Did You Know…World War II Began On September 1, 1939?

Did You Know…World War II Began On September 1, 1939?

The history fans out there will know that World War II broke out in earnest when the German Army invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 – an event that took place 79 years ago today.

In marking the anniversary of this historic event, I’m going to recommend a number of titles you can check to learn more about what went on during the World War II era, which can be seen as starting at the end of World War I with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and running through U.S forces dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent  Japanese surrender in August of 1945.

And, disclaimer alert, this librarian was indeed a history major in college – so you may find this posting is longer than usual!

And I would like to note before I start, that there are many, many, many great books out there that chronicle the events and the lives of people that lived and fought through the World War II era – so my list of suggestions – is simply a short list of selected titles.

Books:

Fiction:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

When Death has a story to tell, you listen.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne:

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle:

1942: Boldly advancing through Asia, the Japanese need a train route from Burma going north. In a prison camp, British POWs are forced into labor. The bridge they build will become a symbol of service and survival to one prisoner, Colonel Nicholson, a proud perfectionist. Pitted against the warden, Colonel Saito, Nicholson will nevertheless, out of a distorted sense of duty, aid his enemy. While on the outside, as the Allies race to destroy the bridge, Nicholson must decide which will be the first casualty: his patriotism or his pride.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres:

Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, Corelli’s Mandolin is the story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history.  The place is the Greek island of Cephallonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men and the local saint periodically rises from his sarcophagus to cure the mad.  Then the tide of World War II rolls onto the island’s shores in the form of the conquering Italian army.

Caught in the occupation are Pelagia, a willful, beautiful young woman, and the two suitors vying for her love:  Mandras, a gentle fisherman turned ruthless guerilla, and the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, a reluctant officer of the Italian garrison on the island.  Rich with loyalties and betrayals, and set against a landscape where the factual blends seamlessly with the fantastic, Corelli’s Mandolin is a passionate novel as rich in ideas as it is genuinely moving.

Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks:

Charlotte Gray tells the remarkable story of a young Scottish woman who becomes caught up in the effort to liberate Occupied France from the Nazis while pursuing a perilous mission of her own.

In blacked-out, wartime London, Charlotte Gray develops a dangerous passion for a battle-weary RAF pilot, and when he fails to return from a daring flight into France she is determined to find him. In the service of the Resistance, she travels to the village of Lavaurette, dyeing her hair and changing her name to conceal her identity. Here she will come face-to-face with the harrowing truth of what took place during Europe’s darkest years, and will confront a terrifying secret that threatens to cast its shadow over the remainder of her days. Vividly rendered, tremendously moving, and with a narrative sweep and power reminiscent of his novel Birdsong, Charlotte Gray confirms Sebastian Faulks as one of the finest novelists working today.

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett:

The worldwide phenomenon from the bestselling author of The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and A Column of Fire

His code name was “The Needle.” He was a German aristocrat of extraordinary intelligence—a master spy with a legacy of violence in his blood, and the object of the most desperate manhunt in history. . . .

But his fate lay in the hands of a young and vulnerable English woman, whose loyalty, if swayed, would assure his freedom—and win the war for the Nazis. . . .

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer:

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

The Guns of Navarone by Alistair Maclean:

The classic World War II thriller from the acclaimed master of action and suspense. Now reissued in a new cover style.

Twelve hundred British soldiers isolated on the small island of Kheros off the Turkish coast, waiting to die. Twelve hundred lives in jeopardy, lives that could be saved if only the guns could be silenced. The guns of Navarone, vigilant, savage and catastrophically accurate. Navarone itself, grim bastion of narrow straits manned by a mixed garrison of Germans and Italians, an apparently impregnable iron fortress. To Captain Keith Mallory, skllled saboteur, trained mountaineer, fell the task of leading the small party detailed to scale the vast, impossible precipice of Navarone and to blow up the guns. The Guns of Navarone is the story of that mission, the tale of a calculated risk taken in the time of war…

The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer:

Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the Second World War, The Naked and the Dead received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its publication and has since become part of the American canon. This fiftieth anniversary edition features a new introduction created especially for the occasion by Norman Mailer.

Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters: Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watchtells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.

War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk:

War and Remembrance is the sequel to the Winds of War and picks up the story of the Henry & Jastrow Families in early 1942. The book chronicles the lives of the main characters from 1942 until just after the Atomic Bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.

Captain Victor Henry, later Admiral Henry remains a source of information for President Roosevelt while continuing to work at a variety of presidentially assigned tasks. The younger Henry son becomes a submariner. Eldest son and navy aviator Warren serves in the Pacific theatre of operations and daughter Madeline continues her work radio.

And in Europe, and in increasingly precarious situations, Byron’s wife Natalie Jastrow Henry and her uncle – Aaron Jastrow, try desperately to escape the advancing German Army as it moves out across Europe.

The events of the Holocaust are also featured as is a series of writings by a German army office – Armin Von Roon who offers the German point of view about the reasons for the war and why German collectively did what it did. The Von Roon writings are interspersed in the book and are written years after the war when Von Roon is serving a prison sentence for war crimes.

So a great deal goes on in this book. And it is a great book, but it is very, very long – just FYI.

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka:

The debut novel from the PEN/Faulkner Award Winning Author of The Buddha in the Attic

On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her home, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her family’s possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert.

In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells their story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of their experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today’s headlines.

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk:

As the book opens, the family patriarch, Navy Commander Victor “Pug” Henry and his wife Rhoda are setting sail for Germany. Pug Henry is to take up a new post as a naval attache at the Americna Embassy in Berlin. The Henry’s have three children. Their younger song Byron has just landed in Italy where he accepts a job to work for an American professor named Aaron Jastrow. Professor Jastrow’s niece Natalie is also in residence.

The other two Henry children are in the U.S., Eldest son Warren is a navy aviator and daughter Madeline a recent high school graduate.

During the story historical events interweave with the lives of the main characters – Byron and Natalie wind up at a Jastrow family wedding in Poland on September 1, 1939 and must flee across the country as the German army invades. Pug files a report on German combat readiness that reaches President Roosevelt and then becomes an unofficial source of information for the President and meets Hitler, Churchill, Stalin and Mussolini along the way, and even takes ride of Berlin on a RAF Bomber to see how the new technology of RADAR is working for the British Military. The first book ends just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the second book – the much more lengthy War and Remembrance picks up the story.

The Women in the Castle: A Novel by Jessica Shattuck:

Three German “widow[s] of the resistance,” who spend time together at a run-down castle when World War II ends, embody aspects of the catastrophe that overcame their country.Germany, 1945: in this devastated landscape where “no one was innocent,” there is misery for all and plenty to spare. Guilt, shame, suffering, and silence go hand in hand as the German people emerge from war and fascism, and Europe is awash with displaced persons. Shattuck’s (Perfect Life, 2009, etc.) third novel centers on the von Lingenfels castle, a place of aristocratic indulgence in prewar years, now a ruined shell owned by Marianne von Lingenfels, the widow of Albrecht, one of a group of men who failed in an attempt to assassinate Hitler and were hanged. It’s this group which links Marianne to the two other women and their children, whom she invites to the castle for shelter: Benita Fledermann, widow of the charismatic Constantine, who survived the Russian occupation of Berlin but paid a heavy price; and Ania Grabarek, who walked west, out of the wreckage of Poland, with her two sons and is also keeping secrets about what she has seen and done.

In this primer about how evil invades then corrupts normal existence, Shattuck delivers simple, stark lessons on personal responsibility and morality. Inevitably, it makes for a dark tale, more a chronology of three overlapping, contaminated, emblematic lives than a plot. Some final uplift does arrive, however, via the views of the next generation, which apply a useful layer of distance and some hope on the sins of the fathers—and mothers. Neither romantic nor heroic, Shattuck’s new novel seems atypical of current World War II fiction but makes sincere, evocative use of family history to explore complicity and the long arc of individual responses to a mass crime. Kirkus Review.

Non-Fiction:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose:

Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army. They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments. They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler’s Bavarian outpost, his Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.

Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Dick Winters and Cole C. Kingseed:

“Tells the tales left untold by Stephen Ambrose, whose Band of Brothers was the inspiration for the HBO miniseries….laced with Winters’s soldierly exaltations of pride in his comrades’ bravery.”—Publishers Weekly

They were called Easy Company—but their mission was never easy. Immortalized as the Band of Brothers, they suffered 150% casualties while liberating Europe—an unparalleled record of bravery under fire. Winner of the Distinguished Service Cross, Dick Winters was their legendary commander. This is his story—told in his own words for the first time. On D-Day, Winters assumed leadership of the Band of Brothers when its commander was killed and led them through the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany—by which time each member had been wounded.

Based on Winters’s wartime diary, Beyond Band of Brothers also includes his comrades’ untold stories. Virtually none of this material appeared in Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers. Neither a protest against nor a glamorization of war, this is a moving memoir by the man who earned the love and respect of the men of Easy Company—and who is a hero to new generations worldwide.

Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden:

The Nazis murdered their husbands but concentration camp prisoners Priska, Rachel, and Anka would not let evil take their unborn children too—a remarkable true story that will appeal to readers of The Lost and The Nazi Officer’s Wife, Born Survivors celebrates three mothers who defied death to give their children life.

Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left—their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS.

In April 1945, as the Allies close in, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish seventeen-day train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train, and Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die, but then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom.

On the seventieth anniversary of Mauthausen’s liberation from the Nazis by American soldiers, renowned biographer Wendy Holden recounts this extraordinary story of three children united by their mothers’ unbelievable—yet ultimately successful—fight for survival.

The Destruction of the European Jews by Raul Hilberg:

This student edition of The Destruction of the European Jews makes accessible for classroom use Raul Hilberg s landmark account of Germany s annihilation of Europe s Jewish communities in 1933 1945. Perhaps more than any other book, it answers the question: How did it happen? This is an adult level book and easy to read as far as the text is considered – the subject matter is, of course, very dark.

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank:

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

The Elie Wiesel Trilogy:

Elie Wiesel wrote three seminal books that illustrate his experiences during and after World War II. He was a teenager when he was sent to Auschwitz with his family. The books in the series are: Night, Dawn and Day. Night is a memoir in which Wiesel tells the story of his experiences in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. The second two books in the trilogy, Dawn and Day are fiction but follow the lives of Holocaust survivors after the war. And since the books are generally considered to be a trilogy – I’m going to list all three here – even though the second and third books in the trilogy are fiction titles.

Night by Elie Wiesel:

Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man. Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

Dawn by Elie Wiesel:

Elisha is a young Jewish man, a Holocaust survivor, and an Israeli freedom fighter in British-controlled Palestine; John Dawson is the captured English officer he will murder at dawn in retribution for the British execution of a fellow freedom fighter. The night-long wait for morning and death provides Dawn, Elie Wiesel’s ever more timely novel, with its harrowingly taut, hour-by-hour narrative. Caught between the manifold horrors of the past and the troubling dilemmas of the present, Elisha wrestles with guilt, ghosts, and ultimately God as he waits for the appointed hour and his act of assassination. Dawn is an eloquent meditation on the compromises, justifications, and sacrifices that human beings make when they murder other human beings.

Day by Elie Wiesel (All three books are contained in this one collection titled The Elie Wiesel Trilogy):

The publication of Day restores Elie Wiesel’s original title to the novel initially published in English as The Accident and clearly establishes it as the powerful conclusion to the author’s classic trilogy of Holocaust literature, which includes his memoir Night and novel Dawn. “In Night it is the ‘I’ who speaks,” writes Wiesel. “In the other two, it is the ‘I’ who listens and questions.” In its opening paragraphs, a successful journalist and Holocaust survivor steps off a New York City curb and into the path of an oncoming taxi. Consequently, most of Wiesel’s masterful portrayal of one man’s exploration of the historical tragedy that befell him, his family, and his people transpires in the thoughts, daydreams, and memories of the novel’s narrator. Torn between choosing life or death, Day again and again returns to the guiding questions that inform Wiesel’s trilogy: the meaning and worth of surviving the annihilation of a race, the effects of the Holocaust upon the modern character of the Jewish people, and the loss of one’s religious faith in the face of mass murder and human extermination.

Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley & Ron Powers:

In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima—and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island’s highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag. Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever. To his family, John Bradley never spoke of the photograph or the war. But after his death at age seventy, his family discovered closed boxes of letters and photos. In Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley draws on those documents to retrace the lives of his father and the men of Easy Company. Following these men’s paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific’s most crucial island—an island riddled with Japanese tunnels and 22,000 fanatic defenders who would fight to the last man. But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is what happened after the victory. The men in the photo—three were killed during the battle—were proclaimed heroes and flown home, to become reluctant symbols. For two of them, the adulation was shattering. Only James Bradley’s father truly survived, displaying no copy of the famous photograph in his home, telling his son only: “The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn’t come back.” Few books ever have captured the complexity and furor of war and its aftermath as well as Flags of Our Fathers. A penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, this is history told with keen insight, enormous honesty, and the passion of a son paying homage to his father. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the meaning of being a hero, and the essence of the human experience of war.

The Girls of the Atomic City by Denise Kiernan:

The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history.The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships–and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men! But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work–even the most innocuous details–was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb “Little Boy” was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb. Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there–work they didn’t fully understand at the time–are still being felt today.

In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is history and science made fresh and vibrant–a beautifully told, deeply researched story that unfolds in a suspenseful and exciting way.

The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War by Halik Kochanski:

Kochanski, a British military historian, integrates concise, clear, and persuasive campaign analyses with an account of the brutality suffered by Poles under German and Soviet occupation during WWII. She also examines the complex internal politics of Poland’s armed forces in exile, and Poland’s international position. She incorporates the creation and performance of the 1st Polish Army on the Eastern Front into a narrative that in most Western accounts is too often dominated by action in Italy and Northwest Europe. Her treatment of the Polish Resistance and the 1944 uprising is excellent. She also establishes the complex mix of operations, logistics, and politics behind the Allies’ limited support for the Home Army in Warsaw. Kochanski’s sympathies clearly lie with Poland’s exile government in London, but she neither conceals nor trivializes policies and decisions that often proved self-defeating. Kochanski also gives an account of the Holocaust and the thorny issue of Polish collaboration in it. Above all, this is a story of expedience: the critical decisions that had to be taken, the terrible role of sheer chance, …the simple desire to survive under the most difficult circumstances. And expedients, as Kochanski ably demonstrates, are not always wise.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson:

In 1933, President Roosevelt personally selected William E. Dodd to be the United States ambassador to Nazi Germany. Dodd took his family with him, including his daughter Martha. Initially enamored with the Nazi party and its passion, Martha supported the Third Reich. However, when Hitler’s violent policies became apparent, Martha changed her opinion and watched in horror. Here, author Erik Larson offers a chilling first-person account of Germany’s transformation under Hitler’s rule.

Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot comes an extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler—the “female Oskar Schindler”—who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While she was there, she began to understand the fate that awaited the Jewish families who were unable to leave. Soon she reached out to the trapped families, going from door to door and asking them to trust her with their young children. Driven to extreme measures and with the help of a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and her star-crossed lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis. She made dangerous trips through the city’s sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through secret passages in abandoned buildings. But Irena did something even more astonishing at immense personal risk: she kept a secret list buried in bottles under an old apple tree in a friend’s back garden. On it were the names and true identities of these Jewish children, recorded so their families could find them after the war. She could not know that more than ninety percent of their families would perish.

Irena’s Children, “a fascinating narrative of…the extraordinary moral and physical courage of those who chose to fight inhumanity with compassion” (Chaya Deitsch author of Here and There: Leaving Hasidism, Keeping My Family), is a truly heroic tale of survival, resilience, and redemption.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer and Susan Dworkin:

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith’s protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret. In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street. Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 by Madeleine Albright:

Drawing on her own memory, her parents’ written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly-available documents, former US Secretary of State and New York Times bestselling author Madeleine Albright recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring. Before she turned twelve, Madeleine Albright’s life was shaken by some of the most cataclysmic events of the 20th century: the Nazi invasion of her native Prague, the Battle of Britain, the attempted genocide of European Jewry, the allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War.

In Prague Winter, Albright reflects on her discovery of her family’s Jewish heritage many decades after the war, on her Czech homeland’s tangled history, and on the stark moral choices faced by her parents and their generation. Often relying on eyewitness descriptions, she tells the story of how millions of ordinary citizens were ripped from familiar surroundings and forced into new roles as exile leaders and freedom fighters, resistance organizers and collaborators, victims and killers. These events of enormous complexity are shaped by concepts familiar to any growing child: fear, trust, adaptation, the search for identity, the pressure to conform, the quest for independence, and the difference between right and wrong.

Prague Winter is an exploration of the past with timeless dilemmas in mind, a journey with universal lessons that is simultaneously a deeply personal memoir and an incisive work of history. It serves as a guide to the future through the lessons of the past, as seen through the eyes of one of the international community’s most respected and fascinating figures. Albright and her family’s experiences provide an intensely human lens through which to view the most political and tumultuous years in modern history.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman:

A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story—sharing Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.

And as I’m running out of week here, I’m just going to put up the photos that link to the StarCat pages for the DVDs and you can read a description of the videos and request them from the StarCat page.

DVDs:

Fiction:

All The King’s Men (BBC):

Darkest Hour:

The Eagle Has Landed:

Foyle’s War:

Holocaust:

Land Girls:

Pearl Harbor:

The Purple Plain:

Sands of Iwo Jima:

The Tuskegee Airmen:

War and Remembrance: Part 1:

War and Remembrance The Final Chapter:

The Way Back:

The White Cliffs of Dover:

The Winds of War:

Wish Me Luck:

Non-Fiction (Documentary):

America and the Holocaust:

The Bielski Brothers:

Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust:

Holocaust Ravensbruck and Buchenwald:

Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers:

Memory of the Camps:

Time Of Fear:

The War (Ken Burns):

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Linda, SSCL

Did You Know…Victoria!

Hi everyone, here is our Did You Know… posting for May 2018!

Did you know…

Victoria!

So you’ve enjoyed the first two seasons of the PBS series Victoria, which chronicles the early life and reign of Queen Victoria and her dashing Prince Consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

But did you know…

The TV series is based upon a book, Victoria: A Novel, written by Daisy Goodwin?

It is!

Daisy Goodwin began doing research for the novel while she was a student at Cambridge University. Goodwin read Victoria’s personal diaries to gain a greater understanding of what life was like for the teenage Princess Victoria, who became queen just a month after her eighteenth birthday.

Interestingly, the novel Victoria actually ends at the time the two cousins, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, became engaged.

So the Goodwin book really is a bildungsroman!

And I love that word, bildungsroman!

Although the first time I read it, in a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, I had to look it up in the dictionary!

But that is cool as learning is a wonderful thing!

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines bildungsroman as meaning “a novel dealing with a person’s formative years” , so the term does indeed apply to the story of the young Queen Victoria we see in seasons 1 & 2 of the PBS series.

And having now shown my library geekiness – I’ll get back to the subject at hand – the fact that the Goodwin novel Victoria, which admittedly is only her first book on Queen Victoria*, covers a relatively short period of Queen Victoria’s life beginning just as she becomes queen in 1837 and ending just before her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. The TV series has already gone past that point in history. And the real life story of Queen Victoria went on for another 61 years! In fact, Queen Victoria held the record for the longest reigning monarch in British history for more than one hundred years until the record was broken by Queen Elizabeth in 2015.

Did you know…

That there are several book available that will allow you, like Daisy Goodwin, to read entries from Queen Victoria’s private diaries?

There are!

The library owns two of them —

Life at the Court of Queen Victoria: 1861-1901 written by Queen Victoria and edited by Barry St-John Nevill:

And

Dearest Mama: Private Correspondence of Queen Victoria and the Crown Princess of Prussia, 1861-64:

Did you know…

That the scientist Ada Lovelace, seen in Season 2, Episode 2 of the Victoria TV series, is considered to be the first computer programmer?

She is!

Disclaimer! I am not a math person! I’d rather write essays all day long then work on advanced math problems! So to properly illustrate Ada Lovelace’s importance, I’m going to quote from her New York Times obituary* the information that relays just why, today, she is considered the first computer programmer:

“A century before the dawn of the computer age, Ada Lovelace imagined the modern-day, general-purpose computer. It could be programmed to follow instructions, she wrote in 1843. It could not just calculate but also create, as it “weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”

The computer she was writing about, the British inventor Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, was never built. But her writings about computing have earned Lovelace — who died of uterine cancer in 1852 at 36 — recognition as the first computer programmer.

The program she wrote for the Analytical Engine was to calculate the seventh Bernoulli number. (Bernoulli numbers, named after the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, are used in many different areas of mathematics.) But her deeper influence was to see the potential of computing. The machines could go beyond calculating numbers, she said, to understand symbols and be used to create music or art.

“This insight would become the core concept of the digital age,” Walter Isaacson wrote in his book “The Innovators.” “Any piece of content, data or information — music, text, pictures, numbers, symbols, sounds, video — could be expressed in digital form and manipulated by machines.” (Claire Cain Miller, the New York Times, Online)

So you see, all of us who use technology, from casual cell phone users to tech geeks who eagerly await the next new and exciting personal technology news, should celebrate the work of Ada Lovelace, as without her work we might not have the technology we have today!

Did you know…

That author Walter Isaacson makes prominent mention of Ada Lovelace and her contributions to computer science in his book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution?

He does!

Not surprisingly, considering how patriarchal an era the 19th Century was, female scientists and inventors of that era have largely been forgotten by those writing the history books. Walter Isaacson does his bit to set the record straight in his book by highlighting the important work done by female scientists.

And as a fun little aside, Isaacson was inspired to research the work done by female scientists and innovators and emphasize that work in his book by, of all things, his daughter’s school work! It seems when Isaacson’s daughter, Betsy, was in college she spent a long time procrastinating and putting off writing her obligatory college essay, much to the chagrin of her parents. And when she finally completed the two-page essay her father asked her what subject she had chosen to write about and she replied “Ada Lovelace”, and noted that historically, women who have made contributions to the sciences have been forgotten. And Betsy planted a seed that eventually inspired Isaacson to emphasize the work done by female scientists and inventors as a major thread in his book.

If you haven’t read the Isaacson book it is fascinating and it discusses a number of scientists and inventors including: Ada Lovelace, Admiral and Computer Scientist Grace Hopper, Vannevar Bush head of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, Robert Noyce of Intel, Bill Gates & Paul Alan of Microsoft, Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak of Apple, Larry Page of Google, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and many others.

And should you wish to read Walter Isaacson’s excellent book on technological innovators – click on the photo to request it!

Getting back to the subject of Queen Victoria…

Did you know…

That Prince Albert really did break through the ice while skating and that Queen Victoria really did save him, as seen in the last episode of the second season of Victoria?

He did and she did!

We all know that TV adaptations of books, based on historical fact, are fictionalized a bit when adapted for television or the big screen. So I wondered when I saw that scene if it happened in real life or if it was just created to give more pizzazz to the storyline so I looked it up!

And I discovered that Prince Albert was an enthusiastic ice skater, and that in early 1841 Queen Victoria had a new pair of skates made especially for him. Subsequently, the royal couple went for a walk in Buckingham Palace’s Kensington Gardens with only one Maid of Honour, the Hon Miss Murray, in tow. Prince Albert put on his new skates and was zipping across the ice when he fell through the ice and into the frigid water. Queen Victoria directed Miss Murray to take one of her hands while she reached for Prince Albert with her other hand, and together they pulled Prince Albert out of the water!

And if I didn’t know that story was true I’d say it couldn’t possibly be – but it really did happen!

And here is a description of the accident given by Prince Albert himself in a letter he sent to his stepmother: “I managed, in skating, three days ago, to break through the ice in Buckingham Palace Gardens. I was making my way to Victoria, who was standing on the bank with one of her ladies, and when within some few yards of the bank I fell plump into the water, and had to swim for two or three minutes in order to get out.

“Victoria was the only person who had the presence of mind to lend me assistance, her lady being more occupied in screaming for help. The shock from the cold was extremely painful, and I cannot thank Heaven enough, that I escaped with nothing more than a severe cold.”

So the skating accident may sound like fiction but it is fact!

And for our final did you know of the month…

Did you know…

That Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had nine children?

They did!

And here is a list of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert’s children:

Vicky (Princess Victoria, later German Empress, 1840-1901):

Bertie (Albert Edward Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, 1841-1910)

Alice (Princess Alice, later Grand Duchess of Hesse, 1843-1878)
Note: Princess Alice’s great-grandson is the current Prince Consort, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Alfred (Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1844-1900)

Helena (Princess Helena, later Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, 1846-1923)

Louise (Princess Louise, later Duchess of Argyll, 1848-1939)

Arthur (Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, 1850-1942)

Leopold (Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany 1853-1884)

Beatrice (Princess Beatrice, later Princess Henry of Battenberg, 1857-1944)

Victoria Books & DVDs To Enjoy:

Books:

Queen Victoria’s Children by John Van der Kiste

Victoria: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin

Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair by Goodwin and Sarah Sheridan:

Note: This is the companion book to the second season of the Victoria TV series!

Victoria’s Daughters by Jerrold Packard:

DVDs

Edward The King (TV Mini Series from 1975):

And yes, the series is about Queen Victoria’s son Bertie, known to history as King Edward VII. However, as Queen Victoria lived a long time and King Edward survived her by less than ten years — there is a quite a bit of Victoria seen in this dramatized series.

Queen Victoria’s Children:

Queen Victoria’s Empire:

Victoria & Abdul (2017):

Victoria: the Complete First Season:

Victoria: The Complete Second Season:

The Young Victoria (2008) (A stand alone movie not related to the current PBS TV series):

* Season 2 of the PBS series Victoria is based upon the book Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair which was co-authored by Daisy Goodwin and Sarah Sheridan

*Overlooked: Ada Lovelace – Overlooked is a new obituary series the New York has created that highlights the lives of women whose contributions to society were previously overlooked due to their gender.

Have a great day!
Linda, SSCL

References (Because libraries love to cite their sources!)

Bilton, Nick. The Women Tech Forgot ‘The Innovators’ by Walter Isaacson: How Women Shaped Technology. 14 October 2014. The New York Times. Accessed April 30, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/02/fashion/the-innovators-by-walter-isaacson-how-women-shaped-technology.html

Dearest Mama: Letters Between Queen Victoria and the Crown Princess of Prussia 1861-1864. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1969.

Gilbert, Deborah. Daisy Goodwin on Writing and Creating Victoria on MASTERPIECE. 12 January, 2018.Thirteen (PBS). Online. Accessed April 30, 2018.
https://www.thirteen.org/blog-post/daisy-goodwin-on-writing-and-creating-victoria-on-masterpiece/

Isaacson, Walter, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. New York. Simon & Schuster. 2014.

Miller, Claire Cain. Overlooked: Ada Lovelace: A Gifted mathematician who is now recognized as the first computer programmer. The New York Times. Online. Accessed April 30, 2018.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked-ada-lovelace.html

Life at the Court of Queen Victoria: 1861-1901. Edited by Barry St-John Nevill, Illustration from the collection of Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton, Master of the Household. Exeter. Webb & Bower, 1984.

Goodwin, Daisy. Victoria. St. Martin’s Press. New York. 2016.

Prince Albert. The Home of the Royal Family. Online. Accessed April 30, 2018.
https://www.royal.uk/prince-albert

The true story of Prince Albert’s ice-skating accident – and how Queen Victoria saved his life. Radio Times. Online. Accessed. April 30, 2018.
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-04-27/the-true-story-of-prince-alberts-ice-skating-accident-and-how-queen-victoria-saved-his-life/

Victoria (r. 1837-1901). The Home of the Royal Family. Online. Accessed April 30, 2018.
https://www.royal.uk/victoria-r-1837-1901

StarCat (The catalog of physical materials, i.e. books, DVDs, music CDs etc.):

OverDrive (The catalog of digital materials including eBooks, downloadable audio books and a handful of streaming videos):

Freegal Music Service (The streaming catalog of music available for free to library card holders):

RB Digital (Free magazines – on demand!):

And apps for OverDrive, Freegal & RB Digital can be found in your app store – so you can access digital library content on a laptop/desktop computer or on a mobile device.

Digital & Print Recommended Titles Week of March 12, 2018

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for the week.

This list includes ebook titles, available through OverDrive and, five print titles available through StarCat.

(Note: Click on the photo of the item you’re interested in to request it or check it out)

Digital Suggestions For The Week: 

1. The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman:

After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library’s own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene’s job. And, incidentally, on her life…

Book 4 in the Invisible Library Series

2. City of Lies, Counterfeit Lady Series, Book 1 by Victoria Thompson:

An exciting new historical mystery series featuring woman-on-the-run Elizabeth Miles—from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.
Every woman plays a part—but some are more dangerous than others…
Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own.

She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions, forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son, Gideon, is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. Elizabeth knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gideon. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past.

3. Fledgling by Octavia Butler:

Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s first new novel in seven years, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted–and still wants–to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of “otherness” and questions what it means to be truly human.

4. Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder:

The end of retirement?

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others―including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.

In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Accompanying Linda May and others from campground toilet cleaning to warehouse product scanning to desert reunions, then moving on to the dangerous work of beet harvesting, Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy―one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive. Like Linda May, who dreams of finding land on which to build her own sustainable “Earthship” home, they have not given up hope.

5. Seduced by Mrs. Robinson How “The Graduate” Became the Touchstone of a Generation by Beverly Gray:

Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?

When The Graduate premiered in December 1967, its filmmakers had only modest expectations for what seemed to be a small, sexy art-house comedy adapted from an obscure first novel by an eccentric twenty-four-year-old. There was little indication that this offbeat story—a young man just out of college has an affair with one of his parents’ friends and then runs off with her daughter—would turn out to be a monster hit, with an extended run in theaters and seven Academy Award nominations.

The film catapulted an unknown actor, Dustin Hoffman, to stardom with a role that is now permanently engraved in our collective memory. While turning the word plastics into shorthand for soulless work and a corporate, consumer culture, The Graduate sparked a national debate about what was starting to be called “the generation gap.”

Now, in time for this iconic film’s fiftieth birthday, author Beverly Gray offers up a smart close reading of the film itself as well as vivid, never-before-revealed details from behind the scenes of the production—including all the drama and decision-making of the cast and crew. For movie buffs and pop culture fanatics, Seduced by Mrs. Robinson brings to light The Graduate’s huge influence on the future of filmmaking. And it explores how this unconventional movie rocked the late-sixties world, both reflecting and changing the era’s views of sex, work, and marriage.

Print Suggestions For The Week: 

1. The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller:

A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

2. Make Way for Her: And Other Stories by Katie Cortese:

A girl afflicted with pyrokinesis tries to control her fire-starting long enough to go to a dance with a boy she likes. A woman trapped in a stalled marriage is excited by an alluring ex-con who enrolls in her YMCA cooking class. A teen accompanies her mother, a prestigious poet, to a writing conference where she navigates a misguided attraction to a married writer―who is, in turn, attracted to her mother―leaving her “inventing punishments for writers who believe in clichés as tired as broken hearts.”

In this affecting collection, Katie Cortese explores the many faces of love and desire. Featuring female narrators that range in age from five to forty, the narratives in Make Way for Her speak to the many challenges and often bittersweet rewards of offering, receiving, and returning love as imperfect human beings. The stories are united by the theme of desperate love, whether it’s a daughter’s love for a parent, a sister’s for a sibling, or a romantic love that is sometimes returned and sometimes unrequited.

Cortese’s complex and multilayered stories play with the reader’s own desires and anticipations as her characters stubbornly resist the expected. The intrepid girls and women in this book are, above all, explorers. They drive classic cars from Maine to Phoenix, board airplanes for the first time, and hike dense forests in search of adventure; but what they often find is that the most treacherous landscapes lie within. As a result, Make Way for Her explores a world of women who crave knowledge and experience, not simply sex or love.

3. Promise: A Novel by Minrose Gwin:

In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women worlds apart—one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager—fight for their families’ survival in this lyrical and powerful novel

A few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, Mississippi, killing more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures.

When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son.

Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one, including Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, who has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him.

During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.

4. The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel C. Rosenberg:

New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg returns with a high-stakes political thriller set in Russia.

Everything he learned to protect our president, he must use to take out theirs.
With an American president distracted by growing tensions in North Korea and Iran, an ominous new threat is emerging in Moscow. A czar is rising in the Kremlin, a Russian president feverishly consolidating power, silencing his opposition, and plotting a brazen and lightning-fast military strike that could rupture the NATO alliance and bring Washington and Moscow to the brink of nuclear war. But in his blind spot is the former U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker, trained to protect but ready to kill to save his country.

5. A Farewell to the Horse: A Cultural History by Ulrich Raulff:

A surprising, lively, and erudite history of horse and man, for readers of The Invention of Nature and The Soul of an Octopus.

Horses and humans share an ancient, profoundly complex relationship. Once our most indispensable companions, horses were for millennia essential in helping build our cities, farms, and industries. But during the twentieth century, in an increasingly mechanized society, they began to disappear from human history. In this esoteric and rich tribute, award-winning historian Ulrich Raulff chronicles the dramatic story of this most spectacular creature, thoroughly examining how they’ve been muses and brothers in arms, neglected and sacrificed in war yet memorialized in paintings, sculpture, and novels―and ultimately marginalized on racetracks and in pony clubs. Elegiac and absorbing, Farewell to the Horse paints a stunning panorama of a world shaped by hooves, and the imprint left on humankind.

Have a great week!

Linda, SSCL

You can request physical items, i.e. print books, DVDs & CDs, online via StarCat:

or by calling the library at: 607-936-3713 x 502.

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:

StarCat

The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.

The Digital Catalog (OverDrive)

The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

Freegal Music Service

This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:

RBDigital

Digital magazines on demand and for free! Back issues are available and you can even choose to be notified by email when the new issue of your favorite magazine is available.

About Library Apps:

You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or Zinio app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Suggested Listening March 9, 2018

Hi everyone, here are our five musical recommendations for the week; four streaming suggestions and one recommended album on CD.

(Click on the photo to stream or request the album you want to listen to!)

Freegal Streaming Suggestions*

Opus (2018) by Al Di Meola (Genre: Jazz, Classical, Guitar):

Opus is the brand new album by Jazz guitarist Al Di Meola and features a nice collection of Jazz instrumentals.

Songs on the LP include: Milonga Noctiva, Notorious, Frozen in Time, Pomp, Left Unsaid and Cerrento Sannita.

Annie Lennox Collection (2009) by Annie Lennox (Genre: Rock, Pop, Vocal):

A cool collection of some of the best songs recorded by former Eurythmics co-founder Annie Lennox during her early solo years.

Songs in the collection include: Little Bird, Walking On Broken Glass, A Thousand Beautiful Things, Pavement Cracks and Dark Road

Blackjack David (1988) by Dave Alvin (Genre: Folk, Rock, Blues, Country, Traditional Rock, Roots Rock):

California based guitarist Dave Alvin is known as a co-founder of the early eighties band The Blasters and, for playing music that incorporates elements of folk, rockabilly, blues and country and which can broadly described as roots rock. Blackjack David is one of his best albums and features a collection of songs that have a quality one might describe as a mix between down-to-earth accessibility and an eloquent everyday style of intensity – check it out!

Songs on the LP include: California Snow, New Highway, Evening Blues, The Way You Say Goodbye, 1968 and From a Kitchen Table.

Plays Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1966) by Dave Lewis (Genre: Rock, Classic Rock, Traditional Rock, R&B, Traditional R&B):

This mid-sixties album by Seattle based keyboardist and vocalist Dave Lewis features twelve instrumentals – new versions of songs that were previously recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. This upbeat and mellow album is perfect for background weekend music!

Songs on the LP include: Walk, Don’t Run, South of The Border, Spanish Harlem, Let It Be Me, Tijuana Taxi and Love Potion #9

Streaming Bonus:

You’re Driving Me Crazy (2018) single by Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco (Genre: Vocal, Jazz):

A great jazzy song from the forthcoming album of the same name which will be available on Freegal on its day of release – April 27, 2018.

CD of the Week:

Soul Be It! (2002) by Deborah Coleman (Genre: Blues):

Soul Be It! is blues guitarist Deborah Coleman’s sixth release and it is a fun and swinging album!

Songs on the LP include: My Heart Bleeds Blue, Don’t Lie to Me, I’m a Woman, You’re With Me and I Believe.

Videos of the Week:

Broken Heart by Al Di Meola

Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox

Blackjack David by Dave Alvin

Walk Don’t Run by Dave Lewis

You Drive Me Crazy Album Trailer by Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco

Don’t Lie to Me by Deborah Coleman

Have a great weekend!

Linda, SSCL

References:

Artist Biography & Discography Information:

http://www.allmusic.com/

The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn (Billboard Books. New York. 2009.)

P.S. If you have any questions about how to download or stream free music through the Freegal Music service to a desktop or laptop computer or how to download and use the Freegal Music app let us know! Drop by the library or give us a call at: 607-936-3713

*You must have a library card at a Southern Tier Library System member library to enjoy the Freegal Music Service. Your card can be from any library in the system, and the system includes all public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegheny Counties and includes our own Southeast Steuben Count Library in Corning, New York!

Library cards are free if you live in our service area. And you can obtain a card by visiting the Circulation Desk and presenting staff with a form of ID that features your name and your current address.

Daily Digital & Print Suggested Reads: Friday, December 1, 2017

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for today.

(Note: Click on the photo of the item you’d like to request or check out)

Our digital suggestion for today is the ebook: 

In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a brand-new Baxter Family novel about a beloved high school principal who starts a Bible Study to improve the lives of his struggling students, only to become the national focus of a controversial lawsuit.

Hamilton High Principal Wendell Quinn is tired of the violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and low expectations at his Indianapolis school. A single father of four, Quinn is a Christian and a family man. He wants to see change in his community, so he starts a voluntary after-school Bible Study and prayer program. He knows he is risking his job by leading the program, but the high turnout at every meeting encourages him.

A year later, violence and gang activity are down, test scores are up, and drug use and teen pregnancy have plummeted. The program is clearly working—until one parent calls the press. Now Quinn faces a lawsuit that could ruin everything.

With a storm of national attention and criticism, Quinn is at a crossroads—he must choose whether to cave in and shut down the program or stand up for himself and his students. The battle comes with a high cost, and Quinn wants just one attorney on his side for this fight: Luke Baxter. In This Moment is an inspiring, relevant story about the nuances of religious freedom and how a group of determined people just might restore the meaning of faith in today’s culture.

A Secret Sisterhood, The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney:

Male literary friendships are the stuff of legend; think Byron and Shelley, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But the world’s best-loved female authors are usually mythologized as solitary eccentrics or isolated geniuses. Coauthors and real-life friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney prove this wrong, thanks to their discovery of a wealth of surprising collaborations: the friendship between Jane Austen and one of the family servants, playwright Anne Sharp; the daring feminist author Mary Taylor, who shaped the work of Charlotte Brontë; the transatlantic friendship of the seemingly aloof George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, most often portrayed as bitter foes, but who, in fact, enjoyed a complex friendship fired by an underlying erotic charge.

Through letters and diaries that have never been published before, A Secret Sisterhood resurrects these forgotten stories of female friendships. They were sometimes scandalous and volatile, sometimes supportive and inspiring, but always—until now—tantalizingly consigned to the shadows.

And our print book suggested read for the day is:

You can request physical items, i.e. print books, DVDs & CDs, online via StarCat:

or by calling the library at: 607-936-3713 x 502.

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:

StarCat

The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.

The Digital Catalog (OverDrive)

The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

Freegal Music Service

This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:

RBDigital

Digital magazines on demand and for free! Back issues are available and you can even choose to be notified by email when the new issue of your favorite magazine is available.

About Library Apps:

You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or Zinio app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Daily Digital & Print Suggested Reads: Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for today.

(Note: Click on the photo of the item you’d like to request or check out)

Our digital suggestion for today is the downloadable audiobook:

I Was Here written by Gayle Forman and narrated by Jorjeana Marie:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.

Two peas in a pod.

Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything–so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open–until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

And our print book suggested read for the day is:

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

 

“I dare you to read this novel and not fall in love with Arthur Truluv. His story will make you laugh and cry, and will show you a love that never ends, and what it means to be truly human.”—Fannie Flagg

An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them

“Fans of Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub, or [Elizabeth] Berg’s previous novels will appreciate the richly complex characters and clear prose. Redemptive without being maudlin, this story of two misfits lucky to have found one another will tug at readers’ heartstrings.”—Booklist

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life.

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.

You can request physical items, i.e. print books, DVDs & CDs, online via StarCat:

Or by calling the library at: 607-936-3713 x 502.

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:

StarCat

The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.

The Digital Catalog (OverDrive)

The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

Freegal Music Service

This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:

RBDigital

Digital magazines on demand and for free! Back issues are available and you can even choose to be notified by email when the new issue of your favorite magazine is available.

About Library Apps:

You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or Zinio app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

Daily Digital & Print Suggested Reads: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hi everyone, here are our recommended titles for today.

(Note: Click on the photo of the item you’d like to request or check out)

Our digital suggestion for today is the ebook:

A Cherry Cola Christmas by Ashton Lee:

Christmas is coming to the small town of Cherico, Mississippi, and there’s no better way to prepare than with the Cherry Cola Book Club’s feast of good food, good books—and good people…

Cherico’s newlywed librarian Maura Beth Mayhew is back from her honeymoon and she and Jeremy McShay are settling into married life. Maura Beth’s father has even given them the down payment on a charming cottage. But as the holidays approach, Cherico’s economy is struggling. Beloved local shops have closed, jobs have been lost, and there’s even a mysterious crime spree afoot. Amid the gloom, Maura Beth decides what the community needs is a healthy dose of Christmas cheer—which means a special meeting of the Cherry Cola Book Club…

Along with the delicious potluck offerings everyone has come to expect, Maura Beth has invited members and the public to share their most uplifting stories—and share they do. From poignant stories of grief and renewal to joyful stories of love and new life, Cherico’s residents infuse the gathering with so much hope and courage they just might inspire a culprit’s confession, and conjure a holiday miracle that could save the town—and Christmas…

“A Cherry Cola Christmas is filled with the quirky, funny and charming characters we’ve grown to love and whose poignant tales become the true blessings of Christmas. This book belongs under every tree this season.”—Christa Allan

“An intrepid librarian, a book club feast, and a cozy, heart-warming Mississippi mystery—what’s not to love?”—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

And our print book suggested read for the day is:

Jade City by Fonda Lee:

 

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.

Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for — and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone — even foreigners — wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones — from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets — and of Kekon itself.

You can request physical items, i.e. print books, DVDs & CDs, online via StarCat:

Or by calling the library at: 607-936-3713 x 502.

Have a great day!

Linda, SSCL

Online Catalog Links:

StarCat

The catalog of physical materials, i.e. print books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD etc.

The Digital Catalog (OverDrive)

The catalog of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and a handful of streaming videos.

Freegal Music Service

This music service is free to library card holders and offers the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day:

RBDigital

Digital magazines on demand and for free! Back issues are available and you can even choose to be notified by email when the new issue of your favorite magazine is available.

About Library Apps:

You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive, Freegal or Zinio app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.