Suggested Reading December 7, 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, December 14, 2021.

In honor of the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, which is today; our first recommended read is a memoir by a sailor who survived the attack – Donald Stratton:

All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire

All The Gallant Me
(Available Formats: Print Book, CD Audiobook, eBook & Hoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)

Approaching the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Stratton’s (one of the few survivors) memoir, co-written with Gire (Windows of the Soul), offers an intimate account of his experiences on the USS Arizona and beyond. The narrative begins with a look at his childhood, explaining how a need for employment during the Great Depression compelled many of his generation to join the service and how that attitude changed after Pearl Harbor. It then sets the context and time line of the attack and shares the accounts of various shipmates. Thoughtful yet concise, Stratton relates his subsequent recovery and return to duty and analyzes the encounters that have helped to shape his life. Stratton’s story parallels those of many servicemen. The details may change, but the mental and physical challenges are often similar: survivor’s guilt, vengefulness, and difficulties in accepting and granting forgiveness. VERDICT Gire corroborates Stratton’s accounts while allowing the author’s powerful voice to shine through this volume that will sit nicely alongside other World War II memoirs and firsthand tales of combat. It would work well as a YA introduction to Pearl Harbor and to frontline servicemen’s experiences. See also Gordon Prange’s At Dawn We Slept and “Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later,” Library Journal Review

Big City Eyes by Delia Ephron

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Big City Eyes

Ephron is best known for her screenwriting work (Sleepless in Seattle; You’ve Got Mail), but her talent for witty dialogue flourishes in her second novel (after Hanging Up), set in Sakonnet Bay, Long Island, where freelance reporter and single mom Lily Davis moves from Manhattan with her 15-year-old son, Sam. Lily decided to move to the small town when she realized Sam was sneaking out to nightclubs and hiding a knife in his bureau drawer, but her efforts to give him safe harbor are thwarted by his sullen rebelliousness and his Klingon-speaking girlfriend, Deidre. An inveterate New Yorker, Lily is uncomfortable in the cozy, gossipy town and fearful of almost everything. Do the deer grazing on her front lawn have rabies? Are Sam’s antisocial tendencies and dreadful haircut “normal range behavior”? Has she become the town joke for insulting police Sgt. Tom McKee during an incident involving a dog whose head got stuck in a pitcher? Soon Lily has serious issues to worry about, such as the naked woman–dead, drugged or sleeping–she and Tom discover in a supposedly empty house. When the woman’s body is later found after having been haphazardly buried by someone in a swampy area, Lily starts sleuthing to find out what happened. Not only does this investigation reveal a less than idyllic side to Sakonnet Bay, it also forces her to confront disturbing truths about her son, her divorce and her growing feelings for the married Tom. Despite billing herself as an “irritating,” liberated city woman, Lily tends to musings about family and divorce that reveal Ephron’s moral to the story: divorce can be confusing and painful for kids, but a loving parent can still keep her child on track. Lily learns she can’t safeguard her son merely by shielding him from big-city dangers. The road to this hard-earned lesson takes the reader through a novel that sparkles with lively characters.-Publishers Weekly Review

Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Christmas Every Day

When Jenny inherits her estranged grandmother’s cottage in Sherwood Forest, she has nothing to lose – no money, no job, no friends, no family to speak of, and zero self-respect. Things can only get better…

Her grumpy, but decidedly handsome new neighbour, Mack, has a habit of bestowing unsolicited good deeds on her. And when Jenny is welcomed into a rather unusual book club, life seems to finally be getting more interesting.

Instead of reading, the members pledge to complete individual challenges before Christmas: from finding new love, learning to bake, to completing a daredevil bucket list. Jenny can’t resist joining in, and soon a year of friendship and laughter, tears and regrets unfolds in the most unexpected ways.
Warm, wise, funny and utterly uplifting, what one thing would you change in your life before Christmas comes around?

The Hanged Man by P. N. Elrod

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Hanged Man

On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, after the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up. Turning to some choice allies-the handsome, prescient Lieutenant Brooks, the brilliant, enigmatic Lord Desmond, and her rapscallion cousin James-Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic.

Know Your Place by Shelly Ellis

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

Know Your Place

Ellis’ Branch Avenue Boys series continues, following In These Streets (2018), with the story of Derrick, Ricky, and Jamal, who have each been marked by their connection to D.C. kingpin Dolla Dolla. After the raid on his restaurant and nightclub, Ricky decides to work as an informant for the police in their investigation of Dolla while surreptitiously tracking down the girl who stole his heart before she turned on him and fled the city. Meanwhile, Derrick, who runs the Branch Avenue Boys Institute, is desperately trying to save his relationship, while shoving aside his romantic feelings for a colleague; trouble escalates when one of his students is caught hiding money and drugs for Dolla’s gang. Even Jamal, deputy mayor for the corrupt Mayor Johnson, finds himself tangled up with the deadly crime boss who has Johnson on his payroll. Each man faces a difficult choice: give Dolla what he wants or fight back and risk losing everything. High drama and well-crafted dialogue keep the pages turning in this unique series, which melds urban fiction with romantic suspense. Booklist Review

The Left-Handed Twin by Thomas Perry

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

The Left-Handed Twin

At the start of Edgar winner Perry’s engrossing eighth Jane Whitefield novel (after 2015’s A String of Beads), Jane, a Native American guide who specializes in helping people in trouble disappear, finds a stranger, Sara Doughton, waiting for her one night in the Amherst, N.Y., house Jane shares with her new husband, surgeon Carey McKinnon. When Sara explains she’s fled L.A. to escape a murderous former boyfriend bent on revenge, Jane agrees to help. Meanwhile, the ex-boyfriend enlists the aid of some Russian criminals, who soon take an interest in Jane. After relocating Sara in Boston with a new identity, Jane attempts to lose her pursuers in Maine on the Appalachian Trail. Utilizing wisdom from her Seneca ancestors and some bad-ass survival skills, Jane matches wits with a gang of elite killers. Though a few sequences strain credibility, Perry delivers nonstop action, relentless tension, and such three-dimensional secondary characters as the female thief Magda. Jane’s developing relationship with Carey is a plus. Fans will hope they won’t have to wait another six years for Jane’s next outing. Publishers Weekly Review

Readers’ Note: If you’d like to start reading this great series from the beginning, checkout book one Vanishing Act.

Miss You: A Novel by Kate Eberlen

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

Miss You

Tess and Gus meet briefly in Italy as teenagers in 1997, Tess is having her summer vacation before eagerly heading to university, while Gus is there with his parents, trying to escape the gloom that has settled after his older brother’s tragic death. As the story moves into the present, Tess and Gus seem to keep showing up in the right place at the wrong time, narrowly missing chances to meet again. But this is much more than a series of missed meet-cutes; instead, the novel explores how their lives unfold into adulthood. Tess never gets the chance to further her education; instead, she becomes caretaker for her younger sister after their mother passes away. Gus manages to escape his stifling home life but never seems to land on what he wants to do or why he wants to do it. Readers follow both characters in alternating chapters, but the appeal here for fans of women’s fiction is Tess’ story. Eberlen, who has written historical fiction and chick lit under the name Imogen Parker, excels in creating realistic characters whom readers will adore including Tess’ unusual sister, Hope; Tess’ sassy best friend, Dolly; and Gus’ impulsive college pal, Nash. Eberlen also shines at keeping the story moving through 16 years of friendship, purpose, and love. Swoon-worthy. Starred Booklist Review

Second Acts by Teri Emory

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

Second Acts

“Intelligent, witty, and filled with true feeling, Second Acts is a meditation on resilience, second chances, and the unfaltering strength of women’s friendships.” – Foreword Reviews
From midtown Manhattan to a Florida suburb, from coastal Savannah to the hills of Rome, the interwoven tales of three women unfold in the voices of Sarah, Miriam, and Beth. Their unshakable friendship takes root in a Buffalo college dorm in the late 1960s. Fueled by the optimism and bravado of that era, they charge into adulthood with high expectations and lofty ideas. They were, as Beth would later observe, “the first generation of women to feel entitled to interesting lives.” In the decades that follow, they come to terms with a disconcerting postscript to the Age of Aquarius: Life—inevitably, unsparingly, repeatedly—demands compromise. And, in the year leading up to 9/11, all three women face obstacles on the paths they have long followed and are forced to face hard truths about themselves. With emotional courage and wry humor, and sustained by their abiding friendship, they move to dispel past regrets and make peace with present circumstances as they move towards the second acts of their lives.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

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

Small Things Like These

Irish story writer Keegan’s gorgeously textured second novella (after Foster) centers on a family man who wants to do the right thing. It’s almost Christmas in a small town south of Dublin, Ireland, in 1985. Bighearted coal dealer Bill Furlong makes deliveries at all hours, buys dinner for his men, plays Santa Claus for the local children, and cares for his five daughters along with his wife, Eileen.

Meanwhile, rumors circulate about the “training school” at a nearby convent, suggesting it’s a front for free labor by young unwed mothers to support a laundry service, but no one wants to rock the boat. When Bill is there on a delivery, a teenage girl begs him to take her with him, and he politely makes excuses. He also notices broken glass topping the walls.

Eileen tells him to “stay on the right side of people,” but he feels he should do something—not just because he imagines his own daughters imprisoned there, but because he was born to a 16-year-old unwed mother who could have suffered a similar fate. Keegan beautifully conveys Bill’s interior life as he returns to the house where he was raised (“Wasn’t it sweet to be where you were and let it remind you of the past… despite the upset”). It all leads to a bittersweet culmination, a sort of anti–Christmas Carol, but to Bill it’s simply sweet. Readers will be touched. Library Journal Review

Time and Time Again: A Novel by Ben Elton

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Time And Again Elton

What if you had the opportunity to change one thing in history? Would you do it? What would you change? These are the central questions at the heart of Elton’s hybrid historical fiction time travel adventure. Due to a mathematical calculation done by Sir Isaac Newton and passed down in secret for close to 300 years not to be opened until Christmas Eve 2024; it’s possible to travel back to the early summer of 1914. Hugh Stanton, ex-military and overall adventurer, is recruited by the Chronations, a group of Trinity scholars who have confirmed Newton’s figures, to be the hero who will stop WWI from ever happening, thus saving millions of lives and, more important, stopping the twentieth century from entering into a spiral of bloodshed. The setup is compelling, the historical aspects are well researched, and the time-travel story line, though not well explained, wraps around itself in a tantalizing manner sure to please even the most hardcore time-travel purists. However, it is the complex, nuanced, and likable Stanton who will grab readers as they blindly follow and actively root for him with each turn of the page. He will do anything to set history right, even when he is what makes it wrong. Thought provoking and captivating, this is a novel for fans who love Stephen King’s 11/22/63 (2011), Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life (2013), and any of the award-winning time-travel hybrids by Connie Willis. A must-read with an awesomely unsettling ending that has very real implications for a modern audience.

And as a bonus title, at it has the exact same title – the classic novel:

Time And Again by Jack Finney

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, Hoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)Time And Again Finney

When advertising artist Si Morley is recruited to join a covert government operation exploring the possibility of time travel, he jumps at the chance to leave his mundane 20th-century existence and step into the past. But he also has another motivation for going back in time: a half-burned letter that tells of a mysterious, tragic death and ominously of “fire which will destroy the whole world.”

Traveling to New York City in January 1882 to investigate, he finds a Manhattan teeming with a different kind of life, the waterfront unimpeded by skyscrapers, open-air markets packed with activity, Central Park bustling with horse drawn sleighs—a city on the precipice of great things. At first, Si welcomes these trips as a temporary escape but when he falls in love with a woman he meets in the past, he must choose whether to return to modern life or live in 1882 for good.

“Pure New York fun” (Alice Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author), Time and Again is meticulous recreation of New York in the late nineteenth century, exploring the possibilities of time travel to tell an ageless story of love, longing, and adventure. Finney’s magnum opus has been a source of inspiration for countless science fiction writers since its first publication in 1970.

Have a great week!


*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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