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Join host Michael Wolch & McNally Robinson Booksellers' owner Chris Hall for the February edition of What to Read, Friday 8:30am.

 

 

 

 

mcnallyfeb1

Assymetry, by Lisa Halliday

Told in three distinct and uniquely compelling sections, Asymmetry explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice. The first section, "Folly," tells the story of Alice, a young American editor, and her relationship with the famous and much older writer Ezra Blazer. A tender and exquisite account of an unexpected romance that takes place in New York during the early years of the Iraq War, "Folly" also suggests an aspiring novelist's coming-of-age. By contrast, "Madness" is narrated by Amar, an Iraqi-American man who, on his way to visit his brother in Kurdistan, is detained by immigration officers and spends the last weekend of 2008 in a holding room in Heathrow. These two seemingly disparate stories gain resonance as their perspectives interact and overlap, with yet new implications for their relationship revealed in an unexpected coda.

A stunning debut from a rising literary star, Asymmetry is "a transgressive roman a clef, a novel of ideas, and a politically engaged work of metafiction" (The New York Times Book Review), and a "masterpiece" in the original sense of the word" (The Atlantic). Lisa Halliday's novel will captivate any reader with while also posing arresting questions about the very nature of fiction itself.

 

 

 

mcnallyfeb2

Craftfulness; Mend Yourself by Making Things, by Arzu Tahsin & Rosemary Davidson

Integrating mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology, and creativity research, Craftfulness offers a thought-provoking and surprising reconsideration of craft, and how making things with our hands can connect us to our deepest selves and improve our well-being and overall happiness.

We should get this out of the way: Craftfulness is not a "crafting book." Rather, it is an investigation of the wisdom generations of men and women know to be true: that making things is a vital means of self-expression, self-realization, and self-help that sparks the mind, touches the soul, and rejuvenates the spirit.

Integrating mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology, and creativity resear

ch, Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin explore how the simple act of making something from scratch affects mental well-being, and offer a brilliantly reasoned argument in favor of craft.

Process, not product, is the soul of a craft practice. Whether you knit, crochet, sculpt, weave, quilt, tat, draw, or bind books--working toward small, attainable goals provides a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and control that is proven to positively impact our mental health and happiness.

Davidson and Tahsin illuminate how craft practice re-introduces balance into our lives and our habits by cultivating creativity, carving space for ourselves, promoting focus, creating a safe space for failure, and ultimately, how to make peace with imperfection.

Like Matthew B. Crawford's Shop Class as Soul Craft, Ken Robinson's Out of Our Minds, or Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow, Craftfulness helps us to see our world in a new way, offering opportunities to disconnect from the world, and pay attention to ourselves.

 

 

 

mcnallyfeb3

Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli

A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home.

Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father.

In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an "immigration crisis": thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained--or lost in the desert along the way.

As the family drives--through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas--we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure--both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations.

Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.

 

 

 

mcnallyfeb4

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, by Andrew Miller

One rainswept winter's night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain's disastrous campaign against Napoleon's forces in Spain.

Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind. He will not - cannot - talk about the war or face the memory of what took place on the retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he lights out instead for the Hebrides, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer with secret orders are on his trail.

In luminous prose, Miller portrays a man shattered by what he has witnessed, on a journey that leads to unexpected friendships, even to love. Taut with suspense, this is an enthralling, deeply involving novel by one of Britain's most acclaimed writers.

 

 

 

 

mcnallyfeb5

Fate, by Ian Hamilton

Hong Kong, 1970. The Dragon Head (also known as the Mountain Master) of the Fanling Triad has died and there is a struggle to replace him among senior members of the gang. Normally, the Deputy Mountain Master is next in line, but this one is weak and ineffectual and has only survived because of the protection of the Dragon Head. Up to this point, the Fanling Triad has operated in relative isolation from neighbouring gangs, but the Dragon Head's death has drawn attention to the area -- and to its wealth. Other gangs start to make threatening moves and it's obvious to the senior members of the Fanling Triad that they need a leader who can fend off the threats, unite the membership, and maintain their prosperity. There are several candidates. The least conspicuous is the White Paper Fan, their young administrator. His name is Chow Tung, but many of those who work with him already refer to him as "Uncle" . . .