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

September 23 – 28 is Banned Book Week!

Celebrate your right to read by enjoying the following titles, all of which have been banned at some point in time!

DIGITAL CATALOG SUGGESTIONS:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Format: eBook):

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this novel about a resilient and courageous woman has become a Broadway show and a cultural phenomenon.

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband.

In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning twenty years, record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women. She meets Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress and a jazz singer with a zest for life, and her stepson’s wife, Sophia, who challenges her to fight for independence. And though the many letters from Celie’s sister are hidden by her husband, Nettie’s unwavering support will prove to be the most breathtaking of all.

The Color Purple has sold more than five million copies, inspired an Academy Award–nominated film starring Oprah Winfrey and directed by Steven Spielberg, and been adapted into a Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Lauded as a literary masterpiece, this is the groundbreaking novel that placed Walker “in the company of Faulkner” (The Nation), and remains a wrenching—yet intensely uplifting—experience for new generations of readers.

This ebook features a new introduction written by the author on the twenty-fifth anniversary of publication, and an illustrated biography of Alice Walker including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Format: eBook)

A bestselling modern classic—both poignant and funny—about a boy with autism who sets out to solve the murder of a neighbor’s dog and discovers unexpected truths about himself and the world.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Format: eBook):

“Spectacular…An absorbing and distinguished work…The House of the Spirits with its all-informing, generous, and humane sensibility, is a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America.” —The New York Times Book Review

The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.

One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Format: eBook):

The bestselling coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world from the winner of the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros’ masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Native Son by Richard Wright (Format: eBook):

Soon to be an HBO Film!

“If one had to identify the single most influential shaping force in modern Black literary history, one would probably have to point to Wright and the publication of Native Son.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.

Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

PRINT BOOK SUGGESTIONS:

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison:

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.

“You can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them.”—Barack Obama

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST

The perennially bestselling, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling:

I imagine most people are at least superficially familiar with the Harry Potter series; however, just in case someone isn’t here is the StarCat Abstract for the first book in the series: Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The series follows Harry from the age of almost 11 to almost 18.

Also of note, there are terrific, colorful illustrated editions of the first three books in the series – which I recommend. However, if you prefer the standard editions, the text with the few classic illustrations by Mary GrandPre those are available too, and all the titles are available as eBooks and downloadable audiobooks in the Digital Catalog.

And one last note, if you’re an adult and think this series is just for kids, I urge you to give a try – I love every book in the series and I’m an AARP card holder!

And onto the titles!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk

Billed as Palahniuk’s first collection, this volume features 21 stories and one novella, some never before published, As usual, the author’s tales cover a wide variety of life experiences, some we would rather not think about. Whether exploring deceitful fathers, children using their sexuality to manipulate their parents, or teens whose latest fad is electrocuting themselves into a permanent stupor, Palahniuk takes his usual strange, off-kilter viewpoint on things we all deal with in life: fitting in, the desire for success, etc. Many of the stories are written as fables with anthropomorphized animal characters which try to find success in their careers or get through their teenage years. And Tyler Durden, the character from Fight Club, makes a brief appearance in “Expedition.” Readers will find a similar tone in the Palahniuk-edited anthology Burnt Tongues. VERDICT You either love Palahniuk or hate him. For new readers, this compilation offers a small taste of the author’s style. His faithful fans will be entertained, intrigued, and at times a little disgusted, but what else would we expect from Palahniuk? Review by Brooke Bolton, North Manchester Public Library

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult:

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged…until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister — and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister’s Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer, SSCL

References

50 Years of Intellectual Freedom, The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom celebrates its history Written by James LaRue and Eleanor Diaz | November 1, 2017. Accessed 9/23/2019, https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2017/11/01/50-years-office-intellectual-freedom/

StarCat:

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

ABOUT LIBRARY APPS:

You can access digital library content, i.e. eBooks & downloadable audiobooks, on PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

For mobile devices simply download the Libby app, for eBooks & downloadable audiobooks, or the RB Digital app, for on-demand magazines, from your app store to get started. And if you’re using a PC or Mac simply click on the following links: https://stls.overdrive.com/ or https://www.rbdigital.com/stlschemungcony/service/magazines/landing?

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.

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