Suggested Reading July 13, 2020

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

Staring next week, our Suggested Reading postings will come out on Tuesday morning!

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman (eBook)

A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.

Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.

Aminatou and Ann define Big Friendship as a strong, significant bond that transcends life phases, geographical locations, and emotional shifts. And they should know: the two have had moments of charmed bliss and deep frustration, of profound connection and gut-wrenching alienation. They have weathered life-threatening health scares, getting fired from their dream jobs, and one unfortunate Thanksgiving dinner eaten in a car in a parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga. Through interviews with friends and experts, they have come to understand that their struggles are not unique. And that the most important part of a Big Friendship is making the decision to invest in one another again and again.

An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them.

Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford (eBook)

Ford, a Plimpton Prize-winning author and member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, tells a blistering Own Voices tale that spans generations. The novel reads like a set of interlinked short stories, yet there is a narrative thread that runs through each of them, connecting the reader to the heart of a family of Cherokee women. At its start, in 1974, 15-year-old Justine is coping with the pressures of her mother Lula’s strict Christian church. She wants to reconnect with her father and to live like her friends do. But when Justine becomes pregnant through an act of assault, daughter Reney enters the picture, and the reader follows their journey as Reney grows. The sections cover different decades and are told from different perspectives, leading up to an electrifying conclusion.

Ford’s lyrical writing emphasizes both the hardships and the deeply connected relationships of the characters. The theme of the weather as villain illustrates the unopposable forces Cherokee women must contend with, including the tyranny of society and of men. A riveting and important read. Starred Booklist Review

Hidden Star by Nora Roberts (eBook)

Diamonds can be a girl’s best friend…or her worst enemy. Don’t miss the first thrilling story in the Stars of Mithra trilogy, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts!

Bailey James can’t remember a thing. She doesn’t even know who she is, let alone why her bag is filled with cash, a gun, and a large blue diamond. Desperate for help, she heads to the first detective office she can find, hoping that PI Cade Parris is someone she can trust—and with no options, Bailey doesn’t have much of a choice. Cade is sure the woman of his dreams just walked through the door when Bailey shuffles in, but he’ll have to convince her that she’s not a criminal before he can consider his love for her…

Miss Iceland by Audur Ava Olafsdottir (eBook)

The extraordinary new novel from Nordic Council Literature Prize-winning Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Iceland in the 1960s. Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. In a nation of poets, where each household proudly displays leatherbound volumes of the Sagas, and there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, there is only one problem: she is a woman.

After packing her few belongings, including James Joyces’s Ulysess and a Remington typewriter, Hekla heads for Reykjavik with a manuscript buried in her bags. She moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in the theatre, but can only find dangerous, backbreaking work on fishing trawlers. Hekla’s opportunities are equally limited: marriage and babies, or her job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. The two friends feel completely out of place in a small and conservative world.

And yet that world is changing: JFK is shot and hemlines are rising. In Iceland another volcano erupts and Hekla meets a poet who brings to light harsh realities about her art. Hekla realizes she must escape to find freedom abroad, whatever the cost.

Miss Iceland is a novel of extraordinary poise and masterful acuity from one of our most celebrated Icelandic writers.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (eBook)

“One of 2020’s buzziest horror novels.” —Entertainment Weekly

“More than I could have asked for in a novel.”—Tommy Orange, Pulitzer Prize finalist author of There There

“What Stephen Graham Jones does for me, is create new possibilities for Indigenous storymakers.” —Terese Marie Mailhot, New York Times bestselling author

“A masterpiece. ” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

The Order written by Daniel Silva and read by George Guidall (Audiobook)

From Daniel Silva, the internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times–bestselling author, comes a riveting new thriller featuring art restorer and legendary spy Gabriel Allon.

It was nearly one a.m. by the time he crawled into bed. Chiara was reading a novel, oblivious to the television, which was muted. On the screen was a live shot of St. Peter’s Basilica. Gabriel raised the volume and learned that an old friend had died …

Gabriel Allon has slipped quietly into Venice for a much-needed holiday with his wife and two young children. But when Pope Paul VII dies suddenly, Gabriel is summoned to Rome by the Holy Father’s loyal private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati. A billion Catholic faithful have been told that the pope died of a heart attack. Donati, however, has two good reasons to suspect his master was murdered. The Swiss Guard who was standing watch outside the papal apartments the night of the pope’s death is missing. So, too, is the letter the Holy Father was writing during the final hours of his life. A letter that was addressed to Gabriel.

While researching in the Vatican Secret Archives, I came upon a most remarkable book …

The book is a long-suppressed gospel that calls into question the accuracy of the New Testament’s depiction of one of the most portentous events in human history. For that reason alone, the Order of St. Helena will stop at nothing to keep it out of Gabriel’s hands. A shadowy Catholic society with ties to the European far right, the Order is plotting to seize control of the papacy. And it is only the beginning.

As the cardinals gather in Rome for the start of the conclave, Gabriel sets out on a desperate search for proof of the Order’s conspiracy, and for a long-lost gospel with the power to put an end to two thousand years of murderous hatred. His quest will take him from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, to a monastery in Assisi, to the hidden depths of the Secret Archives, and finally to the Sistine Chapel, where he will witness an event no outsider has ever before seen—the sacred passing of the Keys of St. Peter to a newly elected pope.

Swiftly paced and elegantly rendered, The Order will hold readers spellbound, from its opening passages to its breathtaking final twist of plot. It is a novel of friendship and faith in a perilous and uncertain world. And it is still more proof that Daniel Silva is his generation’s finest writer of suspense and international intrigue.

Peace Talks: The Dresden Files, Book 16 by Jim Butcher (eBook)

HARRY DRESDEN IS BACK AND READY FOR ACTION, in the new entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files. The first new Dresden Files book in six years!

When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago—and all he holds dear?

Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women’s Intimate Lives in the Arab World by Leila Slimani (eBook)

“As revealing as Lisa Taddeo’s bestseller Three Women, but it has a more urgent political mission.” —Evening Standard

A fearless exposé of the secrets and lies of women’s intimate lives, by the bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny and Adèle

“All those in positions of authority—politicians, parents, teachers—maintain the same line: ‘Do what you like, but do it in private.’ “

Leila Slimani was in her native Morocco promoting her novel Adèle, about a woman addicted to sex, when she began meeting women who confided the dark secrets of their sexual lives. In Morocco, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution, and sex outside of marriage are all punishable by law, and women have only two choices: They can be wives or virgins. Sex and Lies combines vivid, often harrowing testimonies with Slimani’s passionate and intelligent commentary to make a galvanizing case for a sexual revolution in the Arab world.

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell (eBook)

Metafiction master Mitchell’s readers can be excused if they greet a new novel by this unalloyed genius with both goose-pimply anticipation and trepidation over meeting the challenge. Not to worry. Utopia Avenue, while leaving behind neither the complexity nor the genre-bending pyrotechnics of The Bone Clocks (2014), is by far the most accessible of Mitchell’s broad-canvas novels.

This addictive Big Gulp of a narrative not only delivers a compelling and multitextured look at the 1960s, but it also could be the best novel about a rock band since Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010). Mitchell evokes the psychedelic age with a bravura mix of telling details and richly composed portraits of iconic figures (Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, and more). At the heart of the story, though, is the British band itself, Utopia Avenue: singer and guitarist Elf Holloway, guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet (descended from the titular character in Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010), bassist Dean Moss, and drummer Griff Griffin. Mitchell masterfully builds each of the four into top-of-the-marquee characters, subtly mixing coming-of-age portraits (including one particularly moving “long walk out of the closet”) with revealing glimpses of inner lives, notably the demons inside Jasper’s head, which must be exorcised by Marinus from The Bone Clocks. “Reality,” Mitchell reminds us, is a “nuanced, paradoxical, shifting.” So, too, is Utopia Avenue. It’s a foot-tapping ode to rock music, but, like the band in full cry-smashing the end of a song “into drummed, pounded, twanged molecules”, Mitchell continues to use the rhythms of surface reality to dig much deeper, but without ever losing the beat. – Starred Booklist Review

A Walk Along the Beach: A Novel by Debbie Macomber (eBook)

Two sisters must learn from each other’s strengths and trust in the redeeming power of love in a touching new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community.

Harper, on the other hand, is always on the go. Overcoming a terrible illness has given her a new lease on life, and she does not intend to waste it. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears she may be pushing herself too far. Harper, for her part, urges Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.

Sean O’Malley is as charming as he is intriguing—a freelance photographer whose assignments take him to the ends of the earth. Soon Willa’s falling for him in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. But life has taught Willa to hedge her bets, and she wonders whether the potential heartache is worth the risk.

Life has more challenges in store for them all. But both sisters will discover that even in the darkest moments, family is everything.

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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