RRPL Summer Reads

Here’s a sampling of books I’m looking forward to reading this summer. Often drawn to historical fiction, I have included a cozy mystery by Carolyn Hart. I hope you enjoy my suggestions.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

“The remarkable story of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.”

Women’s March by Jennifer Chiaverini

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini returns with The Women’s March, an enthralling historical novel of the woman’s suffrage movement inspired by three courageous women who bravely risked their lives and liberty in the fight to win the vote.”

Ghost Blows a Kiss by Carolyn Hart

“In the tenth Bailey Ruth ghost novel from New York Times bestselling Grand Master of Mystery, Carolyn Hart, the “charmer of a detective” (Kirkus Reviews) takes on a puzzler of a mystery when she’s sent to Adelaide, Oklahoma to rescue a woman in trouble.”

The brief descriptions above are taken directly from fantasticficion.com.

~Emma

RRPL Summer Reads- The Chosen and The Beautiful

It’s finally June which means that summer is officially right around the corner! We will be counting down the days until the first day of summer, Sunday, June 20th, by sharing the books we are most excited to read in the months ahead. Each week you’ll get a look at titles that Rocky River Public Library staff can’t wait to dive into!

My first summer read pick is The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo.

This book, just published yesterday (!) is a Best of Summer Pick for Time Magazine and a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine, so I’m definitely not the only person who has been looking forward to this title to hit bookshelves.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents the American classic story of The Great Gatsby through a queer, magical, immigrant lens. Reimagining Fitzgerald’s character Jordan Baker as a young, queer woman who was born in Vietnam and raised in white, American high society, Vo invites readers along for a fresh, imaginative look at this Gatsby woman. Jordan has money, education, invitations to the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age, but is treated like an exotic attraction by her peers.

Vo, a Milwaukee-based author, whose previous works include the novellas Then the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, said in a recent interview that her early influences include Neil Gaiman, British fantasy writer Angela Carter, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” author Patricia Highsmith, and the popular podcast series “Welcome to Night Vale.”

As many students have had to throughout the years, I first read The Great Gatsby in my high school freshman English class, and wasn’t particularly impressed. I’ve re-read it since then and am a fan of Fitzgerald’s works now, but am very excited to read a modern, diverse voice such as Vo’s take on this well-known narrative. I also love magical realism and this new novel sounds like an amazing mash-up of some of my favorite literary elements!

What are some titles you are excited to read this summer? We’d love for you to share your titles with us this month in the comments! Happy reading!

Love is in Bloom: New and Upcoming Romance

Ahh May. That magical time of year when the flowers are blooming, everything is a beautiful green, and the weather is wildly unpredictable (that might just be a Northeast Ohio factor). It’s also a great time of year to pick up a light and fun romance! Take a look below for ten new and upcoming romance titles sure to make for a great read- whether you are cozied up on the couch or soaking up some sunshine poolside.

Excited to dive into one of these titles? Visit our OverDrive digital library or request a print copy today!

Discover@RRPL

Nora Seed, a 30-something who suffers from depression, is at her lowest point. Filled with regrets about the choices she has made, she decides to end her own life. Her plan goes awry, however, and Nora wakes up in a sort of limbo, a library filled with books containing every imaginable version of her life story. This library provides Nora with a chance to try out other lives to see if things would end up differently for her. If Nora finds the book that contains the life she wants, she can live out the rest of her days fulfilled and happy, and be saved.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig was on many people’s lists of favorite books last year, but I only just read it. My only regret: not starting it sooner. Place your hold for a copy of this memorable novel that explores life’s endless possibilities for Nora (and all of us) here.

Nora and this novel are fictional but mental health issues are not. If you know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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

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)!

Review of Helene Wecker’s The Hidden Palace – sequel to The Golem and the Jinni

Book cover of The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker

Fans of Helene Wecker’s award-winning historical fantasy novel, The Golem and the Jinni, rejoice – after eight years of waiting, we finally get a sequel!

The Hidden Palace comes out on June 8 and picks up shortly after the end of the first book (don’t worry – there are unobtrusive reminders in the text to get you up to speed with the preceding events). The evil sorcerer who had imprisoned jinni Ahmad in a metal vial (spoilers!) was defeated at much personal cost in the first book. Ahmad and Chava, the golem, now must weather the rapid changes at the turn of the twentieth century in New York City: the sinking of the Titanic, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, and the beginning of the Great War, as well as changes in their relationship to each other and their communities.

Once again, Wecker has crafted an immigrant chronicle for the ages that grapples with the dual problems of the diaspora: attempting to assimilate into a new culture while at the same time keeping close one’s native culture, all while trying to find a place in the world. The Hidden Palace is a sweeping character-driven epic of a family forged in love, not blood ties, whose members fight and love and learn, falling apart and together organically. Even though I only read The Golem and the Jinni once many years ago, this new book felt like coming home, as if I never really left Ahmad and Chava’s world and was now spending time with treasured friends. The tone is melancholy with measured pacing so that readers can truly immerse themselves in the world, and while no one gets a happy ending, exactly, Wecker ends her novel on a hopeful, bittersweet note. The Hidden Palace is a worthy successor to its smash hit predecessor and will wrap you again in a fully realized world you won’t want to leave.

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