What To Read: May/June 2017by Tyler Vitt - Thursday, May 04, 2017 at 11:58am
A collection of recent books particularly recommended by Chris Hall. Look for our in-store What To Read display tables.
In Gyasi's novel, two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Africa. Effia marries an English colonist and lives in comfort in the Cape Coast Castle. Her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath Effia in the women's dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. The horrors of their experiences echo through generations, as each descendant seeks freedom and healing. (Anchor. May)
An old fashioned Victorian mystery set in the London of 1885. In this city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a shadow. William Pinkerton, the son of a detective who died without ever tracing Shade, is determined to drag the thief into the daylight. What follows is a hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls while an unlikely bond is formed between Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Shade. (McClelland & Stewart. May)
See more What To Read picks after the jump...
A testament to the enduring power of ideas, this book offers portraits of Adam Smith, Jefferson and Hamilton, Darwin, and Marx, and shows how their thoughts, in the hands of their followers and opponents, transformed the nature of our beliefs, institutions, economies, and politics. Reading the works of the great thinkers reveals invaluable insights into how their ideas have shaped the ideological and political conflicts of our own time. (Princeton. 2016)
Cline's debut novel opens during a summer in the late 1960s in Northern California, when a lonely teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park. She is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, and their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to the older Suzanne and is drawn into the circle of a cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence. (Random House. May)
When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments of six occupied nations, including the self-appointed representative of free France, General Charles de Gaulle. As the only European democracy holding out against Hitler, Britain became known as "Last Hope Island," where leaders of the occupied countries could work together to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent. (Random House. May)
The voters who put Trump in the White House are a permanent part of American fabric. The wretched and landless poor have existed from colonial times. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg debunks assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at the centre of major debates over American identity and always will be. (Penguin. April)
What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd could stand and watch the execution of a king? Grayling charts this path through the disruption of the Thirty Years’ War as a fundamentally new way of perceiving the world in which reason rose to prominence over tradition, and the rights of the individual took centre stage in a paradigmatic shift that would influence Western thought for centuries to come. (Bloomsbury. May)
From the author of The Emperor of All Maladies comes a fascinating history of the gene. Combining science, history, and memoir, Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. In easily accessible prose, he describes the centuries of research, from Aristotle to the 21st century innovators who mapped the human genome. (Scribner. May)
Romania, the last months of Ceausescu. Adina is a young schoolteacher. Paul is a musician. Clara works in a factory. Pavel is Clara's lover. But one of them works for the secret police. One day Adina returns home to discover that her fox fur rug has had its tail cut off. On another occasion it's the hind leg. Then a foreleg. All signs that she is being tracked by the secret police. The friends struggle to keep mind and body intact in a world permeated with fear, where it's hard to tell victim from perpetrator, in this latest novel by Nobel Prize-winning Müller. (Picador. May)
North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron shoots at a deer but when the buck springs away, Landreaux discovers he has killed Dusty, his neighbour's five-year-old son. Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's own five-year-old son, LaRose. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and his wife will give LaRose to the grieving parents in this inspiring novel that explores loss, justice, and healing from a consistently great writer. (HarperCollins. April)
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