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, February 24, 2023.
Americanah: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Available Formats: Print Book, CD Audiobook, eBook, Downloadable Audiobook & Hoopla instant check out audiobook)
Ifemelu, the Nigerian expat and Princeton lecturer at the heart of this latest novel by Orange Prize winner Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun), writes biting, dead-on blog posts taking aim at the cultural schism between non-African blacks, Africans, and everyone else. She also observes her Auntie Uju turning herself inside out to attract a man as Ifemelu’s nephew silently accepts his mother’s aspirations. Whether Ifemelu is writing a treatise on how to care for black hair or a scathing take on American students earning extra credit for bombast, her opinions bring her money and acknowledgment. But one day, as she is complimented on her nurtured American accent, Ifemelu senses that she has lost her way. A parallel plotline follows Obinze, the man Ifemelu left behind in Lagos, who emigrated to London and longs for a life in America with her.
VERDICT Witty, wry, and observant, Adichie is a marvelous storyteller who writes passionately about the difficulty of assimilation and the love that binds a man, a woman, and their homeland. Her work should be read by anyone clutching at the belief that we’re living in a post-racial United States.
The Book Haters’ Book Club by Gretchen Anthony
(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Instant Check Out Audiobook)
Anthony returns with a sparkling novel that finds joy in spite of regret. Irma Bedford has been the owner of Over the Rainbow, a bookshop in small-town Minnesota, for many years. Her business partner, Elliot, has passed away, and Irma is intent on selling the store to a corporate building group. But Elliot’s romantic partner, Thom, and Irma’s daughters, Laney and Bree, are not going to let the bookstore go easily. Bree has made a career out of her job there, and while Laney is reluctant at first, she warms to Thom and Bree’s ideas. The three band together on a grassroots campaign to save the shop. Along the way, all three have revelations about their own life journeys as family secrets are revealed. Elliot also weighs in from beyond the grave, and snippets of his newsletter for “book haters” help solidify his voice. Anthony includes a slew of real recommendations sourced from her own friends, bookstore employees, and librarians, giving readers a chance to head off on their own paths. – Booklist Review
Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing From America’s Favorite Humorist by Erma Bombeck
(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Hoopla Instant Check Out eBook)
The housewife columnist whose gently subversive humor has won her a prominent niche in American culture is commemorated in this collection of over 120 of her most popular and memorable essays. Bombeck, whose bestsellers include All I Know About Animal Behavior I Learned in Loehmann’s Dressing Room, died in 1996. Trained as a newspaper reporter, she honed her skills into a unique blend of humorous social commentary based on the quotidian passage of domestic life and an empathy with women in their relations with the larger world, including spouses and children. Much honored, quoted and sought after for advice, Bombeck had an infectious sense of human absurdity that is highlighted in this collection celebrating her 25-year career as a low-key enforcer of the positive in the face of adversity, whether it be her own terminal illness, or “missing socks, promiscuous hangovers and other unexplained phenomena” that were grist for her reporter’s mill. – Publishers Weekly Review
Getting Lost by Annie Ernaux
(Available Formats: Print Book, Hoopla Instant Check Out eBook & Audiobook)
Winner of the Noble Prize in Literature 2022
In this entrancing work, French writer Ernaux (The Years) relives the passionate yet devastating memories of a whirlwind affair through her own diary entries. From November 1989 to April 1990, when she was a writer and teacher living in Paris, Ernaux became besotted with a married Russian diplomat at the Soviet embassy. Set against the political, social, and literary events that defined the parameters of their relationship, Ernaux’s narrative traces her secret love affair with “Mr. S,” a man 13 years her junior, as she recalls falling under S’s narcissistic hold (“a lovely hell”) and the “state of nameless terror” she endures between his phone calls and brief visits. Their affair revives old and painful memories that threaten her self-worth: an abortion in 1964, a failed marriage, and recurring dreams of her mother’s death. Ernaux’s writing is astonishingly candid as she illustrates the ways loss, heartache, and love intersect with her craft as a writer: “I am consumed with desire…. I want perfection in love, as I believe I attained a kind of perfection in writing with A Woman’s Story. That can only happen through giving, while throwing all caution to the wind. I’m already well on my way.” Fans will relish every scintillating detail. – Publishers Weekly Review
Leader of the Pack by David Rosenfelt
(Available Formats: Print Book, CD Audiobook, eBook & Hoopla Instant Check Out Audiobook)
Over the course of his legal career, Andy Carpenter has lost a few cases. But that doesn’t mean he forgets his clients. Andy has always been convinced that Joey Desimone, a man convicted of murder nine years ago, was innocent and believes that Joey’s family’s connections to organized crime played a pivotal role in his conviction. While there isn’t much Andy can do for him while he serves out his prison sentence, Joey suggests that he check up on Joey’s elderly uncle. He’d rather not, but as a favor to Joey,
Andy agrees to take his dog, Tara, on a few visits.
The old man’s memory is going, but when Andy tries to explain why he’s there, it jogs something in the man’s mind, and his comments leave Andy wondering if Uncle Nick is confused, or if he just might hold the key to Joey’s freedom after all this time.
Andy grabs on to this thread of possibility and follows it into a world where the oath of silence is stronger than blood ties, and where people will do anything to make sure their secrets are kept.
Riveting, suspenseful, and highly entertaining, Leader of the Pack is bestseller David Rosenfelt’s latest entry in his much-beloved Andy Carpenter series.
Reader’s Note: This is the tenth book in the Andy Carpenter series. If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, check out book one Open And Shut.
The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
(Available Formats: Hoopla Instant Check Out eBook & Audiobook)
A sweet romance from a debut author to watch. Darcy Jane Wells works at a bookstore and likes to memorize lines from her favorite classics. Her friends are her beloved characters and her best friend, Mexican/Cuban American fashionista Marisol, who is the only one who knows Darcy’s secret–her mother is a hoarder. Brokenhearted and traumatized by the abandonment of Darcy’s father, her mother is the image of perfection in public, but their small San Diego apartment is filled to the brim with her compulsive purchases. Darcy’s only refuge is her bookshelf-covered room. With the help of Marisol, a used copy of Peter Pan, and an older boy struggling with his own trauma and illness, the linguistic savant begins to muddle through her senior year. Peppered with literary quotes and chapter headings, this novel will delight teen lit fans. Taylor Namey’s portrayal of mental illness is thoughtful and well executed, and the characterizations of even background characters are fully developed. The friendship between Darcy and Marisol is well balanced and charming, and the happy ending is swoony–but not overly so. The author sometimes relies too much on tropes (super self-aware teens, a mean-girl ex, a grumpy bookstore owner, and a boisterous Latinx family), but this doesn’t detract from the feel-good narrative. Darcy and most characters appear to be white. A lovely tale for bookish readers that will give them all the feels. – Kirkus Review
Murder Book: A Novel by Thomas Perry
(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Instant Check Out Audiobook)
Chicago PI Harry Duncan, the protagonist of this strong crime novel from Edgar winner Perry (The Old Man), accepts a contract from his ex-wife, Ellen Leicester, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, to investigate a sudden spike in criminal activity in small towns along Indiana’s Ash River (“Assaults and robberies by teams rather than individuals, extortion, and that sort of thing”). Ellen believes that organized crime elements in Chicago are making a move to expand operations into Indiana, and Duncan’s task is to scout out the territory and report back to her on whether an FBI investigation is warranted. Duncan makes his first stop at a bar by the river for a bite to eat and winds up contending with two thugs in the bar’s parking lot who try to steal his car. Tough, self-reliant, and fearless, Duncan soon plunges into a full-scale battle with hired crooks intent on seizing control of the entire region, and lives are suddenly at stake—including his own. The pages melt away as the story maintains a breathless pace throughout. This is further proof that Perry is a dominating force in the world of contemporary suspense thrillers. Hopefully, Duncan will be back for an encore. – Publishers Weekly Review
Remember Me Now: A Journey Back to Myself and a Love Letter to Black Women by Faitth Brooks
(Available Formats: Print Book)
In this inspiring memoir, social worker and activist Brooks (The Anti-Racism Journal) extends to her fellow Black women “an invitation for us to commune with each other.” Brooks recalls formative life events, including navigating Black and white spaces in childhood, seeking self-acceptance in college, and attempting to heal from sexual assault in adulthood, drawing wisdom from each. Though her quest is one of personal discovery, Brooks writes of gathering strength from her ancestry, church, and sisterhood, as “we find healing in community.” Fittingly, she addresses readers directly in upbeat letters at the end of each chapter (“A Letter to My Sister in College Trying to Find Her Way,” “A Letter to the Black Suburban Girl”). As well, Brooks recounts the ways community and faith spaces have helped and hurt her. A college mission trip to Rwanda, for example, proved both a transformational experience of “being in a country where everyone looked like me” and a rude awakening at her white classmates’ racist behavior. As she learned to challenge the status quo and ask difficult questions, Brooks writes, she deepened her faith practice, ancestral connection, and sense of self: “I am a liberated Black woman, embracing every ounce of who I am.” This is an encouraging guide for those seeking self-discovery, fulfillment, and faith in an often unsafe world. – Publishers Weekly
Village in the Sky by Jack McDevitt
(Available Formats: Print Book)
In Nebula Award–winning author Jack McDevitt’s ninth installment in the beloved Alex Benedict science fiction mystery series, humanity discovers new intelligent life lightyears away—only for it to disappear without a trace.
Centuries after a war with the Mutes, the first aliens to be encountered by humankind, a startling new discovery in the far reaches of the Orion Nebula appears. On a planet with conditions favorable to life, explorer vessel The Columbia comes across a small town seemingly inhabited by an intelligent species not yet discovered.
But when a highly publicized follow-up mission is sent to make contact mere months later, the entire town has vanished, leaving no trace—or such is presumed to be the case until Alex Benedict and his archaeological crew show up to investigate. Officially, their mission is to find concealed artifacts that may have been left behind, but the team’s real goal is to solve the mystery of how these aliens disappeared so rapidly—and why. In turns terrifying and miraculous, the answers raise the stakes for every member on board as they look to make their mark on history.
Nebula Award–winning author Jack McDevitt, whom Stephen King has called “the logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke,” brings back Alex, Chase, and Gabe for another brilliantly crafted science fiction mystery.
Reader’s Note: As noted, this is the ninth book in the series, if you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning check out book one A Talent for War.
Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson
(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook, Hoopla eBook & Instant Check Out Audiobook)
After Andre Cobb receives a life-saving liver transplant, he passes out and wakes up in 1969 Boston. When he returns to present-day Boston, it is to learn that his experience wasn’t as singular as he imagined. His donor’s family explains that he now has the same ability as their late son: he can time travel. The family’s grief-stricken, remaining son, Blake, is tasked with helping Andre learn and navigate his new abilities. Though Blake keeps Andre at arm’s length, an undeniable connection forms between them. Meanwhile, during his travels to 1969, Andre also feels powerfully drawn to Michael, who teaches him to follow his passions. Ultimately Andre must decide where he belongs, whom he loves, and, most importantly, who he is meant to be. Jackson’s charming debut is thought-provoking, romantic, and fun; furthermore, his characters are well drawn and fictional world is authentic. It is important to note that Jackson capably delivers both a swoon-worthy romance with a gay Black main character and a coming-of-age story rife with adventure, where racial trauma and pain aren’t at the forefront of the narrative. A stellar novel that today’s teens needed yesterday. – Starred Booklist Review
Have a great week!
*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.