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, January 25, 2022.
Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels
(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)
It begins as a lark — a harmless diversion initiated by Washington, D.C., hostess Ruth Bennett as a means of entertaining her visiting niece, Sara. But the séance conducted in Ruth’s elegant Georgetown home calls something back; something unwelcome … and palpably evil. Suddenly Sara is speaking in a voice not her own, transformed into a miserable, whimpering creature so unlike her normal, sensible self. No tricks or talismans will dispel the malevolence that now plagues the inhabitants of this haunted place — until a dark history of treachery, lust, and violence is exposed. But the cost might well be the sanity and the lives of the living.
The Beach by Alex Garland
(Available Formats: Print & eBook)
The irresistible novel that was adapted into a major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Khao San Road, Bangkok — first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia. On Richard’s first night there, in a low-budget guest house, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to “the Beach.”
The Beach, as Richard has come to learn, is the subject of a legend among young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for a thousand years. There, it is rumored, a carefully selected international few have settled in a communal Eden.
Haunted by the figure of Mr. Duck — the name by which the Thai police have identified the dead man — and his own obsession with Vietnam movies, Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful and idyllic as it is reputed to be. Yet over time it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly, undercurrents.
Spellbinding and hallucinogenic, The Beach by Alex Garland — both a national bestseller and his debut — is a highly accomplished and suspenseful novel that fixates on a generation in their twenties, who, burdened with the legacy of the preceding generation and saturated by popular culture, long for an unruined landscape, but find it difficult to experience the world firsthand.
Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom by Carl Bernstein
(Available Formats: eBook, downloadable audiobook & print book coming soon!)
Pulitzer Prize winner Bernstein (All the President’s Men) looks back at his early days as a reporter, before his Watergate reporting made him a household name, in this entertaining memoir. With wry humor, he describes his apprenticeship “in the newspaper trade from ages sixteen to twenty-one.” Though his poor grades and record as a juvenile delinquent made it seem that “the odds were against my ever amounting to much,” Bernstein recounts how in 1960, with the help of his father, he got an interview at the now defunct Washington Star. Thanks to his persistence and charisma, Bernstein secured a job there as a copyboy and moved rapidly up the ranks. He amusingly recounts going from covering local stories to reporting on major political events—such as the fledgling Kennedy administration—all while juggling the mundanities of high school: “Now that I had covered the inauguration of the president of the United States,” he recalls, “Mr. Adelman’s chemistry class interested me even less.” Just as enthralling are his quaint recollections of growing up in D.C., at a time when being raised there felt “akin to living in a small town that also happened to be the capital of the United States.” Admirers of this remarkable journalist will find much to love in this charming account. Starred Publishers Weekly Review
The Comfort Book by Matt Haig
(Available Formats: Print Book, CD audiobook, eBook & downloadable audiobook)
Haig calls them life rafts, thoughts he’s recorded that have helped keep him afloat. The best-selling author of Notes on a Nervous Planet (2019) and The Midnight Library (2020) offers earnest reflections in this thought-provoking, affirming collection that is both personal and universal. Haig shares his struggles with mental health and what he’s learned about the beauty it’s possible to perceive even on the darkest days. He describes how his life-threatening depression seemed to define him, and what it took to recover from a massive breakdown. He shares insights from others who faced epic challenges, such as the 17-year-old survivor of a commercial flight that crash-landed in the Amazon rain forest. Haig bounces from topics like food and social media to philosophy and quantum physics with grace, and finds lessons in the lives of historical figures like Beethoven, Marcus Aurelius, and Nellie Bly. His work is filled to the brim with the power of self-acceptance, connection, and the knowledge that troubles will pass. With Haig’s trademark empathy and celebration of the resilience of the human heart, this is a book we all need and deserve. Booklist Review
Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman
(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)
The title of Fishman’s second book (after The Replacement Life, 2014) is the only demand the birth mother makes when she delivers Maya and Alex Rubin’s adoptive son. Eight years later, Max Rubin communes with deer in their suburban New Jersey backyard, then runs away from home to float face-down in streams. Determined that the answers to Max’s odd behavior lie in Montana, where he was born, Maya begs Alex to drive them the thousands of miles, even as winter approaches. Overall, this is Maya’s story. She and Alex are both immigrants from the former Soviet Union, but Alex, who came to the U.S. as a child with his parents, who set up the food-distribution center where he now works, does not struggle the way Maya who came as a college student and stayed once she fell in love does. At times, the narrative is slow and uncommunicative, it is a reflection of Maya’s journey, and it does pick up in the end. Readers will be left thinking about belonging and family, and how varied the experience is for those born elsewhere. -Booklist Review
The Fitzgerald Reader by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Arthur Mizener
(Available Formats: Print Book)
A selection of his finest work, edited and with an introduction by Arthur Mizener
The Fitzgerald Readers offers a top notch dive in to the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in chronological order. Works include The Great Gatsby, The Rich Boy, Tender Is the Night, Handle With Care and The Last Tycoon.
Joan Is Okay: A Novel by Wang Weike
(Available Formats: eBook)
Wang’s profound latest (after Chemistry) portrays two generations of a grieving Asian American family. Joan, a 36-year-old self-possessed physician, works long hours at her Manhattan hospital’s ICU and lives alone in a sparsely decorated apartment despite the insistence of her well-to-do brother, Fang, that she move to Connecticut to be closer to him and his family. But when their father, who has lived in Shanghai with their mother ever since Joan went to college, dies after a stroke, Joan begins to feel unmoored. Their mother then returns to the U.S. after 18 years, only to be stranded in Connecticut due to the pandemic travel bans. Because of language barriers, her old age, and lack of a driver’s license, she depends on her children to get around and to communicate. Wang offers candid explorations of family dynamics (“berating is love, and here I was at thirty-six, still being loved,” Joan reflects after Fang shames her for not going with him and their mother on a fancy Colorado skiing trip), and Joan’s empathy for her ailing patients, as well as her disapproving brother and sister in law, are consistently refreshing. It adds up to a tender and enduring portrayal of the difficulties of forging one’s own path after spending a life between cultures. -Publishers Weekly Review
In Search of Lucy by Lia Fairchild
(Available Format: Print Book)
Lucy Lang’s life is spiraling out of control. For years she sacrificed her own needs to care for her half sister and alcoholic mother, only to be abandoned by both. Now, at age 30, Lucy finds herself held back by memories and regret as she struggles to find her own purpose in life. But when her sister needs a kidney transplant, Lucy is the only one who can save her life.
With the help of new friends and a man who won’t give up on her, Lucy sets out on a journey to reunite with her sister and find the answers she so desperately needs. Can she get past her emotions and have a chance at happiness? With its colorful and endearing cast of characters, In Search of Lucy takes readers on a rollercoaster of emotions from sadness and heartache to happiness and hope.
The Last Klick by Robert Flynn
(Available Formats: Print Book)
Sherrill O’Connell is a college professor and the author of two novels about the effects of life’s tragic vicissitudes on common men. As his books go misunderstood and unread, tragedy strikes home with the death of his young daughter. Finding no comfort in his wife or his work, he gets a job as a reporter in Vietnam for a right-wing men’s magazine. His sense of failure continues when the magazine finds his stories too intellectual and liberal for its readers. In the midst of a fierce firefight, a desperate act makes him the news rather than the reporter and changes his perception of himself, his work, and his country. Flynn has written a provocative book that addresses a number of complex subjects–death, war, media manipulation, and the concept of celebrity. But it is the struggle to discover and preserve his true character that makes O’Connell someone we truly care about. Highly recommended. – Library Journal Review
The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews,
(Available Formats: eBook, downloadable audiobook and coming soon as a Print Book)
Evelyn Maltravers needs to secure her family’s future in the wake of her disgraced sister’s disastrous season. To stir up matrimonial interest, she intends to commission a beautifully tailored riding outfit. Ahmad Malik sees great possibilities in designing for Evelyn. Orphaned as an infant, apprenticed to a tailor, and at 15 sent to England where he worked as a bully boy in a brothel, he is now a gorgeous, raven-haired tailor and designer with an innovative and elegant sense of style and on the verge of owning his own business. As for Evelyn, soon after the death of Prince Albert she is swept into the world of spiritualism by a sponsor who believes she attracts spirits. Despite feeling an intense mutual attraction, Evelyn and Ahmad are focused on their goals and, of course, in this era, a romance between a woman of the gentry and a mixed-race tradesman is inconceivable. Matthews brings the Victorian era to vivid life with meticulously researched details and an impossible romance made believable and memorable. Recommend Matthews to fans of Vanessa Riley’s Rogues and Remarkable Women series (A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, 2020; An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler, 2021) which also deals with societal issues tied to race.
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.