Tag Archives: nonfiction

Pulitzer Prize 2020 Winners and Finalists

Fiction:

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

A spare and devastating exploration of abuse at a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida that is ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity and redemption. On Overdrive.*

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper)

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. On Overdrive.*

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right. , a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right. On Overdrive.*

Biography:

Sontag: Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser (Ecco)

An authoritatively constructed work told with pathos and grace, that captures the writer’s genius and humanity alongside her addictions, sexual ambiguities and volatile enthusiasms.  On Overdrive.*

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer (Alfred A. Knopf)

Draws on firsthand writings in a narrative portrait of the influential American diplomat that explores how his achievements over half a century of history were complicated by his political ambitions.

Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, And Me by the late Deirdre Bair (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)

A memoir of the author’s experience writing biographies of Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir.

History:

Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)

A masterfully researched meditation on reparations based on the remarkable story of a 19th century woman who survived kidnapping and re-enslavement to sue her captor. On Overdrive; hoopla has audio book.*

Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (University of North Carolina Press)

Race for Profit uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. Hoopla has ebook and audio book.*

The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books)

A sweeping and beautifully written book that probes the American myth of boundless expansion and provides a compelling context for thinking about the current political moment. (Moved by the Board from the History category.) On Overdrive.*

General Nonfiction (2 winners):

The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books)

A sweeping and beautifully written book that probes the American myth of boundless expansion and provides a compelling context for thinking about the current political moment. (Moved by the Board from the History category.) On Overdrive.*

The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care by Anne Boyer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

An elegant and unforgettable narrative about the brutality of illness and the capitalism of cancer care in America. On Overdrive.*

Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson (Bloomsbury)

A geriatrician, writer and professor of medicine challenges the way people think and feel about aging and medicine through stories from her twenty-five years of patient care as well as from history, science, literature, popular culture, and her own life. On Overdrive.*

Solitary by Albert Woodfox with Leslie George (Grove Atlantic)

The life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement—in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana—for a crime he did not commit. On Overdrive.*

-posted by Donna, Readers’ Services

*Syosset Public Library patrons can use their library cards to access Overdrive and Hoopla.

 

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

Evening Book Discussion

In Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Anne Frank’s Death

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
7:30 PM

with Jackie Ranaldo, Head of Readers’ Services

A timeless story that stands without peer, this definitive edition brings to life the world of a brilliant young girl who, for a time, survived the worst horrors the modern world has ever seen and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.

This program is free. No registration required.

Teens welcome!

Books  are available at the Circulation Desk.

Photographs and videos taken during library programs may be used for library publicity.

-posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

5 for the Oscars

Here are the five books that inspired the films that are nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award this year.  The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony honoring the best films of 2019 will take place on Sunday, February 9 at 8 pm ET.

I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt

A longtime mob associate relates his descent into a life of crime, his position as both a hit man and head of the Teamsters union in Wilmington, Delaware, and his inside knowledge of payoffs, mob hits, and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Caging Skies by Christine Leunens

An avid member of the Hitler Youth in 1940s Vienna, Johannes Betzler discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa behind a false wall in their home. His initial horror turns to interest — then love and obsession. After his parents disappear, Johannes is the only one aware of Elsa’s existence in the house and the only one responsible for her survival. By turns disturbing and blackly comic, haunting and cleverly satirical.

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

One bad day. According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as The Joker, that’s all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he’s out to prove his deranged point.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women.  Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

The Pope: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World by Anthony McCarten

Why did Pope Benedict walk away at the height of power, knowing his successor might be someone whose views might undo his legacy? How did Pope Francis — who used to ride the bus to work back in his native Buenos Aires — adjust to life as leader to a billion followers? If, as the Church teaches, the pope is infallible, how can two living popes who disagree on almost everything both be right?

-all summaries from the publishers

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

Our Favorite Books of 2019, Pt. II

The New Year is here and you might want to start it off with a good book. Here are some titles that our staff read and found to be particularly good in 2019.

Sonia, Reference Services:

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

“This compelling story of two ministers and their wives was basically a meditation on different ways people can live their faith or non-faith – a lot to think about.”

In a novel that spans decades, the lives of two young couples become intertwined when the husbands are appointed co-ministers of a venerable New York City church in the 1960s.*

Celine by Peter Heller

“I had to read a different book by this author for a book club earlier in the year and really did not like it. I was so surprised when I read this title for the same book club and loved it.”

A missing-persons tracker who specializes in reuniting families to make amends for a loss in her own past, Celine searches for a presumed-dead photographer in Yellowstone, only to be targeted by a shadowy figure who wants to keep the case unsolved.*

The last 7 Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny 

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“I caught up on on the series this year  and it averages into one continuous great reading experience. I’m currently re-reading the first!”

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life in Three Pines, finding long buried secrets–and facing a few of his own ghosts.*

Ed, Head of Reference Services:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Discovering a mysterious book of prisoner tales, a Vermont graduate student recognizes a story from his own life before following clues to a magical underground library that is being targeted for destruction.*

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

A talented baker running a business out of her nursing home reconnects with her master brewer sister at the same time her pregnant granddaughter launches an IPA brewpub.*

 

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

When their middle brother Cameron, who went missing the week before Christmas, is found dead, Nathan and Bub are forced to confront devastating secrets.*

The Paragon Hotel by Lindsay Faye

Fleeing to 1921 Oregon, Alice takes refuge in the city’s only black hotel and helps new friends search for a missing child, hide from KKK violence and navigate painful secrets.*

 

Pam, Assistant Library Director:

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

A sequel to Olive Kitteridge finds Olive struggling to understand herself while bonding with a teen suffering from loss, a woman who gives birth unexpectedly, a nurse harboring a longtime crush and a lawyer who resists an unwanted inheritance.*

Becoming by Michelle Obama

An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.*

Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services:

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

“An incredible memoir detailing the moment one woman’s entire identity is stripped by an at-home DNA kit and the inspiring aftermath of her journey.”

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.*

Maid by Stephanie Land 

“A powerful and eye-opening account of a young, single mother living in poverty while working as a minimum wage earning housekeeper.”

A journalist describes the years she worked in low-paying domestic work under wealthy employers, contrasting the privileges of the upper-middle class to the realities of the overworked laborers supporting them.

Rosemarie, Children’s Services Librarian:

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

While working as divers with the all-female diving collective on a small Korean island, Mi-ja and Young-sook find their friendship challenged by their differences and forces outside their control.*

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl

Manipulated by a stranger, an affluent Sandefjord woman is forced to prove just how far she is willing to go to protect her life and family.*

 

 

Megan, Systems Administrator:

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

“Part gothic fiction, part who-done-it, part space opera, Gideon the Ninth is a genre-bending story about a young woman ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a zombie, but must first act as a bodyguard to her lifelong frenemy in a thousand-year-old intergalactic struggle.”

1491:  New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

“In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.  I could not believe how much of what I was taught in school, even recently, was so very wrong!”

We wish all of our readers a very happy and healthy New Year!

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

December’s Book Displays

In keeping with the season, our first display is Happy Holidays.  What better way to celebrate than with food!  Lots of cookbooks and guides for Christmas celebrations and Jewish holidays. The display also includes a couple of Christmas themed novels. Readers’ Services is offering the Adult Winter Reading Club and will be hosting the Year-End Readers’ Services Celebration with author Kitty Zeldis on December 17, 2019 at 2 pm. No registration is required and refreshments will be served.

Take a Byte Out of a Good Book is the theme for our second display. There is plenty to learn about computers and technology and this display has it – from the Internet, Mac Books, iCloud, Photoshop, Adobe, Access to coding, blogging, Twitter and more. Some of the books are geared towards Seniors and “Dummies.”

 

 

The two mini-displays* are:

  • Get Cozy with the Elm Creek Quilters – a series written by Jennifer Chiaverini.
  • Classics You May Have Missed.

*Mini-displays are subject to and do change during the month*

On the third floor the health librarian’s display is Consider the Caregiver. Being a caregiver is an emotionally challenging role in today’s society. In many instances, a person can be suddenly put into this role without any training. These books can help you understand how to care for a loved one and how to get them the professional help they need. Lots of handouts!

 

On the lighter side, American Art is the topic for the other third floor display. Come and enjoy this collection of oversized books with lots of pictures of American artwork – lots to see and learn.

Happy Holidays to all our wonderful Syosset Public Library patrons!

-posted by Betty, Reference Services

Evening Book Discussion

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

7:30 PM

with Ralph Guiteau, Readers’ Services Librarian

“Bourdain spares no one’s appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same “take-no-prisoners” attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike.” – from the publisher

This program is free.

No registration required.

Books are available at the Circulation Desk.

Photographs and videos taken during library programs may be used for library publicity.

-posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

Adult Winter Reading Club Starts

Welcome to the Syosset Library’s Adult Winter Reading Club.

Visit the Readers’ Services Desk on the second floor to register and receive your Adult Winter Reading Club BINGO card. Read any book within the assigned author categories to complete a BINGO. For each BINGO you complete, a ticket will be entered to win a raffle prize.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. In-person registration is required and begins on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.  Open to SSD residents 18 years or older with a valid library card.

-posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services