accepted. Short, sharp, sensational.

Zines: Xmas Zine Guide by Emma

Handbound greetings to the wonderful clientele of Burley Fisher Books. Did you know we stock zines?

If you’re looking for self-published artist books, handmade zines, small press pamphlets and specialist magazines then you’re in the right plane of existence! Come on down and dig into our zine section for an idea of our offerings or peruse a selection of recommendations below - available in-store only!


  • Cookin, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Raymond Antrobus - An exercise in improvisation between the poets Victoria Adukwei Bulley and Raymond Antrobus, in response to music by Kamasi Washington, Sampha, Saya Grey and Valentina Magaletti. This zine was created in one day by Burley Fisher and Loose Associations, commissioned by Young Records. (£6)
  • Notes from the North, Suji Kwock Kim - Meditations on the immeasurable pain and brutality of conflict, scattered with shocking images of survival through violence, giving voice to the subjects of North Korean dictatorship. (£6.50)


  • Courtesan, Charlie Mitchell - A novella of desperate ramblings from the shifting perspectives of a character with no fixed sense of self. (£5.50)
  • Gob Fauna, Tom Dowse - 5 short stories on the horrors and humour of hospitality and customer service work. (£12)
  • Looty goes to Heaven, Amy Ching-Yan Lam - A speculative biography of a Pekingese dog, taken from China at the end of the Opium War and brought to England to spend her remaining years at Windsor Castle and Sandringham House. (£10)


  • Letter to my Little Queer Self - 29 letters written by queer artists, writers, creatives, performers and activists to themselves. (£10)
  • On Water - A collection of poetry, short stories, personal essays, drawing and photography on the subject of living on water - on the canals, rivers and coasts of England. (£10)
  • this broken piece of yard, developed by Cairo Clarke and LUX - A collection of essays, interviews, poetry, letters circling around the idea of Black feminist futurity, based on communal creative practice within film and sound art. (£10)
  • Friends on the Shelf - A beautifully designed collection of real life stories from local writers, inspired by the pleasure of conversation. (£10)

Visual Art

  • To See Stars Over Mountains, Vlatka Horvat - Photographs taken during 2021 while walking through Hackney, printed and altered through drawing, collage, cutting, tearing and repositioning. (£22)
  • The Pleasures of Hackney Road, Margo Fortuny - Five illustrated stories written in and around Hackney Road. (£12)
  • Appleby Horse Fair 2021, Matthew Pritchard - Photography zine documenting the annual gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria. (£5)
  • 36 Elevations, Calum Storrie - Architectural drawings of fictional structures. (£12)
  • Devil Cat, Adrian Keefe - Comics about a moody cat. Adorable! (£6.99)
  • Static Range, Himali Singh Soin - A book of stamps depicting the Himalayas in various states of distortion. (£30)

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