Suggested Reading February 3, 2021

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.  The next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

An African-American Cookbook by Phoebe Bailey

(Available Formats: Hoopla eBook)

Remembering the Underground Railroad through Recipes That Are Rich with History

400 Soul Food Recipes for Appetizers, Main Meals, Breads, Pies, Cakes, Salads, and More!

An African American Cookbook: Traditional and Other Favorite Recipes is a bountiful collection of favorite foods and the memories that go with them. The traditional foods reflect the ingenious, resourceful, and imaginative Africans who made them. Woven among the four hundred recipes are rich historic anecdotes and sayings. They were discovered or lived by the cookbook’s contributors, many of whose ancestors participated in the Underground Railroad or lived near where it was active. This is a cookbook rich in history and rich in easy-to-prepare, wonderfully tasty food!

Recipes include:
• Collard greens with ham hocks,
• Cornbread sausage stuffing,
• Smoked turkey and black-eyed peas,
• Pan-fried okra,
• Fried green tomatoes,
• 14-day sweet pickles,
• Yogurt and chives biscuits,
• Sweet potato pie,
• And more!

Author Phoebe Bailey’s congregation in historic Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has a long history with Underground Railroad activity. Today they offer Underground Railroad reenactments and a buffet of traditional African American food to their many visitors. This cookbook celebrates those historic events when this church fed and then helped to spirit enslaved Africans to safety.

The Broken Spine by St James, Dorothy

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell–with the help of a group of dedicated readers–decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain

(Available Formats: Print Book)

A chorus of extraordinary voices comes together to tell one of history’s great epics: the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present—edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire.

The story begins in 1619—a year before the Mayflower—when the White Lion disgorges “some 20-and-odd Negroes” onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history.

Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith—instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.

This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.

The Four Winds: A Novel by Kristin Hannah

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

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa―like so many of her neighbors―must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it―the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony

“Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” –Cicely Tyson

Librarian Tales: Funny, Strange, and Inspiring Dispatches from the Stacks by William Ottens

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla eBook)

Published in cooperation with the American Library Association, an insider’s look at one of the most prevalent, yet commonly misunderstood institutions!

Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of librarian William Ottens’s experience working behind service desks and in the stacks of public libraries, most recently at the Lawrence Public Library in Kansas. In Librarian Tales, published in cooperation with the American Library Association, readers will learn about strange things librarians have found in book drops, weird and obscure reference questions, the stress of tax season, phrases your local librarians never want to hear, stories unique to children’s librarians, and more.

Ottens uncovers common pet peeves among his colleagues, addresses misguided assumptions and stereotypes, and shares several hilarious stories along the way. This book is must reading for any librarian, or anyone who loves books and libraries, though non-library folks will also laugh and cry (from laughing) while reading this lighthearted analysis of your local community pillar, the library.

My Year Abroad: A Novel by Chang-Rae Lee

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

“An extraordinary book, acrobatic on the level of the sentence, symphonic across its many movements—and this is a book that moves…My Year Abroad is a wild ride—a caper, a romance, a bildungsroman, and something of a satire of how to get filthy rich in rising Asia.” – Vogue

From the award-winning author of Native Speaker and On Such a Full Sea, an exuberant, provocative story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure – and about the human capacities for pleasure, pain, and connection.

Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself.

In the breathtaking, “precise, elliptical prose” that Chang-rae Lee is known for (The New York Times), the narrative alternates between Tiller’s outlandish, mind-boggling year with Pong and the strange, riveting, emotionally complex domestic life that follows it, as Tiller processes what happened to him abroad and what it means for his future. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion—on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. Tinged at once with humor and darkness, electric with its accumulating surprises and suspense, My Year Abroad is a novel that only Chang-rae Lee could have written, and one that will be read and discussed for years to come.

The Stone of Destiny by Paul Doherty

(Available Formats: Hoopla eBook)

A series of grisly deaths are linked to the sacred Stone of Scone in this compelling medieval mystery featuring friar-sleuth Brother Athelstan.

“This abbey is a strange place, Brother Athelstan. A hall of ghosts, a place of flitting shadows. The dead throng here. I can hear them whispering as they ride the air.”

During the harsh winter of 1381, murder stalks the streets of London in all its grisly forms. The city’s prostitutes are falling prey to a silent, deadly assassin known as The Flayer who carefully peels his victims’ skins for his collection.

At the same time, Westminster Abbey, which houses the sacred Stone of Scone, is plagued by a series of hideous poisonings. Could there be a connection between these brutally violent deaths and the stone, which the English crown cherishes as a symbol of its rule over Scotland?

Then there are the two former Upright Men, leaders of the Great Revolt, who are found mysteriously hanged in the Piebald Tavern, close to Brother Athelstan’s parish church of St Erconwald and Athelstan is faced with his most baffling investigation to date. Can he navigate this deadly maze of murder and intrigue and pull the various threads together?

The 20 book in Brother Athelstan Mystery series

If you’d like to start with the first book in the series it is The Nightingale Gallery, published in 1991 by Doherty writing as by Paul Harding.

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

In this propulsive locked-room thriller debut, a reunion weekend in the French Alps turns deadly when five friends discover that someone has deliberately stranded them at their remote mountaintop resort during a snowstorm.

When Milla accepts an off-season invitation to Le Rocher, a cozy ski resort in the French Alps, she’s expecting an intimate weekend of catching up with four old friends. It might have been a decade since she saw them last, but she’s never forgotten the bond they forged on this very mountain during a winter spent fiercely training for an elite snowboarding competition.

Yet no sooner do Milla and the others arrive for the reunion than they realize something is horribly wrong. The resort is deserted. The cable cars that delivered them to the mountaintop have stopped working. Their cell phones–missing. And inside the hotel, detailed instructions await them: an icebreaker game, designed to draw out their secrets. A game meant to remind them of Saskia, the enigmatic sixth member of their group, who vanished the morning of the competition years before and has long been presumed dead.

Stranded in the resort, Milla’s not sure what’s worse: the increasingly sinister things happening around her or the looming snowstorm that’s making escape even more impossible. All she knows is that there’s no one on the mountain she can trust. Because someone has gathered them there to find out the truth about Saskia…someone who will stop at nothing to get answers. And if Milla’s not careful, she could be the next to disappear..

A Thousand Ships: A Novel by Natalie Haynes

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

“Gorgeous…. With her trademark passion, wit, and fierce feminism, Natalie Haynes gives much-needed voice to the silenced women of the Trojan War.”—Madeline Miller, author of Circe

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a gorgeous retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women involved in its causes and consequences—for fans of Madeline Miller.

This is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s. They have waited long enough for their turn . . .

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all . . .

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war.

A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world’s great tale ever told.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog: https://stls.overdrive.com/

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: https://www.hoopladigital.com/

The Hoopla Catalog features instant check outs of eBooks, downloadable audiobook, comic books, albums and streaming videos. Patron check out limit is 6 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: https://starcat.stls.org

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.

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

Have questions or want to request a book?

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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