Suggested Reading June 15, 2020

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for the week, consisting entirely of eBooks & downloadable audiobooks available through the Digital Catalog.

Suggested Reading of the Week:

The Book of Rosy: A Mother’s Story of Separation at the Border by Rosayra Pablo Cruz & Julie Schwietert Collazo (Format: eBook)

“Offers hope in the face of desperate odds” – ELLE Magazine, ELLE’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020

“[D]isturbing and unforgettable memoir…This wrenching story brings to vivid life the plight of the many families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[The] haunting and eloquent…narrative of a Guatemalan woman’s desperate search for a better life.” -Kirkus, STARRED Review

Compelling and urgently important, The Book of Rosy is the unforgettable story of one brave mother and her fight to save her family.

When Rosayra “Rosy” Pablo Cruz made the agonizing decision to seek asylum in the United States with two of her children, she knew the journey would be arduous, dangerous, and quite possibly deadly. But she had no choice: violence—from gangs, from crime, from spiraling chaos—was making daily life hell. Rosy knew her family’s one chance at survival was to flee Guatemala and go north.

After a brutal journey that left them dehydrated, exhausted, and nearly starved, Rosy and her two little boys arrived at the Arizona border. Almost immediately they were seized and forcibly separated by government officials under the Department of Homeland Security’s new “zero tolerance” policy. To her horror Rosy discovered that her flight to safety had only just begun.

In The Book of Rosy, with an unprecedented level of sharp detail and soulful intimacy, Rosy tells her story, aided by Julie Schwietert Collazo, founder of Immigrant Families Together, the grassroots organization that reunites mothers and children. She reveals the cruelty of the detention facilities, the excruciating pain of feeling her children ripped from her arms, the abiding faith that staved off despair—and the enduring friendship with Julie, which helped her navigate the darkness and the bottomless Orwellian bureaucracy.

A gripping account of the human cost of inhumane policies, The Book of Rosy is also a paean to the unbreakable will of people united by true love, a sense of justice, and hope for a better future.

Broken People: A Novel Sam Lansky (Format: eBook)

A Vogue Most Anticipated Book of 2020

An O, The Oprah Magazine “LGBTQ Book That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2020”
“Profound and affecting.”—Chloe Benjamin

“Broken People leads us through the winds of time and memory to offer a riveting portrait of transformation. I am better for having read it.”—Jamie Lee Curtis

A groundbreaking, incandescent debut novel about coming to grips with the past and ourselves, for fans of Sally Rooney, Hanya Yanagihara and Garth Greenwell

“He fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”

This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform “open-soul surgery” on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He’s desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.

But are the great spirits the shaman says he’s summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam’s memory more powerful than any magic?

At turns tender and acid, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction—a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.

The Crystal Cave Trilogy: The Omnibus Edition of the Crystal Cave Trilogy by Susan Wittig Albert (Format: eBook)

The omnibus edition of the Crystal Cave Trilogy, from NYT bestselling author, Susan Wittig Albert.

NoBODY: Ruby Wilcox has always known that she has a rare gift for seeing things that others can’t. But she tries to downplay her psychic gift—until she experiences a horrifying nightmare that just won’t stop. Again and again, she dreams that a woman is abducted on the hike-and-bike trail and knows that the victim is in deadly danger.

SomeBODY Else: Ruby is spending the weekend as a vendor at the annual Mystic Creek Harvest Festival, held at a Hill Country ranch. When she begins to suspect that she knows more than she’s meant to know about a murder, she has to decide how to use this dangerous knowledge.

Out of BODY: It’s Halloween, and Ruby is planning a busy holiday weekend at the Crystal Cave. But her holiday plans are interrupted when Jessica Nelson, crime reporter at the Pecan Springs Enterprise, shows up with a hard-to-believe story about a serial killer targeting the terminally ill. When Detective Ethan Connors gets involved and Jessica herself is threatened, Ruby’s psychic abilities are put to the test in ways she could never have predicted.

Ruby Wilcox can see things that others can’t, but that doesn’t guarantee that she knows her own heart. What would her life be like if she honored her psychic gifts and found powers within herself that she had never imagined?

The Daughters of Erietown: A Novel by Connie Schultz (Format: eBook)

Hidden desires, long-held secrets, and the sacrifices people make for family are at the heart of this powerful first novel by the popular Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist.

“A moving, unforgettable story about time, progress, and how the mistakes of one generation get repeated or repaired by the next.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions

1957, Clayton Valley, Ohio. Ellie has the best grades in her class. Her dream is to go to nursing school and marry Brick McGinty. A basketball star, Brick has the chance to escape his abusive father and become the first person in his blue-collar family to attend college. But when Ellie learns that she is pregnant, everything changes. Just as Brick and Ellie revise their plans and build a family, a knock on the front door threatens to destroy their lives.

The evolution of women’s lives spanning the second half of the twentieth century is at the center of this beautiful novel that richly portrays how much people know—and pretend not to know—about the secrets at the heart of a town, and a family.

Dead Land: V.I. Warshawski Series, Book 20 written by Sara Paretsky and read by Susan Ericksen (Format: Downloadable Audiobook)

“V.I. Warshawski is as dogged and ferocious as ever. So is Sara Paretsky, who is at the top of her crime novel game.”— C.J. Box

Chicago’s legendary detective, V.I. Warshawski, knows her city’s rotten underbelly better than most, but she’s unable to avoid it when her goddaughter drags her into a fight over lakefront land use, in this propulsive novel from New York Times bestseller Sara Paretsky.

Chicago may be the city of broad shoulders, but its political law is “Pay to Play.” Money changes hands in the middle of the night, and by morning, buildings and parks are replaced by billion-dollar projects.

Chicago PI V.I. Warshawski gets pulled into one of these clandestine deals through her impetuous goddaughter, Bernie Fouchard. Bernie tries to rescue Lydia Zamir, a famed singer-songwriter now living on the streets; Zamir’s life fell apart when her lover was murdered next to her in a mass shooting at an outdoor concert. Not only does Bernie plunge her and V.I. headlong into the path of some ruthless developers, they lead to the murder of the young man Bernie is dating. He’s a computer geek working for a community group called SLICK.

V.I. is desperate to find a mysterious man named Coop, who roams the lakefront in the middle of the night with his dog. She’s sure he holds the key to the mounting body count within SLICK. Coop may even know why an international law firm is representing the mass murderer responsible for Lydia’s lover’s death. Instead, the detective finds a terrifying conspiracy stretching from Chicago’s parks to a cover-up of the dark chapters in America’s meddling in South American politics. Before she finds answers, this electrifying novel pushes V.I. close to the breaking point: People who pay to play take no prisoners.

The Everlasting: A Novel by Katy Simpson Smith (Format: eBook)

Spanning two thousand years, The Everlasting follows four characters whose struggles resonate across the centuries: an early Christian child martyr; a medieval monk on crypt duty in a church; a Medici princess of Moorish descent; and a contemporary field biologist conducting an illicit affair.

Outsiders to a city layered and dense with history, this quartet separated by time grapple with the physicality of bodies, the necessity for sacrifice, and the power of love to sustain and challenge faith. Their small rebellions are witnessed and provoked by an omniscient, time-traveling Satan who, though incorporeal, nonetheless suffers from a heart in search of repair.

As their dramas unfold amid the brick, marble, and ghosts of Rome, they each must decide what it means to be good. Twelve-year old Prisca defiles the scrolls of her father’s library. Felix, a holy man, watches his friend’s body decay and is reminded of the first boy he loved passionately. Giulia de’ Medici, a beauty with dark skin and limitless wealth, wants to deliver herself from her unborn child. Tom, an American biologist studying the lives of the smallest creatures, cannot pinpoint when his own marriage began to die. As each of these conflicted people struggles with forces they cannot control, their circumstances raise a profound and timeless question at the heart of faith: What is our duty to each other, and what will God forgive?

Moving back through time from today (The Wilderness) to the Renaissance (The City) to the Middle Ages (The Grave) and finally to Rome under Marcus Aurelius (The Paradise), Tom, Guilia, Felix, and Prisca search and suffer for love in the eternal city, made vivid and familiar as they reappear in each century.

How Did We Get Here?: From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump by Robert Dallek (Format: eBook)

The award-winning, New York Times bestselling historian considers the vast array of triumphs and failures of America’s modern presidents that paved a path to Donald Trump, offering an understanding of our current moment and hope for a way back to true leadership.

The struggle to preserve the Republic has never been easy or without perils. The rise of conflicting political parties, which the founders opposed, and President John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts repressing First Amendment rights made Franklin’s observation at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention—”a republic, if you can keep it”—seem prescient.

In the twentieth century, America endured numerous struggles: economic depression, World War II, McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Iran-contra scandal, the war in Iraq—all of which gave rise to demagogues, as did the growth and reach of mass media. But this wasn’t the Founding Fathers’ vision for our leadership. The resistance to putting a demagogue in the White House survived the anti-Communist agitation of the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s. But the latter opened the way for Richard Nixon’s election in 1968 and Watergate, which again tested our democratic institutions and the rule of law. Nixon’s resignation in August 1974 moved Vice President Gerald Ford, his successor, to declare, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

But was it? Donald Trump’s 2016 election has presented a new challenge. How did past politics and presidential administrations pave the way for this current assault on American democracy? Our nation’s history provides reassurance that we will restore our better angels to government. Yet it must be considered that earlier administrations and public outlook facilitated the rise of such an un-presidential character as Trump in the first place. In How Did We Get Here?, Robert Dallek considers a century of modern administrations, from Teddy Roosevelt to today, shining a light on the personalities behind the politics and the voters who elected each. His cautionary tale reminds us that the only constant in history is change, but whether for good or ill the choice is Americans’ to make.

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak (Format: eBook)

Some families we’re born into

Some we find for ourselves

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for 23andMe, she joked about uncovering some dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn’t know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. And meeting these newfound sisters might be the only way to get answers.

The women decide to dig into the mystery together at Serenity’s family cabin in Lake Tahoe. With Reagan navigating romantic politics at work, and Lorelei staring down the collapse of her marriage, all three women are converging at a crossroads in their lives. Before the summer is over, they’ll have to confront the past and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie. But any future is easier to face with family by your side..

Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters by Dominique Crenn & Emma Brockes (Format: eBook)

The inspiring and deeply personal memoir from highly acclaimed chef Dominique Crenn

By the time Dominique Crenn decided to become a chef, at the age of twenty-one, she knew it was a near impossible dream in France where almost all restaurant kitchens were run by men. So, she left her home and everything she knew to move to San Francisco, where she would train under the legendary Jeremiah Tower. Almost thirty years later, Crenn was awarded three Michelin Stars in 2018 for her influential restaurant Atelier Crenn, and became the first female chef in the United States to receive this honor – no small feat for someone who hadn’t gone to culinary school or been formally trained.

In Rebel Chef, Crenn tells of her untraditional coming-of-age as a chef, beginning with her childhood in Versailles where she was emboldened by her parents to be curious and independent. But there is another reason Crenn has always felt free to pursue her own unconventional course. Adopted as a toddler, she didn’t resemble her parents or even look traditionally French. Growing up she often felt like an outsider, and was haunted by a past she knew nothing about. But after years of working to fill this blank space, Crenn has embraced the power her history gives her to be whoever she wants to be.

Here is a disarmingly honest and revealing look at one woman’s evolution from a daring young chef to a respected activist. Reflecting on the years she spent working in the male-centric world of professional kitchens, Crenn tracks her career from struggling cook to running one of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, while at the same time speaking out on restaurant culture, sexism, immigration, and climate change. At once a tale of personal discovery and a tribute to unrelenting determination, Rebel Chef is the story of one woman making a place for herself in the kitchen, and in the world.

The Resisters: A novel written by Jen Gish and read by William DeMeritt (Format: Downloadable Audiobook)

“The Resisters is palpably loving, smart, funny, and desperately unsettling. The novel should be required reading for the country both as a cautionary tale and because it is a stone-cold masterpiece. This is Gish Jen’s moment. She has pitched a perfect game.” —Ann Patchett

The time: not so long from now. The place: AutoAmerica. The land: half under water. The Internet: one part artificial intelligence, one part surveillance technology, and oddly human—even funny. The people: Divided. The angel-fair “Netted” have jobs, and literally occupy the high ground. The “Surplus” live on swampland if they’re lucky, on water if they’re not.

The story: To a Surplus couple—he once a professor, she still a lawyer—is born a Blasian girl with a golden arm. At two, Gwen is hurling her stuffed animals from the crib; by ten, she can hit whatever target she likes. Her teens find her happily playing in an underground baseball league.

When AutoAmerica rejoins the Olympics, though—with a special eye on beating ChinRussia—Gwen attracts interest. Soon she finds herself playing ball with the Netted even as her mother challenges the very foundations of this divided society.

A moving and important story of an America that seems ever more possible, The Resisters is also the story of one family struggling to maintain its humanity and normalcy in circumstances that threaten their every value—as well as their very existence.

Extraordinary and ordinary, charming and electrifying, this is Gish Jen at her most irresistible.

Be well and happy reading!

Linda Reimer, SSCL

Note: Book summaries are from the respective publishers unless otherwise specified.

StarCat

The catalog of physical library materials, i.e. print books, audiobooks on CD, DVDs 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 (eBooks & downloadable audiobooks) or the RB Digital app (on-demand magazines), from your app store to get started. And if you’re using a PC or Mac simply click on the following link: https://stls.overdrive.com/

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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