Suggested Reading March 1, 2022

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, March 8, 2022.

Dark Athena: A Novel by Arthur Houghton

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Dark Athena

Curator Jason Connor has a passion for antiquities, so the proposed acquisition of a mysterious ancient statue of Athena raises disturbing questions. What is its origin? Was it really in the family of an English lord, or is there a more sinister history behind it?

Jason Connor is no stranger to the craft of intelligence. The leads he develops take him to Sicily, then into an Italian prison and the private quarters of a London dealer. Soon he uncovers a deep conspiracy that extends closer to home than he could have imagined and leads to a deadly pursuit by killers sent to silence him. Dark Athena is an archaeological thriller, with surprises at every turn and an unexpected twist at the end.

The Effort by Claire Holroyde

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Effort

When observers at Spacewatch initially spot a large comet, there is little reaction, until full data about its speed, size, and Earth-aimed trajectory raise the alarm and an emergency response team is assembled under the leadership of dark-comet expert Dr. Ben Schwartz. Working to find a possible way to avoid a catastrophic collision, a variety of experts are invited to join the Effort, a multinational think tank, in a highly fortified compound in French Guiana. As word of the comet and potential global annihilation leaks out, the world descends into hysteria and chaos. Even if scientists are smart, and lucky, enough to reduce the threat of this comet strike, will humankind survive our own aggressions against each other? First-time novelist Holroyde fills this intensely high-stakes drama with intriguing and diverse characters whose struggles illustrate the terror and regrets of a disintegrating society. With fascinating scientific concepts and nuanced situations on both global and individual levels, Holroyde’s tale, arriving during a pandemic, will attract fans of end-of-world disaster novels, going back to Lucifer’s Hammer and on to Station Eleven (2014). Booklist Review

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm and Anna Paterson

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Gradula Disappearance of Jane Ashland

orwegian novelist Houm’s austerely wrenching and darkly comic novel, his first to be published in English, is assembled out of jagged pieces that gradually cohere to reveal a heartbreaking picture. The reader first meets Jane Ashland as she lies on her back in an icy Norwegian mist, contemplating the prospect of freezing to death. The story then leaps to her flight to Norway from her home in Wisconsin, during which she meets an attractive, self-assured, and occasionally irritating zoologist named Ulf, who studies musk oxen. Bit by bit, the reader is introduced to Jane’s uncommunicative parents, her enthusiastic psychiatrist, and the events that have led her to flee Wisconsin, where she has a disastrous encounter with some distant relatives and takes off into the wilderness with Ulf. The excitement of the first pages of the novel wears off as the shape of a predictable narrative emerges from the initial flurry of hints and clues. Even so, Houm maintains the momentum of the spare novel, in which new mysteries constantly emerge as old ones are resolved. Not so much a conventional thriller as a psychological study of the reverberations of trauma, its impact deepens even as its suspense lessens, resulting in a winning novel. Publishers Weekly Review

A Guide For The Perplexed: A Novel by Dara Horn

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

A Guide For The Perplexed

“[An] intense, multilayered story.” —Jami Attenberg, New York Times Book Review
Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented an application that records everything its users do.

When she visits the Library of Alexandria as a tech consultant, she is abducted in Egypt’s postrevolutionary chaos with only a copy of the philosopher Maimonides’ famous work to anchor her—leaving her jealous sister Judith free to take over her life. A century earlier, Cambridge professor Solomon Schechter arrives in Egypt, hunting for a medieval archive hidden in a Cairo synagogue. Their stories intertwine in this spellbinding novel of how technology changes memory and how memory shapes the soul.

The Haunting Rachel by Kay Hooper

(Available Formats: Print Book & Large Print)

Haunting Rachel

Danger wears many faces….

Ten years ago Rachel Grant’s fiancé, Thomas, disappeared. His body was never found. Now there’s a stranger in town, a man who could be Thomas’s twin–or his ghost.

His name is Adam Delafield. He’s been watching Rachel for days. He has the locket she gave Thomas before he vanished. And he says he owed her father three million dollars.

But there’s no record of the loan—or a shred of proof that Adam is who he claims to be. And he’s always nearby as accidents begin to threaten Rachel’s life.

Is he an innocent man who only wants to repay a debt? Or a figure from the past with a score to settle? Rachel must expose lies and unravel stories, find out who wants her dead and why…before the next attempt to kill her succeeds.

Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman

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

Seventh Heaven

A New York Times bestseller about a 1950s suburb transformed by the arrival of a divorced mother: “part American Graffiti, part early Updike” (The New York Times).

On Hemlock Street, the houses are identical, the lawns tidy, and the families traditional. A perfect slice of suburbia, this Long Island community shows no signs of change as the 1950s draw to a close—until the fateful August morning when Nora Silk arrives.

Recently divorced, Nora mows the lawn in slingback pumps and climbs her roof in the middle of the night to clean the gutters. She works three jobs, and when her casseroles don’t turn out, she feeds her two boys—eight-year-old Billy and his baby brother, James—Frosted Flakes for supper. She wears black stretch pants instead of Bermuda shorts, owns twenty-three shades of nail polish, and sings along to Elvis like a schoolgirl.

Though Nora is eager to fit in on Hemlock Street, her effect on the neighbors is anything but normal. The wives distrust her, the husbands desire her, and the children think she’s a witch. But through Nora’s eyes, the neighborhood appears far from perfect. Behind every neatly trimmed hedge and freshly painted shutter is a family struggling to solve its own unique mysteries. Inspired by Nora, the residents of Hemlock Street finally unlock the secrets that will transform their lives forever.

A tale of extraordinary discoveries, Seventh Heaven is an ode to a single mother’s heroic journey and a celebration of the courage it takes to change.

The Sparsholt Affair is by Alan Hollinghurst

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Sparsholt Affair

It begins in the early years of WWII at Oxford, where a quartet of friends are spending their last days as students before joining the conflict. They are Freddie Green, a budding memoirist; Peter Coyle, a would-be artist; Evert Dax, whose father is a famous author; and beautiful David Sparsholt. The novel, notable for its sophistication, then follows the lives of the four over the course of decades, concluding in the near present. Freddie will become a writer, like his father Evert; Peter will die early in the war, while David will found a wildly successful engineering and manufacturing firm. A very public indiscretion will become known as the Sparsholt Affair and give the novel its title. In the meantime, David and his wife have a son, Johnny, who will grow up to become a successful portraitist and the protagonist of the later parts of the novel. Their brilliantly realized milieu is the world of art and literature and, for Evert and Johnny, who are gay, the evolving world of gay society and culture in Britain. Superlatives are made to describe this extraordinary work of fiction; characterization, style, mood, tone, setting all are equally distinguished. Hollinghurst is especially good at evoking yearning, and, indeed, his novel will inarguably leave his readers yearning for more. Starred Booklist Review

This Is What Happened by Mick Herron

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

This Is What Happened

Maggie Barnes is just a down-on-her luck girl in London until she is recruited by MI5 for a special at-home assignment. A complication ensues during the mission and her contact agent decides he must hide her away until it is safe for them to move. At the same time, Maggie takes it upon herself to find her missing sister. She embarks on a relationship with the one person who she suspects knows more than he is letting on. In this succinctly written stand-alone thriller not all is how it is presented; who will survive and who won’t? The CWA Gold and Dagger author (Slow Horses; Dead Lions) successfully unfolds his mystery from three different perspectives, creating an atmosphere of page-turning suspense. This use of differing views means that there is not much action; instead, Herron weaves a subtle tale that touches upon various aspects of modern life while focusing exclusively on the decisions and reactions of the main characters. VERDICT Fans of twisty espionage fiction and psychological suspense won’t want to put this book down until they find out what exactly happened. Library Journal Review

Three-Legged Horse by Ann Hood

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Three-Legged Horse

Three-Legged Horse is the folk group with which Abby Nash has played violin for ten years. It is also a symbol of the incomplete life she and daughter Hannah have led in their intermittent relationship with Abby’s erstwhile husband, Zach Nash. Unable to face responsibility and afraid of love, Zach split after Hannah’s birth, reappearing periodically both to exhilarate and deject them. The breakup of Three-Legged Horse prompts Abby to self-examination. Using flashbacks and alternating between Abby, Hannah, and, finally, Zach, the narrative relates the struggles of each during the summer Abby finally grows up. The portrayal of Abby’s dependency upon Zach is more convincing than her transition to free woman, but Hood’s third novel (following Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, LJ 5/15/87, and Waiting To Vanish ) is a finely crafted story of bittersweet love. Library Journal Review

The Waiting Sands & The Devil on Lammas Night by Susan Howatch

(Available Formats: The Waiting Sand: Print Book)

(Available Formats: The Devil on Lammas Night: Print Book)

Both books are also available together in one collection titled The Waiting Sands and the Devil on Lammas Night.

Waiting Sands & The Devil on Lammas Night

The Waiting Sands Plot: ‘Dearest Raye,’ Decima had written.’I’m writing to ask if you can possibly come up to Ruthven for a few days. My twenty- first birthday falls next Sunday, and it would be such a relief if you could stay until after the celebration dinner party which Charles is giving for me on Saturday night. Please come, Raye. I may be behaving very stupidly by panicking like this, but I would feel so much less frightened if I knew you were beside me at Ruthven till after midnight on Saturday.’ Dependable Rachel Lord hasn’t heard from her friend Decima for over two years when out of the blue she is invited to Ruthven, the fairy tale Scottish castle that Decima will inherit on her coming of age. Her arrival is met with relief by Decima who is convinced her husband, Charles, means her harm. Is Decima in her right mind? Or is Rachel being duped by her worldlier friend? As the eve of the 21st birthday celebration approaches, a shocking event leaves Rachel in no doubt.

The Devil on Lammas Night Plot: Tristan Poole charms people for his own purposes and has installed his “Nature Food” society at Colwyn Court. When Evan Colwyn returns to his family home, he finds that sudden illness, accident and death have moved in. And Nicola, who Evan loves, has also fallen foul of the fascinating spell.

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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