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What To Read: January & February 2018

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 at 7:32pm

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

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. $24.99. With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, this historical novel takes us into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, and union men during WW II. America is at war and Anna Kerrigan works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to the men who have gone overseas. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America fight the war. Manhattan Beach is a deft exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men. (Scribner. October)

Wonderland by Steven Johnson. Softcover. $27.00. Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Heintroduces us to the colourful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows. He compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You'll find the future wherever people are having the most fun. (Riverhead. November)

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What To Read: September & October 2017

Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 10:41am

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

The Parcel
by Anosh Irani
$21.00. Trade paperback.

This novel’s heart, soul and voice is Madhu, a transgender sex worker in the red-light district of Bombay. Madhu identifies herself as a "hijra" — a person belonging to the third sex, neither man nor woman. Now, at 40, she has moved away from prostitution and is forced to beg to support herself. One day Madhu is given a task: a "parcel" has arrived — a young girl from the provinces — and Madhu must prepare it for its fate. A sometimes difficult read but one that rewards generously. (Vintage. August)

Time Travel
by James Gleick
$23.00. Trade paperback.

A fun and mind-bending exploration of time travel, from its origins in literature and science to its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick explores physics, technology, philosophy, and art as each relates to time travel and tells the story of the concept's cultural evolutions from H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from Proust to Woody Allen. He takes a close look at the porous boundary between science fiction and modern physics before delving into what it all means in our own moment in time. (Vintage. September)

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What To Read: July & August 2017

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017 at 2:39pm

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

The Noise of Time
by Julian Barnes
$19.95. Trade paperback. Add to Cart

This novel begins in 1936, with Dmitri Shostakovich fearing for his livelihood and even his life. He has just been denounced in an article that certainly reflects the opinion of Joseph Stalin himself. Every night as he waits to be arrested, Shostakovich reflects on his predicament and his own personal history. Barnes elegantly guides us through his life as he weighs the merits of appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.

Pond
by Claire-Louise Bennett
$22.00. Trade paperback. Add to Cart

Capturing the interior reality of its unnamed protagonist, this novel focuses on a young woman living a mostly solitary existence on the outskirts of a small coastal village. Rather than using the usual conventions of narrative, it focuses on the details of her daily experience — from page long fragments on the best way to eat porridge or bananas to story-length stretches of narrative — always suffused with the immediacy of the physical world that we remember from childhood. Indeed, reading it reminded me of being a child, pleasantly lost on a summer day.

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What To Read: May/June 2017

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 at 9:07pm

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

Homegoing
by Yaa Gyasi
$21.00. Trade paperback. Add to Cart

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)

By Gaslight
by Steven Price
$24.00. Trade paperback. Add to Cart

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)

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What To Read: Spring 2017

Saturday, Mar 04, 2017 at 11:45am

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

Listen, Liberal
by Thomas Frank
$25.00. Trade paperback. Add to Cart

Originally published before the 2016 American election, Listen, Liberal describes what ailed the Democratic Party even before their weaknesses became obvious. It is the story of how the "Party of the People" detached itself from its historic constituency among average Americans and chose instead to line up with the winners of the new economic order. Now with a new afterword, Frank's analysis offers a powerful diagnosis of the liberal malady and is essential reading for anyone who still values liberal ideals. (Picador. March)

The Memoirs of a Polar Bear
by Yoko Tawada.
Translated by Susan Bernofsky.
$22.95. Trade paperback. Add to Cart

Three generations of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are bears who move as humans, doing human things and thinking human thoughts. The grandmother, in the Soviet Union, accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography; Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) takes a job in the circus. Her son, Knut, is born in a Leipzig zoo but raised by a human keeper. Happy or sad, each bear writes a story in this delightfully strange novel. (New Directions. November)

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