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What To Read: January & February 2019

Friday, Dec 21, 2018 at 5:13pm

A collection of recent books particularly recommended by Chris Hall. Look for our in-store What To Read display tables.

The Wolf by Nate Blakeslee. Softcover. $21.00. RRC Price $18.90. In recent decades, conservationists have reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Nate Blakeslee tells the story of one of these wolves, an alpha female named O-Six. She's a merciful leader, a fierce fighter, and a doting mother and even becomes something of a social media star. But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is being challenged: by hunters who compete for the elk they all prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who resent her dominance of the beautiful Lamar Valley. (Vintage. October)

Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrimur Helgason, translated by Brian FitzGibbon. Softcover. $25.95. RRC Price $23.35. Herra Björnsson is at the end of her life. She has maybe three weeks left so she has booked her cremation, at a crispy 1,000 degrees. But until then she has her memories to sustain her and what a life this remarkable eighty-year-old narrator has led. From her childhood in the islands of Iceland, to teen years spent living by her wits in war-torn Europe while her father fought on the side of the Nazis, to love affairs on several continents, Herra moved through the major events of her century. Now, as she awaits death in Reykjavík, she shows us a woman unbowed by the forces of history. (Algonquin Books. January)

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What To Read: September & October 2018

Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 at 3:06pm

A collection of recent books particularly recommended by Chris Hall. Look for our in-store What To Read display tables.

Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson. Softcover. $19.95. RRC Price $17.95. It is 1950, Willa's mother has a new beau and the arrival of his blue-eyed, sun-kissed sons at Willa's summer home signals the end of her carefree childhood. As her entrancing older sister Joan pairs off with Kenneth, nine-year-old Willa is drawn to his strange and solitary younger brother, Patrick. Unfolding between the freedoms of British Columbia and the beaches of California, this novel explores a girl's attempt to forge a path of her own choosing in a world where female independence is suspect. Sensitive, playful, and entirely original, Eliza Robertson is one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary literature. (Crown. September) (Penguin. August)

Islamic Enlightenment by Christopher de Bellaigue. Softcover. $23.95. RRC Price $21.55. De Bellaigue presents an account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It challenges misperceptions in Western culture that self-righteously condemn the Muslim world as hopelessly backward. This false perception belies the fact that Islamic civilization has long been undergoing its own transformation, and that the violence of an infinitesimally small minority is the blowback from this process. In reclaiming the history, de Bellaigue shows the folly of Westerners demanding modernity from people whose lives are already drenched in it. (Liveright. August)

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What To Read: July & August 2018

Thursday, Jul 05, 2018 at 3:56pm

A collection of recent books particularly recommended by Chris Hall. Look for our in-store What To Read display tables.

The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre. Softcover. $21.00. Pierre Cormier had secrets. Though twice married, a high-flying lawyer and a father, he didn't let anyone really know him. And he was especially silent about what had happened to him in Lebanon, the country he fled to come to Canada as a refugee. When he went missing, his teenaged son Cyril didn't know how to mourn him. But five years later, a single bone and a distinctive gold chain are recovered, and Pierre is at last declared dead. And that changes everything. The Only Café is both a moving mystery and an illuminating exploration of how the traumatic past, if left unexamined, shadows every moment of the present. (Vintage. June)

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors. Softcover. $21.00. Sonja is ready to get on with her life. She's over forty now, and the Swedish crime novels she translates are losing their fascination. But under the overbearing gaze of her driving instructor, Sonja is unable to shift gears for herself. And her vertigo, which she has always carefully hidden, has begun to manifest at the worst possible moments. Nors uses the metaphor of learning to drive along with a blend of humour and insight, to illuminate a journey of one woman in search of herself when there's no one to ask for directions. (Graywolf Press. June)

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What To Read: May & June 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 11:54am

A collection of recent books particularly recommended by Chris Hall. Look for our in-store What To Read display tables.

The Whisky King by Trevor Cole. Softcover. $22.99. This book reads with the pace and suspense of a crime thriller. But it’s the true story of a Canadian crime boss and his RCMP detective nemesis. The former, Rocco Perri, rose from the life of a petty criminal on the streets of Toronto to running the most prominent bootlegging operation and crime syndicates of the Prohibition era. Frank Zaneth was the RCMP’s first undercover investigator, doggedly pursuing his quarry until the day Perri was last seen, in 1944, when he disappeared without a trace. With original research and masterful storytelling, Cole details this fascinating story. (HarperCollins. April)

Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear. Softcover. $22.00. In 2012, Kyo Maclear met a local Toronto musician with an equally captivating side passion: he had recently lost his heart to birds. Curious about what prompted this young urban artist to suddenly embrace nature, Maclear decides to follow him for a year and find out. Intimate and philosophical, moving with ease between the granular and the grand view, the resulting work celebrates the creative and liberating effects of keeping your eyes and ears wide open, and explores what happens when you apply the core lessons of birding to other aspects of life. (Doubleday. April)

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Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, What To Read, The Forks

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What To Read: March & April 2018

Thursday, Mar 01, 2018 at 4:07pm

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Softcover. $22.95. Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she seizes the opportunity when Caesar, a fellow slave, urges her to escape with him. But in this novel, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. As Whitehead re-creates the terrors of slavery, he weaves in the saga of the American nation, from the abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of today. This is both the tale of one woman's will to escape bondage and a powerful meditation on shared history. (Anchor. February)

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell. Softcover. $22.00. A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She's not his mother. He's not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. If you think a novel should unsettle you once in a while then this is one to read. (Riverhead. March)

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