New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Check out this selection of new releases for your enjoyment coming this week!

Yearbook: Essays by Seth Rogen – A collection of funny personal essays from one of the writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express and one of the producers of The Disaster Artist.

The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe – With her family, finances, emotions, relationships and health teetering on the brink, Linnea Rutledge finds her life further complicated by her feelings for John, an old flame who turns up from California and is quarantining next door.

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner – While trying to pinpoint the root of her dissatisfaction with her life, Daisy Shoemaker beings receiving misdirected emails meant for another woman and begins living vicariously through her until she discovers that their connection was not completely accidental.

China by Edward Rutherfurd – The internationally best-selling author of Paris and New York takes on an exhilarating new world.

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown – Based on extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, the New York Times best-selling author of The Boys in the Boat chronicles the special Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe.

The Anatomy of Desire by L. R. Dorn – A clever reimaging of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy follows the disappearance of popular fitness coach, social media influencer, and possible murderer, as her secret life and what she risked to have it all are exposed.

The Devil May Dance by Jake Tapper – In a fast-paced sequel to The Hellfire Club, Charlie and Margaret Marder, political stars in 1960s Washington, D.C., arrive in Los Angeles on their latest case only to be pursued by sinister forces from Hollywood’s stages to the newly founded Church of Scientology.

The Final Twist by Jeffery Deaver – Taking on a mission his father began years ago—to find a missing courier bag that contains a catastrophic secret—Colter Shaw plays cat and mouse game with a corporate espionage firm and gets some help from an unexpected figure from his past to expose the truth.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz – Wildly successful author Jacob Finch Bonner, who had stolen the plot of his book from a late student, fights to hide the truth from his fans and publishers, while trying to figure out who wants to destroy him.

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams – Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery Keene, now the legal guardian of power of attorney for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, must unravel the clues he left behind in regards to a dangerous conspiracy that has infiltrated the highest power corridors of Washington.

A Summer to Remember by Erika Montgomery – When a mysterious package arrives, containing a photograph that changes her life forever, 32-year-old Frankie Simon, the owner of a movie memorabilia shop on Hollywood Boulevard, discovers the meaning of home and the magic of true love.

Billie Eilish by Billie Eilish – A legendary recording artist shares an inside look at her life—both on and off the stage—through hundreds of never-before-seen photos.

~Semanur

Discover Book Club Kits @RRPL

The theme for the 2021 Cleveland Humanities Festival is Identity, and RRPL has embraced this theme by offering the Book Club Kit, Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. This book was chosen as one of the NYT’s Best Books of the Year 2020, one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020, and best book of 2020 by the Washington Post and O Magazine.

An immigrant father and his son search for belonging in post-Trump America, and with each other.

Check out our Book Club Kits for 6 weeks and you will receive 8 book copies, a set of discussion questions and other pertinent information about the author and title, all inside a canvas library tote. Inquire at the Adult Reference desk for more information.

New Fiction for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Image contains text: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - most titles available on Overdrive or Hoopla, and all titles are available in the library catalog. Image also includes book covers for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, Black Water Sister by Zen Cho, My Year Abroad by Chang Rae Lee, She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian, Bestiary by K-Ming Chang, Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan, Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee, Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, and Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, so it’s a perfect time to read some new fiction by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors! We’ve curated a small selection of new and new-ish (published in 2020) books, with everything from romance to science fiction, to literary fiction and young adult fiction.

Click the image above to be taken to our Overdrive ebook catalog, where you can search for each book by title or author. Find the Hoopla ebook catalog here. Individual links to the library’s catalog for each physical book are below.

Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Discover@RRPL

The Kew Gardens Girls

by Posy Lovell

During WWI, women were hired to replace men who were serving in the military to work at Kew, the Royal Botanical Gardens in London. Not everyone was pleased with this decision including the Gardens’ foreman Mac. The women’s lesser wages for the same work as men reflected this attitude. Ivy Adams, an illiterate teenager from Hackney, and Louisa Taylor, escaping her abusive husband in Kent, were both hired. Bernie Yorke, a former school teacher and a Quaker was also hired. It is soon discovered that Bernie refuses to enlist and he becomes a target of the “white feather campaign”. Men out of uniform were given white feathers, often by Suffragettes hoping to shame them into enlisting. Because Bernie was a conscientious objector, he lost his job at Kew. Soon Lady Winifred (Win) Ramsay begins as a volunteer worker at Kew Gardens just to keep busy while her husband is in the Navy. The three women become fast friends as they fight for equal pay for women at Kew and as they support pregnant Ivy as she waits for Jim to return home from the war.

This debut novel is a mixture of friendship, romance, sadness and fight. It’s a treat for fans of historical fiction. For those interested in Kew Gardens, please enjoy a brief tour/history at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khOfA1JhLyg.

~Emma

Discover@RRPL

Have you heard that (Cleveland’s own) Paula McLain has a brand-new book out? You’ll want to place your hold for When the Stars Go Dark right now.

In this novel, Anna Hart, a missing persons detective in San Francisco, is very good at her job. Having suffered trauma as a teenager in foster care herself, Anna is an outspoken advocate for young girls in trouble. After a personal tragedy, Anna takes a break from her life and work in San Francisco and flees to her one-time home in Mendocino, California to regroup. There, she rents a cabin in the woods and reunites with her childhood friend, Will, who is now the local sheriff. When Will tells her about a series of missing local girls, Anna quickly becomes engrossed in the investigation.

Paula McLain is well-known and loved as an author of bestselling, meticulously-researched novels of historical fiction. When the Stars Go Dark is more of a suspense novel, though, and is inspired by the author’s own personal experiences with foster care and abuse. With well-drawn characters, many edge-of-your-seat moments, and a satisfying conclusion, McLain delivers a truly compelling read. Just try and put this one down!

Review of The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley book cover and RRPL catalog link

An excellent speculative fiction alternate history set during the Napoleonic Wars featuring a time travelling LGBTQ+ love story. In The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley, Joe Tournier wakes up on a train station platform with no memory of who he is. He’s in London, but everyone is speaking French. When he receives a postcard with his name on it, mailed a hundred years ago, Joe journeys to the lighthouse pictured on the card and is kidnapped through a portal into the past by a mysterious man.

Pulley’s novel is at once both a romantic love story across time and space and a well-researched alternate history that examines how the use of future technology would change events in the past, and how far nations would be willing to go for information from the future. This book is for anyone who has ever wondered what would have happened if the French won at Trafalgar, if the telegraph was invented fifty years earlier, or even what would happen if a sailing ship battled against a steam-powered battleship. The twisty, turny plot may be confusing or hard to follow at first, but the payoff in the end is well-earned. Pulley does not pull her punches, either in the story or the action, but her take on naval ship battles is visceral without being over the top with gore. For anyone who loved Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell or Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series.

Look for the Kingdoms on May 25!

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC (advance reader copy)!

What We’re Reading Now…

Ride the Pink Horse  by Dorothy B. Hughes

Senator Douglas left Sailor in Chicago facing the heat of a murder investigation and without the promised payoff. Determined to collect this owed money, Sailor follows the Senator out of Chicago to Sante Fe. Disembarking from a long bus trip, Sailor finds himself unexpectedly in the height of Fiesta and without a hotel room. Difficulties compound when Sailor realizes he’s not the only did Sailor come down from Chicago, but so did a homicide detective with an interest in both Sailor and the Senator. With Ride the Pink Horse, Hughes writes another beautiful noir and a psychological thriller ahead of its time. Trent 

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley 

An excellent speculative fiction alternate history set during the Napoleonic Wars, featuring a time travelling LGBTQ+ love story. Joe Tournier wakes up on a train station platform with no memory of who he is. It’s London, but everyone is speaking French. When he is given a postcard mailed a hundred years ago, Joe journeys to the lighthouse pictured on the card and is kidnapped through a portal into the past by a mysterious man. Comes out May 25! Shannon 

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

An engaging dark fantasy inspired by Blackwood’s “The Willows”, a story that apparently terrified Lovecraft and clearly helped to birth the menacing and other worldly willows found in Kingfisher’s novel. The story follows recently divorced Kara as she moves into her Uncle Earl’s eclectic and odd Wonder Museum to escape having to live with her parents again. The Museum is a place near and dear to her heart and Kara is ready for a fresh start, but soon after her arrival an odd hole appears in a museum wall while Uncle Earl is away recovering from knee surgery. It soon becomes clear the hole is much more than a simple drywall puncture, but rather a portal leading to an impossible concrete bunker, which takes Kara and her neighbor Simon to an alternate dimension reminiscent of a nefarious Narnia, full of invisible monsters and a thinly veiled skin between one reality and the next. Nicole 

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar 

Listed as NYT’s 10 Best Books of 2020, I’m so glad I made the time to read this one.  The book blends fact with fiction, keeping the reader constantly wondering, am I reading a nonfiction book?  This is a very personal story about acceptance and marginalization in a nation greatly divided.  It’s also a coming-of-age story of a young American-born son of immigrant parents and the complexities of family.  The young narrator disagrees with his immigrant father, being a staunch American patriot and Trump supporter,  but quietly comes to terms with who his father is and a better understanding of the country he was born in.  Mary 

 A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders

This work takes readers through seven classic Russian short stories. This is a technical, yet accessible examination of how fiction works and why it is important.  Beth 

 


American cosmic : UFOs, religions, technology by Diane Walsh Pasulka 

Pasulka, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, writes about her research into the belief of UFOs and how it is shaped and developed through media and technology. Pasulka likens this to the creation of a new religion and belief structure. One of the main points that she brings up is that instances of this phenomenon are too numerous to not be studied, while also withholding a conclusion on what is occurring. The author presents her research in a narrative style, introducing us to researchers and academics who speak only anonymously due to the stigma of studying UFOs. An engaging book that peaks reader’s curiosity and allows them to draw their own conclusions. Greg 

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen  

Spanning three decades in the early 20th century and skipping ahead to the 2000’s, this is mostly the story of Caroline’s great-aunt Lettie (Juliet). At 18, Juliet took a trip to Venice with her aunt where she met Leo. Ten years later art teacher Juliet is back in Venice chaperoning a high school trip when she encounters Leo again. Juliet is given the opportunity to study art in Venice for a year when she meets up with Leo who is now married. Their attraction is strong, and Juliet becomes pregnant.  Skip ahead to 2001 when on her deathbed Lettie bequeaths a box with drawings and 3 keys to Caroline. Caroline heads to Venice to discover the unknown history of Lettie’s life there. Great historical fiction for fans of Rhys Bowen.  Emma 

The Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

This novel is a riveting tale of two sisters in Northern Ireland. Although the IRA supposedly has been underground for decades, everyone in the small village of Greyabbey knows differently. Bomb threats, robberies, security checkpoints and raids have become a part of everyday life. Tess, a BBC producer and her sister, Marian, a paramedic, have never been particularly political, and have lived their whole lives in the same town, hoping for peace and an end to violence. Imagine Tessa’s shock while watching news coverage of a recent robbery involving the IRA, when she sees footage of her sister Marian pulling a black ski mask over her face. The police are convinced that Marian is a longtime IRA member, but Tessa just can’t reconcile this with her sister’s quiet single life, as a daughter, sister and beloved aunt and believes she has been brainwashed or coerced. Tess is determined to find out the truth and protect her sister, but how far is she willing to go in a deeply divided society where people face impossible choices? Sara

2021 CIFF Streams Recap

This year I had the opportunity to watch four films through the Cleveland International Film Festival. Though the event couldn’t be held in downtown Cleveland, as is tradition, the streaming option was a welcome alternative during the pandemic.

Spaceboy – Belgium, Director: Olivier Pairoux, Writers: Eusebio Larrea, Olivier Pairoux

Spaceboy is about Jim, a gifted young boy who moves to a new town with his astrophysicist father, Graham.  Jim gets paired up in his new class with a girl named Emma for a science fair. He uses it as an opportunity to put his plans of recreating Kittinger’s ‘Excelsior’ project into action.  Jim’s determination is soon fueled by a personal drive to prove to his father that anything is possible.  This was such a moving story.  I can’t wait for this one to come out in the US.  

Games People Play- Finland, Director: Jenni Toivoniemi, Writer: Jenni Toivoniemi

A group of longtime friends meet at one of their parents’ vacation homes on a remote island in Finland to celebrate one of their birthdays. 

This was a complex story about relationships.  The party seemed to last forever as they disconnected from the world and put their phones down.  They played baseball, cooked and ate, and drank a lot.  There was singing and dancing, and a lot of intimacy.  

It was beautiful and funny story of the intricacies of friendship and self-identity.   

Perfectly Normal Family – Denmark  Director: Malou Reymann, Writers: Maren Louise Käehne, Malou Reymann,Rune Schjøtt

Emma this she has a perfectly normal family until one day her father, Thomas reveals that he is transgender. As Thomas transforms into Agnete, both Emma and Agnete struggle to accept how their relationship will evolve.  The movie does a really good job of shifting the viewers perspective to that of a timid child, naïve to the world, and very uncertain with her own identity.   

Goodbye, Soviet Union – Finland Director: Lauri Randla, Writer: Lauri Randla

Is the coming of age story of Johannes, a courageous young boy living on the cusp of western culture during the collapse of the soviet union.  His mother leaves the Estonian Soviet Republic to work in Finland, leaving Johannes in the care of his grandparents.  It has romance, comedy, and history in it.  I really enjoyed this movie and can’t wait for it to get distribution in the US.  

-Beth