Suggested Reading November 9, 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, November 16, 2021.

The Book Of Form And Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

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

Book of Form & Emptiness

“Has it ever occurred to you that books have feelings, too?” As does every object in supersensitive Benny Oh’s world. They also have voices, and how they plague him after the death of his Japanese Korean jazz-musician father, Kenji. A young teen, Benny is left with Annabelle, his big, blond, utterly bereft mother. Her dream was to become a children’s librarian; instead, she labors as a media monitor. In a subconscious attempt to fill the void Kenji has left, she hoards things, filling their humble Pacific Northwest duplex with clamor and clutter, which is torture for Benny. He lands in a psychiatric ward, which leads to his infatuation with an intrepid teen artist who is devoted to her mentor, an aged, homeless Slovenian philosopher-poet. All three misfits find sanctuary in the public library. Ozeki (A Tale for the Time Being, 2013) draws on her Zen Buddhist attentiveness as she writes with bountiful insight, exuberant imagination, and levitating grace about psychic diversity, our complicated attitude toward our possessions, street protests, climate change, and such wonders as crows, the moon, and snow globes. Most inventively, Ozeki celebrates the profound relationship between reader and writer. This enthralling, poignant, funny, and mysterious saga, thrumming with grief and tenderness, beauty and compassion, offers much wisdom. “Books are works of love, after all.” Starred Booklist Review

Danger, Sweetheart by Mary Janice Davidson

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

Danger Sweetheart

Popular and inventive Davidson, best known for her Undead books, including Undead and Unforgiven (2015), has a field day with conventional romance tropes as she brings readers to Sweetheart, North Dakota. There, millionaire intellectual Blake Tarbell feels compelled to work on a farm to make up for his mistake of selling area farms to a land developer and becomes enchanted by the no-nonsense, part-time foreman, Natalie. Davidson provides a guide to the 46 romance themes she has cleverly woven into this madcap, tongue-in-cheek tale, including hot librarians and characters who are erroneously presumed dead. A somewhat slow start will not keep voracious romance fans from relishing Davidson’s humor and characters. – Booklist Review

I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio De Giovanni

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

I Will Have Vengeance

The first English translation of veteran Italian crime writer de Giovanni, this murder mystery set in Fascist 1930s Italy introduces new readers to haughty homicide detective Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi. A loner cursed with a “scar on his soul,” Commissario Ricciardi can see in his mind’s eye the final moments in the lives of victims “who had died violently,” an ability that has propelled him to the top of his profession. Arnaldo Vezziârevered by opera audiences as the world’s greatest tenor but reviled by everyone who knew himâis fatally stabbed with a large shard of a mirror in his dressing room before a performance of Pagliacci. Ricciardi re-creates the prelude to murder in his mind and hears Vezzi softly rehearsing his lines, which include the Italian words of this book’s title. Under pressure from his superior, who is eager to deliver swift justice in such a high-profile case and win Il Duce’s praises, the detective pieces together two disparate storylines for a drawn-out but didn’t-see-it-coming denouement. Appel deserves credit for retaining de Giovanni’s distinct brand of noir in her translation, which will appeal to Agatha Christie and Manuel Vazquez Montalban fans. – Publishers Weekly Review

Readers’ Note: This is the first book in the Commissario Ricciardi Mystery Series

First Lady: My Thirty Days Upstairs in the White House by Patrick Dennis

(Available Formats: Print Book)

First Lady

“Here it is at last for all the world to share – the inside story of the ill-fated Butterfield Administration (March 4, 1909 – April 4, 1909). And who could tell the tragic tale better than the First Lady herself – Martha Dinwiddie Butterfield, patent medicine heiress, social leader, Nobel Prize winner and haunted hostess of the Executive Mansion for one cataclysmic month.” (from inside flap)”

If you’re looking for a humorous, historical fiction novel – check out this one!

It’s A Wonderful Woof by Spencer Quinn

(Available Formats: Print Book)

It's A Wonderful Woof

Holiday time in the Valley, and in the holiday spirit—despite the dismal shape of the finances at the Little Detective Agency—Bernie refers a potential client to Victor Klovsky, a fellow private eye. It’s also true that the case—promising lots of online research but little action—doesn’t appeal to Bernie, while it seems perfect for Victor, who is not cut out for rough stuff. But Victor disappears in a rough-stuff way, and when he doesn’t show up at his mom’s to light the Hanukkah candles, she hires Chet and Bernie to find him.

They soon discover that Victor’s client has also vanished. The trail leads to the ruins of a mission called Nuestra Señora de los Saguaros, dating back to the earliest Spanish explorers. Some very dangerous people are interested in the old mission. Does some dusty archive hold the secret of a previously unknown art treasure, possibly buried for centuries? What does the Flight into Egypt—when Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus fled Herod—have to do with saguaros, the Sonoran desert cactus?

No one is better than Chet at nosing out buried secrets, but before he can, he and Bernie are forced to take flight themselves, chased through a Christmas Eve blizzard by a murderous foe who loves art all too much.

Readers’ Note: This is the twelfth book in the Chet & Bernie Mystery series. If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, the first book is Dog On It.

Foretold By Thunder by E. M. Davey (Thunder Series, Book 1)

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Foretold By Thunder

When journalist Jake Wolsey stumbles upon a declassified file showing Winston S. Churchill’s interest in the ancient, esoteric Etruscan civilization, his curiosity is piqued—but a series of deadly coincidences seems to surround the file and everyone who knows of its existence. Wolsey soon attracts the unlikely attention of alluring archaeologist Florence Chung—and that of MI6. As the journalist and archaeologist are pursued across Europe and Africa in search of a sacred Etruscan text, danger closes in and more questions than answers arise. Are there powers in the sky modern science has yet to understand? Could the ancients predict the future? And what really explains the rise of Rome, that of Nazi Germany, the ebb and flow of history itself? In a thrilling race against time and enemies known and unknown, Wolsey fears the very survival of the West may depend on his ability to stay one step ahead of his adversaries.

An assured rollercoaster full of unexpected twists and turns, E.M. Davey offers up a gripping read for fans of Dan Brown in this bombastic debut.

Bonus Recommendation the second book in the adventure series:

The Napoleon Complex by E.M. Davey (Thunder Series, Book 2)

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Napoleon Complex

“Napoleon stood before a turbulent sky. In his hand was a scroll, and on that scroll were characters. Etruscan characters. Reporter Jake Wolsey has seen things he never thought possible. After stumbling across declassified documents showing Winston Churchill’s interest in the ancient Etruscan civilisation, he became a hunted man. Now he is hiding on a remote beach in Thailand, trying to put the past behind him. But when an anonymous letter arrives featuring authentic quotations from Napoleon about fate and destiny, Jake knows he is no longer safe. And when his former lover Jenny reaches out to him for help, he has no choice but to come to her aid. Unearthing secrets many would kill for, can Jake evade both Washington and MI6? And up against a maniacal Prime Minister who dreams of rebuilding the British Empire, what happens if the power to predict the future falls into the wrong hands? The sequel to Foretold by Thunder races through Sierra Leone, Israel, Egypt, Austria, Tanzania and Burundi, and peers back into the smoky Westminster drawing rooms of Victorian statesmen. As Jake fights for his life and his love in this fast-paced, thrilling adventure, can he solve the Napoleon Complex once and for all?” –Publisher’s website.

The Sweetest Remedy by Jane Igharo

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Sweetest Remedy

Igharo’s distinguished sophomore outing (after Ties that Tether) follows biracial Hannah as she connects with her roots and falls in love along the way. After a brief fling with Hannah’s white American mother, Hannah’s Black Nigerian father, Chief Jolade, returned to his wife and children. Hannah had no contact with his side of the family growing up and, as a result, feels out of touch with her Nigerian heritage—until Chief Jolade’s death and posthumous request that she attend his funeral. Upon Hannah’s arrival in Nigeria, her siblings and extended relations learn of her existence for the first time. As Hannah navigates a foreign culture and finds her place within a complex family dynamic, her only lifeline is Lawrence, a longtime friend of her father’s family whom Hannah happens to have met at a party in her hometown of San Francisco. The pair reconnect in Nigeria, and in the midst of finding herself, Hannah finds love with Lawrence as well. This well-paced, multi-narrator tale expertly marries romance with a moving story of family and identity. Readers will be impressed. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Quiet Desperation, Savage Delight: Sheltering With Thoreau In The Age Of Crisis by David Gessner

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

Quiet Desperation Savage Delight

Further evidence that Thoreau offers wise counsel in dark times. Melding memoir and nature writing, award-winning environmentalist Gessner celebrates Thoreau, whose Walden he discovered at the age of 16, inspiring him to question his values, attend to the natural world, keep a journal, and, as an adult, even build his own solitary writing shack. Now, facing environmental degradation and a global pandemic, Gessner sees Thoreau as his “presiding genius, and guiding spirit.” Examining Thoreau’s enduring relevance, he writes, “in an age of climate change he gets to the root of it: the need to do with less not acquire more. The need to live a moral life despite the risks and the ridicule. And of course the deep understanding of just how much nature can still offer us. Not nature in any vague or high-handed sense but in the physical daily experience of it.” Gessner vividly recounts his rich daily experiences of wildness, including walking, biking, kayaking, and bird-watching in North Carolina, his adopted home for the past 17 years; accompanying environmental activist Rick Bass for a project to save grizzlies; and traveling to Thoreau country–Cape Cod, Concord, and Maine–with his family. “Wildness, unlike wilderness,” he writes, “can be found anywhere.” Writing this book during the first seven months of the pandemic, the author reports the increasing numbers of cases and deaths, statistics that serve as bleak epigraphs to each chapter. As much as he asserts “that staying still and finding home can be exciting, even thrilling,” he admits to feeling low-level depression during “this endless night of a year.” He also admits to wondering if it is too late to save the planet and to raise consciousness about the perils of materialism and anthropocentrism. Yet despite evidence that sometimes overwhelms him, Gessner, like Thoreau, finds hope in every new morning and joy in the world that Thoreau so eloquently extolled. A grateful homage to the iconic naturalist and a pleasant memoir of wildness. – Kirkus Review

The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews

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

Twelve Jays of Christmas

Agatha Award–winner Andrews’s fast-moving, high-spirited 30th Meg Langslow mystery (after Murder Most Fowl) finds witty Meg preparing to host her large extended family at her home in Caerphilly, Va., for the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, she’s hampered by a sprained ankle, two wombats in the basement, and flocks of birds in the library. The birds were released from their cages by an unwanted houseguest, wildlife artist and “misogynistic jerk” Roderick Castlemayne, who’s in Caerphilly to illustrate the new book by Meg’s grandfather, an eminent naturalist and the owner of the zoo from which the furry and feathered guests have been brought to serve as models for the artist’s illustrations. When someone plunges a Swiss army knife into Castlemayne’s throat, the only people who are sorry to see him go seem to be the legions to whom he owes money. Ex-wives, bill collectors, and process servers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to suspects. This Christmas romp, complete with a litter of adorable puppies, will certainly please fans and newcomers alike. Andrews consistently entertains. Publishers Weekly Review

Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City by Andrew Waller

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Under Jerusalem

Journalist Lawler (The Secret Token) explores in this sweeping account the complicated history of archaeological digs in Jerusalem. Ranging from imperialistic expeditions in the 19th century, when explorers competed in a “race to stake a claim to Jerusalem’s past,” to allegations that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government used archaeology “as a legitimizer for the state,” Lawler’s colorful narrative includes aristocrats, scientists, charlatans, and clerics who searched for the “authentic place of Jesus’s death and resurrection,” sought to uncover the remnants of the ancient City of David, and tried to find the Ark of the Covenant, among other archaeological treasures. He vividly describes early explorers navigating mud- and sewage-laden tunnels to “recover the biblical secrets locked beneath the Holy City,” and incisively untangles the contentious geopolitical dimensions of ancient history as modern-day Israelis and Palestinians use archaeological analysis to bolster their political viewpoints and territorial claims. Richly detailed, sensitively argued, and entertainingly written, this immersive history casts Jerusalem in a new light and reveals the tensions that meet at the intersection of science, politics, religion, and history. This fascinating, evenhanded chronicle is a treasure. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky by Margaret Verble

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

When Two Feathers Fell From The Sky

At the Glendale Park Zoo outside of Nashville in 1926, Two Feathers, who is Cherokee, and her diving horse, Ocher, are among the biggest attractions. One day, Two and Ocher fall through the pool into the caves beneath–caves that are actually pillaged Native American burial grounds. Shell-shocked zoo manager Clive Lovett rescues her with the help of one of his cousins, who died in a trench in Europe years ago. While Two recovers, Little Elk, a Cherokee spirit from precolonial times, watches over her. Despite these supernatural elements, Verble (Cherokee America, 2019) has constructed a vivid world rooted in its time period: the Scopes trial rages on, the zoo owner is haunted by his Civil War boyhood, and racist attitudes of the day prevail, even among the most well-meaning. Even the secondary characters are richly drawn, giving life to romantic (and not-so-romantic) subplots and the deep friendship between Two and Crawford, a Black horse handler. Themes of death, belonging, and our distance from the past make this a good choice for book groups who like historical fiction. This utterly memorable, beautifully written story will linger with readers. Booklist Review

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog:

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:

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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