Suggested Reading March 23, 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, March 30, 2021.

Cloudmaker by Malcolm Brooks

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)


Houston “Huck” Finn, a precocious 14-year-old, has built, flown, and crashed his own glider, but he’s on to bigger things. It’s 1937 in rural Montana, and with the Great Depression in full swing, Huck has to economize with parts from Model Ts and vacuum cleaners to build a two-seater mono wing, following instructions in the 1932 Flying and Glider Manual. He uses the back room of his father’s machine shop and the expertise of a blacksmith named Yakima McKee to build his plane. When his teenage cousin Annelise arrives from Los Angeles, she brings sophistication beyond her years and experience as a pilot (she wears a Lindbergh flight watch). Life abruptly changes when Huck discovers a bullet-riddled corpse floating in the river, also wearing a Lindbergh flight watch. Huck filches the valuable watch for safekeeping, which brings law enforcement and the victim’s outlaw cronies to his doorstep. But Huck, Annelise, and McKee form an undaunted team, not only to bring the airplane into being but also to solve the criminals’ activities. It’s an exciting summer in Big Coulee, MT. VERDICT With a nod to Ivan Doig’s straightforward folksy style, this impressive second novel after Painted Horses tells an earnest, heartfelt family story with laugh-out-loud humor, deep-seated family conflicts, and distressing coming-of-age crises. Enthusiastically recommended.—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO – Starred Library Journal Review

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

The Ex Talk

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

Fadeout by Joseph Hansen

(Available Formats: eBook & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)


Fadeout is the first of Joseph Hansen’s twelve classic mysteries featuring rugged Dave Brandstetter, an insurance investigator who is contentedly gay. When entertainer Fox Olson’s car plunges off a bridge in a storm, a death claim is filed, but where is Olson’s body? As Brandstetter questions family, fans, and detractors, he grows certain Olson is still alive and that Dave must find him before the would-be killer does. Suspenseful and wry, shrewd and deeply felt, Fadeout remains as fresh today as when it startled readers more than thirty years ago.

Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Fake Accounts


“An invigorating work, deadly precise in its skewering of people, places and things . . . Stylish, despairing and very funny, Fake Accounts . . . adroitly maps the dwindling gap between the individual and the world.” —Katie Kitamura, The New York Times Book Review

A woman in a tailspin discovers that her boyfriend is an anonymous online conspiracy theorist in this “absolutely brilliant take on the bizarre and despicable ways the internet has warped our perception of reality” (Elle, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year).

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend’s phone and makes a startling discovery: he’s an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. Already fluent in internet fakery, irony, and outrage, she’s not exactly shocked by the revelation. Actually, she’s relieved—he was always a little distant—and she plots to end their floundering relationship while on a trip to the Women’s March in DC. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies.

Suddenly left with no reason to stay in New York and increasingly alienated from her friends and colleagues, our unnamed narrator flees to Berlin, embarking on her own cycles of manipulation in the deceptive spaces of her daily life, from dating apps to expat meetups, open-plan offices to bureaucratic waiting rooms. She begins to think she can’t trust anyone—shouldn’t the feeling be mutual?

Narrated with seductive confidence and subversive wit, Fake Accounts challenges the way current conversations about the self and community, delusions and gaslighting, and fiction and reality play out in the internet age.

George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father by David O. Stewart

(Available Formats: Print Book)

George Washington Political Rise

Stewart (Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson) makes the case that though George Washington (1732–99) went out of his way to hide it, he was a masterful politician who used his talents to advance the priorities he thought necessary for the fledgling United States. While his record of success in the French and Indian War was uneven, he nevertheless managed to learn how to organize an army. Afterwards he rose swiftly to prominence in the Virginia House of Burgesses. During the Revolutionary War, as Stewart ably recounts, Washington held his army together through Valley Forge and later thwarted machinations to remove him from his post. Stewart argues that Washington was the only player at the Constitutional Convention who received both a strong executive branch and a permanent namesake capitol. As president, Washington supported Alexander Hamilton in establishing the national bank and assuming payment of the state’s war debts by the federal government. In this second term, he managed to keep the country out of potentially disastrous foreign involvement. Stewart concludes by discussing the politician’s late wrestling with the issue of slavery. VERDICT In this lively and admirable study, Stewart offers a balanced and thoughtfully well-written appreciation of George Washington’s life and leadership. A must for fans of biographies.—David Keymer, Cleveland- Starred Library Journal Review

Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream by Tung Nguyen, Katherine Manning, Lyn Nguyen

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Mango and Peppercorns

This multinarrator memoir shines with the power of resilience, friendship, family, and food to bring together two women from vastly different backgrounds and inspire them to build Hy Vong, an award-winning Vietnamese restaurant in Miami. Vietnamese refugee Tung Nguyen and her American host, Kathy Manning, are polar opposites, with Tung being as staunch and practical as Kathy is free-spirited. Their dynamic is captured in this memoir, also cowritten by Lyn Nguyen (Tung’s daughter) and food writer Elisa Ung, as each chapter is told from Tung’s and Kathy’s alternating perspectives documenting decades of partnership. It is easy to see how their differences helped contribute to the great success of their restaurant, with Tung cooking delicious and traditional Vietnamese soups and comfort foods and Kathy navigating the ins and outs of the business. Woven throughout the book are mouth-watering recipes of either Vietnamese or Swedish origin that tie into the chapters and add another level to this dual memoir. VERDICT A unique contribution to culinary literature that would be a great addition to a collections of food memoirs, but may not stand out to readers looking for recipes alone.—Siobhan Egan, Barrington Public Library, Barrington, RI – Library Journal Review

Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

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

Maya's Notebook

Neglected by her parents, nineteen-year-old Maya Nidal has grown up in Berkeley with her grandparents. Her grand­mother Nini is a force of nature, a woman whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973. Popo, Maya’s grandfather, is a gentle man whose solid, comforting presence helps calm the turbulence of Maya’s adolescence. When Popo dies of cancer, Maya goes completely off the rails, turning to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime in a downward spiral that eventually bottoms out in Las Vegas. Lost in a dangerous underworld, she is caught in the cross­hairs of warring forces. Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. Here Maya tries to make sense of the past, unravels mysterious truths about life and about her family, and embarks on her greatest adventure: the journey into her own soul.

Quiet In Her Bones by Nalini Singh

(Available Formats: Print & eBook)

Quiet In Her Bones

A terrible car accident left playboy and thriller writer Aarav Rai with a broken leg and holes in his memory, and he is forced to move back to his father’s house to recover. While there, his mother’s car is found in the forest, proof that she did not run off and leave him ten years ago. The ultra-rich suburban neighborhood Aarav grew up in hides a multitude of secrets, but from his balcony, he has a better view than most of what is happening behind closed doors–except for his own, because his father is still bitter about his late wife’s independent nature and won’t discuss the fight they had on what turned out to be their last night together. Aarav uses his self-proclaimed sociopathic tendencies to charm information out of people, but his mind can’t process what he finds, and readers will be left wondering if he’s keeping the biggest secret from himself. Singh perfectly conveys the sleek architecture amid an unforgiving New Zealand forest, while the fuzziness and paranoia of Aarav’s narration make this an unsettling thriller that deserves a wide audience. – Booklist Review

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee

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

Sum of Us

Political commentator McGhee argues in her astute and persuasive debut that income inequality and the decline of the middle and working classes in America are a direct result of the country’s long history of racial injustice. Many white Americans, McGhee claims, center their political beliefs and actions—often to their own detriment—on the false premise that social and economic gains for one race result in losses for another. She traces the history of race relations in America from slavery through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the dawn of neoliberalism, documenting instances in which racism against Black Americans has diminished everyone’s quality of life and forestalled social progress, including the mass closure of public swimming pools in the 1950s and ’60s to avoid integration, and the American Medical Association’s “racist red-baiting campaign” to undermine President Truman’s efforts to pass universal health-care legislation. McGhee holds up a recent economic turnaround in Lewiston, Maine, as an example of how communities can thrive thanks to immigrants and people of color, driving home the point that racial inclusivity benefits all Americans. McGhee marshals a wealth of information into a cohesive narrative that ends on a hopeful note. This sharp, thorough, and engrossing report casts America’s racial divide in a new light. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)

Your Beautiful Lies

The trouble with secrets is that they never stay secret for long…

Annie Howarth is living an anxious life in an anxious town. Her mining community in South Yorkshire is feeling the pinch and tensions are running high. Then a murdered girl is found on the moors and the agitation in the community is pushed to a dangerous breaking point.

As the wife of the chief of police, Annie should feel safe – her husband William can be secretive, but she’s sure whatever he’s hiding is for her own good, isn’t it?

But Annie is keeping her own secrets. Ten years ago, the man she loved was ripped from her life in a scandal that still haunts them both, and now his return will put her family, her marriage, even her life, at risk.

Bestselling author of House by the Sea Louise Douglas returns with a heart-racing novel full of suspense, desire and desperate secrets. Perfect for fans of Barbara O’Neal, Lucinda Riley and Rachel Hore.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog:

The Digital Catalog, a catalog containing eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, Digital Magazines and a handful of streaming videos, 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 checkouts of eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, comic books, albums, movies and TV series. 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:

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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