Suggested Reading December 29, 2020

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

Format Note: Under each book title you’ll find a list of all the different formats that specific title is available in; including: Print Books, Large Print Books, CD Audiobooks, eBooks & Downloadable Audiobooks from the Digital Catalog (OverDrive & Libby apps) and Hoopla eBooks & Hoopla 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. This special end of the year list of ten recommendation fiction and non-fiction titles is compiled from a longer list found on the New York Public Library site; the link to the complete list is found in the references section at the end of this posting.

The next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Ten of the Best Fiction Titles of 2020:

Apeirogon: A Novel by Colum McCann

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, CD Audiobook, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

Two fathers, a Palestinian and an Israeli, navigate the physical and emotional checkpoints of their conflicted world before devastating losses compel them to work together to use their grief as a weapon for peace.

The Glass Hotel: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, CD Audiobook, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

A novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

The Great Offshore Ground by Vanessa Veselka

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

On the day of their estranged father’s wedding, half sisters Cheyenne and Livy set off to claim their inheritance. But instead of money, what their father gives them is information—a name—which reveals a stunning family secret.

Interior Chinatown: A Novel By Charles Yu

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

A stereotyped character actor stumbles into the spotlight before uncovering surprising links between his family and the secret history of Chinatown.

Jack by Marilynne Robinson

(Available Formats: Print Book & CD Audiobook)

A new Gilead novel that tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister from Gilead, Iowa.

Missionaries by Phil Klay

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Klay examines the globalization of violence through the interconnected stories of a U.S. Army Special Forces medic, a foreign correspondent, a Colombian officer, and a militia lieutenant who are all trying to navigate the realities of modern warfare.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies By Deesha Philyaw

(Available Formats: Print Book)

With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

Temporary: A Novel by Hilary Leichter

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla eBook)

Eighteen boyfriends, twenty-three jobs, and one ghost who occasionally pops in to give advice: Temporary casts a hilarious and tender eye on the struggle for happiness in late capitalism.

These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

(Available Formats: Print Book & Large Print)

A man on his deathbed reveals that he stole another man’s identity decades earlier, traces the family’s history from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem, and reconnects with the firstborn daughter he never knew.

Weather: A Novel by Jenny Offill

(Available Formats: Print Book & Downloadable Audiobook)

Hired by her famous podcaster mentor to answer letters from increasingly polarized fans, a librarian who has acquired her education from a lifetime spent reading struggles with the limits of her knowledge and growing crises in the outside world.

Ten of the Best Non-Fiction Titles of 2020:

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

(Available Formats: Print Book, CD Audiobook, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

Wilkerson examines the nature of historical caste systems to reveal how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings, enforced by religious views, heritage and stigma, affect everyday American lives.

Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich

(Available Formats: Print Book, Hoopla eBook & Hoopla Downloadable Audiobook)

Ehrenreich weaves together climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences to examine how the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment has led us to the brink of calamity.

Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The star of Ugly Delicious traces his upbringing as a youngest son in a deeply religious Korean American family, his search for identity, his struggles with manic depression, and his unlikely rise as one of his generation’s most influential chefs.

Homie: Poems by Danez Smith

(Available Formats: Downloadable Audiobook & Hoopla Downloadable Audiobook)

An intimate tribute to friendship weaves stories of community building and breaking with brilliant wit.

Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Written during the early months of lockdown, Smith’s essays explore ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Tomine illustrates the amusing absurdities of how we choose to spend our time, all the while mining his conflicted relationship with comics and comics culture.

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

The former U.S. poet laureate remembers the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and how this profound experience of loss shaped her as an adult and an artist.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Hong’s book blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America.

The Splendid And The Vile by Erik Larson

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, CD Audiobook, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

Full Title: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz | Drawing on personal diaries, archival documents, and declassified intelligence, Larson examines Winston Churchill’s life during the Blitz and his role in uniting England.

Vesper Flights: New and Collected Essays by Helen Macdonald

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

A collection of essays about humanity’s relationship with nature, exploring subjects ranging from captivity and immigration to ostrich farming and the migrations of songbirds from the Empire State Building.

All book synopsis are from the New York Public Library year end list, accessed via the following link:


The New York Public Library. 2020. Best Books For Adults 2020. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 15 December 2020].

Happy holidays & happy reading!

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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