Suggested Reading September 6, 2022

Hi everyone, here are our recommended reads for the week!

*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 published on Tuesdays.

And the next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, September 13, 2022.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

(Available Formats: Print Book & CD audiobook)

Fairy Tale

King’s latest novel follows Charlie, a teen boy who befriends local recluse Mr. Bowditch and his elderly dog, Radar. Soon after, Mr. Bowditch passes away, leaving everything to Charlie, including a cassette tape that reveals the existence of a portal to another world in an old garden shed. Hoping to use the magic of this other world to restore Radar’s youth, Charlie enters Empis and becomes drawn into a desperate struggle to prevent this already sick and dying world from being finally destroyed. King’s fantasy otherworld, which some characters posit is the source of many fairy-tale or fantastic stories, is by its nature a bit of a hodgepodge of various existing references, with some occasional striking images of its own (millions of monarch butterflies, a telepathic cricket). While this novel certainly doesn’t break new ground for King or for the fantasy genre, it should please King’s existing fans, especially those who enjoyed the more complex otherworlds of the Dark Tower series or King’s earlier fantasy work, The Eyes of the Dragon (1987). HIGH DEMAND BACKSTORY: A new novel from King means lots of interest and lots of holds. – Booklist

The Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)

Honeybee Emeralds

“Debut novelist Tector captures European life and her characters beautifully as she interweaves the perspectives of four women seeking fulfillment and success in this satisfying adventure. Keep an eye on this author.” —Booklist

Alice Ahmadi has never been certain of where she belongs. When she discovers a famed emerald necklace while interning at a struggling Parisian magazine, she is plunged into a glittering world of diamonds and emeralds, courtesans and spies, and the long-buried secrets surrounding the necklace and its glamorous former owners.

When Alice realizes the mysterious Honeybee Emeralds could be her chance to save the magazine, she recruits her friends Lily and Daphne to form the “Fellowship of the Necklace.” Together, they set out to uncover the romantic history of the gems. Through diaries, letters, and investigations through the winding streets and iconic historic landmarks of Paris, the trio begins to unravel more than just the secrets of the necklace’s obsolete past. Along the way, Lily and Daphne’s relationships are challenged, tempered, and changed. Lily faces her long-standing attraction to a friend, who has achieved the writing success that eluded her. Daphne confronts her failing relationship with her husband, while also facing simmering problems in her friendship with Lily. And, at last, Alice finds her place in the world―although one mystery still remains: how did the Honeybee Emeralds go from the neck of American singer Josephine Baker during the Roaring Twenties to the basement of a Parisian magazine?

The House on Blueberry Lane: A Novel by Brenda Jackson

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

House on Blueberry Lane

“If there’s one thing Jackson knows how to do, it’s how to pluck those heartstrings.”—BookPage

All he needs is a second chance

All she wants is no strings attached

The biggest mistake of Jaye Colfax’s life was letting Velvet Spencer leave. For three years, they were together exclusively and it was great—at least for Jaye. But Velvet wanted more. Jaye wouldn’t commit to anything because he just didn’t believe in love or marriage. Tired of waiting, Velvet left him without so much as a goodbye. Only then did Jaye realize he’d been too proud to admit he loved her. But it was too late—his stubbornness had cost him the love of his life.

It took Jaye two years to find where Velvet had gone. Now, he’s come to Catalina Cove to prove his love and win back her heart. He’ll do whatever it takes, even buy the local bank and move in next door. But will Velvet have him?

In Pursuit of Jefferson by Derek Baxter

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

In Pursuit of Jefferson

Traveling through Europe with the Most Perplexing Founding Father

A debut that combines historical nonfiction with travel books, for fans of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, In Pursuit of Jefferson is the story of an American on a journey through Europe, following the epic trail of Thomas Jefferson.

A controversial founding father. A man ready for a change. And a completely unique trip through Europe.

In 1784, Thomas Jefferson was a broken man. Reeling from the loss of his wife and stung from a political scandal during the Revolutionary war, he needed to remake himself. To do that, he traveled. Wandering through Europe, Jefferson saw and learned as much as he could, ultimately bringing his knowledge home to a young America. There, he would rise to power and shape a nation.
More than two hundred years later, Derek Baxter, a devotee of American history, stumbles on an obscure travel guide written by Jefferson-Hints for Americans Traveling Through Europe-as he’s going through his own personal crisis. Who better to offer advice than a founding father himself? Using Hints as his roadmap, Baxter follows Jefferson through six countries and countless lessons. But what Baxter learns isn’t always what Jefferson had in mind, and as he comes to understand Jefferson better, he doesn’t always like what he finds.

In Pursuit of Jefferson is at once the story of a life-changing trip through Europe, an unflinching look at a founding father, and a moving personal journey. With rich historical detail, a sense of humor, and boundless heart, Baxter explores how we can be better moving forward only by first looking back.

In The Moon Of Red Ponies by James Lee Burke

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

In The Moon of Red Ponies

In this top-notch fourth novel in Burke’s series featuring ex–Texas Ranger attorney Billy Bob Holland, Billy Bob has moved his family and practice to the pastoral city of Missoula, Mont., the setting of his last adventure, only to discover that the psychopathic ex-biker/rodeo clown, Wyatt Dixon (who buried Billy Bob’s private investigator wife, Temple, alive), is out of prison on a technicality and claiming to be a born-again Christian. Billy Bob befriends alcoholic Desert Storm hero Johnny American Horse, a sometime breeder of horses and eco-activist who—when not in the drunk tank—is carrying on a passionate affair with Amber Finley, the daughter of Romulus Finley, a vindictive and bigoted powerful U.S. senator. When Johnny is suspected of murdering the hit man who invaded his home as well as masterminding the burglary of Global Research (a high-tech agricultural lab), making off with its computer files, the action picks up quickly. Noted for quirky characters and intricate plots, Burke introduces demon-driven sheriff’s deputy Darrel McComb—an ex–war hero and former mercenary pilot who flew cocaine for the contras—who has an erotic fixation on Amber. Factor in private security agency chief Greta Lundstrum, FBI agent Seth Masterson and Karsten Mabus, CEO of the company that owns Global Research, and the mayhem builds to a gripping, spine-tingling finale. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Mad About You: A Novel by Mhairi McFarlane

(Available Formats:

Mad About You

Wedding photographer Harriet Hatley, 34, is contemplating breaking up with her boyfriend when he proposes–on holiday, in front of his family. She needs to move out quickly, so she takes a room in a house with handsome, charming Cal. But there’s no danger of her falling for him–Cal left his bride at the altar at a wedding she covered, so clearly he’s not a great guy. At another wedding, she runs into Scott, her abusive ex-boyfriend, who is now engaged. In an effort to warn his fiancé about Scott’s true nature, Harriet writes her a letter. Scott turns around and writes a detailed Facebook post, accusing Harriet of all the abuse he perpetrated. But this brings another of Scott’s ex-girlfriends out of the woodwork, and the women plot public revenge. Despite its heavy themes of coping with past abuse and loss, McFarlane’s latest, following Just Last Night (2021), is a mostly lighthearted romp through friendship, love, and starting over. Readers of Marian Keyes will be drawn to this British charmer.- Booklist Review

The Mamas: What I Learned about Kids, Class, and Race from Moms Not Like Me by Helena Andrews-Dyer

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Mamas

Washington Post reporter Andrews-Dyer (Bitch Is the New Black) shares what she picked up in mommy groups in this candid take on race, class, and motherhood. Upon becoming a mother, Andrews-Dyer felt ambivalent about joining her neighborhood’s predominantly white support group, the Mamas. But feeling she needed a sense of community, she signed on, and soon she was confronted by tone-deaf comments (“you can’t compare them,” one white mom quipped to Andrews-Dyer about their children). An offshoot group called “The Super Cool Moms” was born, in which Andrews-Dyer was still the only Black woman, and out of that came an “all-Black pod” with some friends. Her experiences in the three groups led Andrews-Dyer to reevaluate the idea of belonging (“being Black and a mother didn’t necessarily mean we wanted the same exact things for our kids”) and to come to some striking conclusions, as when she writes “what I really wanted, deep down in the sunken place, was to parent like . All the love but minus the crippling legacy of institutionalized socioeconomic oppression and the baked-in fear that your child might get murdered.” She also mixes in some sharp reporting on topics including the importance of talking to kids about race. This frank portrait of motherhood hits all the marks. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Muck by Deror Burshṭain

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Muck

In a Jerusalem both ancient and modern, where the First Temple squats over the populace like a Trump casino, where the streets are literally crawling with prophets and heathen helicopters buzz over Old Testament sovereigns, two young poets are about to have their lives turned upside down. Struggling Jeremiah is worried that he might be wasting his time trying to be a writer; the great critic Broch just beat him over the head with his own computer keyboard. Mattaniah, on the other hand, is a real up-and-comer–but he has a secret he wouldn’t want anyone in the literary world to know: his late father was king of Judah. Jeremiah begins to despair, and in that despair has a vision: that Jerusalem is doomed, and that Mattaniah will not only be forced to ascend to the throne but will thereafter witness his people slaughtered and exiled. But what does it mean to tell a friend and rival that his future is bleak? What sort of grudges and biases turn true vision into false prophecy? Can the very act of speaking a prediction aloud make it come true? And, if so, does that make you a seer, or just a schmuck? – Publishers overview

The Trojan War Museum and Other Stories by Ayse Papatya Bucak

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Trojan War Museum

The 10 stories in Bucak’s beguiling debut play with traditional narrative forms and explore the author’s Turkish roots. In “The History of Girls,” told in the plural “we,” a group of girls trapped in the rubble of a school explosion from a blown gas line are visited by the ghosts of their dead classmates. “An Ottoman Arabesque” tells the story of 19th-century Ottoman ambassador Khalil Bey via observations on his assortment of erotic artwork, while the collection’s title story spans centuries as Apollo wanders the Earth, visiting different Trojan War museums and ruminating on the traumas of battle. In “Mysteries of the Mountain South,” the story of a recent college grad caring for her dying grandmother is enhanced with the epistolary elements of blog posts. “A Cautionary Tale” breaks the fourth wall, telling the story of a Turkish wrestler and then using the story to interrogate an unnamed character on the story’s validity. “The Dead,” about a sponge magnate’s encounter with a survivor of the Armenian genocide, includes birth and death dates for each major character. The author astutely deploys a range of styles and techniques that create a cerebral, multifarious collection. Bucak’s remarkable, inventive, and humane debut marks her as a writer to watch. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

The Verifiers by Jane Pek

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & downloadable audiobook)

The Verifiers

A cool, cerebral, and very funny novel about a young woman who works for an agency that investigates potential online dating partners and who has relationship questions–and quests–of her own. Claudia Lin has a pretty excellent job. She works at Veracity, a detective agency that helps vet potential partners for clients pursuing romance via dating apps. Claudia is very much into literary mysteries–her go-to comfort reading is a murder-mystery series featuring one Inspector Yuan–as well as literature in general. Her astute, often acerbic observations prove a heady combination, contributing to Claudia’s engaging voice: She keeps the narrative moving at a fast-paced clip. When a new client wants Veracity to investigate a recent online flirt who’s ghosted said client–and when this request is followed in quick succession by another verification request–Claudia is all in, ably abetted by Finders Keepers, a proprietary app that can track people’s whereabout through their cellphones. Meanwhile, in her personal life, Claudia has a stake in keeping her own secrets hidden from her more conventional immigrant family: Not only is she dead set against the type of Chinese husband her mom wishes for her, she also regularly measures herself against her much higher achieving brother and sister. Beautifully complemented by entertaining secondary characters that include Claudia’s artistic roommate, Max, and Lionel, Claudia’s sister’s boyfriend, Claudia is the seductive protagonist in a tale that delves into the dark heart of contemporary technology, not to mention the foibles of the human heart. With an inquisitive, clever, and curious narrator, this adventurous mystery is both scary and hilarious. – Kikus Review

Have a great day!

Linda Reimer

*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.

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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