Suggested Reading May 3, 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, May 10, 2022.

The African Equation by Yasmina Khadra

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

The African Equation

A giant of francophone writing, Algerian author Yasmina Khadra uses current events as a lens to examine narratives of Africa and the West.

‘A skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers’ Times Literary Supplement
Frankfurt MD Kurt Krausmann is devastated by his wife’s suicide. Unable to make sense of what happened, Kurt agrees to join his friend Hans on a humanitarian mission to the Comoros. But, sailing down the Red Sea, their boat is boarded by Somali pirates and the men are taken hostage.
The arduous journey to the pirates’ desert hideout is only the beginning of Kurt’s odyssey. He endures imprisonment and brutality at the hands of captors whose failings are all too human.
As the situation deteriorates, it is fellow prisoner, Bruno, a long-time resident in Africa, who shows Kurt another side to the wounded yet defiant continent he loves.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

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

The Colorado Kid

On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues.

But that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…?

No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world’s great storytellers presents a surprising tale that explores the nature of mystery itself…

Dark Night: A Mystery by Paige Shelton

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

Dark Night

A traumatized woman slowly works through her personal issues while solving crimes in a remote Alaskan town. Famous novelist Elizabeth Fairchild fled to Benedict after a hazardous escape from her kidnapper, which left her with a large scar and white hair. Calling herself Beth Rivers, her birth name, she runs a small newspaper and has made many friends, but only Gril, the police chief, knows her real identity. Beth’s world is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of her mother, Mill, who’s wanted by the police for shooting, though not killing, her daughter’s kidnapper, Travis Walker. Beth gets more directly involved when wife-beater Ned Withers is found stabbed after yet another incident with his wife, Claudia. Ned’s been hiding his sister, Lucy, who’s also wanted by the police. Another wild card is Doug Vitner, supposedly a census man snooping around the area. Beth is both pleased and shocked by her mother’s visit. Mill’s been searching for years for both the husband who deserted her and for Walker, who as it turns out was dealing drugs with her husband and another missing man. But Beth begins to suspect that Mill has ulterior motives. Things get complicated as she and her friends search for a killer and try to track down Beth’s kidnapper. A character-driven mystery in a near-mystical setting, a land of stark contrasts and self-reliant denizens. – Kirkus Review

Readers’ Note: This is the third book in the Alaska Wild Series, if you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning check out book one, Thin Ice.

The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price

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

Hotel Neversink

A 2020 Edgar Award Winner!

“A gripping, atmospheric, heart-breaking, almost-ghost story. Not since Stephen King’s Overlook has a hotel hiding a secret been brought to such vivid life.” —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears.

This mysterious vanishing—and the ones that follow—will brand the lives of three generations. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorsky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion. His daughter Jeanie sees the Hotel Neversink into its most lucrative era, but also its darkest. Decades later, Asher’s grandchildren grapple with the family’s heritage in their own ways: Len fights to keep the failing, dilapidated hotel alive, and Alice sets out to finally uncover the murderer’s identity.

Told by an unforgettable chorus of Sikorsky family members—a matriarch, a hotel maid, a traveling comedian, the hotel detective, and many others—The Hotel Neversink is the gripping portrait of a Jewish family in the Catskills over the course of a century. With an unerring eye and with prose both comic and tragic, Adam O’Fallon-Price details one man’s struggle for greatness, no matter the cost, and a long-held family secret that threatens to undo it all.

How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be by Marissa R. Moss

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Her Country

Nashville journalist Moss argues that women performers are never seen as “country enough” for a genre that has been dominated by the “good ol’ boys” ever since President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which resulted in conglomerates making decisions about who got played on radio airwaves. Still, Moss notes, women have continued to claw their way onto the country music scene and to lead the way for the next generation of singers. Her book explores the careers of many female country singers but zeroes in on three in particular: Maren Morris (“The Bones”; “I Could Use a Love Song”), Mickey Guyton (“Black Like Me”; “Better Than You Left Me”), and Kacey Musgraves (“Follow Your Arrow”; “Rainbow”). Moss illustrates how these artists have carved out spaces for women, including women of color and LGBTQIA+ people, who are even less represented in the country music field. Moss’s clear and accessible writing is a delight, deftly capturing the lyricism of the genre. VERDICT A must for anyone interested in country music and how the genre reflects on the United States as a whole. – Starred Library Journal Review

The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Michael Provence

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Last Ottoman Generation

The modern Middle East emerged out of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when Britain and France partitioned the Ottoman Arab lands into several new colonial states. The following period was a charged and transformative time of unrest. Insurgent leaders, trained in Ottoman military tactics and with everything to lose from the fall of the Empire, challenged the mandatory powers in a number of armed revolts. This is a study of this crucial period in Middle Eastern history, tracing the period through popular political movements and the experience of colonial rule. In doing so, Provence emphasises the continuity between the late Ottoman and Colonial era, explaining how national identities emerged, and how the seeds were sown for many of the conflicts which have defined the Middle East in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This is a valuable read for students of Middle Eastern history and politics.

Lucky Breaks by Yevgenia Belorusets, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky

(Available Formats: eBook)

Lucky Breaks

Belorusets, a documentary photographer and activist, captures the extraordinary lives of ordinary Ukrainian women in her arresting fiction debut, a story collection. The brief entries survey lives upended by the political and military turmoil over the past two decades: “that’s the kind of country we have, okay? The unprotected kind,” recounts the eponymous narrator of the excellent “Lena in Danger,” about a woman who leaves Ukraine for Germany in the 2000s. Some have a magical or fantastical element, such as “The Woman Who Caught Babies into a Mitt,” in which a powerful witch places curses on whole buildings. As the war in the Donetsk region begins in 2014, many of the women disappear—in “The Florist,” a woman spends all her time in her flower shop (“it was only inside her store,” the narrator says of her, “that she knew how to exist”), until she and the shop disappear. In “A Woman at the Cosmetologist’s,” another woman finds comfort visiting her cosmetologist, who gives massages and fulfills the role of a therapist. As suicide rates increase, the characters’ despair becomes palpable in a series of standout stories, namely “The Stars” and “The Crash.” Two of Belorusets’s photo series supplement her writing, but her words speak for themselves. The combination makes for a powerful exercise. – Publishers Weekly Review

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The No Show

Three distinctive women unknowingly fall in love with the same man in this captivating romance from bestseller O’Leary (The Road Trip). Life coach Siobhan Kelly meets charismatic Joseph Carter in London and falls hard after a passionate night together. Miranda Rosso, a free-spirited professional tree surgeon, also feels committed to Joseph despite suspecting that he’s keeping secrets. And shy, bookish Jane Miller is determined to keep her flirtatious relationship with Joseph platonic, though deep down, she wishes they were something more. When Joseph doesn’t show up to his Valentine’s dates with any of the three women, his erratic behavior casts doubt on his relationships, and his partners wonder if there’s more to Joseph than he’s letting on. O’Leary pulls off an impressive balancing act, unraveling each woman’s backstory while meticulously drawing connections between them and celebrating them for their differences. The attention to detail adds depth to each character—even Joseph will win readers over—and the twisty plot keeps readers both guessing what will happen next and rooting for happy endings across the board. This is a knockout. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

The Misunderstood Reign of George III by Andrew Roberts

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Last King of America

Vilified in the United States for that long list of grievances constituting the bulk of the Declaration of Independence, King George III had to endure intrigue and controversy within his home realm. Biographer Roberts rescues this ill-fated monarch from a lot of myth. Thanks to Queen Elizabeth II’s recent opening of royal archives, new facts have appeared that make George III appear much more enlightened. As a young prince, George had a good education not only in history and politics, but also in the arts, particularly in music and theater. He came to the throne in an era of intense strife within British society. Foreign wars proved costly, and the rise of Napoleon after the French Revolution threatened Britain’s security. On a personal level, George was blessed with an apparently very happy marriage to Charlotte and their fifteen children. Roberts details the king’s frequently difficult relations with his prime ministers and the disastrous effects of his bipolar disorder on both the nation and the king’s family. Roberts here renders George III a figure more tragic than malicious. – Booklist Review

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Suburban Dicks

The murder of a gas station attendant in West Windsor, N.J., propels this outstanding debut novel from Nicieza, the co-creator of the comic book superhero Deadpool. Andrea Stern—mother of four with a fifth on the way—stumbles across the victim while looking for a bathroom for her kids. The perpetually exhausted Andrea, who gave up her dreams of becoming an FBI profiler when she first became pregnant, decides to investigate and, after finding glaring inconsistencies in the sloppy police work, vows to track down the killer. Meanwhile, disgraced investigative reporter Kenneth Lee is attempting to resurrect his career with a story that uncovers the criminal behind the first murder in the West Windsor–Plainsboro area in more than 30 years. Together Andrea and Kenneth uncover a grand-scale conspiracy driven by racism and institutional bigotry that has lasted generations and continues to plague the township. Nicieza delivers a wildly entertaining blend of high-octane snark and brass-knuckle social commentary, but it’s the courageous Andrea and her group of soccer moms, whom she privately dubs the Cellulitists, who steal the show. Mystery fans looking for something different won’t want to miss this quirky crime novel. – Starred Publishers Weekly 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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