Suggested Reading August 12, 2022

Hi everyone, here are our recommended reads for the week; a few days later than usual as it has been a busy week – and just in time for the weekend!

*More information on the three catalogs and available formats is found at the end of the list of recommended reads*

Weekly Suggested Reading postings are usually published on Tuesdays.

And the next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, 19, 2022.

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Hall

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

And Now She's Gone

Newbie L.A. PI Gray Sykes, the 39-year-old heroine of this smart, razor-sharp novel from Thriller Award finalist Hall (They All Fall Down), reluctantly accepts her first independent assignment from her boss, Nick Rader, a friend of hers since she was 15 and on whom she now has a crush: to locate physician Ian O’Donnell’s missing girlfriend, Isabel Lincoln, who may not want to be found. As Gray searches for Isabel, she discovers that self-professed nice guy Ian abused Isabel, and that Isabel even attempted suicide, revelations that resonate with Gray, who was abused as a child growing up in the foster care system. Then Isabel herself starts to text Gray, who eight years earlier went under another name, to tell her to stop investigating, and it becomes clear that Isabel’s own strange history mirrors Gray’s in the way Isabel has shifted identities. A final plot twist puts Gray’s life in peril just as she’s getting closer to Nick. Full of wry, dark humor, this nuanced tale of two extraordinary women is un-put-downable. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Between Us: How Cultures Create Emotions by Batja Mesquita

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Between Us

“Many of the answers about emotions are not to be found in our insides, but importantly, in our social contexts,” contends Mesquita, a psychology professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in her dazzling debut. Arguing that “we primarily have emotions in order to adjust to changes in our relationship with the (social) world,” the author uses social psychology and eye-opening case studies to examine the cultural, political, and economic factors that influence what people feel. Mesquita lays out two ways of thinking about emotions: MINE (“Mental, INside the person, and Essentialist”) and OURS (“OUtside the person, Relational, and Situated”). She suggests that Western cultures tend to take the MINE approach while OURS predominates everywhere else, and she cites a study that found Japanese Olympic athletes emphasized the relational aspect of emotions more than their American counterparts in interviews. Exploring how parents instruct children in emotional norms, Mesquita describes how Minangkabau people in West Sumatra shame kids when they break a norm and how Bara people in Madagascar teach the young to fear displeasing ancestral spirits so that the children comply with authority. The bounty of case studies captivates and makes a strong argument that social conditions have the power to dictate how one expresses and experiences emotions. The result is a bracing and bold appraisal of how feelings develop. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Boundary Waters

Krueger follows up his sure-handed debut novel, Iron Lake (1998), with an equally effective second thriller featuring former Chicago cop, now former local sheriff Cork O’Connor and his adventures in the warm-spirited little town of Aurora, Minn., and the harsh wilderness that surrounds it. The durable O’Connor, who used to watch over the territory as sheriff until he was voted out of office in a personal and professional meltdown, now tends a burger stand but still has a reputation as a go-to guy when trouble arises. It does so in the form of William Raye, an aging country singer who’s looking for his daughter, Shiloh, a famous rock musician who disappeared several months earlier into the Boundary Waters, the thickly forested, lake-dotted area to the north. O’Connor isn’t looking for work, but he takes the case because Shiloh is an Aurora native, and O’Connor hopes someone would do the same for him if any of his three kids were lost. Before he can even head into the woods, FBI agents show up, as well as an old casino gangster from Las Vegas. They, too, all want Shiloh found, but none will say exactly why. O’Connor, accompanied by two agents plus Raye, and a father and son from the local Anishinaabe tribe, packs up and heads out by canoe in what becomes a gritty, bloody adventure of considerable emotional depth. The action is deftly interspersed with glimpses of the terror Shiloh is enduring in the wilderness–at the hands of those who would bury an old crime–and with tense scenes back in Aurora, where O’Connor’s family and other townsfolk worry about the operation’s success. Krueger’s writing, strong and bold yet with the mature mark of restraint, pulls this exciting search-and-rescue mission through with a hard yank.

Dirt Creek: A Novel by Hayley Scrivenor

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Dirt Creek

Australian author Scrivenor’s stunning debut blends a taut psychological thriller with a suspenseful police procedural. During Christmas week 2001, amid a summer so hot that the “edges of the road crumbled,” Det. Sgt. Sarah Michaels and her partner, Det. Constable Wayne Smith, investigate the disappearance of 12-year-old Esther Bianchi in the gritty town of Durton. Esther’s BFF, Veronica Thompson, may have been the last one to see her after she left school but didn’t return home. Or maybe it was their 11-year-old friend, Lewis Kennard, who was bullied at school and telling lies to protect secrets. Progress is stymied with media attention and police support drawn to a high-profile case of missing twins “elsewhere in the state.” The cases may be linked and connected to a drug ring. Betrayals, domestic violence, festering family secrets, and fractured friendships delineate clashes among spouses, parents, children, and extended relatives. Scrivenor does a superb job laying out Sarah and Wayne’s backgrounds and their working relationship as the well-crafted plot builds to a powerful conclusion. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jane Harper won’t want to miss this page-turner. Publishers Weekly

Into the Narrowdark by Tad Williams

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Into The Narrow Dark

The New York Times bestselling world of Osten Ard returns in the third Last King of Osten Ard novel, as threats to the kingdom loom…

The High Throne of Erkynland is tottering, its royal family divided and diminished. Queen Miriamele has been caught up in a brutal rebellion in the south and thought to have died in a fiery attack. Her grandson Morgan, heir to the throne, has been captured by one of Utuk’ku’s soldiers in the ruins of an abandoned city. Miriamele’s husband, King Simon, is overwhelmed by grief and hopelessness, unaware that many of these terrible things have been caused by Pasevalles, a murderous traitor inside Simon’s own court at the Hayholt.

Meanwhile, a deadly army of Norns led by the ageless, vengeful Queen Utuk’ku, has swept into Erkynland and thrown down the fortress of Naglimund, slaughtering the inhabitants and digging up the ancient grave of Ruyan the Navigator. Utuk’ku plans to use the Navigator’s fabled armor to call up the spirit of Hakatri, the evil Storm King’s brother.

Even the Sithi, fairy-kin to the Norns, are helpless to stop Utuk’ku’s triumph as her armies simultaneously march on the Hayholt and force their way into the forbidden, ogre-guarded valley of Tanakirú—the Narrowdark—where a secret waits that might bring Simon’s people and their Sithi allies salvation—or doom.

The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread by Cailin O’Connor

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

The Misinformation Age

“We live in an age of misinformation–an age of spin, marketing, and downright lies.” So write two professors of logic and the philosophy of science in this sober study of the “important mechanisms by which false beliefs spread.”Today, with the broad reach of the internet and social media, both individuals and institutions are vulnerable to fake news and manipulation, with far-reaching consequences. As O’Connor and Weatherall (The Physics of Wall Street, 2013), who teach at the University of California, Irvine, contend, if “you make decisions on the basis of [false] beliefs, then those decisions are unlikely to yield the outcomes you expect and desire.” In this fresh addition to the groaning shelf of recent books about fake news, the authors thoroughly examine nearly every facet of this phenomenon, which may seem new but is not. Fleshing out examples running from the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine through the Pizzagate nonsense in 2016, the authors comb through the historic peaks of fake news and propaganda, demonstrating its potential to not only swing elections, but also inspire killing sprees and even ignite wars. Giving ample space to the ongoing problem of misleading scientific reportage, the book explores big tobacco’s cancer links in the 1950s through today’s purposefully ignorant discussion of climate change. While social media often blames algorithms for the viral spread of false information, the authors write, “organizations like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are responsible for the rampant spread of fake news on their platforms for the past several years–and, ultimately, for the political, economic, and human costs that resulted.” The most significant question? “Can democracy survive in an age of fake news?” For starters, the authors demand more editorial discretion, fact checking, and investment. “The challenge,” they write, “is to find new mechanisms for aggregating values that capture the ideals of democracy, without holding us all hostage to ignorance and manipulation. “Empowering and thoroughly researched, this book offers useful contemporary analysis and possible solutions to one of the greatest threats to democracy. Kirkus Review

Out of This Furnace by Thomas Bell

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Out of The Furance

The novel begins in the mid-1880s with the naive blundering career of Djuro Kracha. It tracks his arrival from the old country as he walked from New York to White Haven, his later migration to the steel mills of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and his eventual downfall through foolish financial speculations and an extramarital affair. The second generation is represented by Kracha’s daughter, Mary, who married Mike Dobrejcak, a steel worker. Their decent lives, made desperate by the inhuman working conditions of the mills, were held together by the warm bonds of their family life, and Mike’s political idealism set an example for the children. Dobie Dobrejcak, the third generation, came of age in the 1920s determined not to be sacrificed to the mills. His involvement in the successful unionization of the steel industry climaxed a half-century struggle to establish economic justice for the workers.

Out of This Furnace is a document of ethnic heritage and of a violent and cruel period in our history, but it is also a superb story. The writing is strong and forthright, and the novel builds constantly to its triumphantly human conclusion.

Spook Street by Mick Herron

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

Spook Street

In Herron’s terrific, and terrifically funny, fourth Slough House novel (after 2016’s Real Tigers), London’s intelligence teams are on full alert after a suicide bomber kills dozens in a mall. But at Slough House, the home of British spies put out to pasture, the immediate need is to investigate the possible murder of one of its own, River Cartwright, apparently shot while seeing to his grandfather David Cartwright, a former powerful member of the Service, now a paranoid old man. Those in charge quickly figure out the people responsible for the bombing but don’t understand the motive. Meanwhile, the Slough House team, led by the despicable Jackson Lamb, tries to figure out who would go after River. The search leads to France and a recently torched commune, an odd ménage of Americans, Russians, and children. The two plot lines slowly converge amid a heady mixture of deadpan humor, deft characterizations, and acute insight (“A loose bullet rips a hole in normality”). The title refers to a suspicious state of mind: “When you lived on Spook Street you wrapped up tight: watched every word, guarded every secret.” – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family’s Past Among Taiwan’s Mountains and Coasts by Jessica Lee

(Available Formats: Print Book coming & audiobook)

Two Trees Make a Forest

In this latest work, Lee (Turning) offers a touching memoir-cum-travelog that connects the physical environment and history of Taiwan to the story of her family. As a child growing up in Canada, Lee was not very familiar with the maternal Chinese/Taiwanese side of her family. Her window into that world was visits to her grandparents’ home where she communicated with them in limited Mandarin. The death of her grandfather sparked an interest to learn about their lives, and to gain a better understanding of her identity. Her grandfather’s letters, discussions with her grandmother and mother, as well as a sojourn to Taiwan helped her put together some of the pieces. This book alternates between various time lines, telling the story of her grandparents’ lives from China to Taiwan to Canada, while also describing the author’s exploration of the flora and fauna of Taiwan’s mountains and coasts. VERDICT A poignant and beautifully written account of family, time, and place. Readers of Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s Go Home!, which discusses home and belonging from the perspective of the Asian diaspora, or Anna Sherman’s The Bells of Old Tokyo, which explores a place alternately in the present and the past, will also enjoy. – Library Journal Review

The Unkept Woman: A Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Unkept Woman

The friendship of Gwen Bainbridge and Iris Sparks, the “intelligent and resourceful” owners of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau, is tested in Montclair’s exemplary fourth mystery set in post-WWII London (after 2021’s A Rogue’s Company). When someone is shot to death in Iris’s flat, where an ex-boyfriend of hers has been living as a renter, Iris’s ability to be fully frank with Scotland Yard is limited by the connection of the victim to her previous life as a British intelligence operative. Iris decides to investigate on her own and asks Gwen to help search for the killer. The case comes at a fraught time for Gwen, who attempted suicide in 1944 after learning her husband was killed in battle; she was subsequently institutionalized in an asylum. Gwen is in the process of petitioning to end the guardianship controlling her life, which could be jeopardized if she once again probes a murder. The solution to the crime is both surprising and fair to the careful reader. Montclair’s capable, funny, and fully developed leads set a gold standard for the amateur sleuth subgenre. Dorothy Sayers’s fans will hope this series has a long run. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Readers’ Note: If you’d like to start reading the Sparks & Bainbridge series from the beginning, check out book 1 The Right Sort of Man.

Have a great weeknd!

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.

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).

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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