New at Peter White Public Library
With the pandemic, I find myself yearning to be somewhere else — another time, another country, another planet. These books have satisfied that need to escape the here and now.
Madeline Miller’s newest novel, “Circe,” chronicles the lesser goddess’s life from birth to mortality. Unlike most nymphs, Circe is not dazzlingly beautiful or melodious. She is, however, bright and curious. When Prometheus is beaten by the furies and punished, only she has the courage to bring him some relief with nectar. For a while, she finds happiness with her brother Aetes, but when he leaves her, her loneliness returns. Seeking love with a mortal, she turns him into a god, only to be rejected by him. She gets revenge by turning his paramour into a monster and earning exile where she hones her skills as a witch.
From Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series, comes a fantasy novel for adults, “Chosen Ones.” Imagine that you are a teenager with the magical ability to confront the Dark One and save the world. Having done so, how do you move on with your life in anything resembling normalcy? Ten years after the defeat of the Dark One, Sloane still has not figured it out. Suffering from PTSD, relying on drugs to get her through the day (and night,) she clearly has not moved forward. When she is pulled into another universe to combat the Resurrectionist, she finds herself back in her original nightmare.
Istanbul in the mid-20th century is where people seek the freedom to be themselves. Tequila Leila is such a woman. Born in a household where a conservative Islamic father has two wives, she is sexually abused by her uncle starting at the age of 6. When she finally tells her parents, they refuse to believe her and seek to marry her to one of her uncle’s sons, at which point she runs away. Told through flashbacks starting at the moment of her death, “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” by Elif Shafak relates the details of Leila’s life: mind, body, and soul.
“Beheld” by TaraShea Nesbit provides a reimagined view of Plymouth Colony as told by Alice Bradford, the governor’s wife, and Eleanor Billington, wife of John Billington, indentured servant and colony trouble-maker. Alice, who sees herself as her husband’s helpmate, views the colony through the naive eyes of one of the elite. Eleanor, however, has a much more jaded view, believing that the colony leaders are hypocrites, not the godly men they proclaim themselves to be. How they and their husbands behave and are treated eventually leads to both death and the revelation of a shameful secret.
Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, his wife Detective Inspector Gemma James, and their children have been invited by Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot to her home in the Cotswolds for a charity luncheon to be catered by local chef Viv Holland. But when Viv’s former boss, Fergus O’Reilly, winds up dead after visiting her pub and having a public row with her, their weekend turns out to be anything but relaxing in Deborah Crombie’s “A Bitter Feast.”
Fans of Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” may enjoy reading his latest novel, “Fall or, Dodge in Hell.” With references back to Cryptonomicon’s main characters, Stephenson explores the notion of downloading one’s consciousness onto a computer, a sort of life after death. Richard “Dodge” Forthrast arranges for such a download which happens after he unexpectedly dies during a routine medical procedure. From that point, he finds himself in a state of confusion and chaos which he eventually turns into “Bitworld,” which grows and evolves with the addition of more and more digital souls.