Suggested Reading January 4, 2023

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 now published on Wednesdays.

And the next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Wednesday, January 11, 2023.

Age of Vice: A Novel by Deepti Kapoor

(Available Formats: eBook, Print Book coming soon!)

Age of Vice

A poor boy joins up with a ruthless rich family in this fast-paced thriller. Kapoor’s sprawling second novel opens with a horrific scene: five day laborers lying dead on a New Delhi street, killed after being struck by a Mercedes early in the morning. When the police arrive, they find Ajay, a young man, at the wheel, an empty bottle of scotch nearby. Ajay, we learn, comes from a “poor, less than poor” family in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh; his family are members of a socially disadvantaged caste. When he was a boy, his father was beaten to death by a group of strongmen; his mother sold him to pay for the money she borrowed for her husband’s medical bills. Ajay worked for the farmer who bought him until the man died, then found work in a backpacker cafe where he met Sunny Wadia, the de facto leader of a band of “young, rich, and glamorous Indians, not afraid to show it, not afraid to slum it, welcome everywhere, welcomed by themselves.” Sunny, a flashy playboy, offers Ajay a job working for him in Delhi; the young man accepts, becoming a valet, butler, bodyguard: “the beating heart of Sunny’s world. Wordless, faceless, content.” Ajay soon learns that the Wadia family, entrenched in a feud, is more sinister and dangerous than he thought and that he’s being made to take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit. Kapoor switches points of view and timelines throughout the book to great effect; it doesn’t take long for the reader to become invested in the Mario Puzo-esque drama of the Wadia family and their associates. Her dialogue shines, and although the novel is a bit too long, it’s certainly gripping. Fans of crime novels will find much to admire in this quite entertaining book. A bit too long-winded but a whole lot of fun. – Kirkus Review

Bandit Queens: A Novel by Parini Shroff

(Available Formats: eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

Bandit Queens

Shroff’s debut is a darkly hilarious take on gossip, caste, truth, village life, and the patriarchy. Geeta’s abusive drunk of a husband disappeared five years ago, leaving her alone and destitute in a small village in India, where rumor has it that she did him in. Her reputation as a woman who “removed her own nose ring” protects her from various unpleasant attentions, and it’s not long before other women in her microloan group seek her assistance removing their nose rings. Inspired by Phoolan Devi, “the Bandit Queen,” who fought for the rights of women in India, Geeta engages the help of a handsome widower (and black-market liquor purveyor) and takes on a gangster from whom she steals a dog. Geeta inadvertently manages to facilitate a couple of husband disposals before her own spouse reappears, hoping to reconcile with her. As one of her beneficiaries tries to blackmail her and her long-estranged, childhood best friend becomes a source of support, Geeta endeavors to take her life back. A perfect match for fans of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer (2018) and clever, subversive storytelling. – Booklist Review

Brotherless Night: A Novel by V. V. Ganeshananthan

(Available Formats: eBook)

Brotherless Night

In 1980s civil war–shattered Sri Lanka, 16-year-old Sashi works as a medic at a field hospital for the Tamil Tigers, who are fighting for a separate homeland. When the Tigers murder one of her teachers and Indian peacekeepers bring further atrocity, Sashi joins a dangerous underground project to document human rights violations in her country. From the author of Love Marriage, which was long-listed for the Women’s Prize. – Library Journal Review

Checkout 19: A Novel by Claire-Louise Bennett

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Checkout 19

Bennett’s (Pond, 2016) kaleidoscopically imaginative, word-enthralled, working-class English narrator reenters the consciousness of her younger selves and tracks how books, reading, and writing shaped each phase of her life, her syntax, vocabulary, and tone evolving as she matures. As a misfit child she learns to take out one book at a time from the library rather than the stack she covets because the other books distract her while she attempts to read. Hyper-observant, she fidgets in school, has a crush on a teacher who encourages her to write, and, with increasing cynicism, becomes cognizant of society’s different expectations for men and women. She works for years on a story that stoked the precariousness of her relationship with a poet, a poignant, metaphysical, and wryly witty tale featuring wealthy Tarquin Superbus in “long-ago” Venice who discovers that his vast library contains books with blank pages. When she works in a grocery store during college, the Russian man who always stands in her checkout line eventually presents her with Nietzche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Incandescent, surreal, mordantly funny, wrenching, and exhilarating, Bennett’s enrapturing paean to literature echoes Jorge Luis Borges, Clarice Lispector, Lynne Tillman, and Lucy Ellmann, pays direct homage to myriad writers, traces the nexus of literature and life, and maps a book-besotted woman’s search for meaning. – Booklist Review

Dangerous Business: A Novel by Jane Smiley

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

A Dangerous Business

Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley (Perestroika in Paris) spins a remarkable story of the California gold rush and a pair of sex worker sleuths who track down the culprit behind a series of disappearances. After 21-year-old Eliza Cargill Ripple’s husband is killed in a bar brawl, she goes to work in the efficiently run and well-guarded brothel of beneficent madam Mrs. Parks. It’s Mrs. Parks who says the “risky business” of prostitution is a “dangerous” one, but so is, for these characters, simply being a woman. Eliza’s customers are a mix of the young and old, wandering sailors, adulterous husbands, judges, and lawyers. One day, Eliza establishes what she terms her life’s “ first true friendship” with Jean MacPherson, a colleague who services “reticent” women and often dresses as a man. Most of the characters are transplants from back east who’ve landed in town with new names and new identities, and when several of them—all women—disappear, Eliza and Jean become a formidable duo of amateur sleuths whose deductive skills were gained by reading Edgar Allan Poe (especially “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”). Harnessing’s Poe’s character Dupin’s “train of logic,” the women suss out the most likely culprit and hatch a cleverly devised trap. The vivid historical details and vibrant characters bring Smiley’s setting to glorious life. This seductive entertainment is not to be missed. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

The Darkest Game by Joseph Schneider

(Available Formats: eBook, Hoopla instant checkout eBook & Audiobook)

The Darkest Game

Good thing Joseph Schneider is a crackerjack crime novelist. As readers of his quirky first novel, One Day You’ll Burn (2020), know, he writes more asides, mini-essays, and one-liners into his fiction than the chattiest Victorian ever dared. And they’re usually fascinating enough to keep plot-centered mystery readers from abandoning ship. Learn the origin of the word “”buccaneer.”” Ponder the possibility that brain scans can reveal sociopathy. And enjoy the story. LA homicide detective Marcus Jarsdale of Burn is back, this time tackling two murders at a prestigious library, art museum, and garden. His interrogations of staffers have an unusual layer, as arty types with strong sense of self-importance encounter a cop who’s a former classics professor and can correct their misinformation about Emperor Vespasian. There’s gunplay, too, along with misdirection and facts presented as clues that may be just . . . facts. (Watch out for that blue chip and that H.G. Wells novel lying about.) Above all, relish the beautiful writing, as when water is described as “”the dazzling blue of a gas flame.”” And ponder the distinction between “”acronyms”” and “”initialisms. – Booklist Review

Earl and the Pharaoh: From the Real Downton Abbey to the Discovery of Tutankhamun by The Countess of Carnarvon

(Available Formats: eBook & CD Audiobook)

Earl and the Pharaoh

You may not know Lady Fiona Carnarvon, but you know her country home, Highclere Castle, where the sensationally popular Downton Abbey is filmed. Here she draws on Highclere’s archives to chronicle the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, financed by her forebear George Herbert, an antiquities collector and the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Just in time for the centennial. – Library Journal Review

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries: Book One of the Emily Wilde Series by Heather Fawcett
(Available Formats: eBook)

Emily Wilde

DEBUT Known for her middle grade and YA titles, Fawcett (The School Between Winter and Fairyland) makes her adult fiction debut with this story told in the form of a journal. Emily Wilde is a faerie folklore researcher setting off for field work in Hrafnsvik, a small town with few amenities. She is a genius researcher with meticulous practices, the very opposite of her colleague Wendell Bambleby. Wendelle is a leading researcher with many accolades, but who is he really? Emily has many suspicions about him, and their field work will bring them closer than ever, as Wendell shows up unexpectedly in Hrafnsvik. What’s more, faeries are abducting and harassing humans, which forces Emily and Wendell to team up in order to help the locals and so that Emily can finish her research. VERDICT While the pacing starts off slow, Fawcett grabs readers’ attention by drawing them into the folklore as well as the surrounding world. She does a fantastic job building complex characters, and the academic-prose style of Emily’s journal entries works well for the story. A great read for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Erin Morgenstern. – Starred Library Journal Review

Ghost 19 by Simone St. James

(Available Formats: eBook)

Ghost 19

A woman moves to a town where she becomes obsessed with watching the lives of her neighbors while stuck in a house that refuses to let her leave in this first ever short story from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Cold Cases.

Is there something wrong with Ginette Cox? It’s what everyone seems to think. When a doctor suggests that what she might need is less excitement, she packs up and moves from New York City to a house in suburban NY: 19 Howard Ave.

The town offers Ginette little in the way of entertainment in 1959, but at least she has interesting neighbors. Whether it’s the little girl with her doll or the couple and their mother-in-law, Ginette watches them from her window and makes up names and stories for them.

But it’s not all peaceful in suburbia. Ginette finds it hard to sleep in her new house. There are strange and scary noises coming from the basement, and she is trapped, either by a ghost or her own madness.

But when Ginette starts to think a murder has taken place and a mysterious man starts making terrifying appearances outside her window, it’s clear she must deal with whatever isn’t allowing her to escape this house…

Heretic Royal: An Action Packed Novel of High Fantasy by G.A. Aiken

(Available Formats: eBook & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Heretic Royal

In this riveting, feminist tale perfect for fans of Katee Robert and Nalini Singh, two sisters battle for a single throne, warring factions take up arms, a land is divided, and uncertain allies become very certain lovers. With subtle commentary on today’s political polarization, this riveting epic celebrates strong female characters and champions the underdog with diverse, expert world building.
Gods save the queen!

Ainsley Farmerson has always planned to break free of the family business—and the family drama. But what was once farming, smithworking, and bickering over the dinner table has turned into open warfare between sisters. Sides have been taken, lives are on the line, and Ainsley has no doubt which sister must be queen. She’ll do whatever is necessary to take down the soulless Beatrix. Even if that means joining forces with angry battle nuns, irritating monks, and overbearing centaurs.
Gruffyn of the Torn Moon Clan has no time for human beings.

And yet . . . there is something about the uncontrollable princess that he can’t ignore. Maybe it’s the way her eldest sisters underestimate her. Or her bravery facing down dragons and mad queens from distant lands. Whatever the reason, Gruff is willing to fight by this human’s side. Not only for the entertainment value, but because she’s right. Beatrix must never be queen. So whatever he has to do, whoever he has to destroy, Gruff will battle beside Ainsley. Fast. Hard. And with absolutely no mercy .

“The action speeds along and the dialogue pings among sarcastic dragons, earnest fathers and obnoxious siblings.”– Bookpage

Have a great week!

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.

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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