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McNally Robinson's Chris Hall was on Morning Light with the March edition of What to Read. Missed it? Watch it here! 

 

 

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Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village's all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook's mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook's differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother's position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story--one of women's friendships and the larger forces that shape them--The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

 

 

 

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Modern Lunch: +100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal,  by Allison Day

Modern Lunch is the new lunchtime hero for time-strapped, budget-conscious, and salad-fatigued people everywhere. Focusing on healthy, quick--and, yes, Instagrammable--recipes, Allison takes readers on a feasting journey inspired by fresh flavors and ingredients, her travels, and minimal effort. Meals in jars and adult-appropriate lunchboxes will actually make you look forward to lunch now, especially when recipes like Chicken and Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peanut Butter Vinaigrette, Tomato Sourdough Soup with Cacio e Pepe Socca Triangles, and Walnut-Crusted Avocado, Feta, and Eggs with Pesto Rice are waiting for you. Find inspiration for delicious lunches to eat at home, too, like Greek Chopped Salad with Crispy Peppercorn Salmon, and a new take on the classic ploughman's lunch. Spend weekends with friends gathered around easy-to-assemble platters and picnic baskets, and enjoy homemade brunches that rival any restaurant's. And, if you're someone who likes to improvise, Allison shares her staple recipes and tried-and-tested strategies for mastering meal prep, as well as ideas and combinations for quick, on-the-fly lunches that encourage creativity but promise satisfaction--even if you have to dine at your desk.

With dazzling recipes and photography, and smart tips on hacking the lunchtime game, Modern Lunch proves that a delicious, exciting, and inventive lunch can be achievable for any appetite, wallet, and busy schedule--and maybe even spark a little office envy.

 

 

 

 

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The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children--four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness--sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel struggles to maintain security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

Both a dazzling family love story and a sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

 

 

 

 

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The Border, by Don Winslow

What do you do when there are no borders? When the lines you thought existed simply vanish? How do you plant your feet to make a stand when you no longer know what side you're on?

The war has come home.

For over forty years, Art Keller has been on the front lines of America's longest conflict: The War on Drugs. His obsession to defeat the world's most powerful, wealthy, and lethal kingpin-the godfather of the Sinaloa Cartel, Adán Barrera-has left him bloody and scarred, cost him the people he loves, even taken a piece of his soul.

Now Keller is elevated to the highest ranks of the DEA, only to find that in destroying one monster he has created thirty more that are wreaking even more chaos and suffering in his beloved Mexico. But not just there.

Barrera's final legacy is the heroin epidemic scourging America. Throwing himself into the gap to stem the deadly flow, Keller finds himself surrounded by enemies-men who want to kill him, politicians who want to destroy him, and worse, the unimaginable-an incoming administration that's in bed with the very drug traffickers that Keller is trying to bring down.

Art Keller is at war with not only the cartels, but with his own government. And the long fight has taught him more than he ever imagined. Now, he learns the final lesson-there are no borders.

In a story that moves from deserts south of the border to Wall Street, from the slums of Guatemala to the marbled corridors of Washington, D.C., Winslow follows a new generation of narcos, the cops who fight them, the street traffickers, the addicts, the politicians, money-launderers, real-estate moguls, and mere children fleeing the violence for the chance of a life in a new country.

A shattering tale of vengeance, violence, corruption and justice, this last novel in Don Winslow's magnificent, award-winning, internationally bestselling trilogy is packed with unforgettable, drawn-from-the-headlines scenes. Shocking in its brutality, raw in its humanity, The Border is an unflinching portrait of modern America, a story of--and for--our time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Manitoba By Manitoba, McNally Robinson

Manitoba by Manitoba captures the province in all its guises, from the geology and human history to farms and landscapes at sunset, from close-up shots of the province’s inhabitants, both human and not, to wintery settings under a glorious sky lit by the northern lights. This book is a compilation of photographs of Manitoba by some of our most talented amateur and professional photographers.

Experience the startling contrast of these Manitoba moments: beaches that look like they could be in the Caribbean; ports that look like they could be on the shore of a sea; winter landscapes that appear arctic-like in the winter yet resemble a scene one might expect to encounter much further south when seen in the summer.

Manitoba by Manitoba is sure to surprise even those most familiar with the province.