Suggested Reading July 27, 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,August 3, 2021.

Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories by Algernon Blackwood

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Instant Checkout eBook)

Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories

By turns bizarre, unsettling, spooky, and sublime, Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories showcases nine incomparable stories from master conjuror Algernon Blackwood. Evoking the uncanny spiritual forces of Nature, Blackwood’s writings all tread the nebulous borderland between fantasy, awe, wonder, and horror. Here Blackwood displays his best and most disturbing work-including “The Willows,” which Lovecraft singled out as “the single finest weird tale in literature”; “The Wendigo”; “The Insanity of Jones”; and “Sand.”

Asta’s Book by Ruth Rendell (writing as Barbara Vine)

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Asta's Book

An “obsessively readable” mystery from the New York Times–bestselling author of Dark Corners about a century-old diary that holds clues to a murder (The Sunday Telegraph).

Asta Westerby is lonely. In 1905, shortly after coming to East London from Denmark with her husband and their two little boys, she feels like a stranger in a strange land. And it doesn’t help that her husband is constantly away on business. Fortunately, she finds solace in her diary—and she continues to do so until 1967.

Decades later, her granddaughter, Ann, finds the journal, and it becomes a literary sensation, offering an intimate view of Edwardian life. But it also appears to hold the key to an unsolved murder and the disappearance of a child.

A modern masterpiece by the Edgar Award–winning author of the Inspector Wexford Mysteries, and an excellent choice for readers of P. D. James, Ian Rankin, or Scott Turow, Asta’s Book is at once a crime story, a historical novel, and a psychological portrait told through the diary itself and through Ann, who is bent on unlocking the journal’s excised mystery.

Atlantis by Carlo Piano & Renzo Piano

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)


A Journey in Search of Beauty

Renowned architect Renzo Piano (the New Whitney Museum, the Pompidou Center, Potsdamer Platz, Cite Internationale, New York Times Building, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, etc.) and his son Carlo, a well-regarded journalist, set sail from Genoa one late Summer day to search for Atlantis, the perfect city, built to harbor a perfect society.

Embarking not only on a life-changing journey but also on series of conversations that are humorous, irreverent, erudite, and always entertaining, Renzo and Carlo travel from Genoa in search of the perfect city, along the way reflecting on their own relationship, on fathers and sons, on the idea of travel itself, and perhaps most notably on architecture, space, and the secret life of forms.

Piano, subject of The Art of Making Buildings and a man who can not only measure land at a glance but also the sea’s infinite geometry, returns to the places where he has created his iconic works, mosaic pieces in the infinite, necessary quest for perfection. With his son he sails across the Pacific, along the banks of the Thames and the Seine, reaching as far as Athens, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and Osaka Bay.

In search of beauty, Piano finds only imperfection. And so, all that remains is to sail on, in the company of his son.

Beyond Armageddon edited by Walter M. Miller Jr.

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Beyond Armageddon

Miller, whose novel A Canticle for Leibowitz is a landmark of post-holocaust SF, opens this anthology of SF stories on nuclear war with a provocative and challenging introduction: he suggests that the bomb would be safer with Qaddafi than Reagan. This properly unsettles the reader for the following 21 imaginations of disaster. Arranged in a rough future chronology, they include such classics as J. G. Ballard’s apocalyptic “Terminal Beach,” Stephen Vincent Benet’s vision of a ruined New York in “By the Waters of Babylon,” Ray Bradbury’s nostalgic “There Will Come Soft Rains” and Harlan Ellison’s fierce “A Boy and His Dog.” Where most seek metaphors of devastation, the less well known stories are sometimes grittier, for example, Lucius Shepard’s “Salvador,” on a possible future Vietnam, Jim Aiken’s nasty “My Life in the Jungle” and Poul Anderson’s 1946 “Tomorrow’s Children,” the only story here to mention the effect of nuclear winter and the story that deals most pragmatically and tragically with the human consequences of radiation-induced mutations. Altogether, a thought-provoking, varied and well chosen anthology. – Publishers Weekly Review

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

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

Fragments of Fear

A struggling artist in Albuquerque, N.Mex., investigates a string of murders connected to an archaeological dig in this appealing inspirational thriller from Parks (Portrait of Vengeance). Artist Evelyn “Tavish” McTavish is devastated by the death of her fiancé, Andrew, and doesn’t believe the police when they conclude he killed himself. At Andrew’s funeral, a pregnant woman appears, claims to be his fiancé, and blames Tavish for his suicide. Still reeling from her encounter, Tavish receives a call that her dog is about to put down at the pound – but she doesn’t own a dog; upon further investigation she discovers that she recognizes the dog, as she had once painted a portrait of the dog for its owner, archaeologist John Coyote.

After rescuing archaeologist Coyote’s dog, she drives to his house and witnesses a cop put Coyote’s lifeless body in his car. After relaying everything she has seen to other police officers—who don’t believe her—Tavish decides to investigate Coyote’s death on her own. Her investigation leads her to Special Agent Sawyer Price, who is staking out one of Coyote’s former archaeological sites, trying to discover who has been stealing Native American artifacts from the dig. The more Tavish investigates, the more the danger increases and gets closer to home. Tavish’s growing faith and sheer determination must get her through the thicket of lies surrounding the murders. Though light on faith elements, Park’s busy plot and unlikely heroine will appeal to fans of Dani Pettrey. Publishers Weekly Review

A Song To Die For by Mike Blakely

(Available Formats: Print Book)

A Song To Die For

Blakely has an almighty narrative talent, so propulsive that he has readers turning pages before they know who these characters are or what they’re doing or why anyone should care. That’s especially useful here, because for the longest time the novel looks like two stories patched together, with nothing to do with each other. The first tells of Creed Mason, a has-been country-and-western musician lonely for the big time and riding the coattails of a Willie Nelson sort, who’s working to pay off an IRS tab. They rehearse, squabble, drink beer, and that’s about it; but so high-powered is the author’s skill that even a reader not fond of the milieu is still happy to go along. Even Creed’s efforts to repair a clanking tour bus make good reading. Between these chapters we meet Texas Ranger Hooley Johnson, struggling to connect the murders of two gorgeous young women and coming up against raw evil when he does. Finally, the two stories converge they were linked all along, but that’s Blakely’s secret in a stunning action sequence. A beautiful genre-bender. Starred Booklist Review.

The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live by Danielle Dreilinger

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

Secret History of Home Economics

Journalist Dreilinger debuts with an eye-opening history of the field of home economics. Created in the late 19th century as a progressive, reform-minded discipline that sought to “change the world through the household,” home economics was viewed by its founders, MIT chemist Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) among them, as a natural subfield of economics that had the potential to eliminate both poverty and drudgery. Universities established home economics departments and the government sought out the expertise of leading home economists during both world wars and the Great Depression. Noting that African Americans were often excluded from professional organizations and opportunities, Dreilinger gives full consideration to the work of Black home economists including Flemmie Kittrell (1904–1980), whose career spanned academia, government service, and domestic and international civil rights activism. Detailing changes in American education that have largely marginalized the field since the 1980s, Dreilinger outlines steps for its revitalization, including diversification and a renewed emphasis on the life skills and transformative social and ecological vision the discipline at its best has espoused. With lively prose and engrossing portraits of dynamic and accomplished women, this is a vital and inspiring reassessment of an oft-caricatured field. Starred Publishers Weekly Review.

Silence in the Library by Katharine Schellman

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

Silence in the Library

Regency widow Lily Adler has finally settled into her new London life when her semi-estranged father arrives unexpectedly, intending to stay with her while he recovers from an illness. Hounded by his disapproval, Lily is drawn into spending time with Lady Wyatt, the new wife of an old family friend. Lily barely knows Lady Wyatt. But she and her husband, Sir Charles, seem as happy as any newly married couple until the morning Lily arrives to find the house in an uproar and Sir Charles dead.

All signs indicate that he tripped and struck his head late at night. But when Bow Street constable Simon Page is called to the scene, he suspects foul play. And it isn’t long before Lily stumbles on evidence that Sir Charles was, indeed, murdered.

Mr. Page was there when Lily caught her first murderer, and he trusts her insight into the world of London’s upper class. With the help of Captain Jack Hartley, they piece together the reasons that Sir Charles’s family might have wanted him dead. But anyone who might have profited from the old man’s death seems to have an alibi… until Lily receives a mysterious summons to speak with one of the Wyatts’ maids, only to find the young woman dead when she arrives.

Mr. Page believes the surviving family members are hiding the key to the death of both Sir Charles and the maid. To uncover the truth, Lily must convince the father who doesn’t trust or respect her to help catch his friend’s killer before anyone else in the Wyatt household dies.

Readers’ Note: This is the second book in the Lily Adler Mystery series; if you’d like to start reading from the beginning, the first book is The Body In The Garden.

The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore

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

Undertaker's Assistant

Euphemia “Effie” Jones, born into slavery in Louisiana, escaped as a child and became the ward of a well-known white surgeon from Indiana. While serving as the surgeon’s assistant during the Civil War, she became a skilled undertaker and embalmer, then after the Civil War moved to New Orleans to be an embalmer for a local undertaker and reconnect with her past. In New Orleans, Effie, staunchly practical, forms an unlikely friendship with Adeline, a charming and elegant Creole woman, who introduces Effie to local society. Effie falls for Samson Greene, a freedman and state politician, and begins participating in local political events and clubs organized by Samson. As Effie forms relationships and settles in New Orleans, she begins to remember key moments in her traumatic past. Set in a time of sweeping historical change, Effie’s story is one of personal growth, self-discovery, friendship, and betrayal.

VERDICT Effie’s community of freedmen and Creoles in Reconstruction New Orleans is unforgettable. Skenandore’s second novel (after Between Earth and Sky) is recommended for readers who enjoy medical historical fiction reminiscent of Diane McKinney-Whetstone’s Lazaretto, and historical fiction with interpersonal drama.–Emily Hamstra, Seattle – Library Journal Review

The Wisdom of Sally Redshoes by Ruth Hogan

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

Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

A lively ensemble of eccentric characters feature in best-selling British author Hogan’s (The Keeper of Lost Things, 2017) compelling second novel, a powerful story about loss and healing. Masha’s beloved young son drowned 12 years ago, a tragic accident that destroyed her heart. She now spends her time in an old Victorian cemetery, creating stories about the inhabitants, and at the lido, where she drowns” her grief by swimming to the deep end every morning. Another story line follows reclusive Alice, an overprotective mom who’s hiding dark secrets while battling cancer. Meanwhile, Masha befriends a fellow visitor to the cemetery, a lively, batty older woman she nicknames Sally Red Shoes. She also has her faithful wolfhound, Haizum, at her side and makes another new friend, Kitty, a character so beguiling she deserves a story of her own. Both Kitty and Sally help Masha on her journey through grief and eventually into the arms of love, forgiveness, friendship, and healing. Fans of Karen White and Marian Keyes will especially enjoy Hogan’s storytelling style.

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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