Category Archives: books

What I’m Reading…

I just finished the book Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner which is a new release. Jennifer is one of my favorite authors and loves to connect to her fans on all forms of social media. When her publisher decided to move UP the date of publication, it was not expected as many other books were pushed back. It does not disappoint.

Instagram influencer Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh comes back into her life six years after huge fight.  Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is speechless but agrees to do it.

About halfway through the book there is an interesting twist and I don’t want to ruin it but I was shocked because I did not see it coming. Along the way Weiner touches on topics like Instagram filters, weight and the complexities of both female friendships and family.  I highly recommend it for a good summer escape.

Big Summer is available in ebook and audiobook formats in Overdrive.

-posted by Lisa H., Readers’ Services

2020 Edgar Award Winners

The winners of the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, presented by the Mystery Writers of America and honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2019, are:

Best Novel: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder; a high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary : Hallo Clare. You don’t know me. Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. ON OVERDRIVE (ebook only).

Best First Novel by an American Author: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG)

A dramatic murder trial in the aftermath of an experimental medical treatment and a fatal explosion upends a rural Virginia community where personal secrets and private ambitions complicate efforts to uncover what happened. ON OVERDRIVE (audio and ebook), AUDIO IS CURRENTLY ON HOOPLA.

 

 

Best Paperback Original: The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)

Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears. This mysterious vanishing—and the ones that follow—will brand the lives of three generations over the course of this novel. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion. His daughter Jeanie sees the Hotel Neversink into its most lucrative era, but also its darkest. Decades later, Asher’s grandchildren grapple with the family’s heritage in their own ways: Len fights to keep the failing, dilapidated hotel alive, and Alice sets out to finally uncover themurderer’s identity. Told by an unforgettable chorus of Sikorsky family members—a matriarch, a hotel maid, a traveling comedian, the hotel detective, and many others—The Hotel Neversink is the gripping portrait of a Jewish family in the Catskills over the course of a century. With an unerring eye and with prose both comic and tragic, Adam O’Fallon Price details one man’s struggle for greatness, no matter the cost, and a long-held family secret that threatens to undo it all. ON OVERDRIVE ebook only

Best Fact Crime: The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton (Grand Central Publishing)

Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up in small-town Indiana in the early ’90s. When she was 11 years old, her parents both had their identities stolen. Their credit ratings were ruined, and they were constantly fighting over money. This was before the age of the Internet, when identity theft became more commonplace, so authorities and banks were clueless and reluctant to help Axton’s parents. Axton’s family changed all of their personal information and moved to different addresses, but the identity thief followed them wherever they went. Convinced that the thief had to be someone they knew, Axton and her parents completely cut off the outside world, isolating themselves from friends and family. Axton learned not to let anyone into the house without explicit permission, and once went as far as chasing a plumber off their property with a knife. As a result, Axton spent her formative years crippled by anxiety, quarantined behind the closed curtains in her childhood home. She began starving herself at a young age in an effort to blend in—her appearance could be nothing short of perfect or she would be scolded by her mother, who had become paranoid and consumed by how others perceived the family. Years later, her parents’ marriage still shaken from the theft, Axton discovered that she, too, had fallen prey to the identity thief, but by the time she realized, she was already thousands of dollars in debt and her credit was ruined. This is Axton’s attempt to untangle an intricate web of lies, and to understand why and how a loved one could have inflicted such pain, bby breaking the unwritten rules of love, protection, and family. ON OVERDRIVE (audio and ebook)

Best Critical/Biographical: Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)

In Hitchcock and the Censors, author John Billheimer traces the forces that led to the Production Code and describes Hitchcock’s interactions with code officials on a film-by-film basis as he fought to protect his creations, bargaining with code reviewers and sidestepping censorship to produce a lifetime of memorable films.

 

 

Best Short Story: “One of These Nights,” from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)

“One of These Nights”, has more shocking twists than most full-length mystery novels and they spring, like goblins, when you least expect it. But the protagonists are not goblins, they are adolescent best girlfriends with a dangerous, sly agenda. (from GoErie.com)”

 

 

Best Juvenile: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught (Paula Wiseman Books)

Alternates between the detective work of middle-schooler Jesse and her new friend, Springer, after her father is accused of stealing, and post-tornado rescue efforts of Jesse and her Pomeranian, Sam-Sam. ON OVERDRIVE (only ebook)

 

 

 

Best Young Adult: Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)

Because her mom is always on the move, Steph hasn’t lived anyplace longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet—a social media site where users upload cat pictures—a place she knows she is welcome. What Steph doesn’t know is that the admin of the site, CheshireCat, is a sentient A.I. ON OVERDRIVE (only ebook).

-posted by Donna, Readers’ Services

Books to Films

credit: S.Grgas

Who doesn’t love a good story? Whether it’s a book or film. Books such as Gone With The Wind** or Game Of Thrones* were not only literary successes but were blockbuster films. During this time of staying at home I’ve been binge watching some TV series.

Some of my recommendations are:

· My Brilliant Friend** is an HBO series based on the novel of the same name by the author Elena Ferrante. Set in the 1950’s in a small town on the outskirts of Naples. It’s a tale of friendship between 2 young girls, Lila and Elena, that spans a lifetime. We watch how the girls grow and change as they confront life and a changing culture.

· The Last Kingdom, a Netflix series based the book The Last Kingdom** by Bernard Cornwell. It’s an epic tale of courage, treachery, duty, politics, religion and love. Set in the late 9th century as Saxons, Britons and Danes fight for control of the land. The story revolves around King Alfred’s dream of uniting kingdoms to form England.

· I Know This Much Is True,* an HBO series released in May. Also based on the novel of the same name by Wally Lamb. The main character is Dominick Birdsey, a man full of anger and hate. He has an identical twin, Thomas who is a paranoid schizophrenic. Dominick both loves his brother deeply and resents him. The story tells a tale of how Dominick finds his roots and eventually learns to accept his fate in life.

Stay safe. Looking forward to the day we’ll see each other at SPL.

-posted by Betty P., Reference Services

Books available on **Overdrive and Hoopla or *Overdrive only.  Overdrive and Hoopla can be accessed through the Syosset Public Library website – all you need is a library card!

Cooking While in Quarantine

I find cooking shows interesting and distracting from what’s going on in the news, And since we are all staying in and cooking more these shows have been useful adding interest to my menus.
  •  Lidia Bastianich –  her many shows are excellent for Italian cooking skills and recipes.
  • America’s Test Kitchen with hosts Julia Collins Davidson and Bridget Lancaster  Is basically a how to cooking skills and testing of recipe, foods and kitchen equipment.
  • Good Eats with Alton Brown – tell the science of foods and their history, fun and interesting show
  • Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman on the travel channel. Travels the world and tries exotic foods and gives the back story of their origin.

While the library is closed you can still find cookbooks and cooking videos on our our website using the Overdrive, Hoopla, Creativebug or RBDigital platforms.  All you need is a library card!

Bon Appetit!

-posted by Marie V.,  Circulation Services and Sonia, Reference Services

What I’m reading during Quarantine

I just finished the book Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots – a 2012 memoir by Deborah Feldman. There is a new Netflix mini series based on this book so I thought I’d read it before watching it.

Deborah grows up in the Hasidic community of Satmar in Brooklyn and feels like an outsider her entire life. Her mother is no longer with the community and her father is described as having a Intellectual disability so the author is raised by her grandparents. Her aunt Chaya also helps to raise her but doesn’t seem to enjoy it at all. When Deborah is 17, a match is made to marry Eli, a man who seems too attached to his family and is not a great fit for the rebellious young lady who dreams of leaving him. The author has a son with Eli at age 19 and secretly goes on birth control after that.

I read an updated 2​020 version with a few notes at the end – the last one explains her life now and how living in Berlin reminds of her youth In Brooklyn.

I recommend reading this book before or after watching it on Netflix!

This book is available on Overdrive in both ebook and audiobook formats.

-posted by Lisa H., Readers’ Services

Book Review: American Sherlock

If you are a fan of true crime books, CSI television or just enjoy an interesting story – then please read American Sherlock, the story of Edward Oscar Heinrich. Oscar Heinrich was an American investigator and criminalist and one of America’s first forensic scientists. He pioneered many of the forensic tools widely used today, including lie detector tests, bloodstain pattern analysis and ballistics. Heinrich investigated more than two thousand cases in his career and his deductive powers have been compared to the fictional Sherlock Holmes. In one celebrated case, Heinrich read a ransom note and correctly deduced from the writing style that the perpetrator was a baker.

Heinrich’s story is a fascinating study of the development of forensic science and the challenges posed in presenting these new techniques to skeptical police, judges and juries. Whether you are partial to true crime or mystery fiction, this book about Heinrich and his methods of investigation will provide a new layer of insight in crime detection.

Author Kate Winkler Dawson is an upcoming guest on the Syosset Library podcast, Turn the Page. Be sure to listen in and learn more about the American Sherlock Holmes.

American Sherlock is available  for download in both ebook and audio formats on Overdrive.

-posted by Barney, Reference Services

Book Reviews: 2 Titles by Elin Hilderbrand

Credit: Nina Subin

One of my favorite authors is Elin Hilderbrand. She has written more than 23 novels, most of which take place on Nantucket Island, MA as the locale. I’ve been reading many of her older novels for the past few months and have enjoyed every one of them. Here are two of my favorites :

Nantucket Nights (2002) 

“For twenty years, three friends have enjoyed a special summer ritual (drinking champagne, swapping stories , and swimming naked under the stars) . On one of those nights, one of the trio swims out and does not return. What happens after the disappearance is that many hidden secrets emerge which may destroy their friendship , their marriages and their families. There are many interesting twists and turns in the plot which make for exciting reading.”

Barefoot (2007) 

“Three woman arrive on Nantucket to spend the summer. Each one has a different problem to deal with. Vicki, who has a baby and a four year old boy, has learned she has a serious illness. Her sister Brenda lost her job as a result of having an affair with a student. There friend Melanie is pregnant and learns that her husband is having an affair. Into their world enters Josh , a college boy who will take care of the kids. What happens with these 4 lives makes for a fun , memorable and bittersweet story.”
The author lives on Nantucket and she includes writing about the various stores, restaurants, beaches, streets and landmarks in her novels. Sounds like a great place to visit.
-posted by Dona, Acquisition Services