Welcome to Cabin Fever Favorites – Reading Recommendations for You

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Reading Recommendations

From Carol Viteritti, Circulation, Southold Free Library

Fatal Remedies
Author:  Donna Leon
Genre: Mystery

Fatal Remedies is the eighth book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series and it is a winner, as the Commissario’s professional and personal lives become challenged.

Early on a cold morning in Venice, an act of vandalism shatters the quiet of the city and Commissaario Brunetti is shocked to find the perpetrator is his wife, Paola!  The story becomes more and more complicated and will keep the reader totally absorbed until the very end!!  This is vintage Leon.

“Leon creates a rich sense of place through sensory descriptions of sight, sound and particularly, smell. She also uses humor and introspection well… ‘There are days when I think everything’s getting worse, then there are days when I know they are. But then the sun comes out and I change my mind.’”  - www.mysteryfile.com

You do not need to read the Brunetti stories in order and all are available for download on our website via Live-brary.

Tell us about a favorite book.  Send reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org


From Kathy Saccamano, Circulation/Adult Programming, Southold Free Library

The Chelsea Girls
Author: Fiona Davis
Genre: Historic Fiction

 This book covers the NY City Broadway world during the McCarthy era. It spans the 1940's through the 1960's.  The story follows two USO entertainers and their lives after the war.  One travels to Hollywood to become a star of the screen the other stays in NY to head for Broadway stardom.  The story focuses on many of the colorful characters that live and frequent the Chelsea Hotel.

Fiona Davis writes about historic landmarks in NYC with elements of mystery in the story lines.  Ms. Davis's writing style is to transition between two distinct time periods. She is one of my favorite authors and has written several other books.

The Address: This book is a story about the creation of the Dakota apartment building in 1880's and the current manager of the building in 1985 with stories of family secrets.

The Masterpiece: This book takes place in an art school within Grand Central terminal in 1928 when the school is flourishing and 1974 when Grand Central is falling into a somewhat decrepit state. The story focus on two woman each trying to change their destiny.

The Dollhouse: In this book you are transported to the 1950's Barbizon Hotel for women where many young secretaries and models lived upon finding their way in NY City.  The story transitions to the year 2016 where the building is going condo but one floor of the hotel still houses the original tenants and you are trying to solve the mystery of one maid’s tragic death from the roof in the 1950's.

All of these titles are available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Jessica Frankel, Reference Librarian, Southold Free Library

The Yellow House
Author:  Sarah Broom
Genre: Memoir

I read a lot of memoirs and this is, by far, one of the best I have ever read.  It is so well written, heartbreaking and raw but also full of love and admiration.  The author talks about her large family and growing up in New Orleans in a shotgun house painted yellow.  Her story extends through the horror and sadness of Hurricane Katrina, her return to New Orleans and the painful aftermath as seen by the family’s house and the neighborhood known as East New Orleans.

The author spent a year living in Orient, NY as an “Artist in Residence” while she wrote this book.  The book received many awards, including:

  • Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review
  • Named one of the “10 Best Books of 2019” by the New York Times Book Review, Seattle Times, Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Tribune, and Slate
  • Named a Best Book of 2019 by the Washington Post, NPR’s Book Concierge, NPR’s Fresh Air, the Guardian, BookPage, New York Public Library, and Shelf Awareness
  • Named a Best Memoir of the Decade by LitHub

"Remembering," she writes, "is a chair that is hard to sit on."

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.

Tell us about a favorite book.  Send reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org


From Kathy Saccamano, Circulation/Adult Programming, Southold Free Library

Saint X
Author: Alexis Schaitkin
Genre: Mystery; Thriller

A wealthy American family takes a trip to Saint X, a Caribbean island, and the eighteen-year-old daughter, Alison, suddenly disappears on the last day of their trip.  The mystery and shock of her never being found and the "abductors" never being caught haunts the little sister Claire and the parents all their lives. Their privileged life is thrown into chaos. The family moves from the East Coast to California and Claire decides to use her middle name Emily, to distance herself from the family's tragedy. Many years later, Claire’s (Emily's) life is once again disrupted when she moves to Brooklyn.  A chance encounter with a former employee from the Saint X resort stirs up her curiosity and frustration of what really happened to her sister all those many years ago.  For the most part I did enjoy this book. Once again, it’s an example of class and privilege and how tragedy can affect the lives of many.

“This is a smart page-turner, both thought-provoking and effortlessly entertaining.”  www.publishersweekly.com

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary. 

Tell us about a favorite book.  Send reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org


From Lorraine Sferlazza, Circulation, Southold Free Library

All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Genre: WWII; Historical Fiction

Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a young blind girl who lives with her father in Paris.  Werner Pfennig lives with his sister in an orphanage in rural Germany.  The book is a sad and moving story that traces their separate lives from pre-war times to years after the war.  Marie-Laure and her father move to Saint-Malo, France. After her father is sent to a German camp, she becomes active is the resistance.  Werner’s skill at repairing radios is discovered by German soldiers and he is sent to an exclusive but cruel training school, eventually to be sent into the field to send and disrupt enemy radio transmissions. They meet briefly as the war is just about to end and Werner falls in love with Marie-Laure. They are only to spend mere hours together before they part. The story concludes in 2014.

Despite the fact that it is rather long and quite sad, I did enjoy reading All the Light We Cannot See.  It was beautifully written and full of rich detail.  I cared about the characters and was intrigued by the challenges they faced and the choices they made under very difficult circumstances.

“Enthrallingly told, ….so emotionally plangent that some passages bring tears, it is completely unsentimental — no mean trick when you consider that Doerr’s two protagonists are children who have been engulfed in the horror of World War II.”  Washington Post

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Melissa Andruski, Adult and Local History Services, Southold Free Library

The Professor and the Madman: a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Author: Simon Winchester
Genre: Non-fiction

An absorbing, well-researched story about the creation of the extraordinary Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a formidable undertaking in mid-nineteenth century London.  Scottish editor, James Murray (the Professor) and his team of researchers put out a call for volunteers to assist with defining words in use since 1150 A.D.

One such contributor was William Chester Minor (the Madman) who devoted much of his life to this project from his residence at an insane asylum in the village of Crowthorne.  It was many years later that Murray learned of Minor's background history and first visited him in 1891.  Murray continued to visit Minor and in 1899 publicly complimented Minor's enormous contributions to the dictionary.    

A mesmerizing read which was also made into a movie.

“Winchester's imaginative retelling of these two (inextricably and most curiously entwined) lives is framed by the story of how the O.E.D. came to be, and the history of dictionary making itself, a more rambunctious profession than one would expect.”  New York Times

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.

Please tell us about a favorite title. We would love to hear from you! Send book reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org.


From Bob Hanlon, patron, Southold Free Library

The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides
Genre: Fiction; Crime Drama

The novel is a murder mystery. But it is not a whodunit, it’s a whydunit. We know from the start that Alicia, the famous painter has brutally murdered her husband, has been found insane and committed to a mental hospital; and she has not uttered a single word since the crime.  Theo, a psychotherapist at the hospital with his own troubled past, has a burning need to break through this silence and understand why she did it.  The story starts out a bit clinical, but quickly turns dramatic, as the complex history of these lives unfold.  Twists and turns abound.  I read through the night to get to the startling conclusion.

“A sly, hypnotic character study – a stellar debut.”  www.crimebythebook.com

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.

Tell us about a favorite title.  Send book reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.com


From Jessica Frankel, Reference Librarian, Southold Free Library

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Author: Lori Gottlieb
Genre: Non-Fiction

The author, a psychotherapist, starts her story with the sudden and traumatic breakup with the man she was planning to marry.  It continues with her sharing the stories of three of her patients – all of whom have very different issues but all of whom are struggling to make sense of their lives.  Hard to imagine, but Ms. Gottlieb keeps the stories funny, fascinating and poignant and leaving you wanting to know more.  The second aspect of the story is the author’s relationship with Wendell, the psychotherapist she decides to see for her own therapy, dealing with the emotions of her sudden breakup.  What makes this book so readable are the author’s insights and her ability to tell a good story with humor and empathy.

“Lori Gottlieb takes you not only inside the head of a therapist but welcomes you into her heart as well.  If you can stop laughing long enough, you may learn a thing or two about yourself and others from Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which is part memoir and part on-the-page therapy.” www.nyjournalofbooks.com

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.  

We would love to share your book reviews. Please send them to jessica@southoldlibrary.com


From Bob Hanlon, patron, Southold Free Library

The Girl with All the Gifts
Author: M. R. Carey
Genre: Science Fiction

Many have shivered through a long line of books, haunting us with a post zombie-apocalypse world.  We struggle and cheer for the few living humans fending off the brain-dead, brain-eating hordes that seek to make us theirs.  And usually the living humans prevail, because we still have the brains (for now).  But what if some of the zombies are not quite as mindless as a slug?  What if some of them are smart?  What are our chances then?  Mike Carey gives us an intriguing exploration of that possibility.  Also available as a film (but read the book first; it’s almost always better).

“It’s the characters that resonate in this thrilling tale of parental love in a world overrun with zombies.”  James Smythe, www.theguardian.com

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Carol Viteritti, Circulation, Southold Free Library

God is an Englishman
Author:  R.F. Delderfield
Genre:  Victorian Historical Fiction

God is an Englishman is the first book in the Swann Trilogy and it takes place in England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1830’s.  The main character, Adam Swann, is an Officer in the British Army and served in India for 7 years.  Adam is wounded in battle and returns to England for treatment of his wounds.  While recovering he decides to leave the Army and start his own shipping business.   While travelling to London, he meets a young girl who is running away from home and an arranged marriage.  Adam takes her along with him and later in the story, marries her and starts the overland shipping company.  As the business grows so do the couple’s fortunes and the novel is their story.  I really enjoy historical novels and, in my opinion, this is one of the best.  The story is involved and engrossing and I am looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, Theirs Was the Kingdom.

“A book to get lost in…An epic historical novel artfully constructed.”  New York Times Book Review

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Kathy Saccamano, Circulation/Adult Programming, Southold Free Library

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
Author: Vendela Vida
Genre: Mystery; Suspense; Psychological Fiction

This novel is about one woman's mysterious trip to Casablanca, Morocco.  As soon as she arrives at her hotel her backpack gets stolen including her passport, money, ID, phone, laptop and camera.  In her quest to report the theft and get her possessions back, she encounters obstacles with the hotel staff, local police and the US Embassy. In her possibly paranoid mind, she feels everyone is in on the theft, covering up some type of conspiracy.  She is eventually given another tourist’s backpack which contains another woman's passport and credit cards.  She does not correct the mistake and assumes this person’s identity for a while.  Throughout the book she continues to give a false name and reinvents herself based on the circumstances she finds herself drawn into.  This novel explores one woman's struggle with a secret past that she is running from, while embracing a life she never imagined or planned for, as she embraces the future. I give this book a mixed review.  It is written in a second person's POV and it took a little getting used to.  Not for a person who needs a story to be completely believable but a nice escape to Morocco for a while. The reasons for the book title and her trip are eventually revealed.

“A speedy and suspenseful fish-out-of-water tale with a slyly philosophical bent.” Kirkus Reviews

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary. 

Share your books reviews with us! Send them to jessica@southoldlibrary.org and we will post them on Cabin Fever Favorites.


From Lorraine Sferlazza, Circulation, Southold Free Library

Cilka’s Journey
Author: Heather Morris
Genre: WW II; Historical Fiction

Cecelia (Cilka) Klein had spent three years in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp at the time the war ended. Cilka, however, is tried and found guilty of collaborating and sleeping (unwillingly) with the enemy. She is sentenced to fifteen years at a labor camp in Siberia.

Once again, Cilka endures great hardships: unwanted attention from the camp guards, backbreaking work in brutal, frigid temperatures, and difficulties with other prisoners in her hut. 

A kind female doctor notices her kindness and clear thinking and takes Cilka under her wing, training her to attend to the sick in the camp hospital.  While working in the hospital and working with the emergency ambulance, Cilka encounters men injured from working in the coal mines, female prisoners impregnated by guards, and the nurseries set up for the resulting babies who are separated from their mothers in their second year.

Cilka’s Journey is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I am glad that I read the books in order, but it is not essential to do so. I found the story both gripping and disturbing. I recommend it highly, especially to anyone interested in WW II historical fiction. I enjoyed listening to the story while taking socially-distanced walks on sunny days.

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Lorraine Sferlazza, Circulation, Southold Free Library

The Orphan’s Tale
Author: Pam Jenoff
Genre: WWII; Historical Fiction

This book was referred to me by one of our patrons.  Thank you for the recommendation, J.D.!  This is a moving and compelling story of two woman and their struggle to survive World War II while hiding in a traveling circus in Europe.

Astrid is Jewish and a high wire aerialist once married to a Nazi military officer. Sixteen year old Noa, having been cast out by her family for a brief relationship and with a Nazi soldier, is living alone.  She finds Theo in a train car filled with Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp. Saving Theo and fleeing into the woods in a snowstorm, she is discovered by a member of the circus.  She is accepted into the circus if she can learn the flying trapeze and join Astrid’s act. A very tenuous relationship between Astrid and Noa ensues, as their secrets, conflicts, jealousies, and ultimate friendship grows.

The story held my interest from beginning to end.  I highly recommend it!
“A powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice…” – www.litlovers.com
Another book by Pan Jenoff I strongly recommend is The Lost Girls of Paris.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Genre: WWII; Historical Fiction based on interviews with Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and Holocaust survivor Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov

This is a gripping and intense story of Lale’s three year ordeal as a captor at Auschwitz. It is also a remarkable love story, tracing the tender relationship of Lale and Gita, also imprisoned in the camp. I loved the book and am looking forward to the sequel, Cilka’s Journey.

I “heard” the entire book via Audiobook, thanks to Livebrary.com and the Libby app on my cellphone. A #1 international bestseller. These titles, as well as The Lost Girls of Paris and Cilka’s Journey, are available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Kathy Saccamano, Circulation/Adult Programming, Southold Free Library

The Henna Artist
Author:  Alka Joshi
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Read this book and get some insight into life in India. You will learn about one woman's struggle in a culture separated by birth and privilege.

Seventeen year old Lakshmi escapes an arraigned and abusive marriage in rural India.  She travels alone and secretly makes her way to a large city.  Here she pursues an independent life working as a henna artist to the wealthy women, while pretending to be a widower for over ten years.   This is her life as she becomes more and more successful.  Her world is threatened when her husband and newly orphaned sister find her.  Her life takes many dramatic turns as she attends to her clients in the henna world while raising the sister she never knew existed.  She is also being extorted by the husband who does not know about her new life and identity.  The diversity in the classes of India remains cruel and unforgiving. 

"Joshi's evocative descriptions capture India's sensory ambience, drawing readers deep into her moving story." - www.publishersweekly.com

This title is available as an audiobook on our website via Live-brary.


From Carol Viteritti, Circulation, Southold Free Library

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Genre: Novel; Historical Fiction

This book relates the story of the first Pack Horse librarians who rode through the hill country of Appalacia in the 1930’s, bringing hope, education, and enjoyment to the inhabitants of this rural, poverty stricken area of Kentucky. There were many hardships and obstacles to overcome but  these women were determined and dedicated to their work. We also learn about the blue-skinned people, who suffered from a gene disorder, and who also lived in these hills but were shunned by the locals because of this condition.

"A unique story about Appalachia and the healing power of the written word." Kirkus Reviews

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.

We would love to know what you are reading now or have read previously. Send your recommendations to jessica@southoldlibrary.com


From Justine Gilvarry, patron, Southold Free Library

A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Ingenious Young Women Whose Secret Board Game Helped Win World War II
Author: Simon Parkin
Genre: Non-Fiction; History; Military

These women, the wrens, who were volunteers in the Women's Royal Naval Service, have never been written about until now.  They were able to out fox the wolves, the German subs, while using puzzles on a giant map.  The author, from his research, interviews and unpublished accounts, has created a highly readable book.  "A lively, sharp WW II history." - Kirkus Reviews

The Tea Girl from Hummingbird Lane
Author: Lisa See
Genre: Novel; Saga; Psychological Fiction

Excellent.  Boy! You learn alot about the production of tea and the history of China.  The book follows the life of Li-yan, a member of the Akha hill tribe whose way of life is still tied to the land, revolving around the seasons and farming of tea.  Life goes on as it has for generations until a stranger appears.  A powerful story of circumstances, culture and distance.  A New York Times bestseller.

These titles are both available for download on our website via Live-brary.

Send your book recommendations to jessica@southoldlibrary.com and we will post them here.


From Denise Gagen, Circulation, Southold Free Library

American Dirt 
Author: Jeanine Cummins
Genre: Fiction; Suspense

This is a fictional story of a Mexican bookseller who is forced to flee her home with her son. They set out on a harrowing journey to get to the United States. The story line was compelling, the writing good, and it kept my interest the whole way.
There is controversy regarding the marketing of the book, the idea of a non Latino writing this story, the lack of diversity in publishing, etc.  But in spite of (or because of) this, the book has spent 12 weeks on the New York Times best seller list. Despite protests from authors, Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club.  Give it a try!

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Fred Andrews, patron, Southold Free Library

Deacon King Kong
Author: James McBride
Genre: Fiction; New York

Deacon King Kong is a terrific book by the black writer, James McBride.  It is a serious book in comic clothing.  It is full of zany characters and witty prose.  Its setting is rundown public housing on the Brooklyn waterfront; its main characters are the beaten-down people of color condemned to living there, ignored by an uncaring Housing Dept. It is a (corrupted) cops and robbers story, but also about love, integrity and redemption.  There are drug dealers, smugglers, a ruthless killer, an aging Italian mafia, Irish cops, plus the elderly ladies of a small church next to the public housing who keep the action going.  

Lots of laughs, but at heart the book is about the false promise of the American dream, about black people who left farms in Alabama or Carolina and came to New York in hopes of a better life, only to end up condemned to shabby public housing and limited to jobs  as maids and bus drivers.  The heroes of the book rise above that fate.

"Cracking...Terrific...profoundly humane." - The New York Times Book Review

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.

What book would you like to recommend? Send reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org and feel free to include a photo. We will post them right here in "Cabin Fever Favorites".


From Marie Stringfellow, patron, Southold Free Library

Unorthodox: the Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots
Author: Deborah Feldman
Genre: Autobiography

True story of a Jewish woman who breaks with her ultra-religious Jewish upbringing.  It beautifully illustrates oppressive lives that modern-day Hasidic women often lead.  It also shows how the rejection of their community is extremely difficult. A New York Times bestseller.
A 2020 Netflix series.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Genre: Romance; Psychological Fiction

Honeyman’s debut novel, a well written story with a good sense of humor. The story focuses on Eleanor Oliphant, a social misfit with a traumatic past, struggling to navigate the world.

The book won the Costa First Novel Award in 2017, and been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize.  The film rights have been purchased by Reese Witherspoon’s production company.

Both titles are available for download on our website via Live-brary.

What book would you like to recommend? Send reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org - and include a photo if you like.


From Kathy Saccamano,
Circulation/Adult Programming, Southold Free Library

Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Genre: Domestic Fiction

This is a story that is set in a suburb of Ohio and is a contrast between classes of people. You glimpse into the dynamics of one wealthy American family, their interpersonal relationships with one another and their community. From the first page you are drawn into the mystery and tragedy of why multiple fires were set in the six bedroom, wealthy Richardson family home. There is excellent character development as a custody battle in town evolves as well as the mysterious nature of Mia (a tenant and housekeeper of the Richardson family) and her daughter Pearl (a friend and classmate of the Richardson teenagers).

Little Fires Everywhere explores the depth of friendship, motherhood, family and community. Named a "Best Book of the Year" by The Guardian, Washington Post as well as Library Reads and Kirkus Reviews, among others.

Now a Hulu mini series.


From Erin Kaelin, patron, Southold Free Library

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Genre: Romance, Drama, Historical Fiction

It takes place on the island of Guernsey, off the coast of France during and post WWII. Cleverly written, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time with a dash of humor infused into a tough time.  A New York Times bestseller…”a booklovers delight”.

This title is available for download on our website via Live-brary.

What book would you like to recommend?  Send reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.org  - and include a photo if you like.


From Ed Beaugard, patron, Southold Free Library

The Splendid and the Vile - A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
Author: Erik Larsen
Genre: Biography

It is an extremely well written and satisfying read about the early days of WW II and Winston Churchill. The author uses many direct quotes from letters and other personal papers giving you a sense of being in the midst of it all.  A New York Times #1 bestseller

The book is available for download on our website via Live-brary.


From Lorraine Sferlazza, Circulation Desk, Southold Free Library

The Dutch House
Author: Ann Patchett
Genre: Historical Fiction; Domestic Fiction

The story of a brother and sister over the course of five decades.  Their home is the Dutch House, grand and ornate. Not only did I enjoy the hard copy, I also listened to the audio book.  It was narrated by Tom Hanks and I really enjoyed listening to him.  When I switched back to the book (when I was not out walking with earphones!), I could actually hear Tom as I read.

The Winemaker's Wife
Author: Kristin Harmel
Genre: Romance; Historical Fiction

The novel is set during World War II, in the Champagne region of France.  As one reviewer put it, “…a moving story…Love and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption”.  I really enjoyed it!   Intrigue, suspense, romance, historical setting...A good read.

Both titles are available for download on our website via Live-brary.

What book would you like to recommend? Send your reviews to jessica@southoldlibrary.com.


From Penny Kelley, Teen Services Librarian, Southold Free Library

The Kingdom of Back
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

I just started reading this Young Adult book. I love Marie Lu AND I love Historical Fiction and Fantasy. The best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned.

A young, gifted musician and composer named Mozart. No - not Wolfgang Mozart, his sister, Maria Anna Mozart or Nanerl. Nanerl is musically gifted but her brother is showing signs of surpassing her gifts. When Nanerl hears a stirring song in her dreams and then follows a mysterious stranger into a magical land, she is offered an answer to her wish, but at what cost and what is it she wishes for? Based on facts yet filled with magic and mystery - this story will entrance and intrigue. It is lyrical, haunting and about the unbreakable bond of a girl and her beloved brother.

From the author of the Legend series and duology, Warcross.

We would love to know what you are reading, whether it’s for kids, teens or adults.

Send your recommendations to jessica@southoldlibrary.com and we will post them on this website.