Account Login Winnipeg Toll-Free: 1-800-561-1833 SK Toll-Free: 1-877-506-7456 Contact & Locations

Sort by

What To Read

Wondering what to read next? Here are our top recent picks.

In Winnipeg tune in to Morning Light on Classic 107 FM (8:30 AM on the first Friday of every month), and in Saskatoon tune in to CFCR 90.5 FMís Green Eggs and Ham with the Reverend (between 8:00-10:00 AM the first Thursday of every month) and catch McNally Robinson co-owner Chris Hall as he shares our next batch of What To Read picks.

You can also keep an eye on the Books section of the Winnipeg Free Press every Saturday to see our highlights, or look for What To Read displays inside our bookstores.

Fire Weather

- John Vaillant

Hardcover $38.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $34.20

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER o SHORTLISTED FOR THE HILARY WESTON WRITERS' TRUST PRIZE FOR NONFICTION o
LONGLISTED FOR A 2023 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD o LONGLISTED FOR THE BALLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION

From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Golden Spruce and The Tiger comes a stunning account of a colossal wildfire, and a panoramic exploration of the rapidly changing relationship between fire and humankind.


In May 2016, Fort McMurray, the hub of Canada's petroleum industry and America's biggest foreign supplier, was overrun by wildfire. The multi-billion-dollar disaster melted vehicles, turned entire neighborhoods into firebombs, and drove 88,000 people from their homes in a single afternoon. Through the lens of this apocalyptic conflagration--the wildfire equivalent of Hurricane Katrina--John Vaillant warns that this was not a unique event but a shocking preview of what we must prepare for in a hotter, more flammable world.
    For hundreds of millennia, fire has been a partner in our evolution, shaping culture, civilization, and, very likely, our brains. Fire has enabled us to cook our food, defend and heat our homes, and power the machines that drive our titanic economy. Yet this volatile energy source has always threatened to elude our control, and in our new age of intensifying climate change, we are seeing its destructive power unleashed in previously unimaginable ways.
    With masterly prose and a cinematic eye, Vaillant takes us on a riveting journey through the intertwined histories of North America's oil industry and the birth of climate science, to the unprecedented devastation wrought by modern forest fires, and into lives forever changed by these disasters. John Vaillant's urgent work is a book for--and from--our new century of fire, which has only just begun.

The Lock-Up

- John Banville

Hardcover $37.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $33.30

*NATIONAL BESTSELLER*
A New York Times Editors' Choice

Booker Prize winner and "Irish master" (The New Yorker) John Banville's most ambitious crime novel yet brings two detectives together to solve a globe-spanning mystery

In 1950s Dublin, Rosa Jacobs, a young history scholar, is found dead in her car. Renowned pathologist Dr. Quirke and DI St. John Strafford begin to investigate the death as a murder, but it's the victim's older sister Molly, an established journalist, who discovers a lead that could crack open the case.

One of Rosa's friends, it turns out, is from a powerful German family that arrived in Ireland under mysterious circumstances shortly after World War II. But as Quirke and Strafford close in, their personal lives may put the case--and everyone involved--in peril, including Quirke's own daughter.

Spanning the mountaintops of Italy, the front lines of World War II Bavaria, the gritty streets of Dublin and other unexpected locales, The Lock-Up is an ambitious and arresting mystery by one of the world's most celebrated authors.

The Middle Kingdoms

- Martyn Rady

Hardcover $46.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $41.40

An essential new history of Central Europe, the contested lands so often at the heart of world history  
 
Central Europe has long been infamous as a region beset by war, a place where empires clashed and world wars began. In The Middle Kingdoms, Martyn Rady offers the definitive history of the region, demonstrating that Central Europe has always been more than merely the fault line between West and East. Even as Central European powers warred with their neighbors, the region developed its own cohesive identity and produced tremendous accomplishments in politics, society, and culture. Central Europeans launched the Reformation and Romanticism, developed the philosophy of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and advanced some of the twentieth century's most important artistic movements. 
 
Drawing on a lifetime of research and scholarship, The Middle Kingdoms tells as never before the captivating story of two thousand years of Central Europe's history and its enduring significance in world affairs.

Truth Telling

- Michelle Good

Hardcover $29.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $26.99

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A bold, provocative collection of essays exploring the historical and contemporary Indigenous experience in Canada.

With authority and insight, Truth Telling examines a wide range of Indigenous issues framed by Michelle Good's personal experience and knowledge.

From racism, broken treaties, and cultural pillaging, to the value of Indigenous lives and the importance of Indigenous literature, this collection reveals facts about Indigenous life in Canada that are both devastating and enlightening. Truth Telling also demonstrates the myths underlying Canadian history and the human cost of colonialism, showing how it continues to underpin modern social institutions in Canada.

Passionate and uncompromising, Michelle Good affirms that meaningful and substantive reconciliation hinges on recognition of Indigenous self-determination, the return of lands, and a just redistribution of the wealth that has been taken from those lands without regard for Indigenous peoples.

Truth Telling is essential reading for those looking to acknowledge the past and understand the way forward.

Secret Life of the City

- Hanna Hagen Bjrgaas, Matt Bagguley

Hardcover $34.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $31.46

Come along on an informative, whirlwind tour of urban species--from intelligent crows to backyard lichens--and discover that you are surrounded by wild nature, even in your own backyard. When biologist Hanna Bjørgaas spots a fairy cup lichen in Antarctica, she is surprised to recognize it from her own backyard in Oslo. When she returns home, she embarks on a journey into urban nature, visiting city parks, cemeteries, and concrete rooftops to investigate the species that live in urban spaces. Along the way, she meets corvids, songbirds, ants, pigeons, bats, sparrows, fungi, and linden trees--and the experts who study their surprising abilities to survive, and thrive, in the city. As Bjørgaas discovers, urban nature--and its unique mixture of species that have never lived together before in Earth's history--is valuable. More than half of the world's human population lives in densely populated areas--and plants and animals have followed us into cities. Secret Life of the City invites us to pay more attention to the sounds, sights, and smells of urban nature right outside our door. A treasure trove of fascinating flora and fauna, this wonderful book offers a plea to save our city plants, animals, and fungi before we lose them, too.

Between Good and Evil

- Mellissa Fung

Hardcover $36.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $33.29

A NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"This work is important and astonishing, but it is also a riveting read." --Louise Penny, author of A World of Curiosities and the Inspector Gamache novels

Behind the Beautiful Forevers meets Under an Afghan Sky in this mesmerizing true story of the Nigerian girls taken captive by the terrorist group Boko Haram

In April 2014, the world awoke to the shocking news that the terrorist group Boko Haram had kidnapped nearly 300 school-aged girls and taken them deep into the forests of Nigeria. When veteran journalist Mellissa Fung travelled to Nigeria, she discovered that the scope of the kidnappings had been vastly under-reported. Hundreds--possibly thousands--more girls had been taken against their will and forced to become child brides to soldiers and leaders of Boko Haram. Some of the captives escaped and returned to their villages, many with children in tow. Most of these girls, still children themselves, were shunned by their former friends and family. Other girls have never been seen again.

A former captive herself, Mellissa Fung has great empathy for the kidnapped girls. Taken by Taliban sympathizers in Afghanistan, Fung shared her experience in her number-one-bestselling book, Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity. During several visits to Nigeria over four years, she sat down with the girls and their families and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews, listening to horrific stories of capture, rape and torture, as well as escapes and excommunications. Fung tells the stories of Gambo, Asma'u, Zara and other girls taken by Boko Haram. She also portrays strong women fighting against the terrorist group in their own powerful ways: Aisha the Hunter, who moves stealthily into the forest, taking out Boko Haram with her faithful followers, and Mama Boko Haram, an Igbo woman who knows the fighters and those haunted by their experiences and fights to empty the forests of fighters and captives alike. This is raw, honest and heartbreaking storytelling at its best.

Cursed Bread

- Sophie Mackintosh

Trade paperback $24.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $22.46

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION NOMINEE
GRANTA BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS 2023



From the Booker Prize-nominated author of The Water Cure comes a chilling new feminist fable based on the true story of an unsolved mystery...


If you eat the bread, you'll die, he said. The statement made no sense, but it filled me with an electric dread.

Elodie is the baker's wife. A plain, unremarkable woman, ignored by her husband and underestimated by her neighbours, she burns with the secret desire to be extraordinary. One day a charismatic new couple appear in town--the ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet--and Elodie quickly falls under their spell. All summer long she stalks them through the shining streets: inviting herself into their home, eavesdropping on their coded conversations, longing to be part of their world.

Meanwhile, beneath the tranquil surface of daily life, strange things are happening. Six horses are found dead in a sun-drenched field, laid out neatly on the ground like an offering. Widows see their lost husbands walking up the moonlit river, coming back to claim them. A teenage boy throws himself into the bonfire at the midsummer feast. A dark intoxication is spreading through the town, and when Elodie finally understands her role in it, it will be too late to stop.

Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory's hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.

Greek Lessons

- Han Kang, Deborah Smith, Emily Yae Won

Hardcover $36.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $32.40

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE o A dazzling novel about the saving grace of language and human connection, from the "visionary" (New York Times Book Review) author of the International Booker Prize winner The Vegetarian

"Both a disquieting journey about the loss of sense and a return to the sensorium of touch and intimacy, Greek Lessons soars with sensuous and revelatory insight."--Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings


ONE OF TIME'S BEST BOOKS OF 2023 (SO FAR)


"Now and then, language would thrust its way into her sleep like a skewer through meat, startling her awake several times a night."

In a classroom in Seoul, a young woman watches her Greek language teacher at the blackboard. She tries to speak but has lost her voice. Her teacher finds himself drawn to the silent woman, for day by day he is losing his sight. 

Soon the two discover a deeper pain binds them together. For her, in the space of just a few months, she has lost both her mother and the custody battle for her nine-year-old son. For him, it's the pain of growing up between Korea and Germany, being torn between two cultures and languages, and the fear of losing his independence.

Greek Lessons tells the story of two ordinary people brought together at a moment of private anguish--the fading light of a man losing his vision meeting the silence of a woman who has lost her language. Yet these are the very things that draw them to each other. Slowly the two discover a profound sense of unity--their voices intersecting with startling beauty, as they move from darkness to light, from silence to breath and expression.

Greek Lessons is the story of the unlikely bond between this pair and a tender love letter to human intimacy and connection--a novel to awaken the senses, one that vividly conjures the essence of what it means to be alive.

Once Upon a Prime

- Sarah Hart

Hardcover $39.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $35.99

"Wide-ranging and thoroughly winning." --Jordan Ellenberg, The New York Times Book Review

"An absolute joy to read!" --Steven Levitt, New York Times bestselling author of Freakonomics


For fans of Seven Brief Lessons in Physics, an exploration of the many ways mathematics can transform our understanding of literature and vice versa, by the first woman to hold England's oldest mathematical chair.


We often think of mathematics and literature as polar opposites. But what if, instead, they were fundamentally linked? In her clear, insightful, laugh-out-loud funny debut, Once Upon a Prime, Professor Sarah Hart shows us the myriad connections between math and literature, and how understanding those connections can enhance our enjoyment of both.

Did you know, for instance, that Moby-Dick is full of sophisticated geometry? That James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness novels are deliberately checkered with mathematical references? That George Eliot was obsessed with statistics? That Jurassic Park is undergirded by fractal patterns? That Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote mathematician characters? From sonnets to fairytales to experimental French literature, Professor Hart shows how math and literature are complementary parts of the same quest, to understand human life and our place in the universe.

As the first woman to hold England's oldest mathematical chair, Professor Hart is the ideal tour guide, taking us on an unforgettable journey through the books we thought we knew, revealing new layers of beauty and wonder. As she promises, you're going to need a bigger bookcase.

Humanly Possible

- Sarah Bakewell

Hardcover $42.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $37.80

The bestselling, prizewinning author of How to Live and At the Existentialist Café explores 700 years of writers, thinkers, scientists and artists, all trying to understand what it means to be truly human.

If you are reading this, it's likely you already have some affinity with humanism, even if you don't think of yourself in those terms. You may be drawn to literature and the humanities. You may prefer to base your moral choices on fellow-feeling and responsibility to others rather than on religious commandments. Or you may simply believe that individual lives are more important than grand political visions or dogmas.

If any of these apply, you are part of a long tradition of humanist thought, and you share that tradition with many extraordinary individuals through history who have put rational enquiry, cultural richness, freedom of thought and a sense of hope at the heart of their lives.

Humanly Possible introduces us to some of these people, as it asks what humanism is and why it has flourished for so long, despite opposition from fanatics, mystics and tyrants. It is a book brimming with ideas, personalities and experiments in living - from the literary enthusiasts of the fourteenth century to the secular campaigners of our own time, from Erasmus to Esperanto, from anatomists to agnostics, from Christine de Pizan to Bertrand Russell, and from Voltaire to Zora Neale Hurston. It takes us on an irresistible journey, and joyfully celebrates open-mindedness, optimism, freedom and the power of the here and now--humanist values which have helped steer us through dark times in the past, and which are just as urgently needed in our world today. 

The bestselling, prizewinning author of How to Live and At the Existentialist Café explores 700 years of writers, thinkers, scientists and artists, all trying to understand what it means to be truly human.

Birnam Wood

- Eleanor Catton

Hardcover $36.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $33.26

Longlisted for the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted for the 2023 Kirkus Prize

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's Birnam Wood is an electrifying eco-thriller grounded in a provocative and sly exploration of some of the most pressing issues of our times. An international bestseller. Named a Best Book of the Year So Far by Apple Books, Amazon, and Audible.ca. One of Barack Obama's 2023 Summer Reading List titles.


Birnam Wood is on the move . . . A landslide has closed the Korowai Pass on New Zealand's South Island, cutting off the town of Thorndike and leaving a sizable farm abandoned. The disaster has created an opportunity for Birnam Wood, an unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic guerrilla gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice.

For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira, Birnam Wood's founder,  stumbles on an answer: occupying the farm at Thorndike would mean a shot at solvency at last. But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. The enigmatic American billionaire Robert Lemoine has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker, or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira and Birnam Wood, he makes them an offer that would set them up for the long term. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust one another?

Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its drama, Austenian in its wit, and, like both influences, fascinated by what makes us who we are. It is an unflinching look at the surprising consequences of even our most well-intended actions, and an enthralling consideration of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.

Saving Time

- Jenny Odell

Hardcover $38.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $35.09

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER o From the author of How to Do Nothing comes a "paradigm-destroying new book . . . about the various problems that swirl out from dominant conceptions of 'time'" (The New York Times Editors' Choice).
 
"Saving Time's real triumph lies in her road map for experiencing time outside the capitalist clock. . . . Expect to feel changed by this radical way of seeing."--Esquire


In her first book, How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell wrote about the importance of disconnecting from the "attention economy" to spend time in quiet contemplation. But what if you don't have time to spend?

In order to answer this seemingly simple question, Odell took a deep dive into the fundamental structure of our society and found that the clock we live by was built for profit, not people. This is why our lives, even in leisure, have come to seem like a series of moments to be bought, sold, and processed ever more efficiently. Odell shows us how our painful relationship to time is inextricably connected not only to persisting social inequities but to the climate crisis, existential dread, and a lethal fatalism.

This dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book offers us different ways to experience time--inspired by pre-industrial cultures, ecological cues, and geological timescales--that can bring within reach a more humane, responsive way of living. As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days alongside gardens growing, birds migrating, and cliffs eroding; the stretchy quality of waiting and desire; the way the present may suddenly feel marbled with childhood memory; the slow but sure procession of a pregnancy; the time it takes to heal from injuries. Odell urges us to become stewards of these different rhythms of life in which time is not reducible to standardized units and instead forms the very medium of possibility.

Saving Time tugs at the seams of reality as we know it--the way we experience time itself--and rearranges it, imagining a world not centered on work, the office clock, or the profit motive. If we can "save" time by imagining a life, identity, and source of meaning outside these things, time might also save us.

Biography of X

- Catherine Lacey

Hardcover $37.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $33.30

National Bestseller. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Longlisted for the 2023 Brooklyn Library Prize. Named a best book of March by Apple Books and Amazon, and a most anticipated book by The New York Times, Esquire, The Guardian, Time, BuzzFeed, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, and Chicago Review of Books

"A major novel, and a notably audacious one."
--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"It feels fairly rare for a novel to be hugely intelligent and moving and fun in equal measure, but with Biography of X, Catherine Lacey somehow--magically--makes the nearly impossible look easy." --Lauren Groff

From one of our fiercest stylists, a roaring epic chronicling the life, times, and secrets of a notorious artist.

When X--an iconoclastic artist, writer, and polarizing shape-shifter--falls dead in her office, her widow, CM, wild with grief and refusing everyone's good advice, hurls herself into writing a biography of the woman she deified. Though X was recognized as a crucial creative force of her era, she kept a tight grip on her life story. Not even CM knows where X was born, and in her quest to find out, she opens a Pandora's box of secrets, betrayals, and destruction. All the while, she immerses herself in the history of the Southern Territory, a fascist theocracy that split from the rest of the country after World War II, and which finally, in the present day, is being forced into an uneasy reunification.

A masterfully constructed literary adventure complete with original images assembled by X's widow, Biography of X follows CM as she traces X's peripatetic trajectory over decades, from Europe to the ruins of America's divided territories, and through her collaborations and feuds with everyone from Bowie and Waits to Sontag and Acker. At last, when she finally understands the scope of X's defining artistic project, CM realizes her wife's deceptions were far crueler than she imagined.

Pulsing with suspense and intellect while blending nonfiction and fiction, Biography of X is a roaring epic that plumbs the depths of grief, art, and love. In her most ambitious novel yet, Catherine Lacey pushes her craft to its highest level, introducing us to an unforgettable character who, in her tantalizing mystery, shows us the fallibility of the stories we craft for ourselves.

This is a selection of our current What To Read titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

Page: << < 1 2 3
Page: << < 1 2 3