Suggested Reading: March 8, 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 15, 2023.

All That I Carry With Me Is Mine by William Landay

(Available Formats: Print Book)

All That I Carry With Me Is Mine

An author weighed down with writer’s block seeks something real to write about and finds it in a longtime friend’s harrowing account of his mother’s sudden disappearance decades earlier. The title refers to a quote (“Omnia mea mecum porto”) ascribed to a Greek sage meaning that knowledge is the one true valuable. The saying appears on the friend’s sister’s arm in the form of a tattoo. Landay focuses on the shadow the mother’s disappearance has cast over the siblings’ lives since childhood, and on the murky suspicion that hangs over their father. The writing itself seems almost deliberately murky here, switching gears often, at one point even including a “Gone Girl” letter from the mother to her children. The discovery of the woman’s body, two decades after her disappearance, brings tensions to a boiling point. This is a toboggan ride of a novel, sometimes veering wildly, but its overall effect is exhilarating. Landay’s Defending Jacob (2013) won the Strand Critics Award for best novel. – Booklist Review

Empress of the Nile: The Daredevil Archaeologist Who Saved Egypt’s Ancient Temples from Destruction by Lynne Olson

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Empress of the Nile

Bestseller Olson follows up Madame Fourcade’s Secret War with another scintillating biography of a woman who worked in the French Resistance against the Nazis. But Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt (1913–2011) had an even more impressive second act, according to Olson: as an Egyptologist, she spearheaded “the greatest single example of international cultural cooperation the world has ever known,” a campaign in the 1950s and ’60s to save Nubian temples and other antiquities from flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. Throughout, Olson details the misogyny Desroches-Noblecourt dealt with from her male colleagues at the Louvre and the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, even as she reached the top of her field. Beginning in 1958, she helped raised money from dozens of nations to dismantle the temples block-by-block, transport them up the Nile, and rebuild them on higher ground. Olson also credits first lady Jackie Kennedy with helping persuade her husband’s administration to support the campaign, and documents Desroches-Noblecourt’s involvement in a 1967 Paris exhibition of King Tutankhamun’s treasures. Enriched by fascinating digressions into Egyptian history, museum rivalries, the plundering of archaeological sites, the 1956 Suez Crisis, and more, this is a captivating portrait of a pathbreaking woman. Readers will be enthralled. Photos. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Enchantment: Reawakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May

(Available Formats: Print Book)


After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, May, author of the best-selling Wintering (2020), seeks a return of enchantment and meaning. She finds she’s unable to concentrate. She feels adrift and disconnected from those around her. Turning to the traditional four elements–earth, water, fire and air–May looks for ways to reconnect with the natural world and find a sense of community in her daily life. Holding smooth stones in her hand, she draws the feeling of solidity and heft from the earth. While swimming in the ocean, she feels at one with the water and her fellow swimmers. Burned out and unable to focus long enough to read after months of stress and caution, May ponders the power of fire to spark renewal. And finally the author looks to the air and sky to find meaning in the stars. It’s by returning to her roots in England’s countryside and searching for enchantment in the everyday that May finally finds healing. Beautifully written and profoundly reasoned, this introspective search for meaning will appeal to readers seeking wholeness and community. – Booklist Review

The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science by Kate Zernike

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Exceptions

This engaging account details the professional lives of women scientists and their struggles for equality during the last decades of the twentieth century, specifically at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1999, Boston Sunday Globe reporter Zernike broke a story in which MIT acknowledged the university’s long-standing discrimination against women faculty. Zernike, a wonderful storyteller, seamlessly weaves together contemporary events, facts and statistics, and telling anecdotes from women who were working in the sciences at that time, recreating for readers an almost unbelievable culture of never-ending microaggressions, sexual harassment, and professional disdain. Zernike spends considerable time introducing molecular biologist Nancy Hopkins, who became chair of the MIT Committee on Women Faculty. She details Hopkins’ horrific experiences, from being ignored to fielding threats of plagiarism lawsuits and enduring attempts to discredit her work. Zernike also covers what happened when the 1999 story broke, describing the overwhelming response from the press, the White House, and women scientists worldwide. The book ends with brief bios of the 16 women who were on the MIT faculty during the late 1990s, along with exhortations to encourage young women to consider careers in science. Zernike’s profile of Nancy Hopkins provides brilliant inspiration. –

The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

The Foxglove King

This stunning fantasy from Whitten (For the Wolf) opens 500 years after Godsfall, when death goddess Nyxara died and all other gods followed, leaving Apollius, god of life, as the singular deity worshipped in Auverraine. The city of Dellaire sits atop Nyxara’s corpse, and a force known as Mortem, “the essence of death, the power born of entropy,” seeps from her body into the city. Those who have had near-death experiences can sense and channel this power, leading people to use poison like a drug to get close enough to death that they too can experience Mortem. Dellaire local Lore, 23, can’t quite remember the first 13 years of her life. All she knows is that she has the ability to channel Mortem, a power she puts to use spying for her adoptive poison-runner mothers. When a job goes wrong, Lore is caught and brought before Priest Exalted Anton Arceneaux and the Sainted King August Arceneaux, who give her a choice: die, or spy on the Sun Prince Bastian to find out why entire towns have been dying off. This task puts Lore in the orbit of both Bastian and Presque Mort Gabriel, both of whom feel oddly familiar. Romance is less central to this outing than in Whitten’s previous works, but there are still plenty of swoony moments to please fans. Meanwhile the fascinating magic system and ever-present danger keep the pages flying. Readers won’t want to miss this. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

The Last Kingdom by Steve Berry

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

The Last Kingdom

After a break to write a novel about UNESCO investigator Nicholas Lee (The Omega Factor, 2022), Berry returns to his moneymaker, former U.S. Justice Department operative Cotton Malone. The seventeenth book in the series delivers–this should come as no great surprise to Berry’s fans–a thrilling adventure. An obscure document from the nineteenth century is the central element in a battle between superpowers over control of a parcel of land in the German state of Bavaria; Malone winds up in the middle of things and has to call on his abundant cleverness to find a way out. When readers crack open a new Malone adventure, it’s like reuniting with an old friend. You know the guy: how he thinks, what really ticks him off, what he might do in a certain type of situation. At the same time, he has an unpredictable streak that keeps readers on their toes; there’s always an element of surprise in a Cotton Malone novel, always something we don’t see coming. Another strong entry in a consistently fine series. – Booklist Review

Reader’s Note: The Last Kingdom is the seventeenth book in the Cotton Malone series. If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning check out book one: The Templar Legacy.

The London Séance Society: A Novel by Sarah Penner

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Hoopla Instant Checkout Audiobook)

The London Seance Society

Penner (The Lost Apothecary, 2021) returns to a historical setting–this time 1873–to tell the story of a young woman seeking to solve her sister’s mysterious death by any means necessary. Lenna Wickes is a logical skeptic devastated by grief after her sister Evie’s death. She apprentices herself to famous Parisian medium Vaudeline D’Allaire, who contacts the spirits of recent murder victims to find their killers. Evie studied with the alluring Vaudeline before taking an independent interest in the doings of the London Séance Society, where she discovered fraudulent practices. When Vaudeline is called to London to pursue contact with a recent murder victim on behalf of the society, Lenna travels with her hoping to find answers. The reader learns more problematic details about the society by alternating between Lenna and society member Mr. Morley’s points of view. Retracing her sister’s steps, Lenna discovers that the corruption goes much deeper than simply faking contact with the recently deceased, and it’s probable that Evie’s investigations led to her death–which also places Lenna and Vaudeline in peril. A great choice for fans of historical European settings, the power of women, and the fringes of the paranormal. – Booklist Review

Pineapple Street: A Novel by Jenny Jackson

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Pineapple Street

This family drama gives readers a look inside the lives of the affluent Stockton family, who reside in a historic brownstone in Brooklyn. Sasha has recently married into the family and just can’t seem to navigate the upper-class waters of her new in-laws. Loving Cord has always been easy, but loving his tight-knit family is another story. Cord and his two sisters, Darley and Georgina, have grown up and lived around the fruit-named streets of Brooklyn most of their lives. The family’s wealth and status have sheltered the Stocktons for generations and informed many of their habits and perceptions of life; letting an outsider in will prove to be tricky. Each family member’s first-person narration offers a glimpse into their thoughts, unique perspectives, and experiences, allowing the reader to examine the same situation through many eyes. Filled with humor, love, the ups and downs of marriage, and tennis whites, this family’s story is both endearing and exasperating. Readers will enjoy the author’s exploration of both the perks and downsides of generational wealth.

The Sunshine Girls: A Novel by Molly Fader

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & Hoopla Instant Checkout Audiobook)

The Sunshine Girls

Told through alternating viewpoints and flashbacks, Fader’s latest (after The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season, 2020) opens with estranged sisters Abbie and Carla burying their mother, BettyKay. They are dumbfounded when famous movie star Kitty Devereaux tells them she and BettyKay were friends. In 1967 in Iowa, BettyKay and Kitty were roommates in nursing school. While Kitty dreamed of the big city, BettyKay was studious but found out she was pregnant shortly after her fiancé died in the Vietnam War. Kitty used all her resources to help BettyKay get an abortion so she wouldn’t get kicked out of the program. Shortly after the procedure, BettyKay helped Kitty make it to Hollywood, where she quickly became a star. Despite their distance, they found themselves leaning on each other in times of uncertainty and need. The Sunshine Girls will have readers sitting on the edge of their seats while learning all about BettyKay’s life alongside that of her daughters. Jane Green and Jennifer Weiner fans will enjoy this novel about two unlikely friends and the secrets that united them. – Booklist 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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