Warmer – and drier! – weather seems to have arrived in Winnipeg at long last. That may have you itching to spend some time outside feeling the sun on your face while enjoying the company of a good book.
If you're in need of a few suggestions, why not check out this month's picks from Chris Hall of McNally Robinson Booksellers. A diverse set of suggestions including the latest title by "Bill Gates' favourite author" who happens to double as a "really good customer of McNally Robinson," says Chris Hall.
And don't forget that Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8. "We like to think that mothers love to read – that's our tagline," says Hall. "We're expecting a busy weekend. We are going to sell lots of books as well as gifts, gifts of all kinds. There's something for every mother in here."
Visit McNally Robinson at one of two locations in Winnipeg – Grant Park Mall or the Forks Market – and don't forget to check their website for online ordering at: www.mcnallyrobinson.com
How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil
We have never had so much information at our fingertips and yet most of us don't know how the world really works. This book explains seven of the most fundamental realities governing our survival and prosperity. From energy and food production, through our material world and its globalization, to risks, our environment and its future, How the World Really Works offers a much-needed reality check - because before we can tackle problems effectively, we must understand the facts.
In this ambitious and thought-provoking book we see, for example, that globalization isn't inevitable - the perils of allowing 70 per cent of the world's rubber gloves to be made in just one factory became glaringly obvious in 2020 - and that our societies have been steadily increasing their dependence on fossil fuels, making their complete and rapid elimination unlikely. For example, each greenhouse-grown supermarket-bought tomato requires the equivalent of five tablespoons of diesel oil for its production; and we still lack any commercially viable ways of making steel, ammonia, cement or plastics on the scale required globally without fossil fuels.
Vaclav Smil is neither a pessimist nor an optimist, he is a scientist; he is the world-leading expert on energy and an astonishing polymath. This is his magnum opus and a continuation of his quest to make facts matter. Drawing on the latest science, including his own fascinating research, and tackling sources of misinformation head on - from Yuval Noah Harari to Noam Chomsky - ultimately Smil answers the most profound question of our age: are we irrevocably doomed or is a brighter utopia ahead? Compelling, data-rich and revisionist, this wonderfully broad, interdisciplinary masterpiece finds faults with both extremes. Looking at the world through this quantitative lens reveals hidden truths that change the way we see our past, present and uncertain future.
Trust by Hernan Diaz
From an award-winning chronicler of our nation's history and its legends comes his much-anticipated novel about wealth and talent, trust and intimacy, truth and perception.
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the brilliant daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth. But the secrets around their affluence and grandeur incites gossip. Rumors about Benjamin's financial maneuvers and Helen's reclusiveness start to spread--all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. At what cost have they acquired their immense fortune?
This is the mystery at the center of a successful 1938 novel entitled Bonds, which all of New York seems to have read. But it isn't the only version.
Hernan Diaz's Trust brilliantly puts the story of these characters into conversation with other accounts--and in tension with the life and perspective of a young woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that becomes more exhilarating and profound with each new layer and revelation. Provocative and propulsive, Trust engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the reality-warping gravitational pull of money and how power often manipulates facts. An elegant, multifaceted epic that recovers the voices buried under the myths that justify our foundational inequality, Trust is a literary triumph with a beating heart and urgent stakes.
All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami
Fuyuko Irie is a freelance copy editor in her mid-thirties. Working and living alone in a city where it is not easy to form new relationships, she has little regular contact with anyone other than her editor, Hijiri, a woman of the same age but with a very different disposition. When Fuyoku stops one day on a Tokyo street and notices her reflection in a storefront window, what she sees is a drab, awkward, and spiritless woman who has lacked the strength to change her life and decides to do something about it.
As the long overdue change occurs, however, painful episodes from Fuyuko’s past surface and her behavior slips further and further beyond the pale. All the Lovers in the Night is acute and insightful, entertaining and engaging; it will make readers laugh, and it will make them cry, but it will also remind them, as only the best books do, that sometimes the pain is worth it.
Mansions of the Moon by Shyam Selvadurai
In this sweeping tale, at once epic and intimate, Shyam Selvadurai introduces us to Siddhartha Gautama--who will later become "the enlightened one," or the Buddha--an unusually bright and politically astute young man settling into his upper-caste life as a newlywed to Yasodhara, a woman of great intelligence and spirit. Mansions of the Moon traces the couple's early love and life together, and then the anguished turmoil that descends upon them both as Siddhartha's spiritual calling takes over and the marriage partnership slowly, inexorably crumbles. Eventually, Yasodhara is forced to ask what kind of life a woman can lead in ancient India if her husband abandons her--even a well-born woman such as herself. And is there a path she, too, might take towards enlightenment?
Award-winning writer Shyam Selvadurai examines these questions with empathy and insight, creating a vivid portrait of a fascinating time and place, the intricate web of power, family and relationships that surround a singular marriage, and the remarkable woman who until now has remained a little-understood shadow in the historical record. Mansions of the Moon is an immersive, lively and thrilling feat of literary imagination.
There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness by Carlo Rovelli
In this collection of writings, the logbook of an intelligence always on the move, Carlo Rovelli follows his curiosity and invites us on a voyage through science, history, philosophy and politics.
Written with his usual clarity and wit, these pieces range widely across time and space: from Newton's alchemy to Einstein's mistakes, from Nabokov's butterflies to Dante's cosmology, from travels in Africa to the consciousness of an octopus, from mind-altering psychedelic substances to the meaning of atheism.
Charming, pithy and elegant, this book is the perfect gateway to the universe of one of the most influential scientists of our age.