Suggested Reading July 6, 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:

Actress written and read by Anne Enright (Audiobook)

Longlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction

A brilliant and moving novel about celebrity, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’s hidden truths.

Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter, Norah, retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a performance, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, Katherine’s grip on reality grows fitful. Fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime.

As Norah’s role gradually changes to Katherine’s protector, caregiver, and finally legacy-keeper, she revisits her mother’s life of fiercely kept secrets; and Norah reveals in turn the secrets of her own sexual and emotional coming-of-age story. Her narrative is shaped by three braided searches—for her father’s identity; for her mother’s motive in donning a Chanel suit one morning and shooting a TV producer in the foot; and her own search for a husband, family, and work she loves.

Bringing to life two generations of women with difficult sexual histories, both assaulted and silenced, both finding—or failing to find—their powers of recovery, Actress touches a raw and timely nerve. With virtuosic storytelling and in prose at turns lyrical and knife-sharp, Enright takes readers to the heart of the maddening yet tender love that binds a mother and daughter.

The Bad Boy of Redemption Ranch by Maisey Yates (eBook)

This rebel cowboy is looking for a fresh start—will he find more than he’s ever hoped for in Gold Valley?
Police officer Pansy Daniels is the poster girl for responsible behavior. Orphaned as a child, she has dedicated her life to safeguarding her local community. The last thing she needs is a hot-headed cowboy with attitude cruising into town. He may be her new landlord, but that’s no excuse for provoking her…or sending her heart into overdrive.

West Caldwell has come to Redemption Ranch to put his past behind him. Flirting with a pint-size police officer who thinks he’s bad news is definitely not part of the plan, but it’s deliciously easy to get under Pansy’s skin. Then West discovers the vulnerability Pansy keeps so well hidden, and suddenly this renegade cowboy is in over his head. In her arms, West feels like the man he always wanted to be—but can he become the man Pansy deserves?

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous (eBook)

One of the New York Times’ 20 Books to Read in 2020

“Unforgettable…Behind her brilliantly witty and uplifting message is a remarkable vulnerability and candor that reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles—and that we can, against all odds, get through them.” —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times-bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.

@DuchessGoldblat (81 year-old literary icon, author of An Axe to Grind) brought people together in her name: in bookstores, museums, concerts, and coffee shops, and along the way, brought real friends home—foremost among them, Lyle Lovett.

“The only way to be reliably sure that the hero gets the girl at the end of the story is to be both the hero and the girl yourself.” — Duchess Goldblatt

Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace written and read by Carl Safina (Audiobook)

Some people insist that culture is strictly a human feat. What are they afraid of? This book looks into three cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if you’re a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too experience your life with the understanding that you are an individual in a particular community. You too are who you are not by genes alone; your culture is a second form of inheritance. You receive it from thousands of individuals, from pools of knowledge passing through generations like an eternal torch. You too may raise young, know beauty, or struggle to negotiate a peace. And your culture, too, changes and evolves. The light of knowledge needs adjusting as situations change, so a capacity for learning, especially social learning, allows behaviors to adjust, to change much faster than genes alone could adapt. Becoming Wild offers a glimpse into cultures among non-human animals through looks at the lives of individuals in different present-day animal societies. By showing how others teach and learn, Safina offers a fresh understanding of what is constantly going on beyond humanity.

Billion Dollar Burger: Inside Big Tech’s Race for the Future of Food written and read by Chase Purdy (Audiobook)

The riveting story of the entrepreneurs and renegades fighting to bring lab-grown meat to the world.

The trillion-dollar meat industry is one of our greatest environmental hazards; it pollutes more than all the world’s fossil-fuel-powered cars. Global animal agriculture is responsible for deforestation, soil erosion, and more emissions than air travel, paper mills, and coal mining combined. It also, of course, depends on the slaughter of more than 60 billion animals per year, a number that is only increasing as the global appetite for meat swells.

But a band of doctors, scientists, activists, and entrepreneurs have been racing to end animal agriculture as we know it, hoping to fulfill a dream of creating meat without ever having to kill an animal. In the laboratories of Silicon Valley companies, Dutch universities, and Israeli startups, visionaries are growing burgers and steaks from microscopic animal cells and inventing systems to do so at scale—allowing us to feed the world without slaughter and environmental devastation.

Drawing from exclusive and unprecedented access to the main players, from polarizing activist-turned-tech CEO Josh Tetrick to lobbyists and regulators on both sides of the issue, Billion Dollar Burger follows the people fighting to upend our food system as they butt up against the entrenched interests fighting viciously to stop them.

The stakes are monumentally high: cell-cultured meat is the best hope for sustainable food production, a key to fighting climate change, a gold mine for the companies that make it happen, and an existential threat for the farmers and meatpackers that make our meat today.

Are we ready?

The Coyotes of Carthage: A Novel written by Steven Wright and read Glenn Davis (Audiobook)

“With this splendid debut, Steven Wright announces his arrival as a major new voice in the world of political thrillers. I enjoyed it immensely.” —John Grisham

A blistering and thrilling debut—a biting exploration of American politics, set in a small South Carolina town, about a political operative running a dark money campaign for his corporate clients

Dre Ross has one more shot. Despite being a successful political consultant, his aggressive tactics have put him on thin ice with his boss, Mrs. Fitz, who plucked him from juvenile incarceration and mentored his career. She exiles him to the backwoods of South Carolina with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company. The goal: to manipulate the locals into voting to sell their pristine public land to the highest bidder.

Dre arrives in God-fearing, flag-waving Carthage County, with only Mrs. Fitz’s well-meaning yet naïve grandson Brendan as his team. Dre, an African-American outsider, can’t be the one to collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot. So he hires a blue-collar couple, Tyler Lee and his pious wife, Chalene, to act as the initiative’s public face.

Under Dre’s cynical direction, a land grab is disguised as a righteous fight for faith and liberty. As lines are crossed and lives ruined, Dre’s increasingly cutthroat campaign threatens the very soul of Carthage County and perhaps the last remnants of his own humanity.

A piercing portrait of our fragile democracy and one man’s unraveling, The Coyotes of Carthage paints a disturbingly real portrait of the American experiment in action.

Every Step She Takes by Kelley Armstrong (eBook)

Genevieve has secrets that no one knows. In Rome she can be whoever she wants to be. Her neighbors aren’t nosy; her Italian is passable; the shopkeepers and restaurant owners now see her as a local, and they let her be. It’s exactly what she wants.

One morning, after getting groceries, she returns to her 500-year-old Trastevere apartment. She climbs to the very top of the staircase, the steps narrowing the higher she goes. When she gets to her door, she puts down her bags and pushes the key into the lock . . .

. . . and the door swings open.

It’s unlocked. Sometimes she doesn’t lock it because Rome is pretty safe. But Genevieve knows she locked the door this morning. She has no doubt.

What if someone is in her apartment, waiting for her: She should leave, call the police. But she doesn’t. Instead, she goes in.

The apartment is empty, and exactly as she left it . . . except for the box on her kitchen table. A box that definitely wasn’t there this morning. A box postmarked from New York City. A box that is addressed to “Lucy Callahan.”

A name she hasn’t used in ten years.

The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency by John Dickerson (eBook)

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the veteran political journalist and 60 Minutes correspondent, a deep dive into the history, evolution, and current state of the American presidency—and how we can make the job less impossible and more productive.

“This is a great gift to our sense of the actual presidency, a primer on leadership.”—Ken Burns
Imagine you have just been elected president. You are now commander-in-chief, chief executive, chief diplomat, chief legislator, chief of party, chief voice of the people, first responder, chief priest, and world leader. You’re expected to fulfill your campaign promises, but you’re also expected to solve the urgent crises of the day. What’s on your to-do list? Where would you even start? What shocks aren’t you thinking about?

The American presidency is in trouble. It has become overburdened, misunderstood, almost impossible to do. “The problems in the job unfolded before Donald Trump was elected, and the challenges of governing today will confront his successors,” writes John Dickerson. After all, the founders never intended for our system of checks and balances to have one superior Chief Magistrate, with Congress demoted to “the little brother who can’t keep up.”
In this eye-opening book, John Dickerson writes about presidents in history such a Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Eisenhower, and and in contemporary times, from LBJ and Reagan and Bush, Obama, and Trump, to show how a complex job has been done, and why we need to reevaluate how we view the presidency, how we choose our presidents, and what we expect from them once they are in office. Think of the presidential campaign as a job interview. Are we asking the right questions? Are we looking for good campaigners, or good presidents? Once a candidate gets the job, what can they do to thrive? Drawing on research and interviews with current and former White House staffers, Dickerson defines what the job of president actually entails, identifies the things that only the president can do, and analyzes how presidents in history have managed the burden. What qualities make for a good president? Who did it well? Why did Bill Clinton call the White House “the crown jewel in the American penal system”? The presidency is a job of surprises with high stakes, requiring vision, management skill, and an even temperament. Ultimately, in order to evaluate candidates properly for the job, we need to adjust our expectations, and be more realistic about the goals, the requirements, and the limitations of the office.

As Dickerson writes, “Americans need their president to succeed, but the presidency is set up for failure. It doesn’t have to be.”

The House on Fripp Island written by Rebecca Kauffman and read Susan Bennett (Audiobook)

Fripp Island, South Carolina, is the perfect destination for the wealthy Daly family: Lisa, Scott, and their two girls. For Lisas childhood friend Poppy Ford, however, the resort island is a world away from what she and her family are used to. Everyone brings secrets to the island, distorting what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach. Lisa sees danger everywherethe local handyman cant be allowed near the children, and Lisa suspects Scott is fixated on something, or someone, else. Poppy watches over her husband, John, and his routines with a sharp eye. For the children, its a summer of change: Ryan Ford prepares for college in the fall, Rae Daly seethes on the brink of adulthood, and the two youngest, Kimmy Daly and Alex Ford, are exposed to new ideas and different ways of life as they forge a friendship of their own. The ones who return from this vacation will spend the rest of their lives trying to process what they witnessed, the tipping points, moments of violence and tenderness, and the memory of whom they left behind.

Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare (eBook)

“Excellent…. Clare matches well-drawn characters, in particular the charismatic lead, with a head-scratching puzzle and creepy atmospherics. Imogen Robertson fans will be pleased” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

In this gripping forensic mystery set in Stuart England, Gabriel Taverner uncovers a series of shocking secrets when he’s summoned by his former naval captain to investigate strange goings-on aboard his ship.

October, 1604. Former ship’s surgeon turned country physician Gabriel Taverner is surprised to receive an urgent summons from his old naval captain. Now docked in Plymouth harbour, having recently returned from the Caribbean, Captain Colt believes his ship is haunted by an evil spirit, and has asked Gabriel to investigate.

Dismissive of the crew’s wild talk of mysterious blue-skinned ghosts, Gabriel is convinced there must be a rational explanation behind the mass hallucinations. But matters take a disturbing turn when he and the captain discover a body hidden behind one of the bulkheads. Calling on the help of his old friend, Coroner Theophilus Davey, piece by piece Gabriel uncovers a terrifying tale of treachery, dark magic, unimaginable cruelty – and cold-blooded murder.

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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