Suggested Reading March 22, 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 29, 2022.

The Cartographers: A Novel by Peng Shepherd

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print & eBook)

The Cartographers

Following her eerie and suspenseful debut, The Book of M, Shepherd returns with another literary mind twister. Nell Young’s great, fiery passion is cartography, so she is devastated when her father, a legendary cartographer, fires her and seeks to undermine her reputation–all because of an argument over a much-folded, much-faded gas station highway map. When he’s found dead in his office–at the New York Public Library, no less–she discovers the map in a desk drawer and sets out to uncover the secrets surrounding this particular artifact and her own family. Library Journal Review

East of the Mountains by David Guterson

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

East of the Mountains
It is mid-October, 1997, harvest time in the Columbia Basin of central Washington state, a rich apple- and pear-growing region. Ben Givens, recently widowed, is a retired heart surgeon, once admired for his steadiness of hand, his precision, his endurance. He has terminal colon cancer. While Ben does not readily accept defeat, he is determined to avoid suffering rather than engage it. And so, accompanied by his two hunting dogs, he sets out through the mythic American West-sage deserts, yawning canyons, dusty ranches, vast orchards-on his last hunt. The main issues for Ben as a doctor had been tactical and so it would be with his death. But he hadn’t considered the persuasiveness of memory-the promise he made to his wife Rachel, the love of his life, during World War II. Or life’s mystery. On his journey he meets a young couple who are “forever,” a drifter offering left-handed advice that might lessen the pain, a veterinarian with a touch only a heart surgeon would recognize, a rancher bent on destruction, a migrant worker who tests Ben’s ability to understand. And just when he thinks there is no turning back, nothing to lose that wasn’t lost, his power of intervention is called upon and his very identity tested. Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, East of the Mountains is a bold and beautiful novel of personal discovery.

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

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

Evening Chorus

Captured as a prisoner of war after he is shot down during his very first mission, James Hunter copes with Nazi captivity by studying a family of birds nesting just beyond the camp’s confines. His devotion to their daily habits draws the attention of the kommandant, who bewilders James with uncharacteristic acts of kindness. Yet as James immerses himself in the welfare of the fledgling birds, his newlywed wife, Rose, struggles with their separation, which may be too much for their young marriage to successfully weather. In the midst of her loneliness and confusion arrives Enid, James’ sister, fleeing war-damaged London and carrying burdens beyond the loss of her home and job. Like birdsthrown off course by severe storms, James, Rose, and Enid all emerge from the war in places far different from where they started. Inspired by the resiliency of the natural world, Humphreys (Coventry, 2009) creates a narrative arc that is compact and sinewy, yet from her spare prose and refined imagery springs an arresting novel of regret, contrition, and redemption that glimmers with transcendent moments of hope and valor. An ingeniously elegant and instinctively restrained tale about the durability of the human spirit. Starred Booklist Review

Familiar Things by Hwang Sok-Yong

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Familiar Things

Seoul. On the outskirts of South Korea’s glittering metropolis is a place few people know about: a vast landfill site called Flower Island. Home to those driven from the city by poverty, is it here that 14-year-old Bugeye and his mother arrive, following his father’s internment in a government ‘re-education camp’.

Living in a shack and supporting himself by weeding recyclables out of the refuse, at first Bugeye’s life on Flower Island is hard. But then one night he notices mysterious lights around the landfill. And when the ancient spirits that still inhabit the island’s landscape reveal themselves to him, Bugeye’s luck begins to change – but can it last?

Vibrant and enchanting, Familiar Things depicts a society on the edge of dizzying economic and social change, and is a haunting reminder to us all to be careful of what we throw away.

Free the Press: The Death of American Journalism and How to Revive It by Brain J. Karem

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Free The Press

Karem, the senior White House correspondent for Playboy, blends memoir, history, and call to action in this impassioned look at how government manipulation and economic pressures have led to the decline of U.S. journalism over the past few decades. He notes that most of the newspapers and television stations where he worked over the past 37 years have been closed or dramatically altered, and details steps government officials have taken since the Vietnam War to make it more difficult for reporters to obtain public information. He also criticizes the 1987 elimination of the fairness doctrine that required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial matters of public interest in a manner that was “honest, equitable, and balanced,” the 1996 Telecommunications Act that set off a wave of corporate mergers and takeovers, and the Obama administration’s aggressive use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to journalists. Karem also notes that politicians including Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump have scored points with their supporters by attacking the “media elite,” and calls on lawmakers to enforce antitrust laws to “break up media monopolies.” Enlivened by Karem’s vivid memories of the “good old days,” this is a trenchant study of what ails the American press.

The Lammas Wild by Alys Clare

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout)

The Lammas Wild

In the latest installment of Clare’s Aelf Fen series, set in England in the twelfth century, gifted healer and visionary Lassair returns after six years spent further developing her powers in northern Spain. But as her ship enters the English port, she has a frightening vision of looming danger for her home country. She’s heard troubling rumors about the King and fears a crisis will soon come to a head. She’s also uneasy because her arch-enemy, Errita, has followed her back to England; Errita hates Lassair, who was favored by Errita’s mother and gifted with further powers, which Errita feels are rightfully hers. Despite her worries, Lassair is happy to see her old mentor, Gurdyman, and hopes to renew her romance with lawman Jack Chevestrier. Before either of those things happens, however, three brutal murders take place, and Errita seems increasingly determined to add Lassair to the list of victims. Like her previous books, this installment is driven by Clare’s vivid descriptions of life in medieval England and by a heroine who is as charismatic as she is clever. Booklist Review

Readers’ Note: If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, check out book 1 Out of the Dawn Light.

The Molten City by Chris Nickson

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Molten City

Set in 1908, Nickson’s superior eighth mystery featuring Supt. Tom Harper (after 2019’s The Leaden Heart) finds Harper preparing to provide protection for Prime Minister Herbert Asquith on his forthcoming visit to Leeds—and dealing with a cold case. Harper receives an anonymous letter from a dying woman who states that an affluent family paid a man, now dead, to steal a two-year-old boy in 1893. Though Harper, then a detective inspector, was in charge of the area where the boy vanished, shockingly, he’d never heard of the matter before. Harper gets a possible explanation for the case’s mishandling when he learns that the police constable who took the initial report was Adam Taylor. He himself had sacked Taylor for corruption in 1898. The discovery of Taylor’s stabbed body raises the stakes, as does the threat of protests by working-class men and suffragists during Asquith’s visit. Even minor characters are fully fleshed out in this trip down the mean streets of early 20th-century Leeds. Nickson’s consistent high quality across multiple series continues to impress. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Readers’ note: If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, checkout book 1, Gods of Gold.

The New Girls by Beth Gutcheon

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The New Girls

The New Girls is a resonant, engrossing novel about five girls during their formative prep-school years in the tumultuous mid-sixties. Into their reality of first-class trips to Europe, resort vacations, and deb parties enter the Vietnam War, the women’s movement, and the sexual revolution. As the old traditions collide with the new society, the girls lose their innocence, develop a social conscience, and discover their sexuality — blossoming into women shaped by their turbulent times.

Redwood And Wildfire by Andrea Hairston

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Redwood & Wildfire

Hairston (Master of Poisons) conjures a powerful coming-of-age saga highlighting hoodoo magic and the power of storytelling and set in an alternate 1890s American South. Black teen Redwood Phipps’s magic might be even more potent than her mama’s, and her confidence, fiery spirit, and hoodooing habits may be too much for the folks of Peach Grove, Ga., Black or white. Irish Indigenous Aidan Wildfire Cooper honors his promise to keep an eye on her after her mother is killed by a racist mob. The pair strike up a fast friendship—Redwood can pull the pain out of Wildfire, bringing him back from his frequent alcoholic rages, and Wildfire understands her complex relationship to her heritage, as he must hide his own Seminole roots. They’re kindred spirits and together they can work powerful magic. But backwoods Georgia isn’t safe for them, and they set out in search of a place where they can “be,” taking a winding route to Chicago and performing as storytellers and conjurers to pay their way. Hairston captures an impressive depth of tenderness between her leads and makes a moving argument for the power of stories and songs in the face of bigotry. The novel unfurls slowly, allowing each character the space to come into their own fully. It’s a spectacular feat. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Tripping Arcadia: A Gothic Novel by Kit Mayquist

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Tripping Arcadia

Returning from Italy, medical-school dropout Lena arrives in Boston to find her family in financial crisis. Desperate to help, she takes a job as an assistant to Dr. Prosenko, private physician to the headline-grabbing Verdeau family. Warning signs appear quickly, beginning with Prosenko’s peculiar secrecy about just what’s wrong with their patient, Jonathan Verdeau, heir to the family fortune, and extending to why Lena has been told to attend various family functions. Those events, it turns out, are bacchanalian orgies designed to feed patriarch Martin Verdeau’s ego. Lena and Prosenko’s role is to revive waves of overdosed partygoers. Enraged at being co-opted to assist in Verdeau’s abuses, Lena vows to punish him. When her plan goes awry, however, she becomes involved in a plot far more twisted than her own. In this evocative depiction of a dangerously seductive world, awash in gothic overtones, Mayquist tweaks class tensions as he portrays Lena’s growing desperation for control. Will she be the Verdeau heir’s long-awaited rescuer or an unwitting participant in further degradation? – 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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