Suggested Reading March 1, 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, March 8, 2023.

100 Trails, 5,000 Ideas Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do by Joe Yogerst

(Available Formats: Print Book)

100 Trails, 5000 Ideas

From the waterfalls of Kauai’s Napali coast to the tests of the Appalachian Trail, 100 Trails, 5,000 Ideas highlights the preeminent hiking treks across the United States and Canada, including the best scenic overlooks, camping sites, and off-trail activities. This authoritative travel guide—the next in National Geographic’s best-selling 5,000 Ideas series—takes you from the coast of Florida to the peaks of Wyoming on a series of epic hiking and walking adventures. So grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore 100 trails around all 50 states and Canada. In these informative pages, you’ll find National Geographic’s recommendations for superlative hikes, as well as tips for wildlife spotting, scenic picnic locales, routes with a view, camp sites, and off-trail activities nearby. Plus, you’ll discover alternative routes to extend your trek or tackle shorter lengths of some of the country’s most iconic journeys, like the Appalachian Trail. With each itinerary you’ll find practical planning advice for when to go and what to expect when you arrive.

Inspiring and comprehensive, this book offers something for everyone, from beginners looking for an easy day-hike (the tow path along the C&O Canal in Maryland) to advanced trekkers seeking multi-week excursions (the famed multi-state Continental Divide Trail). You’ll also discover: Tips for exploring Washington’s Elliott Bay Trail along the Seattle Waterfront Routes for hiking the Grand Canyon, rim to rim, in Arizona Advice for conquering Wisconsin’s “Ice Age” Trail The fascinating history behind Georgia’s Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Trail The best way to see the falls along New York’s Niagara Falls Gorge Trails How to trek the Plain of the Six Glaciers in Banff National Park And so much more!Both inspiring and practical, here is the ultimate keepsake for any hiker.

Africatown: America’s Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created by Nick Tabor

(Available Formats: Print Book)


An evocative and epic story, Nick Tabor’s Africatown charts the fraught history of America from those who were brought here as slaves but nevertheless established a home for themselves and their descendants, a community which often thrived despite persistent racism and environmental pollution.

In 1860, a ship called the Clotilda was smuggled through the Alabama Gulf Coast, carrying the last group of enslaved people ever brought to the U.S. from West Africa. Five years later, the shipmates were emancipated, but they had no way of getting back home. Instead they created their own community outside the city of Mobile, where they spoke Yoruba and appointed their own leaders, a story chronicled in Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon.

That community, Africatown, has endured to the present day, and many of the community residents are the shipmates’ direct descendants. After many decades of neglect and a Jim Crow legal system that targeted the area for industrialization, the community is struggling to survive. Many community members believe the pollution from the heavy industry surrounding their homes has caused a cancer epidemic among residents, and companies are eyeing even more land for development.

At the same time, after the discovery of the remains of the Clotilda in the riverbed nearby, a renewed effort is underway to create a living memorial to the community and the lives of the slaves who founded it.

All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me by Patrick Bringley

(Available Formats: Print Book)

All The Beauty in the World

When Bringley’s beloved brother died while they were in their twenties in 2008, he needed a place of solitude and solace and found it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His warmly contemplative memoir, lustrous with nuanced and affecting musings on beauty and meaning and different ways of seeing, maps his transformative 10-year sojourn as a museum guard. Bringley delves ardently into the history and aesthetics of the paintings and sculptures he spends long days studying, sharing striking insights into the art and aesthetics of ancient Egypt, China, the Congo, the then new Islamic wing, and European old masters. He tells amusing and touching stories about museum visitors and his co-workers, weaves in fascinating behind-the-scenes information about the Met’s massive operations, and asserts that the museum isn’t only a place to learn “about” art but also to learn “from” art. Graced with a list of all the artworks he was enraptured by and an excellent bibliography, this is a profound homage to the marvels of a world-class museum and a radiant chronicle of grief, perception, and a renewed embrace of life.

The Backup Plan: A Novel by Jill Shalvis

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

The Backup Plan

Bestseller Shalvis shines in her endearing third Sunrise Cove series (after The Friendship Pact). Alice Moore; her brother, Will; her best friend (and Will’s girlfriend), Lauren Scott; and Alice’s crush, Knox Rawlings, grew up together in Sunrise Cove, Calif., looked after by feisty local matriarch and “pseudo-grandmother” Eleanor Graham. Four years before the book starts, Will died, as did Knox’s alcoholic mother, and Alice and Knox separately fled town. Lauren, the only one who stays behind, is also the only blood relative to Eleanor, but they were long estranged due to the lies of Lauren’s selfish father. All three 20-something former friends are surprised when Eleanor dies and leaves the trio co-ownership of the Wild West Last Chance Inn in Sunrise Cove, with the stipulation that all must come to the inn for the necessary renovations or forfeit their share. As restoring the inn helps to heal old wounds, the friends slowly find their way back to each other—and true love blossoms between both Alice and Knox and Lauren and local widower Ben, whose five-year-old daughter is a scene-stealer. Readers will easily fall for Shalvis’s well-shaded characters and heart-filled plot. This is the literary equivalent of comfort food. – Publishers Weekly Review

The Destroyer of Worlds: A Return to Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Destroyer of Worlds

Ruff’s sequel to 2016’s Lovecraft Country delivers another virtuoso blend of horror, action, and humor. It’s now 1957 and Ruff’s African American protagonists are still trying to survive and build meaningful lives in a racist country, a challenge complicated by their discovery of the existence of other worlds and people with magic powers. Atticus Turner and his father, Montrose, must flee for their lives once again after a risky trip to North Carolina, to trace the escape route taken by an enslaved ancestor, turns deadly. Meanwhile, to rid himself of cancer, Montrose’s half brother, George, contemplates making a deal with the ghost of Hiram Winthrop, the former head of the Chicago branch of the Order of the Ancient Dawn, a white sorcerer’s cabal. Ruff makes the most of his inventive concept and his care in crafting memorable characters means that the fates of even minor cast members make an impact. Fans will find this a worthy sequel. – Publishers Weekly Review

Matrix by Lauren Groff

(Available Formats: Print Book, CD Audiobook, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)


Groff (Florida) fashions a boldly original narrative based on the life and legend of 12th-century poet Marie de France. After Marie is banished to a poverty-stricken British abbey by Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine at age 17 in 1158, she transforms from a reluctant prioress into an avid abbess. With the rhythm of days and nights regulated by the canonical hours from Lauds to Prime, from Compline to bed, Marie reshapes the claustrophobic community into a “self-sufficient… island of women,” where “a woman’s power exists only as far as she is allowed.” To that end, she confesses a series of 19 beatific visions that guide her in designing an impenetrable underground labyrinth as a secret passageway to the convent, building separate abbess quarters, establishing a scriptorium, and constructing a woman-made lake and dam to insure a constant water supply. Groff fills the novel with friendships among the nuns, inspirational apparitions, and writings empowered by divine inspiration. Transcendent prose and vividly described settings bring to life historic events, from the Crusades to the papal interdict of 1208. Groff has outdone herself with an accomplishment as radiant as Marie’s visions. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

River Woman, River Demon: A Novel by Jennifer Givhan

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

River Woman, River Demon

Eva Santos Moon, the narrator of this captivating whodunit from Givhan (Jubilee), is haunted by the drowning of her childhood best friend, Karma Marquez, when they were both 15. Years later, Eva still can’t remember whether she tried to save Karma or pushed her under the water. Consequently, Eva suffers from PTSD, marked by severe nightmares and blackouts. One night, Eva hears her husband, Jericho, screaming from the direction of the river near their New Mexico home. When she runs to help him, she finds him holding the bloody body of a close family friend, Cecilia Trujillo, who was apparently left to drown in the river by an attacker who smashed Cecilia’s face. Jericho is promptly accused of murder. When Eva later discovers texts between Cecilia and Jericho that suggest they were intimate, she feels betrayed. The coincidence of two friends dying by drowning doesn’t escape Eva. She again wonders whether she was somehow involved. In her effort to uncover the truth, Eva relies on the bruja spirit, an ancient spiritual art that she inherited from her late mother. But who can she trust? Givhan keeps the surprises coming. Psychological thriller fans will be well satisfied.- Publishers Weekly Review

Time’s Undoing: A Novel by Cheryl A. Head

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Time's Undoing

Head, the award-winning author of the Charlie Mack Motown mystery featuring a Black, female, queer PI, brings her gift for strong women protagonists and suspense to this tale about a young, Black, female journalist from Detroit on a dangerous quest. In 1929, a Black master carpenter, Robert Lee Harrington, is killed in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2019, his great-granddaughter, Meghan McKenzie, decides to go to Birmingham to hunt down the hidden truth about Harrington’s life and unsolved murder. Head charts every step in Meghan’s Birmingham investigation, from her gutsy, seemingly fated research to her finding friends and allies, including a Black woman activist, a white librarian destined to make painful discoveries about her family, and a distractingly sexy Black man working in the mayor’s social justice office. Harrington’s harrowing story of Jim Crow racism and violence is equally vivid and affecting.

After being forced to leave Florida, he has finally brought his beautiful pregnant wife and their young daughter to Birmingham only to have trouble hunt him down one final time. As threats intensify against Meghan, Head dramatizes the ongoing horrors of white supremacy, police brutality, and the “conspiracy of hate,” but she also spotlights the way people come together to fight for justice. This heart-seizing tale even has a touch of the supernatural as it celebrates Black lives.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Thanks to strong prepub buzz and its deeply resonant subject, Head’s commanding novel will be on many “”must read”” lists. – Booklist Review

Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson

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

Veil of Lies

Crispin Guest, a former knight who was stripped of his rank after being implicated in a plot against Richard II, now makes his living as a “tracker,” the medieval equivalent of a PI, in Westerson’s promising debut, set in 1384 London. Nicholas Walcote, a wealthy cloth merchant, hires Guest to investigate his younger and attractive wife, Philippa, whom he suspects of infidelity. Guest’s cursory probe is derailed after his client is found stabbed to death in a locked room. Philippa retains Guest’s services to find her husband’s killer, who may have been motivated by Walcote’s possessing a legendary relic reputed to force those in its proximity to tell the truth. While featuring a hard-boiled medieval sleuth instead of a monk or a nun may not be quite as groundbreaking as the author suggests in her afterword (e.g., Susanna Gregory’s 14th-century Cambridge physician Matthew Bartholomew), this is nonetheless an entertaining read that makes the prospect of sequels welcome.

The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The World and All That It Holds

Three-time NBCC finalist Hemon (The Lazarus Project) returns with a potent story of love, war, and displacement in the early 20th century. Rafael Pinto, a Bosnian Jew, returns from schooling in Vienna and takes over his recently deceased father’s apothecary in Sarajevo. After Pinto witnesses Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, he’s drafted into the army and falls in love with Osman Karišik, a fellow soldier, Muslim orphan, and prodigious storyteller. Soon, the two are captured by the Russians and imprisoned in Tashkent. There, Pinto is tormented by disease, starvation, and the random executions of inmates, especially after Osman is pulled from their cell. But as the war ends, Osman frees Pinto, and they’re helped in Tashkent by a Jewish doctor and his daughter, Klara. After a period of relative peace and happiness, the two friends’ lives become deeply entwined with Klara’s family. Then Bolsheviks sweep the country, and Pinto flees across central Asia during the early 1920s, making his way toward China while yearning for Osman and grappling with opium addiction. Hemon easily immerses readers in the characters’ various languages, particularly the Sarajevo “Spanjol” dialect, and brings home via vivid daydreams Pinto’s anguish while separated from Osman. Readers will delight in this sweeping epic. – 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.

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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