What We're Reading Wednesday
Hello! Here's what Wilmette Public Library staff has been reading lately. This week we feature a debut YA novel about a Lipan Apache protagonist who solves a murder in a magical America; a book on the climate crisis from a climatologist and geophysicist; a historical fiction audiobook set in WWII Italy; the third book in an incisive political biography series about Lyndon Johnson, again in audiobook format; and a fictionalized book about Van Gogh's final days. You can search for these titles and put them on hold through our online catalog or you can look for an ebook or e-audiobook on the Digital Library of Illinois.
Author: Darcie Little Badger
Reader: Krista H., Teen Librarian
Elatsoe is set in an recognizable but slightly different contemporary America, where magic and magical beings are commonplace. People can travel by Fairy Ring (it’s regulated); vampires have rights (and “old age” homes); and magic can be studied in university. Ellie, the asexual Lipan Apache protagonist, has inherited her Six-Great-Grandmother’s spirit-calling abilities. While calling on human ghosts is forbidden, Ellie’s deceased dog Kirby is her devoted ghost companion and she practices her powers by trying to raise the spirits of fossils just to see if it’s possible. When Ellie's cousin Trevor dies, his spirits visits her to tell her he was murdered, and Ellie is determined to solve this crime, with the help of numerous family and friends, colorful side characters who feel equally as real as Ellie. Little Badger’s world-building is a fascinating blend of small-town realism, folklore and magic from a variety of cultures and Indiginous traditions, and spooky near-horror. It’s entirely different, yet works so well without a ton of info-dumping. I loved it!
Title: The New Climate War - The Fight to Take Back Our Planet
Author: Michael E. Mann
Reader: Suzanne A., Adult Services Librarian
I am recommending The New Climate War: the Fight to Take Back our Planet by Michael Mann. He is a scientist who is very concerned about our climate crisis. He has been on PBS a couple times recently. He analyzes groups with varying points of view. He says that governments, corporations as well as individuals need to fight for our planet. Regardless of whether you agree with him, you will learn a lot from reading this. He explains the politics and the science well.
Title: Eternal - a novel
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Audiobook Narrators: Cassandra Campbell, Edoardo Ballerini, Lisa Scottoline
Reader: Jennifer K., Adult Services Librarian
Lisa Scottoline's newest novel, Eternal, takes place during Fascist rule and the outbreak of WWII in Italy. It is historical fiction that offers the beauty of Rome including its food, architecture, ancient history as well as the atrocities the city suffered during the 1930's and 40's. The reader follows three close friends and witnesses how their lives and relationships are influenced in a broken country they love. So many historical fiction novels centered around WWII focus on France. Italy's tale is just as captivating and heartbreaking. The audio version is narrated by Scottoline, Cassandra Campbell and Edoardo Ballerini. Italian pronunciations add pleasing musicality to the reading. (Jennifer got this digital audiobook through the Digital Library of Illinois' Libby app!)
Title: The Years of Lyndon Johnson - Master of the Senate
Author: Robert A. Caro
Audiobook Narrator: Grover Gardner
Reader: John A., Adult Services Librarian
I'm taking a break from reading after doing The Talented Mr. Ripley for the Classics & Contemporary book club discussion last week (which was a lot of fun), so I'm now listening to this 2002 audiobook - available through Libby. I finished the print version last year, but wanted to listen to it as well as it was a very fascinating book - indeed, the whole series is incredibly well-researched and told in a compelling narrative voice, well-suited to the audio format, almost akin to a long-form podcast. Master of the Senate looks at Lyndon Johnson's controversial election to the Senate in 1947 through his nomination as the Democratic nominee for Vice President to John F. Kennedy. Caro details how LBJ assiduously studied his Senate colleagues and manipulated colleagues from across the political spectrum, from the arch-segregationist Richard B. Russell, Jr. to the liberal firebrand Hubert H. Humphrey in the acquisition of power - letting the two factions believe he was firmly on their side and cultivating deep personal relationships while developing his own notions of civil rights and economic equality. By hook and crook, LBJ would transform the previously moribund position of Senate Majority Leader into one of power and prestige, ultimately to abandon his perch for the Vice Presidency and initial humiliation during the Kennedy years.
Title: Leaving Van Gogh
Author: Carol Wallace
Reader: Diane d.S, Youth Services Librarian
LOVED it! Got it from our adult fiction collection. I absolutely loved this fictional take on Van Gogh's last months seen through the eyes of Van Gogh's last physician Dr. Gachet. The book begs the question, did Van Gogh act alone in his final days leading to suicide?