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, November 2, 2021.
The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall & Douglas Abrams
(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)
This illuminating conversation between naturalist Goodall (Reason for Hope) and Abrams (coauthor, The Book of Joy) teases out Goodall’s thoughts on why one should feel hopeful in “dark times.” According to Goodall, there are “four main reasons for hope: the amazing human intellect, the resilience of nature, the power of youth, and the indomitable human spirit.” In unpacking her belief in the power of persistence, Goodall takes readers to her childhood home in England, where her family questioned if she had the constitution to travel to Africa; to Tanzania, where she studied chimpanzees and came face to face with “crippling poverty, lack of good education and degradation of the land”; and into her work as a U.N. Messenger of Peace. In the process, she cites having a spiritual sense of purpose as crucial to her hope and activism. Her infectious optimism and stirring call to action make this necessary reading for those concerned about the planet’s future: “we must not let this distract us from the far greater threat to our future—the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity,” she writes. “Find your reasons for hope and let them guide you onward.” Goodall’s rousing testament will resonate widely. Starred Publishers Weekly Review.
Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coontz
(Available Formats: Print Book & Large Print)
With this well-crafted first novel, the publishers of The Hunt for Red October again demonstrate a sure eye for picking winners in the thriller genre. Jake Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam War who flies his bomber on sorties past enemy flak and SAM missiles, and then must maneuver his plane, often at night, onto the relatively small deck of an aircraft carrier. Former Navy flyer Coonts gives an excellent sense of the complexities of modern air raids and how nerve-wracking it is, even for the best airmen, to technically solve sudden problems over and over, knowing that even a twist of fate a peasant wildly firing a rifle from a field could wipe out the crew. Grafton alternates between remorse over the fate of his unseen Vietnamese victims on the ground and a gung-ho “let’s win this war” sentiment that lashes at both policymakers who select less-than-important targets for the dangerous missions and advocates for peace back in the States. The action, though, is realistically detailed and absorbing.
On A Reader’s Note: This is the first book in the Jake Grafton adventure series.
Hobgoblin by John Coyne
(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)
Ancient magic meets contemporary horror in this thrilling tale of a young man’s obsession. Scott Gardiner is already shattered by the demise of his character in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy. When his father dies at almost exactly the same moment, the line between nightmare and reality begins to erode.
Scott and his mom attempt to start over by moving to Ballycastle, a medieval Irish manor house rebuilt on the banks of the Hudson. A new role-playing game captures Scott’s imagination: Hobgoblin, in which he takes on the identity of the legendary Irish hero Brian Borù. Before long, he’s seeing a black annis ― a terrifying creature of Celtic myth ― darting about the estate. Scott plunges deeper and deeper into the dreamlike allure of Hobgoblin until more than just his sanity is at stake and he is forced to rescue others from a dark power.
Love Saves The Day by Gwen Cooper
(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print & Hoopla instant checkout audiobook)
From the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Homer’s Odyssey comes a tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, primarily told through the eyes of the most observant member of any human family: the cat.
Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.
So notes Prudence, the irresistible brown tabby at the center of Gwen Cooper’s tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, which is mostly told through the eyes of this curious (and occasionally cranky) feline.
When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she knows she’s found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one…
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé
(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)
Ivan and Francesca decide to open a bookstore devoted solely to good literature and their love of books. Frustrated by the glut of mediocre books printed every month and envisioning a true literary paradise, they offer a selection of literary masterpieces chosen by a top-secret committee of like-minded literary connoisseurs.
To their amazement, after only a few months, their vision proves popular. Very popular. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the bookstore quickly becomes a haven for bibliophiles. Indeed, it becomes so successful that the great majority of Parisian readers are now buying their books only at Ivan and Francesca’s store, and other stores in the city are starting to change how they order and display books too. Now big publishing’s powerful elite are desperately trying to adapt their business model to the demand for quality above all else. As the store’s success grows, venomous comments begin circulating online and the owners, and their selection committee, become the target of vicious editorials and threats.
A Novel Bookstore blends book love and bookstore love with a brilliantly conceived and entertaining mystery and is a delight for readers of all tastes.
Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories, edited by Roald Dahl
(Available Formats: Print Book)
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a prickly, colorful character who wrote maliciously funny short stories for adults (The Best of Roald Dahl) as well as better-known works for children (James and the Giant Peach). As he relates in the introduction, he started the research for this book by making a call to the celebrated ghost-story anthologist/writer, Lady Cynthia Asquith. He then went to the British Museum Library, and read a total of 749 tales before selecting 14 for this anthology. His criterion: “Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story. It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.” Included here are not only acknowledged classics by Robert Aickman, Edith Wharton, J. S. Le Fanu, and F. Marion Crawford, but also tales by lesser-known writers such as L. P. Hartley, Rosemary Timperley, Jonas Lie, Mary Treadgold, and A. M. Burrage. The Washington Post writes, “Dahl’s taste, it will surprise no one, is impeccable.” – Amazon Review
The Secret of Snow: A Novel by Viola Shipman
(Available Formats: eBook & Hoopla instant check out audiobook)
A woman returns home and confronts her past trauma in Shipman’s latest (after The Clover Girls, 2021). Sonny Dunes has spent years running from her tragic past, even going so far as to change her name to establish herself as a meteorologist in Palm Springs. But when she has a breakdown on air after being replaced by an AI meteorologist, the only place she has to go is back home to Michigan. As a 50-year-old moving back in with her mother, Sonny feels like a complete failure, but that hurts less than the memories of her deceased younger sister that continue to linger. As Sonny reestablishes her career at her hometown news station, she must confront her guilt and grief surrounding her sister’s death, while also learning to let love melt her frozen heart. The Secret of Snow is a contemporary novel on grief and the way it can keep you frozen from living life to the fullest. While some plot points seemed contrived, the overall themes and tone will touch readers. Booklist Review
Three-Fifths by John Vercher
(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)
Vercher’s first novel gets Agora Books, a new imprint dedicated to diverse crime fiction, off to a fast start. Bobby Saraceno is a 22-year-old mixed-race man living in the largely African American neighborhood of Homewood in 1990s Pittsburgh, during the time of the O. J. Simpson trial. Raised by his white, alcoholic mother, Isabel, and racist grandfather, Bobby passes as white, while his best friend and fellow comics nerd Aaron wishes he was Black, though he is ridiculed for adopting the style and mannerisms of the Black kids in the neighborhood. Things change dramatically when Bobby’s father, a doctor whom Bobby believes to be dead, walks into the bar where Isabel works. Meanwhile, Aaron, having been incarcerated for drug dealing, returns from prison as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and promptly assaults a young Black man in Bobby’s presence. Bobby’s life quickly spirals out of control, his sense of self reeling after he meets his father and struggles with whether he should betray his friend by revealing what he knows about the assault. Vercher, who is also biracial and grew up in Pittsburgh, handles the potentially melodramatic elements of his plot with considerable subtlety, building strong, multifaceted characters with bold strokes and using the tools of noir to present what is finally a full-blown tragedy. This powerful exploration of race and identity pairs well with Steph Cha’s superb Your House Will Pay. Starred Booklist Review
Tom O’Bedlam by Robert Silverberg
(Available Formats: Print Book)
Tom, like the medieval Tom O’Bedlam, can’t decipher the meaning of the images plaguing his mind. Much like the wondering and mad Tom of the medieval ballad, the Tom O’Bedlam of 2103 doesn’t know what to make of the images that keep cluttering his mind. To preserve the last shred of his sanity and keep these never-ending wonders a secret, he feigns insanity. But then a probe that has traveled over four light years away transmits the very pictures that have been haunting Tom’s dreams. In this post-industrial world on the verge of a total collapse, Tom has become humanity’s spokesperson to the distant planet that may be his world’s salvation.
Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Lynn Crosbie
(Available Formats: Print Book)
Does true love have supernatural power?
Where Did You Sleep Last Night is a love story about a teenage girl who embarks on a relationship with Kurt Cobain.
Evelyn Gray is a sad and lonely sixteen-year-old from Carnation, Washington who is terrorized by her classmates at school. She spends most of her time in her room reading, writing letters to dead people, listening to old records and talking to the poster of Kurt Cobain above her bed.
Her mother is an alcoholic grunge relic from Seattle, whose recollections, books and music help ignite Evelyn’s love for Cobain-a love so painfully strong that it summons the deceased singer to her side.
When Evelyn is taken to the hospital after an overdose, she awakens to find Cobain-who has little to no memory of his former life-convalescing in the bed beside her.
Once united, they quickly become addicted to drugs and each other.
Cobain-renamed Celine Black-and Evelyn escape the hospital and run off together, determined to have everything they want. Inevitably, they become infamous musicians, but despite their mutual devotion, the couple is tormented by strong passion and jealousy. As their celebrity grows, their relationship becomes more excessive, and an episode of sexual violence explodes, shockingly, into murder.
A highly original work of haute fan fiction, written in Crosbie’s poetic and emotionally evocative prose, Where Did You Sleep Last Night is an imaginative, surprisingly funny, and touching novel about the adamant persistence of love
Have a great week!
*Information on the Three Catalogs*
Digital Catalog: https://stls.overdrive.com/
The Digital Catalog, is an online catalog containing eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, digital magazines and a handful of streaming videos. The catalog, which allows one to download content to a PC, also has a companion app, Libby, which you can download to your mobile device; so you can enjoy eBooks and downloadable audiobooks on the go!
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.