Suggested Reading December 8, 2020

Hi everyone, here are our recommended reads for the week.

After each title is a list of all the different formats that title available in; including: Print Books, Large Print Books, Audiobooks on CD, eBooks & Downloadable Audiobooks from the Digital Catalog (OverDrive & Libby apps) and Hoopla eBooks & Downloadable Audiobooks (Hoopla App).

*More information on the three catalogs is found at the end of the list of recommended reads*

Weekly Suggested Reading postings are published on Tuesdays.

American Follies: A Novel by Norman Locke

(Available Formats: Hoopla eBook)

“[Norman Lock’s fiction] shimmers with glorious language, fluid rhythms, and complex insights.” -NPR

In the seventh stand-alone book of The American Novels series, Ellen Finch, former stenographer to Henry James, recalls her time as an assistant to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, heroes of America’s woman suffrage movement, and her friendship with the diminutive Margaret, one of P. T. Barnum’s circus “eccentrics.” When her infant son is kidnapped by the Klan, Ellen, Margaret, and the two formidable suffragists travel aboard Barnum’s train from New York to Memphis to rescue the baby from certain death at the fiery cross.

A savage yet farcical tale, American Follies explores the roots of the women’s rights movement, its relationship to the fight for racial justice, and its reverberations in the politics of today.

Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage, radio, and screenplays. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series.

Billion Dollar Bracket by Drew Bridges

(Available Formats: Hoopla eBook)

Many lives collide in this quest to win a billion dollars for picking all the winners in the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament. Some are looking for riches, others for simple survival and personal redemption.

Mathematician Sinclair Dane sponsors the contest, seeking money for a safety net for her troubled mother. She does not have a billion dollars to pay a winner. Risking her reputation and possible legal charges for fraud, she pins her hopes on the astronomical odds against anyone picking all the winners.

Math professor Lewis Cusac uses the basketball contest to teach remedial math to college students, two of whom are playing in the tournament. He enters the contest and finds himself having selected all the winners with only three games remaining. He also gets a call from the NCAA investigators for suspicion of trying to fix the outcomes of games.

Add to the mix a retired casino operator, a group of twenty-something social media wizards, and professional basketball’s next megastar.

As the contest goes global, the story races to an ending that will surprise the reader.

A Castaway In Cornwall by Julie Clawson

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla eBook)

Laura Callaway daily walks the windswept Cornwall coast, known for many shipwrecks but few survivors. She feels like a castaway, set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers. Now living with her parson uncle and his parsimonious wife in North Cornwall, Laura is viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong somewhere again.

When ships sink, wreckers scour the shore for valuables, while Laura searches for clues to the lives lost. She has written letters to loved ones and returned keepsakes to rightful owners. She collects seashells and mementos, and when a man is washed ashore, she collects him too.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the castaway, the mystery surrounding him grows. He has abrasions and a deep cut that looks suspiciously like a knife wound, and he speaks in careful, educated English, yet his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Their attraction grows, and while she longs to return the man to his rightful home, evidence against him mounts. With danger pursuing them from every side, will Laura ever find the answers and love she seeks?

Christmas On 4th Street by Susan Mallery

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, eBook & Hoopla eBook)

There’s nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool’s Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped…

Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of every minute. That’s why she ditched a frustrating legal career to open her own store in Fool’s Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that’s magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.

Gabriel’s memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugar plums, thanks to a drill sergeant father who ran his home like a boot camp. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from injury sounds as appetizing as last year’s eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle…and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can’t stop sharing.

Gabriel didn’t think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse….

Covent Garden In The Snow by Jules Wake

(Available Formats: Hoopla eBook)

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Karen Swan. Tilly Hunter has fabulous friends, her dream job as a make-up artist with a prestigious opera company and Felix, her kind and caring husband to be. It looks set to be the most perfect Christmas yet! But when a monumental blunder forces her to work closely with new IT director Marcus Walker, it’s not only the roast chestnut stalls on the cobbles of her beloved Covent Garden that cause sparks to fly… Super serious and brooding, Marcus hasn’t got a creative bone in his sharp-suited body. For technophobe Tilly, it’s a match made in hell. And yet, when Tilly discovers her fiancé isn’t at all what he seems, it’s Marcus who’s there for her with a hot chocolate and a surprisingly strong shoulder to cry on … He might just be the best Christmas present she’s ever had.

The Girls Of Brackenhill: A Thriller by Kate Moretti

(Available Formats: Print Book)

In 2019, Hannah Maloney, the heroine of this riveting thriller from bestseller Moretti (The Vanishing Year), is living in Virginia with her fiancé, Huck, when she receives a phone call letting her know that her aunt Fae has been in a car accident. Though Hannah hasn’t spoken to Fae in 17 years, she’s listed as Fae’s emergency contact. After Hannah and Huck arrive at Brackenhill, her aunt Fae and uncle Stuart’s castle home in the Catskills, Hannah learns that Fae has died from her injuries, and Stuart is gravely ill with cancer. Hannah and her sister, Julia, used to spend summers at Brackenhill, until the summer 17 years earlier that Julia disappeared. When Hannah’s dog uncovers a human bone on her aunt’s property, the police, led by police officer Wyatt McCarran, who was Hannah’s first boyfriend in their teens, investigate, though Hannah is sure the bone is her sister’s. Meanwhile, Hannah has disturbing dreams and episodes of sleepwalking, and she’s again attracted to Wyatt. Flashbacks to the summer Julia vanished heighten the suspense. Fans of gothic mysteries with a touch of the supernatural will be richly rewarded. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Hot to Trot: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton

(Available Formats: Print Book & CD Audiobook)

The late Beaton’s superb 31st outing for Agatha Raisin (after 2019’s Beating About the Bush) finds the witty and irascible Agatha, who runs a private detective agency in the Cotswold village of Carsely, fuming about the upcoming nuptials of her friend and former lover, Sir Charles Fraith, to his “vile fiancée,” Mary Brown-Field. No stranger to gate-crashing, Agatha shows up at an extravagant postwedding masked ball held at Charles’s grand house, where a shoving match takes place between Agatha and the new lady of the manor. When Mary is later found dead in the estate’s stables, both Agatha and Charles come under scrutiny by the police. Agatha’s investigations take her into the competitive world of horse show-jumping, as well as on a couple of edifying trips to a château in Bordeaux. This lively entertainment includes an elegantly amusing introduction by Beaton (1936–2019), outlining her road to becoming a writer, as well as an affectionate foreword by longtime friend and journalist Green, who collaborated on this book. Beaton’s fans will sorely miss her. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Murder by Milk Bottle by Lynne Truss

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Downloadable Audiobook)

In bestseller Truss’s outstanding third Constable Twitten mystery (after 2019’s The Man That Got Away), three murders by milk bottle over three hours in 1957 Brighton, England, lead to editorials wondering whether the city has become “the new milk-bottle murder capital of Great Britain.” The dead are “a young beauty-contest runner-up barely old enough to have enemies; the second, a much-loved patrolman of spotless record; the third, a visiting radio celebrity known for ‘skits’ involving female impersonation.” The victims apparently have nothing in common except the killer’s m.o.—each was stunned with a pint bottle of milk before the bottle was shattered and the shards used to fatally stab them. The killings are an unwelcome development for by-the-book Constable Twitten, who longs for routine pounding-of-the-beat rather than yet another bizarre whodunit to unravel. Meanwhile, he continues to contend with the machinations of the police charlady, Mrs. Groynes, who only he knows is a master criminal, and with the antics of his clueless boss, Insp. Geoffrey Steine. In her ability to blend crime and farce, Truss is in a class of her own. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers by Tessa Arlen

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Downloadable Audiobook)

Set in 1942, Arlen’s enticing second Poppy Redfern Mystery (after 2019’s Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders) finds Poppy working as scriptwriter for London’s Crown Film Unit, a production company responsible for creating propaganda films. Poppy’s first assignment is to write the script for a recruiting film about the Air Transport Auxiliary Flyers (aka Attagirls), an elite unit of civilian women pilots who transport military airplanes to factories and air fields around Britain. When the unit’s best pilot dies in an accident while being filmed flying a Spitfire, Poppy is stunned. But when a second pilot also perishes in a crash, Poppy and her would-be boyfriend, U.S. Army fighter pilot Griff O’Neal, set out to discover who has it in for the ATAs before another flyer can die. Arlen’s depiction of the heroic ATAs is a fascinating nod to a little-known aspect of WWII history. Cozy fans will enjoy spending time with good-hearted, very English Poppy and friends, including her charming corgi. Publishers Weekly Review

The Thirty Names Of Night: A Novel by Zeyn Joukhadar

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by The Millions, Electric Literature, Bustle, and HuffPost

Named a Best Book of Fall by USA TODAY, PopSugar, Alma, and Goodreads

The author of the “vivid and urgent…important and timely” (The New York Times Book Review) debut The Map of Salt and Stars returns with this remarkably moving and lyrical novel following three generations of Syrian Americans who are linked by a mysterious species of bird and the truths they carry close to their hearts.

Five years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. He has been unable to paint since his mother’s ghost has begun to visit him each evening. As his grandmother’s sole caretaker, he spends his days cooped up in their apartment, avoiding his neighborhood masjid, his estranged sister, and even his best friend (who also happens to be his longtime crush). The only time he feels truly free is when he slips out at night to paint murals on buildings in the once-thriving Manhattan neighborhood known as Little Syria.

One night, he enters the abandoned community house and finds the tattered journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z, who dedicated her career to painting the birds of North America. She famously and mysteriously disappeared more than sixty years before, but her journal contains proof that both his mother and Laila Z encountered the same rare bird before their deaths. In fact, Laila Z’s past is intimately tied to his mother’s–and his grandmother’s–in ways he never could have expected. Even more surprising, Laila Z’s story reveals the histories of queer and transgender people within his own community that he never knew. Realizing that he isn’t and has never been alone, he has the courage to officially claim a new name: Nadir, an Arabic name meaning rare.

As unprecedented numbers of birds are mysteriously drawn to the New York City skies, Nadir enlists the help of his family and friends to unravel what happened to Laila Z and the rare bird his mother died trying to save. Following his mother’s ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival by his own community, his own family, and within himself, and discovers the family that was there all along.

Featuring Zeyn Joukhadar’s signature “magical and heart-wrenching” (The Christian Science Monitor) storytelling, The Thirty Names of Night is a timely exploration of how we all search for and ultimately embrace who we are.

Plot descriptions are from the publisher unless otherwise specified.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog:

The Digital Catalog has two companion apps, Libby & OverDrive. Libby is the app for newer devices and the OverDrive app should be used for older devices and Amazon tablets.

All card holders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries can check out items from the Digital Catalog.

Hoopla Catalog:

The Hoopla Catalog features instant check outs of eBooks, downloadable audiobook, comic books, albums and streaming videos. Patron check out limit is 4 items per month.

Hoopla is a Southeast Steuben County Library service available to all Southeast Steuben County Library card holders.

The Hoopla App is available for Android or Apple devices and most smart TVs & media streaming players.

StarCat: The catalog of physical/traditional library materials:

Card holders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries can access StarCat to search for and request materials available at libraries through out the Southern Tier Library System.

The StarCat app is called Bookmyne and is available for Apple and Android devices.

Also feel free to call the Southeast Steuben County Library and request titles via tel 607-936-3713.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer, SSCL

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

Have questions?

Feel free to call the library! Our telephone number is 607-936-3713.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

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