Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for the week, five digital titles available through OverDrive and five print titles available through StarCat.
DIGITAL SUGGESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters written by Priya Parker and read by Bernadette Dunne (Format: Downloadable Audiobook):
“Hosts of all kinds, this is a must-read!” —Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED
A bold new approach to how we gather that will transform the ways we spend our time together—at work, at home, in our communities, and beyond.
In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive—which they don’t have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.
Drawing on her expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, Parker takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn’t, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings—conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp—and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience.
The result is a book that’s both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue—and how you host and attend them.
The Moth Presents Occasional Magic, True Stories About Defying the Impossible edited by Catherine Burns (Format: eBook):
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From storytelling phenomenon and hit podcast The Moth—and featuring contributions from Meg Wolitzer, Adam Gopnik, Krista Tippett, Andrew Solomon, Rosanne Cash, Ophira Eisenberg, Wang Ping, and more—a new collection of unforgettable true stories about finding the strength to face the impossible, drawn from the very best ever told on its stages
Carefully selected by the creative minds at storytelling phenomenon The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of stories told live, onstage and without notes, Occasional Magic features voices familiar and new. Inside, storytellers from around the world share times when, in the face of seemingly impossible situations, they found moments of beauty, wonder, and clarity that shed light on their lives and helped them find a path forward.
From a fifteen-year-old saving a life in Chicago to a mother of triplets trekking to the North Pole to a ninety-year-old Russian man recalling his standoff with the KGB, these storytellers attest to the variety and richness of the human experience, and the shared threads that connect us all. With honesty and humor, they stare down their fear, embrace uncertainty, and encourage us all to be more authentic, vulnerable, and alive.
The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester (Format: eBook):
For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale comes an internationally bestselling World War II novel that spans generations, crosses oceans, and proves just how much two young women are willing to sacrifice for love and family.
1940: As the Germans advance upon Paris, young seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee everything she’s ever known. She’s bound for New York City with her signature gold dress, a few francs, and a dream: to make her mark on the world of fashion.
Present day: Fabienne Bissette journeys to the Met’s annual gala for an exhibit featuring the work of her ailing grandmother – a legend of women’s fashion design. But as Fabienne begins to learn more about her beloved grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and family secrets that will dramatically change her own life.
Shrill Notes from a Loud Woman written and read by Lindy West (Format: Downloadable Audiobook):
Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can’t be funny.
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.
From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.
With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.
The Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (Format: eBook):
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
PRINT BOOK SUGGESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
Binstead’s Safari: A Novel by Rachel Ingalls:
Another glorious tale of female empowerment from the author of Mrs. Caliban
After getting a haircut in London and a few new outfits (“she bought two pairs of shoes and began to enjoy herself”), Millie, the neglected American wife of an academic pill, is transformed―and, upon arrival in Africa, falls into the perfect affair. Binstead’s Safari unfolds the fractured fairy tale of the rebirth of a drab, insecure woman as a fiercely alive, fearless beauty. “Life was too short to waste time trying to find excuses for not doing the things you really wanted to do,”
Millie realizes, helping herself to love and joy. The husband is astonished―everyone adores the new Millie. She can’t put a foot wrong, and as they move deeper into Africa in search of lion myths for his book, “excitement and pleasure carried her upwards as on a tide.” Mysteries abound, but in the hands of Rachel Ingalls, the ultimate master of the curveball, Millie’s resurrection seems perfectly natural: caterpillar to butterfly.
Loch of the Dead: A Novel by Oscar de Muriel:
Edinburgh’s most famed detective duo―”Nine-Nails” McGray and Inspector Ian Frey―face their most metaphysical mystery yet, as they investigate a series of crimes surrounding the miraculous waters in the remote Loch Maree.
A mysterious woman pleads for the help of Inspectors Are and “Nine-Nails” McGray. Her son, illegitimate scion of the Koloman family, has received an anonymous death threat―right after learning he is to inherit the best part of a vast wine-producing estate.
In exchange for their protection, she offers McGray the ultimate cure for his sister, who has been locked in an insane asylum after brutally murdering their parents: the miraculous waters that spring from a small island in the remote Loch Maree.
The island has been a sacred burial ground since the time of the druids, but the legends around it will turn out to be much darker than McGray could have expected. Murder and increasingly bizarre happenings will intermingle throughout this trip to the Highlands, before Frey and McGray learn a terrible truth.
Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert:
Run by renowned sculptor Robert Gandy and his wife and muse, Magdalena, the Tuscany Hotel hosted guests of a certain kind—artists, actors, scientists, and engineers who left their worries behind so that they could create their latest masterpieces. Surrounded by lore, the hotel was rumored to free the mind and inspire artists’ gifts. But tragic circumstances force Robert and his family to move.
After thirteen months at war, Vittorio Gandy is haunted by memories, and his former life is unrecognizable. Once a gifted painter, now he can’t bear the vivid, bleeding colors on a canvas. His young son doesn’t remember him, and his wife, Valerie, is scared of him. But the most disconcerting change is in Vitto’s father, Robert Gandy, who has fallen from being a larger-than-life sculptor to a man whose mind has been taken by Alzheimer’s.
When Robert steals away in the night, Valerie, Vitto, and his new acquaintance and fellow veteran John go to the only place Robert might remember—the now-abandoned Tuscany Hotel. When they find him there, Robert’s mind is sound and his memories are intact.
Before long, word gets out that drinking from the fountain at the hotel can restore the memories of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. The rooms once again fill up with guests—not artists this time, but people seeking control over their memories and lives. Vitto desperately wants to clear his own mind, but as he learns more about his mother’s life and her tragic death, he begins to wonder whether drinking the water comes at a price.
A story of father and son, memories lost and found, artists and their muses, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel explores the mysteries of the mind, the truth behind lore, and the miracle of inspiration.
The Parisian, or, Al-Barisi: A Novel by Isabella Hammad:
A masterful debut novel by Plimpton Prize winner Isabella Hammad, The Parisian illuminates a pivotal period of Palestinian history through the journey and romances of one young man, from his studies in France during World War I to his return to Palestine at the dawn of its battle for independence.
Midhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, a town in Ottoman Palestine. A dreamer, a romantic, an aesthete, in 1914 he leaves to study medicine in France, and falls in love. When Midhat returns to Nablus to find it under British rule, and the entire region erupting with nationalist fervor, he must find a way to cope with his conflicting loyalties and the expectations of his community. The story of Midhat’s life develops alongside the idea of a nation, as he and those close to him confront what it means to strive for independence in a world that seems on the verge of falling apart.
Against a landscape of political change that continues to define the Middle East, The Parisian explores questions of power and identity, enduring love, and the uncanny ability of the past to disrupt the present. Lush and immersive, and devastating in its power, The Parisian is an elegant, richly-imagined debut from a dazzling new voice in fiction.
The Spectators: A Novel by Jennifer DuBois:
A shocking crime triggers a media firestorm for a controversial talk show host in this provocative novel—a story of redemption, a nostalgic portrait of New York City, and a searing indictment of our culture of spectacle.
One of the The New York Times’s “10 Books to Watch for in April” • “Jennifer duBois is a brilliant writer.”—Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Talk show host Matthew Miller has made his fame by shining a spotlight on the most unlikely and bizarre secrets of society, exposing them on live television in front of millions of gawking viewers. However, the man behind The Mattie M Show remains a mystery—both to his enormous audience and to those who work alongside him every day. But when the high school students responsible for a mass shooting are found to be devoted fans, Mattie is thrust into the glare of public scrutiny, seen as the wry, detached herald of a culture going downhill and going way too far. Soon, the secrets of Mattie’s past as a brilliant young politician in a crime-ridden New York City begin to push their way to the surface.
In her most daring and multidimensional novel yet, Jennifer duBois vividly portrays the heyday of gay liberation in the seventies and the grip of the AIDS crisis in the eighties, alongside a backstage view of nineties television in an age of moral panic. DuBois explores an enigmatic man’s downfall through the perspectives of two spectators—Cel, Mattie’s skeptical publicist, and Semi, the disillusioned lover from his past.
With wit, heart, and crackling intelligence, The Spectators examines the human capacity for reinvention—and forces us to ask ourselves what we choose to look at, and why.
Have a great week!
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Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.