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What To Read: March & April 2019

Friday, Mar 01, 2019 at 11:43am

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

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. Softcover. $22.00. RRC Price $19.80. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unraveling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them. (Riverhead Books. February)

The Long Take by Robin Robertson. Softcover. $22.95. RRC Price $20.65. Walker is a D-Day veteran with PTSD; he can't return home to rural Nova Scotia and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he finds his way from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco, we witness a crucial period in American history, one that allowed film noir to flourish. This is a tale of damaged people trying to find kindness in a world of cynicism and paranoia. Robertson uses verse to tell this tale of fracture across the postwar urban scene and into the heart of an unforgettable character. (Anansi. October)

See more What To Read picks after the jump...

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser. Softcover. $25.50. RRC Price $22.95. Set in Australia, France and Sri Lanka, this is a novel about the stories we tell and don't tell ourselves as individuals, as societies, and as nations. Pippa is a writer who longs for success but fears that she "missed everything important." Celeste convinces herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka, but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Sri Lankan Christabel endures her job and envisions a brighter future while she neglects the love close at hand. Each of these worlds stands alone yet connected, to moving and profound effect. (Catapult. April)

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. Softcover. $23.00. RRC Price $20.70. As an American-Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition, and Huda who plans to follow in her sister's footsteps, and their estranged son, Amar, who returns to the family fold to take his place as brother of the bride. This novel explores this family's life, with all its joys and struggles, as each of the children tread between two cultures, seeking their place in the world while maintaining a path home. (Hogarth. March)

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Softcover. $22.00. RRC Price $19.80. It's 1969 in New York City, and word has spread of a mystical woman, a psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children sneak out to hear their fortunes, and those prophecies inform their next five decades. Simon escapes to San Francisco; Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician; Daniel struggles as an army doctor post-9/11; and Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. Both a great story as well as an examination of the lines between fate and choice, reality and illusion. (Putnam. February)

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey. Softcover. $21.00. RRC Price $18.90. As inventive, funny and moving as one would expect from Carey, this novel opens in 1953 with the arrival of Titch Bobs, his wife, Irene, and their two children in the town of Bacchus Marsh. Titch is the best car salesman in southeastern Australia and together with his wife enters the Redex Trial, a brutal endurance race around the ancient continent, over roads no car is designed to survive. The turns and creek crossings lead them away from the white Australia they know towards a reckoning with the continent's aboriginal people, an encounter which will also resonate strongly with Canadian readers. (Vintage. February)

Too Dumb for Democracy? by David Moscrop. Softcover. $22.95. RRC Price $20.65. In this timely book, Moscrop asks why we make irrational political decisions and whether our stone-age brains can process democracy in the information age. Drawing on both political science and psychology, he examines how our brains, our environment, the media, and institutions influence decision-making. This readable and provocative investigation of our often-flawed decisions explains what's going wrong in today's political landscape and how individuals, societies, and institutions can work together to set things right. (Goose Lane Editions. March)

The Overstory by Richard Powers. Softcover. $24.95. RRC Price $22.45. Nine strangers — each summoned in different ways by trees — are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. (WW Norton. April)

Provisionally Yours by Antanas Sileika. Softcover. $21.95. RRC Price $19.75. After the collapse of Czarist Russia, former counterintelligence officer Justas Adamonis returns to his hometown, not entirely sure what he'll find. His parents are dead, he hasn't seen his sister since she was a teenager, and Kaunas has become the political center of the emerging state of Lithuania. He's barely off the train when he's recruited back into service, this time for the nascent government eager to secure his loyalty and experience. Though the administration may be new, its problems are familiar, and Adamonis quickly finds himself ensnared in a dangerous web of corruption and betrayal. (Biblioasis. March)

The Only Story by Julian Barnes. Softcover. $19.95. RRC Price $17.95. It is the early 1960s in a suburb fifteen miles south of London. Paul, home from university for the holidays, joins the tennis club. At the mixed doubles tournament he is partnered with Mrs. Susan Macleod; she's more than twice his age, and the married mother of two nearly grown-up daughters. Soon Paul and Susan embark on an unconventional affair. First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at nineteen. As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen. (Vintage. March)

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, What To Read

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