Suggested Reading April 13, 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, April 20, 2021.

After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry

After Me Comes The Flood

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

On a hot summer day, John Cole closes his London bookshop and travels to his brother’s home on the Norfolk coast. Forgetting a map, he loses his way and comes upon a rundown house whose five residents somehow are expecting him. Appreciative of his welcome, he fails to inform his hosts that this must be a case of mistaken identity. In chapters toggling from Cole’s first-person voice to third-person accounts, the backgrounds and connections between the residents, who met at a nearby mental hospital, are revealed. One of them, a former patient at the hospital, has deepening concerns about a growing crack in the nearby reservoir that he fears will soon break open and flood their domicile. What compels the reader most in this tale of obsession, guilt, and love, with a religious underpinning, is the dreamlike atmosphere that Perry conjures in the most elegant of prose. This is the first U.S. release of Perry’s debut novel, originally published in the UK in 2014, before her lauded The Essex Serpent (2017) and Melmoth (2018); she has described the three books as a gothic trilogy, with this one the most focused on psychological suspense. A treat for Perry fans and all readers who appreciate ambiguity. Starred Booklist Review

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera

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

Call Your Daughter Home

For readers of Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, this extraordinary historical debut novel follows three fierce Southern women in an unforgettable story of motherhood and womanhood.

It’s 1924 in Branchville, South Carolina and three women have come to a crossroads. Gertrude, a mother of four, must make an unconscionable decision to save her daughters. Retta, a first-generation freed slave, comes to Gertrude’s aid by watching her children, despite the gossip it causes in her community. Annie, the matriarch of the influential Coles family, offers Gertrude employment at her sewing circle, while facing problems of her own at home.

These three women seemingly have nothing in common, yet as they unite to stand up to injustices that have long plagued the small town, they find strength in the bond that ties women together. Told in the pitch-perfect voices of Gertrude, Retta, and Annie, Call Your Daughter Home is an emotional, timeless story about the power of family, community, and ferocity of motherhood.

“Like Jill McCorkle and Sue Monk Kidd, Spera probes the comfort and strength women find in their own company.”— O, The Oprah Magazine

“A mesmerizing Southern tale…Authentic, gripping, a page-turner, yet also a novel filled with language that begs to be savored.”— Lisa Wingate, New York Times Bestselling Author of Before We Were Yours

I Am An Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout audiobook)

I Am An Executioner

A debut story collection from Parameswaran. The book opens with “The Infamous Bengal Ming,” narrated by a tiger who expresses affection for his keeper in the only language available to him, a fatal combination of mauling and love-biting; he then escapes the zoo to commit other acts of mayhem, under which lies a misunderstood tenderness. This tour de force sets the tone and the stage for these dark, rollickingly imaginative stories in which the powers of love and savagery are loosed upon each other again and again. In the title story, a semi-literate (and also fancily semi-literary) hangman tries to seduce his new wife despite her disgust at discovering the way he makes his living. Meanwhile, he tries to negotiate between the equal and opposite forces in him of compassion and brutishness.

In “The Strange Career of Dr. Raju Gopalarajan,” a fired computer salesman, an Indian-born American who believes deeply–too deeply–in the immigrant dream of self-reinvention, checks out anatomy texts from the public library and sets up shop in an exurban strip mall, claiming to be a doctor.

Other stories feature a panopticonic security state in which everyone seems to be a government agent spying on everyone else; an elephant composing a memoir (in “Englaphant, that strange tongue native to all places of elephant-human contact,” we’re told); an Indian woman soldiering on with Thanksgiving plans despite the fact that her husband lies dead on the floor.

The stories–some published in journals like McSweeney’s, Granta and Zoetrope–can sometimes be arch and tricksome, and they’re not for everyone. But Parameswaran is a dazzlingly versatile stylist and the conceits and voices here are varied and evocative. An inventive, impressive and witty book. –Kirkus Reivew

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

The Lamplighters

Stonex’s story is based on a real-life event in 1900, when three lighthouse keepers disappeared from their remote lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides and were never seen again. This tale begins on New Year’s Eve 1972 and focuses on Arthur, Bill, and Vince, the keepers at an isolated lighthouse off the Cornish coast. Just before they’re due home for shore leave, they disappear. Fast-forward 20 years, and the three men’s families are still in limbo because the mystery of what happened has never been solved. Now, however, a respected author has decided to investigate. He finds three women who have dealt very differently with the men’s disappearance, but all three are still haunted by it. What might have happened is seen through flashbacks and the individual stories told by the missing keepers. Stonex’s unique tale juxtaposes oddly compelling reality–the daily challenges of being a lighthouse keeper for the men and their families–against a series of strange, poignant, near-mystical happenings that will pull readers in and keep them mesmerized right to the end. A fine read. – Booklist Reivew

Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews

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

Little Bitty Lies

New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews delivers another treasure of a comic novel. Little Bitty Lies is a tantalizing tale about an abandoned Atlanta housewife and mother who tells one tiny white lie that sets her world spiraling outrageously out of control. This winning and wonderful romp focuses on about all the important things in life: marriage and divorce, mothers and daughters, friendship and betrayal. Throw in small town secrets, one woman’s lifelong quest for home, and the perfect chicken salad recipe, and you have an ideal escape for fans of Fannie Flagg, Jennifer Crusie, Adriana Trigiani, Emily Giffin, and the Sweet Potato Queens. No lie!

Summer By The River by Debbie Burns

(Available Formats: eBook, Hoopla instant checkout eBook & downloadable audiobook)

Summer By The River

Bestselling author Debbie Burns combines her love for rescue dogs with a compelling woman’s journey in her brand new romantic women’s fiction.

Making a fresh start in a new part of the country is challenging, but fate and good fortune lead Josie Waterhill and six-year-old Zoe from urban war-zone LA to cozy Galena, Illinois—a famous Midwestern small town right on the river. There, Josie can raise Zoe away from the violent life she once knew, and make a new home in the historic house where they’ve been invited to stay. The situation is perfect, until Josie’s elderly landlord Myra welcomes more guests—journalist Carter O’Brien and his giant rescue dog, Buttercup. Carter is charming, compassionate…and way too curious. Carter’s interest in Josie deepens and he inadvertently stirs up trouble when he uncovers things that Josie would rather not have known. Ready or not, love happens and Josie has to let go of her painful past so she can create a glorious future.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (The Hoopla audio is read by read by Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs & Jude Law)

Tales of Beedle The Bard

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

As every fan of the Harry Potter stories knows, the shelves of the Hogwarts Library are home to all sorts of fascinating books. There are three in particular you might have heard mentioned by certain Hogwarts students, and that you can add to your reading list too, including The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

As familiar to Hogwarts students as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are to Muggle children, Beedle’s stories are a collection of popular fairy tales written for young witches and wizards. So, if you’re wondering what’s in store… well, you’re in for a treat!

You’re bound to laugh when you read about the havoc wreaked by a father’s impish gift to his son in The Wizard and the Hopping Pot.

The Fountain of Fair Fortune will take you on a quest through an enchanted garden, alongside three witches and a luckless knight.

In The Warlock’s Hairy Heart you’ll be warned about a young warlock who is fearful of love, and turns to dark magic to avoid it at all costs.

The calamitous meeting of a foolish king, a cunning charlatan and a mischievous washerwoman unravels in Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump.

And finally, the most iconic of Beedle’s stories. The Tale of the Three Brothers – with its message of humility and wisdom – will introduce you, dear reader, to the Deathly Hallows.

Each of the tales is accompanied by wise and whimsical notes from a certain Albus Dumbledore, surely everyone’s favourite headmaster.

We’re told these five fables have been firm favourites in wizarding households for centuries. Now it’s your turn to experience these tales from the Wizarding World.

Note To Harry Potter Fans: All the Harry Potter eBooks & downloadable audiobooks are available for instant checkout in the Hoopla catalog!

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

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

This Could Change Everything

International bestseller Jill Mansell crafts the perfect summertime tale, filled with love, friendship, and the power of redemption. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll never want the story to end. All it takes is one email to end her relationship, get her kicked out of her apartment, and just about ruin her life. Essie Phillips never meant for her private rant about her boss to be sent to everyone in her address book, but as soon as it goes viral, her life as she knows it is over. Solution: move to a new town, find a new job, make new friends. If only it were as simple as that…

What People Are Saying About Jill Mansell: “Captivating, warm, lighthearted and funny!”-What’s Better Than Books for Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay “Readers will hang on every word, falling in love with the story, its characters and its emotions.”-RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars for Three Amazing Things About You “Vivid and enchanting.”- Kirkus Reviews for You and Me, Always

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

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

Wild Seed

As the acclaimed Patternist science fiction series begins, two immortals meet in the long-ago past—and mankind’s destiny is changed forever.

For a thousand years, Doro has cultivated a small African village, carefully breeding its people in search of seemingly unattainable perfection. He survives through the centuries by stealing the bodies of others, a technique he has so thoroughly mastered that nothing on Earth can kill him. But when a gang of New World slavers destroys his village, ruining his grand experiment, Doro is forced to go west and begin anew.

He meets Anyanwu, a centuries-old woman whose means of immortality are as kind as his are cruel. She is a shapeshifter, capable of healing with a kiss, and she recognizes Doro as a tyrant. Though many humans have tried to kill them, these two demi-gods have never before met a rival. Now they begin a struggle that will last centuries and permanently alter the nature of humanity.

Hugo and Nebula award–winning author Octavia E. Butler’s sweeping cross-century epic places her “among the best of contemporary SF writers” (Houston Chronicle).

The Windsor Knot: A Novel by S. J. Bennett

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Windor Knot

British children’s author Bennett (The Look as Sophia Bennett) makes her adult debut with the delightful first in a series featuring Queen Elizabeth II as sleuth. One day in the spring of 2016, the queen is hosting a gathering at Windsor Castle when a young Russian pianist is found dead in a guest bedroom. First ruled a suicide, the death turns out to be murder, and MI5 suspects it’s an inside job by a sleeper agent planted at Windsor by Vladimir Putin. But when the authorities begin questioning the queen’s staff, Her Majesty, whose loyalty to her people is as deep as theirs is to her, decides to conduct her own discreet investigation with the help of her assistant private secretary, Rozie Oshodi. Rozie is impressed with the queen’s keen observations, as well as HM’s ability to plant ideas and steer the investigation without anyone the wiser. As Rozie learns, the queen has had lots of practice. She’s been quietly solving mysteries for decades. Bennett’s depiction of the warm, wise, and witty queen and the insights into her royal life are fascinating. Fans of Netflix’s The Crown will have fun. -Publishers Weekly Review

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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