March is Women’s History Month Posting 2: A Selection of Books on Women in Politics and Government

Hi everyone, in continuing our month long celebration of the contributions of women in world history, this posting features a reading list of titles focusing on famous women who have made their marks in government and/or politics.

And just a note on the selection of titles, the titles are predominantly about contemporary women, with a few historical figures thrown in.

I haven’t forgotten about the Suffragettes nor early women’s rights activists like Margret Sanger, I’m just going to include them in my next posting which will feature renowned women of the 19th and 20th Centuries – so many books and so little time!

And without futher ado, here is a reading list of titles on women renowned for their contributions to government and/or politics:

Barbara Jordan: American Hero by Mary Beth Rogers:

Barbara Jordan was the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction, Barbara Jordan was also the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, and the first to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention. Her powerful oratory stirred a nation; her ideals of ethical leadership inspired millions.

Mary Beth Rogers first met Barbara Jordan in the 1960s, and their paths crossed over the years as they pursued their academic and political careers. Now Rogers’s meticulously documented biography deftly combines personal insight and impeccable research to explore the forces that shaped the moral character and quiet dignity of this extraordinary woman


Becoming by Michelle Obama:

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. A deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.


Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill:

Late in life, Winston Churchill claimed that victory in the Second World War would have been “impossible” without the woman who stood by his side for fifty-seven turbulent years. Why, then, do we know so little about her? In this landmark biography, a finalist for the Plutarch prize, Sonia Purnell finally gives Clementine Churchill her due.

Through the ups and downs of his tumultuous career, in the tense days when he stood against Chamberlain and the many months when he helped inspire his fellow countrymen and women to keep strong and carry on, Clementine made her husband’s career her mission, at the expense of her family, her health and, fatefully, of her children. Any real consideration of Winston Churchill is incomplete without an understanding of their relationship. Clementine is both the first real biography of this remarkable woman and a fascinating look inside their private world.


Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir:

Renowned in her time for being the most beautiful woman in Europe, the wife of two kings and mother of three, Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages. Despite the fact she lived in an age in which women were regarded as little more than chattel, Eleanor managed to defy convention as she exercised power in the political sphere and crucial influence over her husbands and sons. In this beautifully written new biography, Alison Weir, author of five widely acclaimed chronicles of England’s royal rulers, paints a vibrant portrait of this truly exceptional woman, and provides new insights into her intimate life.

Born in 1122 into the sophisticated and cultured court of Poitiers, Eleanor came of age in a world of luxury, intrigue, bloody combat, and unbridled ambition. At only fifteen, she inherited one of the great fortunes of Europe–the prize duchy of Aquitaine–yet her father had been shrewd enough to realize that her future security lay in a powerful marriage. Consequently the sensual Duchess submitted to a union with the handsome but sexually withholding Louis VII, the teenage king of France. The marriage endured for fifteen fraught years, until Eleanor finally succeeded in having it annulled–only to enter an even stormier match with the aggressively virile, hot-tempered Henry of Anjou, who would soon ascend to the English throne as Henry II.

As Weir traces the fascinating intersection of public and private lives in Europe’s twelfth-century courts, Eleanor comes to life as a complex, boldly original woman who transcended the mores of society. Eventually, after enduring Henry’s flagrant infidelities, she showed herself a formidable and dangerous enemy of the King’s interests by plotting to overthrow him with their sons Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey. A tireless political fighter and a born survivor, the humbled Queen emerged from sixteen years of imprisonment, age sixty-seven, to rule England with wisdom and panache during the absence of her son, King Richard the Lion Heart, while he fought in the ruinous Third Crusade.


Elena Kagan: A Biography by Meg Greene:

Elena Kagan can be considered a “wild card” in terms of how she will vote and affect Supreme Court decisions. While largely considered a liberal, her lack of a judicial “track record” and previous work as Solicitor General lend an air of uncertainty as to how she will react to upcoming cases that have proven highly divisive and controversial. This full-length biography sheds light on Elena Kagan’s life, covering her college years at Princeton and her experience in law school as well as her legal career, which eventually led her to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch:

Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.


The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice Patricia Bell-Scott:

A finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and longlisted for the National Book Award, The Firebrand and the First Lady is the riveting history, two decades in the making, of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist and the first lady of the United States forged an enduring friendship that helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.

In 1938, the twenty-eight-year-old Pauli Murray wrote a letter to the President and First Lady, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, protesting racial segregation in the South. Eleanor wrote back. So began a friendship that would last for a quarter of a century, as Pauli became a lawyer, principal strategist in the fight to protect Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a co-founder of the National Organization of Women, and Eleanor became a diplomat and first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.


First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas:

She was born in 1930 in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. At a time when women were expected to be homemakers, she set her sights on Stanford University. When she graduated near the top of her law school class in 1952, no firm would even interview her. But Sandra Day O’Connor’s story is that of a woman who repeatedly shattered glass ceilings—doing so with a blend of grace, wisdom, humor, understatement, and cowgirl toughness.

She became the first ever female majority leader of a state senate. As a judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals, she stood up to corrupt lawyers and humanized the law. When she arrived at the United States Supreme Court, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, she began a quarter-century tenure on the Court, hearing cases that ultimately shaped American law. Diagnosed with cancer at fifty-eight, and caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s, O’Connor endured every difficulty with grit and poise.

Women and men who want to be leaders and be first in their own lives—who want to learn when to walk away and when to stand their ground—will be inspired by O’Connor’s example. This is a remarkably vivid and personal portrait of a woman who loved her family, who believed in serving her country, and who, when she became the most powerful woman in America, built a bridge forward for all women.


From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein:

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers, young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president


Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe by Nancy Goldstone:

For fans of Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser, acclaimed author Nancy Goldstone’s thrilling history of the royal daughters who succeeded in ruling—and shaping—thirteenth-century Europe

Set against the backdrop of the thirteenth century, a time of chivalry and crusades, troubadors, knights and monarchs, Four Queens is the story of four provocative sisters—Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia, and Beatrice of Provence—who rose from near obscurity to become the most coveted and powerful women in Europe. Each sister in this extraordinary family was beautiful, cultured, and accomplished but what made these women so remarkable was that each became queen of a principal European power—France, England, Germany and Sicily. During their reigns, they exercised considerable political authority, raised armies, intervened diplomatically and helped redraw the map of Europe. Theirs is a drama of courage, sagacity and ambition that re-examines the concept of leadership in the Middle Ages.


Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, showed Americans how optimism, an adventurous spirit, and a call to service can help change the world. Their arrival in the spotlight came under the worst of circumstances. On January 8, 2011, while meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona, Gabby was the victim of an assassination attempt that left six people dead and thirteen wounded. Gabby was shot in the head; doctors called her survival “miraculous.” As the nation grieved and sought to understand the attack, Gabby remained focused on her against-all-odds recovery. Mark spent every possible moment by her side, as he also prepared for his final mission as commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Now, as Gabby’s health continues to improve, the couple is sharing their remarkable untold story, an unflinching look at the overwhelming challenges of brain injury, the painstaking process of learning to communicate again, and the responsibilities that fall to a loving spouse who wants the best possible treatment for his wife.


Maharanis: The Extraordinary Tale of Four Indian Queens and Their Journey from Purdah to Parliament by Lucy Moore:

Until the 1920s, to be a Maharani, wife to the Maharajah, was to be tantalizingly close to the power and glamour of the Raj, but locked away in purdah as near chattel. Even the educated, progressive Maharani of Baroda, Chimnabai—born into the aftermath of the 1857 Indian Mutiny—began her marriage this way, but her ravishing daughter, Indira, had other ideas. She became the Regent of Cooch Behar, one of the wealthiest regions of India while her daughter, Ayesha, was elected to the Indian Parliament.

The lives of these influential women embodied the delicate interplay between rulers and ruled, race and culture, subservience and independence, Eastern and Western ideas, and ancient and modern ways of life in the bejeweled exuberance of Indian aristocratic life in the final days both of the Raj, and the British Empire. Tracing these larger than life characters as they bust every known stereotype, Lucy Moore creates a vivid picture of an emerging modern, democratic society in India and the tumultous period of Imperialism from which it arose.

Through the sumptuous, adventurous lives of three generations of Indian queens—from the period following the Indian Mutiny of 1857 to the present, Lucy Moore traces the cultural and political changes that transformed their world.


My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayer:

An instant American icon–the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court–tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir. With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. She writes of her precarious childhood and the refuge she took with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. She describes her resolve as a young girl to become a lawyer, and how she made this dream become reality: valedictorian of her high school class, summa cum laude at Princeton, Yale Law, prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.’s office, private practice, federal district judge before the age of forty. She writes about her deeply valued mentors, about her failed marriage, about her cherished family of friends. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this … book


My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem:

Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn’t have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution.

My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.


Nine And Counting: The Women of the Senate by Barbara Mikulski:

Note: This book was published in 2001, however it still contains cool information on the nine women who were Senators at that time – some of whom, including Susan Collins of Maine and Dianne Feinstein of California still are!

Here’s a description of the book:

The Women of the United States Senate have forever changed the political landscape. Their backgrounds, personal styles, and political ideals may be as diverse as the nation they serve. Yet they share a commonality that runs deeper than politics or geography — they desire to give a voice to all their constituents while serving as role models for women young and old.

Once every month, these distinguished women for an informal dinner to share their knowledge, their hearts, and a good meal. Leaving behind partisanship and rhetoric, they discuss and debate the issues, both political and personal, affecting their lives. And following the 2000 election of four women to the Senate, the table is now set for thirteen. Weaving together their individual stories of triumph, adversity, adaptability, and leadership, Nine and Counting gives voice to these charismatic women as never before, offering a rare, insider’s glimpse into Washington and sending the powerful message that membership in the “world’s most exclusive club” is open to every woman in America.


This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills:

The award-winning biography of black civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. “”Riveting. Provides a history that helps us to understand the choices made by so many black men and women of Hamer’s generation, who somehow found the courage to join a movement in which they risked everything.”” ―New York Times Book Review “”One is forced to pause and consider that this black daughter of the Old South might have been braver than King and Malcolm.”” ―Washington Post Book World “”An epic that nurtures us as we confront today’s challenges and helps us Keep Hope Alive.'”” ―Jesse L. Jackson “”Not only does This Little Light of Mine recount a vital part of America””s history, but it lights our future as readers are inspired anew by Mrs. Hamer’s spirit, courage, and commitment.”” ―Marian Wright Edelman “”This book is the essence of raw courage. It must be read.”” ―Rep. John Lewis


Off The Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand 

Off the Sidelines is a playbook for women who want to step up, whether in Congress or the boardroom or the local PTA. If women were fully represented in politics, Gillibrand says, national priorities would shift to issues that directly impact them: affordable daycare, paid family medical leave, and equal pay. Pulling back the curtain on Beltway politics, she speaks candidly about her legislative successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and her crushing disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military).

Gillibrand also shares stories of growing up the daughter and granddaughter of two trailblazing feminists in a politically active family in Albany, New York, and retraces her nonlinear path to public office. She lays bare the highs and lows of being a young (pregnant!) woman in Congress, the joys and sacrifices every working mother shares, and the support system she turns to in her darkest moments: her husband, their two little boys, and lots of girlfriends.

In Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand is the tough-love older sister and cheerleader every woman needs. She explains why “ambition” is not a dirty word, failure is a gift, listening is the most effective tool, and the debate over women “having it all” is absurd at best and demeaning at worst. In her sharp, honest, and refreshingly relatable voice, she dares us all to tap into our inner strength, find personal fulfillment, and speak up for what we believe in.

In Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand is the tough-love older sister and cheerleader every woman needs. She explains why “ambition” is not a dirty word, failure is a gift, listening is the most effective tool, and the debate over women “having it all” is absurd at best and demeaning at worst. In her sharp, honest, and refreshingly relatable voice, she dares us all to tap into our inner strength, find personal fulfillment, and speak up for what we believe in.


No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice:

From one of the world’s most admired women, this is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s compelling story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government.  In her position as America’s chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies, forging agreement on divisive issues, and compiling a remarkable record of achievement.

No Higher Honor takes the reader into secret negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how frighteningly close all-out war loomed in clashes involving Pakistan-India and Russia-Georgia, and in East Africa.

Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers here keen insight into how history actually proceeds. In No Higher Honor, she delivers a master class in statecraft — but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded.


The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamla Harris:

From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the shared values that will see us into the future.

Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, Senator Kamala Harris is committed to speaking the truth. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in a community that cared deeply about social justice and, growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for doing what is right.

Throughout her career, from starting out as a prosecutor right up to her position as California’s Attorney General, and now as a US Senator, her hallmarks have been applying a holistic, data-driven approach to the thorniest issues, whether it’s taking on the big banks or rejecting stale ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither ‘tough’ nor ‘soft’ but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might.

Through the arc of her own life, Harris communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values and grapples with complex issues that affect America and the world at large, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality. By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem solving, crisis management, and leadership in challenging times.


A Woman in Charge by Carl Bernstein:

While he plows some of the same emotional terrain as previous Hillary biographers—notably Gail Sheehy in Hillary’s Choice—his book holds together as a piece of writing, and he keeps the psychobabble to a merciful minimum. He also attempts to write a genuine biography, describing and interpreting the life Hillary has led and the varieties of forces that shaped her.
—The New York Times Book Review, Jennifer Senior

Have a great weekend!

Linda, SSCL


50 Women Who Made American Political History, Time Magazine Site,

A Reading List Celebrating Women in Politics. Penguin Random House Site,

Suggested Reading March 18, 2019

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for the week, five digital titles available through OverDrive and five print titles available through StarCat.


Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World written by Cal Newport and read by Will Damron (Format: Downloadable Audiobook):

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.


The Face of a Stranger, William Monk Mystery Series, Book 1 by Anne Perry (Format: eBook):

Readers are immediately immersed into the Victorian world of William Monk as he awakens from a coma in a squalid London hospital. Leaving in a semi-amnesic state, he finds his flat through a receipt in his pocket. Gradually, as he begins to solve a much-publicized murder case, Monk’s established abilities as an investigator are renewed. As he unravels the case, he also comes to know his own past. Perry leads readers to the solutions of the two mysteries with a fine, comfortable style and descriptions of turn-of-the-century London that are vivid and accurate.


Feminism Is by D.K. Publishing with a forward by Roxane Gay (Format: eBook):

A lively and accessible book for teens on the history, pioneers, theories, questions, arguments, and daily reality of feminism today.

What is feminism? Combining insightful text with graphic illustrations, this engaging book introduces young adult readers to a subject that should matter to everyone. Posed as a series of questions, Feminism Is… tackles the most intriguing and relevant topics, such as “Are all people equal?”, “Do boys and girls learn the same things?” and “Why do women earn less than men?” Find out what equality for women really means, get a short history of feminism, and take a look at the issues that affect women at work, in the home, and around sex and identity. Meet, too, some great women, such as Gloria Steinem, Frida Kahlo, and Malala Yousafzai, “rebel girls” who refused to accept the status quo of their day and blazed a trail for others to follow.

With more than 50 questions that address key feminist concerns, Feminism Is… takes on the issues in informative, thought-provoking ways.


Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee (Format: eBook):

Designer and TED star Ingrid Fetell Lee presents groundbreaking research to explain how making small changes to your surroundings can create extraordinary happiness in your life.

Have you ever wondered why we stop to watch the orange glow that arrives before sunset, or why we flock to see cherry blossoms bloom in spring? Is there a reason that people — regardless of gender, age, culture, or ethnicity — are mesmerized by baby animals, and can’t help but smile when they see a burst of confetti or a cluster of colorful balloons.

We are often made to feel that the physical world has little or no impact on our inner joy. Increasingly, experts urge us to find balance and calm by looking inward — through mindfulness or meditation — and muting the outside world. But what if the natural vibrancy of our surroundings is actually our most renewable and easily accessible source of joy?

In Joyful, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee explores how the seemingly mundane spaces and objects we interact with every day have surprising and powerful effects on our mood. Drawing on insights from neuroscience and psychology, she explains why one setting makes us feel anxious or competitive, while another fosters acceptance and delight — and, most importantly, she reveals how we can harness the power of our surroundings to live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives.


Wolf Pack by C. J. Box (Format: eBook):

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C.J. Box.

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone–including Joe, Nate, and others–who is associated with him.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself in the most violent and dangerous predicament he’s ever faced.



All titles are print books unless otherwise specified.

All My Goodbyes by Mariana Dimópulos:

Argentina’s Dimópulos debuts in English with this impressionistic account of a young woman’s “pilgrim years” of itinerancy. The narrator leaves Buenos Aires at 23, proclaiming, “being useful is no use to me.” For the next 10 years, she drifts through Spain and Germany, repeatedly falling in love but always finding a reason to keep moving. In Heidelberg, she charms a student with her knowledge of the Latin names of plants, and in Berlin, she rooms with a trauma therapist before abandoning her, broken-hearted, to run off with a globe-trotting businessman whom she’d first met roaming the beach in Málaga. Once back in Argentina, the narrator moves to a farm in the shadow of the Andes and begins a passionate affair with Marco, its proprietor. With him she begins “predicting a life for myself; for real this time, this time forever.” That is, until he is brutally murdered. As more scandalous details surrounding Marco’s death emerge, however, the appeal of avoiding commitment, no matter how immature, becomes harder to ignore. “We know from our hydrogen and our oxygen that we are water as well as dust,” Dimópulos writes. “And water runs.” Dimópulos boldly abandons chronology in this novel, offering instead brief, interweaving glimpses of her narrator’s relationships to create a fascinating kaleidoscope of regret.


The Black Ascot written by Charles Todd and read by Simon Prebble (Format: Audiobook on CD):

Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge seeks a killer who has eluded Scotland Yard for years in this next installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series.

An astonishing tip from a grateful ex-convict seems implausible—but Inspector Ian Rutledge is intrigued and brings it to his superior at Scotland Yard. Alan Barrington, who has evaded capture for ten years, is the suspect in an appalling murder during Black Ascot, the famous 1910 royal horse race meet honoring the late King Edward VII. His disappearance began a manhunt that consumed Britain for a decade. Now it appears that Barrington has returned to England, giving the Yard a last chance to retrieve its reputation and see justice done. Rutledge is put in charge of a quiet search under cover of a routine review of a cold case.

Meticulously retracing the original inquiry, Rutledge begins to know Alan Barrington well, delving into relationships and secrets that hadn’t surfaced in 1910. But is he too close to finding his man? His sanity is suddenly brought into question by a shocking turn of events. His sister Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr. Fleming stand by him, but there is no greater shame than shell shock. Questioning himself, he realizes that he cannot look back. The only way to save his career—much less his sanity—is to find Alan Barrington and bring him to justice. But is this elusive murderer still in England?


Black And Blue by David Rosenfelt:

Doug Brock hasn’t had it easy since his getting shot in the line of duty as a New Jersey state police officer. Between the amnesia and having to solve two murder cases, it hasn’t been the most restful recovery. Now, the cold case department is checking evidence from a murder case Doug was investigating before the accident, but the DNA points to a man Doug eliminated as a suspect– and he remembers none of it. Doug begins to reinvestigate what turns out to be a series of unsolved killings and must retrace his steps to discover why he would have let the suspect go free. What he uncovers may be more dangerous than any case he’s faced yet.


Celtic Empire by Clive Cussler:

The murders of a team of United Nations scientists in El Salvador. . . A deadly collision in the waterways off the city of Detroit. . . An attack by tomb raiders on an archaeological site along the banks of the Nile. . . Is there a link between these violent events? The answer may lie in the tale of an Egyptian princess forced to flee the armies of her father three thousand years ago.

During what was supposed to be a routine investigation in South America, NUMA Director Dirk Pitt finds himself embroiled in an international mystery, one that will lead him across the world and which will threaten everyone and everything he knows—most importantly, his own family. Pitt travels to Scotland in search of answers about the spread of an unknown disease and the shadowy bioremediation company that may be behind it. Meanwhile, his son and daughter face a threat of their own when the discoveries they have made in an Egyptian tomb put killers on their trail. These seemingly unrelated riddles come together in a stunning showdown on the rocky isles of Ireland, where only the Pitts can unravel the secrets of an ancient enigma that could change the very future of mankind.


The Colour Of Murder by Julian Symons

Originally published in 1957, this suspenseful entry in the British Library Crime Classics series from MWA Grand Master Symons (1912–1994) focuses on the psychology of the accused. It opens with a statement to a consulting psychiatrist by John Wilkins, the assistant manager of a London department store’s complaints department, who has been suffering from blackouts. John is unhappily married to May, and dates the origin of his present, unspecified legal dilemma to an encounter with an attractive librarian, Sheila Morton. He lies to Sheila about his marital status and persuades her to go to the theater with him. Although Sheila rebuffs his advances, John begins talking to May about divorce—and to his uncle about a recent criminal case in which a man was acquitted of murdering his spouse. His situation comes to a head in Brighton, where he takes May on vacation, knowing that Sheila will be there as well, a confluence that leads to murder and a trial. Symons neatly balances a sympathetic portrayal of the unlikable John with a classic whodunit.

Have a great week!

Linda, SSCL

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The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

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This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:


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Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Suggested Listening March 15, 2019

Hi everyone, here are our lucky seven musical streaming* suggestions for the week.

(Click on the photo of the playlist you’d like to hear, to play it!)

Animal House – 100 Rock N’ Roll Classics Of The ’50s & ’60s by Various Artists (Genre: Traditional Rock, R&B, Pop):

This set offers a cool 3 hours and 57 minutes of classic fifties and sixties music – predominantly classic rock and R&B songs. The collection does indeed feature 100 songs including: Tequila by The Champs, Let’s Boo Ga Loo by The Magics, Soul Man by Sam & Dave, Walkin’ by Charlie Lucas Combo, Simon Says by 1910 Fruitgum Company, Night After Night by The Derbys, Rock and Roll Boogie Dillard Crom Jr. and Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny.


Perpetual Twilight (2019) by The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin & Desmond Earley:

Traditional Irish songs performed by The Choral Scholars and conducted by Desmond Earley.

Songs on the LP include: Dúlamán (Arr. Desmond Earley), My Love is like a Red, Red Rose (Arr. Ēriks Ešenvalds), The Maid of Culmore, Oxen of the Sun & Wild Mountain Thyme.


Patty Griffin (2019) by Patty Griffin (Genre: Folk):

Despite the title, simply Patty Griffin, this is the tenth album by the talented folk singer-songwriter and she is in fine form!

Songs on the LP include: River, Where I Come From, Hourglass, Had A Good Reason, Bluebeard and What Now.


The Early Years: Kerrville Folk Festival (2014) by Various Artists (Genre: Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Rock):

The Kerrville Folk Festival runs for 18 days and has been held annually, at The Quiet Valley Ranch near Kerrville, Texas, since 1972.

This collection covers the years 1972 to 1981 and only 500 CD editions of this collection were issued when it was first released. You can’t buy it from Amazon but you can listen to it through Freegal!

There are more than 100 songs in this collection including: Long John by John A. Lomax, Jr., Drunken Lady of the Morning by Texas Fever, When Day Is Done by Peter Yarrow, Party’s Over by Willie Nelson, Charlie Dunn by Jerry Jeff Walker, Ruby by Southern Strangers, La Paloma by Flaco Jimenez, Anyhow I Love You by Guy Clark, New Freedom March by Mike Seeger, Chime Bells by Bill Staines, If I Needed You by Townes Van Zandt, Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound by Tom Paxton, Light Beyond These Woods by Nanci Griffith and Bramble and The Rose by Mary McCaslin.


El Astronauta (2016) by Quaker City Night Hawks (Genre: Rock):

The Quaker City Night Hawks are a modern rock band whose style is tinged with a Southern Rock flavor.

Songs on this, their debut LP, include: Good Evening, Medicine Man, Mockingbird, Something To Burn, Duendes and Sons & Daughters.


Immigrance (2019) by Snarky Puppy (Genre: Jazz, Rock, Pop):

Snarky Puppy is a Denton, Texas based band lead by bassist Michael League and known for playing funky free flowing jazz fusion songs. Immigrance is their brand new LP and features the following songs: Chonks, Bling Bling, Xavi, While We’re Young and Even Us.


The Subterraneans (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Andre Previn (Genre: Jazz, Soundtrack):

The Subterraneans is the soundtrack for the 1960 film based on the book of the same name written by the great Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac.

André Previn composed the soundtrack which features great classic jazz songs and artists including: Main Title by Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Jack Sheldon & Andre Previn, Red Drum Blues by Gerry Mulligan Group and Andre Previn, Should I? by Shelly Manne, Red Mitchell, Carmen McCrae & Andre Previn, Coffee Time by Andre Previn & Roxanne at Ariel’s by Russ Freeman, Shelly Manne and Andre Previn.


Videos of the Week:

Cha Cha Cha In Blue by Junior Wells


Hidi Hidi Hidi by Mickey Hawks & The Night Raiders

Night After Night by The Derbys


Walkin’ by Charlie Lucas Combo


Wild Thing by The Troggs


Dúlamán by The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin


Skye Boat Song by The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin


What I Remember by Patty Griffith


Where I Come From by Patty Griffith


High Sheriff of Hazard by Tom Paxton


Original 1934 John Lomax recording of “Rock Island” by Kelly Pace and Prisoners


Orange Blossom Special by Dick Barrett


Duendes by Quaker City Night Hawks


Medicine Man by The Quaker City Night Hawks


Bad Kids To The Back by Snarky Puppy


Xavi by Snarky Puppy

Have a great weekend!

Linda, SSCL



The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Witburn

Quaker City Night Hawks Official Website:

Kerryville Folk Festival Official Website:

About Freegal: 

Freegal is a free streaming music service available for free to library card holders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries. STLS member libraries include all the public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegany counties — including our own Southeast Steuben County Library.

You can download the Freegal music app to your mobile device or access the desktop version of the site by clicking on the following link:

*The Freegal service offers library card holders the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

New York Times Bestsellers March 17, 2019

Hi everyone, here are the top New York Times fiction and non-fiction bestsellers for the week that ends March 10, 2019.

(Click on the book covers to read a summary of each plot and to request the books of your choice.)


AN ANONYMOUS GIRL by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen:

Jessica Farris’s life unravels when she signs up for Dr. Shields’s psychology study.


Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James:

A loner named Tracker teams up with a group of unusual characters in search of a mysterious boy.


BORDER by Don Winslow:

The third book in the Power of the Dog series. Art Keller’s fight to keep drugs out of the country has taken a complicated turn.


CALIFORNIA GIRLS by Susan Mallery:

After getting dumped in the same week, three sisters rebuild their lives.


THE CHEF by James Patterson and Max DiLallo:

Caleb Rooney, a police detective and celebrity food truck chef, must clear his name of murder allegations.



Hannah Swensen teams up with a former lover to find out who left a dead body in her bedroom.


CIRCE by Madeline Miller:

Zeus banishes Helios’ daughter to an island, where she must choose between living with gods or mortals.



Eve Dallas scours tattoo parlors and strip joints for clues to the cause of Lyle Pickering’s mysterious death.



A young woman’s well-ordered life is disrupted by the I.T. guy from her office.


FIRE AND BLOOD by George R.R. Martin:

Set 300 years before the events of “A Game of Thrones,” this is the first volume of the two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.


THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah:

A former prisoner of war moves his family to Alaska.


THE HUNTRESS by Kate Quinn:

A British journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot go after a Nazi war criminal.



Grace Healey investigates the fates of 12 women who were sent to occupied Europe to help the resistance during World War II.


NEVER TELL by Lisa Gardner:

D.D. Warren and Flora Dane investigate whether a pregnant woman shot and killed her husband.



A romance writer becomes fascinated by the owner and director of a health resort.


PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon:

Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from a dragon.


THE RECKONING by John Grisham:

A decorated World War II veteran shoots and kills a pastor inside a Mississippi church.


THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides:

Theo Faber looks into the mystery of a famous painter who stops speaking after shooting her husband.



A concentration camp detainee tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners falls in love with one of them.



In a quiet town on the North Carolina coast in 1969, a young woman who survived alone in the marsh becomes a murder suspect.




A straightforward, easy-to-understand introduction to the universe.


BAD BLOOD by John Carreyrou:

The rise and fall of Theranos, the biotech startup that failed to deliver on its promise to make blood testing more efficient.


BEAUTIFUL BOY by David Sheff:

A father struggles with his son’s meth addiction.


BECOMING by Michelle Obama:

The former first lady describes her journey from the South Side of Chicago to the White House, and how she balanced work, family and her husband’s political ascent.


BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah:

A memoir about growing up biracial in apartheid South Africa by the host of “The Daily Show.”


EDUCATED by Tara Westover:

The daughter of survivalists, who is kept out of school, educates herself enough to leave home for university.


THE FIRST CONSPIRACY by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch Flatiron:

The story of a secret plot to kill George Washington in 1776.


GRATEFUL AMERICAN by David Sinise with Marcus Brotherton:

The Oscar-nominated actor describes how he has entertained troops and helped veterans.


IM by Isaac Mizrahi:

The designer and witty television personality describes some of his lifelong struggles.



The story of a murder spree in 1920s Oklahoma that targeted Osage Indians, whose lands contained oil.


THE LIBRARY BOOK by Susan Orlean:

The story of the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library provides a backdrop to the evolution and purpose of libraries.


SAPIENS by Yuval Noah Harari:

How Homo sapiens became Earth’s dominant species.


SAY NOTHING by Patrick Radden:

A look at the conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.



A collection of essays and speeches written over four decades, including a eulogy for James Baldwin and the author’s Novel lecture.


SPEARHEAD by Adam Makos (Audibook on CD):

An American tank gunner faces enemies in Cologne, Germany, during World War II.


THE THREAT by Andrew G. McCabe:

The former deputy director of the F.B.I. describes major events ofh is career and the ways the agency works to protect Americans.



Reflections on the ageism, misogyny and loss that women might encounter as they grow older.

Have a great day!

Linda, SSL


Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Suggested Reading March 11, 2019

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for the week, five digital titles available through OverDrive and five print titles available through StarCat.


Dreyer’s English An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer:

We all write, all the time: books, blogs, emails. Lots and lots of emails. And we all want to write better. Benjamin Dreyer is here to help.

As Random House’s copy chief, Dreyer has upheld the standards of the legendary publisher for more than two decades. He is beloved by authors and editors alike—not to mention his followers on social media—for deconstructing the English language with playful erudition. Now he distills everything he has learned from the myriad books he has copyedited and overseen into a useful guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best prose foot forward.

As authoritative as it is amusing, Dreyer’s English offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en dash; the rules and nonrules of grammar, including why it’s OK to begin a sentence with “And” or “But” and to confidently split an infinitive; and why it’s best to avoid the doldrums of the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers, including “very,” “rather,” “of course,” and the dreaded “actually.” Dreyer will let you know whether “alright” is all right (sometimes) and even help you brush up on your spelling—though, as he notes,

“The problem with mnemonic devices is that I can never remember them.”

And yes: “Only godless savages eschew the series comma.”

Chockful of advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts, this book will prove to be invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people’s prose, and—perhaps best of all—an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language.


The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie (Format: eBook):

Who do you become when you have nothing left to lose?

There is something Poe Blythe, the seventeen-year-old captain of the Outpost’s last mining ship, wants far more than the gold they tear from the Serpentine River.


Poe has vowed to annihilate the river raiders who robbed her of everything two years ago. But as she navigates the treacherous waters of the Serpentine and realizes there might be a traitor among her crew, she must also reckon with who she has become, who she wants to be, and the ways love can change and shape you. Even—and especially—when you think all is lost.

Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched trilogy, returns with an intricately crafted and emotionally gripping story of one young woman’s journey to move beyond the grief and anger that control her and find the inner strength to chart her own course.


Losing Brave written by Bailee Madison and read by Stefne Miller (Format: Digital Audiobook):

From award-winning actress Bailee Madison and Reader’s Choice Award Finalist Stefne Miller, comes Losing Brave. More than a year has passed since seventeen-year-old Payton Brave’s twin sister went missing; and Payton, in her desperate attempt to hold on to what’s left of Dylan’s memory, is starting to crack.

Lost in the mystery and turmoil of her sister’s disappearance, Payton must overcome the aftermath of being the one left behind. She’s unable to remember even the smallest piece of what happened the day Dylan vanished. When sudden and reckless outbursts throw her from the graces of popularity to the outskirts of high school society, her new status attracts a crowd of friends she never anticipated—including a troubling romance with her sister’s boyfriend, Cole.

New clues unearth about the circumstances of her disappearance when another missing girl’s body is recovered from a nearby lake, the victim’s features eerily similar to Dylan’s. The more Payton pries open the clenches of her blocked memories, yielding to her need to know what happened, the further down the path of danger she goes. The darkness around her sister’s disappearance grows and the truth becomes more and more unbearable. And what she finds might just cost her – her life.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (Format: eBook):

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravencroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.


The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (Format: eBook):

From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the

Honorable Perry T. Cook, Leslie Connor, comes a deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope.

Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.

But will anyone believe him?

National Book Award Finalist * ALA Schneider Family Book Award * 2019 ALSC Notable Children’s Book * Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 * 2019-2020 Nebraska Golden Sower Award * Amazon Best Books of 2018 * Kirkus Best of Children’s 2018 * New York Public Library Best Books 2018 * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018 * 2018 Nerdy Book Club Middle Grade Winner


All The Wrong Places by Joy Fielding:

Driven to desperation by divorce, boredom, infidelity, or a beloved husband’s death, a young woman named Paige, her cousin and rival Heather, her best friend Chloe, and her mother, Joan, all decide to try their hand at online dating. They each download an app, hoping to right-swipe their way to love and happiness. But one of them unwittingly makes a date with a killer, starting the clock on a race to save her life.


The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray:

The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you. The Butler family has had their share of trials, as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest, but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives. Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.


I.M.: A Memoir by Isaac Mizrahi:

“Honest, insightful, and thoroughly entertaining…Mizrahi comes off in writing just like his onscreen persona: warm, witty, humble—and ready to dish.” —Booklist, starred review

Isaac Mizrahi is sui generis: designer, cabaret performer, talk-show host, a TV celebrity. Yet ever since he shot to fame in the late 1980s, the private Isaac Mizrahi has remained under wraps. Until now.

In I.M., Isaac Mizrahi offers a poignant, candid, and touching look back on his life so far. Growing up gay in a sheltered Syrian Jewish Orthodox family, Isaac had unique talents that ultimately drew him into fashion and later into celebrity circles that read like a who’s who of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn, Anna Wintour, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Meryl Streep, and Oprah Winfrey, to name only a few.

In his elegant memoir, Isaac delves into his lifelong battles with weight, insomnia, and depression. He tells what it was like to be an out gay man in a homophobic age and to witness the ravaging effects of the AIDS epidemic. Brimming with intimate details and inimitable wit, Isaac’s narrative reveals not just the glamour of his years, but the grit beneath the glitz. Rich with memorable stories from in and out of the spotlight, I.M. illuminates deep emotional truths.


The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie:

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes. But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods. It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo-aide to Mawat, the true Lease — arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself — and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.


The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides:

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations, a search for the truth that threatens to consume him.

Have a great week!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:


The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.

The Digital Catalog (OverDrive)

The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

Freegal Music Service

This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:


*Magazines are available for free and on demand! You can check out magazines and read them on your computer or download the RBDigital app from your app store and read them on your mobile devices.


You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or RB Digital app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our tech coaches will be happy to assist you.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Suggested Listening March 8, 2019

Hi everyone, here are our lucky seven musical streaming* suggestions for the week.

This week we’re offering seven streaming playlists that are perfect for your weekend listening pleasure!

(Click on the photo of the playlist you’d like to hear to it!)

A Chill Weekend Playlist:

A Chill Weekend Playlist features 82 songs running 5 hours and 25 minutes, features mostly modern artists and is perfect as background music for a relaxing weekend at home.

Song in the collection include: The Last Garden by Salacoro, Forever Changeless by Nils Frahm, Prototype by Outcast, A Girl In Winter by Robert & Ben Watt, Moonlight by Masatoshi Fujita and Boutique in Heaven by Justin Timberlake.


A Country Kind of Love Playlist:

A Country Kind of Love Playlist features 83 songs, runs 4 hours and 42 minutes and offers a nice mixture of modern and classic country music.

Songs in the set include: Don’t You Wanna Stay by Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson, Heaven by Kane Brown, Somewhere With You by Kenney Chesney, I Love You by Martina McBride, Flesh and Blood by Johnny Cash and Golden Ring by George Jones & Tammy Wynette.


Fuego: A Latin Playlist:

Fuego: A Latin Music Playlist is a fun and festive playlist that features 81 songs and runs 5 hours and 2 minutes.

Songs in the collection include: Tú Me Sientas Tan Bien by Thalía & DABRUK, Te Guste by Jennifer Lopez & Bad Bunny, Havana 1957 by C. Tangana, Niño de Elche, This Feeling by Natalia Clavier & Politick and Mi Vecina by Ivy Queen.


Jazz Favorites of 2018:

Jazz Favorites of 2018 Playlist features 78 songs, runs 8 hours and 23 minutes and includes a mixture of classic and modern music including the following songs: Dat Dere by Stefan Harris & Blackout, Where or When by Erroll Garner, Alternative Facts by The Stanley Clarke Band, Moonglow by Thomas Quasthoff and Smoke Screen by Eddie Henderson.


Raptures: A Classical Playlist:

Raptures: A Classical Playlist features 81 songs, runs 8 hours and 34 minutes and features a mixture of modern and traditional classical music.

Songs in the set include: Moments by Alexis French, Talking to my Father by Hauschka, Indiana Jones and the Arabian Nights by The Piano Guys, Cinema Paradiso by Joshua Bell with Josh Groban, Game of Thrones Medley by 2Cellos and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 by Simone Dinnerstein.


St. Patrick’s Day Playlist

St. Patrick’s Day Playlist features 61 songs and runs 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Time to get your Irish on!

Songs in the collection include: The Luck of the Irish by Irish Me, The Galway Girl by Celtic Thunder, Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, Finnegan’s Wake by The Irish Masters, Galway Bay by Johnny Cash and My Wild Irish Rose by The Irish Tenor Trio.


Sunday Brunch Playlist:

Sunday Brunch Playlist features 77 songs, runs 5 hours and 30 minutes and features a collection of song from a wide range of musical styles including classic jazz, folk, R&B, country, classic rock and more.

Songs in the eclectic set include: Ain’t Misbehaving’ by Fats Waller, Are You Ready by The War and Treaty, Oh Catherine, My Catherine by Widower, Save it for a Rainy Day by Kenny Chesney, She Has Funny Cars by Jefferson Airplane, A Sunday Kind of Love by Dinah Washington and A Case of You by Prince.


Videos of the Week:

A Girl InWinter by Ben Watt


The Moon and the Sky by Sade


Flesh and Blood by Johnny Cash


Breakfast in the Afternoon by Caitlyn Smith


Se Supone by Arcángel


Havana 1957 by Orishas feat. Chucho Valdés & Beatriz Luengo


Naima by Eddie Henderson


Moonglow by Thomas Quasthoff


Moments by Alexis Ffrench


Hallelujah by 2CELLOS


The Irish Rover by The Irish Boys


The Rocky Road To Dublin by The Dubliners


Better Get Hit in Your Soul by Charles Mingus


It Takes a Lot to Laugh it Takes a Train to Cry by Bob Dylan

Have a great weekend!

Linda, SSCL



The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Witburn

About Freegal: 

Freegal is a free streaming music service available for free to library card holders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries. STLS member libraries include all the public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegany counties — including our own Southeast Steuben County Library.

You can download the Freegal music app to your mobile device or access the desktop version of the site by clicking on the following link:

*The Freegal service offers library card holders the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

How eBooks, And Downloadable Audiobooks Are Purchased For The Digital Catalog (i.e. Libby/OverDrive)

Hi everyone! Yesterday, my co-worker Marshall Hyde did a lovely posting on the process for the selection of purchasing physical library materials, which included a great photo of yours truly – thank you Marshall!

The posting appeared on Facebook and the comments from patrons include a cool question (we love questions in Library Land!)

The question was how do we select materials for Libby?

And to answer that question, first a little background so those reading this posting who aren’t familiar with Libby, OverDrive or the Digital Catalog will know what I am talking about!

And here is the background information in three parts:

1. What is the Digital Catalog?

2. What devices can you use to check out digital content (i.e. eBooks and digital audiobooks)

3. What app(s) can you use to check out eBooks and digital audiobooks?

So question 1 is: What is the Digital Catalog?

And the answer it that the Digital Catalog is an online accessed catalog of digital content in the form of eBooks, digital audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

The Digital Catalog is available to all patrons of all public libraries, and a handful of reading center, in the Southern Tier Library System.* All you need is a library card, a corresponding PIN and an Internet connection and you can check out materials from the Digital Catalog.

And the subject of checking out materials brings us to:

Question 2: What devices can you use to check out and read/listen to digital content?

The basic answer is that you can check out eBooks & digital audiobooks, and that handful of streaming videos, and enjoy them on the following types of devices:

Windows PCs


eReaders (eBooks only)




Now just how you check out materials to those different devices varies a little bit depending upon the device you are using. So that will be the subject of a future posting! If you have questions about the process before that post is up, please feel free to call the library, or drop in and talk to one of our tech coaches and we will be happy to answer your questions and help you download digital content to your device.

Question 3: What app(s) can I use to check out eBooks and digital audiobooks?

You’ll notice I’ve added an “s” to the word app so we’re talking about multiple “apps”!

And that is correct. There are indeed two apps you can use as your portal to check out content from the Digital Catalog. One, titled OverDrive, is older and the other Libby is newer. As the OverDrive app is older, library staff have shown patrons how to access digital content through that app for about 10 years.

And recently OverDrive has come up with a new, more streamlined and modern app that is easier to use than the old OverDrive app and it is called Libby.

And longer story short, if you’re use to using the OverDrive app to check out digital library materials you can continue to use it.

However, for any new Digital Catalog users, OverDrive, the platform company, recommends using the Libby app.

Bottom line, if you haven’t used the Digital Catalog yet and would like to check out eBooks and digital audios to your app device – use the Libby app which can be found in the Android, Apple and Windows App Stores.

So with that background information in mind, the answer to how items are selected for the Digital Catalog requires us to look at two main points:

1. That the Digital Catalog is created and maintained by the vendor OverDrive


2. That content for the Digital Catalog is purchased by selectors at several STLS member libraries

So point 1: The Digital Catalog is created and maintained by the vendor OverDrive:

What that means is that STLS digital material selectors can only purchase eBooks, digital audiobooks and streaming videos available through OverDrive, only at the prices OverDrive charges and only for the length of time OverDrive gives us to allow our patrons access to the content in our Digital Catalog.

Now to be fair, OverDrive doesn’t set the prices of the eBooks and audiobooks nor do they decide whether or not public libraries can purchase the eBooks or audiobooks as compared to leasing them for a certain period of time. The titles available for sale, the prices of those eBooks and audiobooks and whether they can be purchased or leased by public libraries are items determined by the publishers.*

A great analogy is to imagine you are going shopping for a new set of drapes for your living room – but you can only go to one store, we’ll call it The Big Store just so the hypothetical store has a name, and you must pay the price the store is charging.

So if you want to buy that new set of drapes for your living room, instead of being able to shop the way most of us do today, by going to several stores in person and/or searching online for the best price and the smartest set of drapes we can find, you have to go to that one store and you can buy drapes at the price that store charges or not at all.

So if you want blue drapes for your living, you go to The Big Store and they have one style of blue drapes that cost $400 per panel.

And you can…insert drum roll here for dramatic effect…

You can either buy the drapes or not. You cannot go elsewhere to get a better price even if the local Target or JCPenney store has the exact same style of drapes for $50 a panel.

Now further imagine that you cannot actually buy those blue drapes. Instead, you can pay money to use them for a certain period of time and then you must return them to The Big Store or pay The Big Store more money to continue to use the drapes for a longer period of time.

If that sound like a fantasy it isn’t as far as public libraries purchasing eBooks and digital audiobooks for their patrons goes. Most public libraries in the United States use the OverDrive platform to provide digital content for their patrons.

So we have to pay the prices that OverDrive charges and we have to agree to lease some titles as compared to being able to purchase them outright, and then – we will have to purchase any leased titles again once those titles have been checked out so many times or after a certain period of time (i.e. 24 check outs or 24 months).

And if you’re thinking I’m about to drop the other proverbial shoe – you are right!
Consider the top five fiction and non-fiction books on the current New York Times Bestseller list, for March 17, 2019, and the prices for those corresponding eBooks and digital audiobooks through OverDrive:

1. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
OverDrive eBook Price: $55.00 – lease for 24 months
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $66.50 – can purchase

2. The Chef by James Patterson
OverDrive eBook Price: $84.00 – buy
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $47.99 – can purchase

3. The Border by Don Winslow
eBook Price: $28.99 – lease for 24 months
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $99.95 – can purchase

4. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
OverDrive eBook Price: $55.00 – lease for 52 check outs/24 months whichever comes first
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $66.50 – can purchase

5. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
OverDrive eBook Price: $60.00 – lease for 52 checkouts or 24 months whichever comes first
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $49.99 – can purchase

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
OverDrive eBook Price: $55.00 – lease for 24 months
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $95.00 – can purchase

2. Educated by Tara Westover
OverDrive eBook Price: $55.00 – lease for 24 months
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $95.00 – can purchase

3. The Threat by Andrew G. McCabe
OverDrive eBook Price: $60.00 – lease for 52 checkouts or 24 months whichever comes first
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $49.99 – can purchase

4. Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
OverDrive eBook Price: $63.00 – can purchase
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: Not for sale through OverDrive

5. Grateful American by Gary Sinise
OverDrive eBook Price: $26.99 – lease for 26 checkouts
OverDrive Digital Audiobook Price: $57.00 – can purchase

In looking at the prices for those twenty titles, which collectively cost $1,165.38, and the fact that eight of those titles expire after a certain period of time, and then a purchasing public library would have to pay the sale price to buy that item again – and you begin to see the challenge the OverDrive selectors have!

And that nicely moves us on to our second point, that content for the Digital Catalog is purchased by selectors at several STLS member libraries…

There are actually 50 libraries, reading centers and even a correctional facility that are members of the Southern Tier Library System. And as you may know all the libraries share physical content with each other which is why if the Hornell, Big Flats, Fillmore or Wellsville libraries own a terrific science fiction novel or mystery that you want to read and our library, Corning, does not – you can request that book from one of those other libraries and have it sent to Corning so you can pick it up and read it. There are so many print books, audiobooks on CD and music CDs out there that no one library can own them all – however, collectively the libraries and reading centers of the Southern Tier Library System do a top-notch-team-work job in purchasing new materials for patrons and sharing those materials with other library’s patrons throughout the system.

And just as the libraries within the system have traditionally shared physical materials, we now share digital materials in the form of eBooks and audiobooks too so that all the patrons, system-wide, have access to as large a collection with depth and breadth as we can create.

The challenge in purchasing digital content, all those new and popular eBooks and digital audiobooks through OverDrive, is that the prices are higher for those items than for their print and audiobook on CD counterparts, that we have to keep re-purchasing titles that have been leased, and that the Digital Catalog is a whole other catalog of items to be purchased – on top of the print books, audiobooks on CD, DVDs and other physical format items libraries have traditionally purchased.

So that in a nutshell, or as short a nutshells as I can manage, is the purchase process for the Digital Catalog (including all content accessed via the Libby and OverDrive apps)

I’ll sign off by noting that we do take patron requests for digital titles! So if you don’t see a new, popular or interesting title in the Digital Catalog that you would like to listen to or read – let us know! You can make recommendation through the Digital Catalog itself or let the staff know at your public library.

Have a great day!
Linda, SSL


*The Southern Tier Library System member libraries include all the public libraries, and a few reading centers, in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegheny Counties to see a map, and find out more about the member libraries and reading center in the system, visit the STLS Member Director found on the following page:

Southern Tier Library System Member Libraries

*The Big Six Publishers in the U.S.: Random House (& Penguin), HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster sell most of the eBooks in the U.S. and they decide how much the eBooks and downloadable audiobooks they sell to public libraries cost. The publishers also decide whether or not to sell their eBooks and digital audiobooks to public libraries and, if they are going to actually sell their content to public libraries.