Suggested Reading September 14, 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 (Libby app) 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.

And the next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze (New York Review of Books)

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

Black Wings Has My Angel

During the 1950s, Gold Medal Books introduced authors like Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, and David Goodis to a mass readership eager for stories of lowlife and sordid crime. Today many of these writers are admired members of the literary canon, but one of the finest of them of all, Elliott Chaze, remains unjustly obscure. Now, for the first time in half a century, Chaze’s story of doomed love on the run returns to print in a trade paperback edition.

When Tim Sunblade escapes from prison, his sole possession is an infallible plan for the ultimate heist. Trouble is it’s a two-person job. So when he meets Virginia, a curiously well-spoken “ten-dollar tramp,” and discovers that the only thing she cares for is “drifts of money, lumps of it,” he knows he’s met his partner. What he doesn’t suspect is that this lavender-eyed angel might just prove to be his match.

Black Wings Has My Angel careens through a landscape of desperate passion and wild reversals. It is a journey you will never forget

The City Of Good Death by Priyanka Champaneri

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

City of Good Death

In Champaneri’s ambitious, vivid debut, the dying come to the holy city of Kashi to die a good death that frees them from the burden of reincarnation. Pramesh Prasad has managed Shankarbhavan, a hostel in the city, for almost 10 years. When the body of his cousin, Sagar, is found in the Ganges, Pramesh is forced to confront the past he left behind when he ran away from his village to pursue an education and turned his back on Sagar, with whom he’d been inseparable. In Kashi, he married Shobha, daughter of the hostel’s previous manager, who’s dismayed with the presence of Sagar’s ghost, which threatens Shankarbhavan’s reputation by causing residents to resist their deaths. Shobha encourages Pramesh to return with her to his village to meet with Sagar’s widow, Kamna, believing that the two women can solve the problem if they talk to each other. In sharp prose, Champaneri explores the power of stories—those the characters tell themselves, those told about them, and those they believe—such as an ingrained narrative of Kamna as a “shameless woman” in Pramesh’s village, which Shobha, mindful of women’s oppression in their society, gradually chips away at. This epic, magical story of death teems with life. – Publishers Weekly Review

The Ice: A Novel by Louis Charbonneau

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Ice

This timely, credible and suspenseful eco-thriller begins when marine biologist Kathy McNeely finds oil-soaked penguins in a part of Antarctica where no oil spills have been recorded. What seems at first the residue of an earlier disaster soon acquires more sinister implications as McNeely, her Russian and American associates, and maverick archeologist Brian Huxley are caught in the web of TERCO–a U.S. conglomerate that has found something worth killing for beneath the Antarctic ice. Experienced adventure novelist Charbonneau ( Intruder ) convincingly presents the psychological and technical problems of Antarctic survival. His description of the final race, made by tractor and dog sled, to discover the real cause of the oil spill and stave off environmental disaster is gripping. Though the characters are conventional, they are appealing–including the huskies, whose personalities become as distinct as those of their masters. But the real protagonist of The Ice is Antarctica itself. Charbonneau’s passion for this last unspoiled land infuses the book and inspires the reader. Even cynics will applaud as TERCO is frustrated by “a bunch of goddamn birds” and the people who care for what the penguins represent.

The Library of Legends: A Novel by Janie Chang

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

Library of Legends

In the year 1937, Japanese bombers began raids over China. In an effort to save the lives of the students of Minghua University and the 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends, the university’s teachers make a daring plan: Each student is given one book of the 147-volume collection to carry thousands of miles to China’s western provinces. Nineteen-year-old student Hu Lian undertakes the task not just for the sake of her school and the priceless volumes, but also to find her mother, who was forced out of her home and sought shelter in Shanghai. It soon becomes evident that, in spite of the perils of the journey, the students and teachers seem to be under the protection of supernatural beings, guardian spirits who have been awakened and who also have their own path to take–one that may change China forever. VERDICT Chang (Dragon Springs Road) has created a lovely novel that is both joyful and lighthearted and deeply tragic as she explores a culture and people who are forced to accept that their country will never be the same following the war and the departure of the spirits that protected their land for centuries. – Library Journal Review

The Immortals by Amit Chaudhuri

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Immortals

In 1980s Bombay, a highly regarded voice teacher and his affluent sixteen-year-old student enter into a relationship that will have unexpected and lasting consequences in their lives, and the lives of their families. With exquisitely sensuous detail, quiet humor, and unsentimental poignancy, Amit Chaudhuri paints a luminous portrait of the spiritual and emotional force behind a revered Indian tradition; of two fundamentally different but intricately intertwined families; and of a society choosing between the old and the new.

No Witness But The Moon by Suzanne Chazin

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

No Witness But The Moon

A police officer in upstate New York faces the agony of having killed a man.Taking a call about a home invasion with shots fired, Jimmy Vega rushes to the scene and finds two Latino men running from the house. The one with the gun, homeowner Ricardo Luis, immediately puts down his weapon while Jimmy chases the other one. When the man refuses to put his hands up after they speak in Spanish and turns with a hand jammed into his pocket, Jimmy shoots and kills him. Jimmy is horrified when a search discloses nothing but an old photograph in the dead man’s pocket. Soon after he’s put on leave until an investigation can clear him, the man is identified as the father of a woman who babysits for Jimmy’s girlfriend, attorney Adele Figueroa, who runs La Casa, a Latino community center. The incident unleashes a firestorm of bad publicity. Adele, pressed to condemn Jimmy or lose her job, finds her faith in him wavering, especially when a neighbor at the death scene claims Jimmy executed the man in cold blood. When Jimmy learns that the dead man was the superintendent of the apartment building in the Bronx where his mother lived and died violently, he feels he must investigate. But he’s recognized, and only the intervention of an old friend saves him from mob violence. Fighting his fears and his newly sharpened temper, Jimmy links his shooting and his mother’s murder to a scheme to extort money from illegal immigrants. Chazin’s pulse-pounding procedurals (A Blossom of Bright Light, 2015, etc.) excel at plucking stories from the headlines. This one combines a complex mystery with a heartbreaking look at both sides of police shootings. – Kirkus Review

Out In The Open: A Novel by Jesús Carrasco

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Out In The Open

A boy, escaping an abusive environment, encounters and befriends an elderly goatherd; together, traveling by night and resting under cover by day, they bond as they struggle to satisfy their basic survival needs–eating, drinking, voiding, sleeping–with the four elements playing pivotal roles, often to their advantage but sometimes not. While scouting for water by himself, the boy is kidnapped by a crippled bounty hunter, from whom he escapes, only to wind up in the clutches of his evil pursuers, the bailiff and his deputy. He and the goatherd confront the captors in a stunning and violent climax that brings the story full circle, with the boy as forsaken as when the tale began. The bare-bones narration and skeletal dialog reflect the stark, drought-ravaged terrain, a withered, austere wasteland set in a chaotic, desolate state. The characters’ general anonymity gives an almost parable-like feel to a story of salvation and fragile hope as a downpour closes the novel. VERDICT A dynamite debut by a writer whose dark and symbolic view of an ominous society seems frighteningly realistic. Library Journal Review

Roman Crazy: A Novel by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci

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

Roman Crazy

A delicious, sexy, laugh-out-loud modern romance about a newly single woman and her journey to find love again, from New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton and debut author Nina Bocci.

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.

The Slave And The Free by Suzy McKee Charnas

 (Available Formats: Print Book)

The Slave And The Free

The Slave And The Free by Suzy McKee Charnas – contains the first two books of the Hold Fast Chronicles “Walk To The End Of The World”, and “Motherlines.”

About the plot of the first book Walk To The End Of The World:

After a nuclear holocaust humanity survives in isolated enclaves of feudalism, scratching a meagre existence among the ruins of their world. One such community, the Holdfast, has evolved a mythology which holds women responsible, for the cataclysm, and they are now treated as an inferior caste -“Fems”- dominated and degraded by men and valued only as breeding animals and slaves. Holdfast society is rigidly structured with the older men, the Seniors, having absolute authority over the younger juniors. When Eykar Bek flouts that authority by deserting his post two other men, Captain Kelmz and the renegade Servan d Layo, are sent out to find and capture him. Instead, all three elect to go in search of Bek’s half-legendary father Maggomas. Now pursued by the forces of the Seniors, the trio fall in with Alldera, a female slave with a mission of her own -to find and enlist the aid of the Free Fems rumoured to exist beyond the Holdfast. Their travels take them the length and breadth of the Holdfast, reaching an unexpected and shocking conclusion in the distant town of ‘Troi. Walk to the End of the World is both an engrossing adventure story and a penetrating (but never strident) examination of human gender relationships. The imaginative background detail and convincing character development recall the novels of Ursula K Le Guin – but Suzy McKee Charnas is a new, original and welcome addition to the ranks of sf novelists. Fantastic Fiction Overview

The Well by Catherine Chanter

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

The Well

Fortysomething couple Ruth and Mark leave behind exhausting work schedules and criminal accusations in London to make a fresh start at a small farm in the English countryside. Their new home is named the Well after a mysterious water source on the property that has never run dry. As their land continues to flourish inexplicably in a country beset with a decade-long drought, the couple find themselves surrounded by hostilities once more. Ruth and Mark attempt to farm while battling with the media, angry neighbors, and devout cults come to worship the rain. Relationships, both familiar and spiritual, buckle under the tension. In the end, the pair’s blessings prove fatal and they realize how much they had to lose. VERDICT This timely mix of environmental and psychological storytelling illustrates how in an era of increasing climate change ecological dramas become family dramas. This powerful novel is more emotional than political, but as a story foreshadowing a very possible future, it will strike a chord with readers of fiction and nonfiction alike. Library Journal Review

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

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

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: https://www.hoopladigital.com/

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: 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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