May 10, 2022
by library
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JKM Library eBook Roundup!

Did you know that the JKM Library has hundreds of thousands of eBooks available to you? They range from bestselling fiction to course texts. We know that sometimes our eBooks can be overlooked, so we decided to show them a bit of love with this roundup of some interesting fiction titles that you can read right now through the JKM Library.

A few things to know about our eBooks…most of them come to us packaged as a larger subscription, so we don’t actually hand pick all of our eBooks (although we do handpick some of them!). We trust the third-party academic vendors to include titles of worth in these subscriptions. That being said, sometimes you can find some surprising titles in these packages. Make sure to always evaluate your sources, even if they’re coming from the library.

Because many eBook titles are included in larger subscriptions, they operate a bit like movies on Netflix. Sometimes they are removed from the package and we no longer have access to them. This is up to the third-party vendor, and can result in broken links on our end.

Lastly, our eBooks are not compatible with most eReaders, like Kindle. You need a browser to read them. This is again due to the ways the third-party academic vendors operate. Just an fyi!

eBook Roundup

All summaries comes from the publisher. Images are from Goodreads.

  • A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie
    • American-born artist Chris is forced to reconsider his conception of family during a visit to his mother’s Caribbean homeland. Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City, and Paris, France.
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
    • Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda‘s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she’s willing to fight for it
  • The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda
    • In the 1960s, 17 people die of cyanide poisoning at a party given by the owners of a prominent clinic in a town on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury. The police are convinced Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako’s and witness to the discovery of the killings. The truth is revealed through a skillful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbors, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.
  • The Bear by Andrew Krivak
    • From National Book Award in Fiction finalist Andrew Krivak comes a gorgeous fable of Earth’s last two human inhabitants and a girl’s journey home.
  • Coming In Third by Amber Kell
    • Fancy some erotica? With his mother plotting to have him wed, Niall decides to sneak out of the fae palace and fulfill one of his greatest fantasies. At the Unconventional bar, he finds a pair of lion shifters looking to spice up their love life. Unable to resist the strong attraction between them, Niall lets the persuasive pair take him home.
  • Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa
    • Set in Iran, this extraordinary debut novel takes readers into the everyday lives of the Kurds. Leila dreams of making films to bring the suppressed stories of her people onto the global stage, but obstacles keep piling up. Leila’s younger brother Chia, influenced by their father’s past torture, imprisonment, and his deep-seated desire for justice, begins to engage with social and political affairs. But his activism grows increasingly risky and one day he disappears in Tehran. Seeking answers about her brother’s whereabouts, Leila fears the worst and begins a campaign to save him. But when she publishes Chia’s writings online, she finds herself in grave danger as well.
  • Monsterland (aka North American Lake Monsters) by Nathan Ballingrud
    • Recently adapted into a tv show for Hulu! Nathan Ballingrud’s Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud’s intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible.
  • Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files by Zack Handlen and Emily Todd VanDerWerff
    • TV critics Zack Handlen and Emily Todd VanDerWerff look back at exactly what made the long-running cult series so groundbreaking. Packed with insightful reviews of every episode—including the tenth and eleventh seasons and both major motion pictures—Monsters of the Week leaves no mystery unsolved and no monster unexplained.
  • Mr. Cadmus by Peter Ackroyd
    • A wickedly satirical novel, filled with mystery, revenge, outlandish killings, greed and jealousy, from the multi-award winning author. The arrival of an enigmatic stranger wreaks havoc on the denizens of the idyllic English village of Little Camborne; most notably two apparently harmless women. Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, cousins, have put their pasts behind them and settled into conventional country life. But when Theodore Cadmus – from Caldera, a Mediterranean island nobody has heard of – moves into the middle cottage, the safe monotony of their lives is shattered.
  • My Greek Island Summer by Mandy Baggot
    • Becky Rowe has just landed her dream job house-sitting at a top-end villa on the island of Corfu. What could be better than six weeks laying by an infinity pool overlooking the gorgeous Ionian waters while mending her broken heart. Elias Mardas is travelling back to Corfu on business whilst dealing with his own personal demons. Late arriving in Athens, Becky and Elias have to spend a night in the Greek capital. When they have to emergency land in Kefalonia, Becky’s got to decide whether to suck up the adventure and this gorgeous companion she seems to have been thrown together with or panic about when she’s going to arrive at Corfu… Finally reaching the beautiful island, Becky is happy to put Elias behind her and get on with her adventure. Until he turns up at the villa…
  • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
    • Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
  • The Revelations by Erik Hoel
    • Monday, Kierk wakes up. Once a rising star in neuroscience, Kierk Suren is now homeless, broken by his all-consuming quest to find a scientific theory of consciousness. But when he’s offered a spot in a prestigious postdoctoral program, he decides to rejoin society and vows not to self-destruct again. Instead of focusing on his work, however, Kierk becomes obsessed with another project—investigating the sudden and suspicious death of a colleague. As his search for truth brings him closer to Carmen Green, another postdoc, their list of suspects grows, along with the sense that something sinister may be happening all around them.
  • Sea Change by Nancy Kress
    • In 2022, GMOs were banned after a biopharmed drug caused the Catastrophe: worldwide economic collapse, agricultural standstill, and personal tragedy for a lawyer and her son. Ten years later, Renata, a.k.a. Caroline Denton, is an operative of the Org, an underground group that could save the world from itself. Their illegal research is performed and protected by splinter cells, which are hunted by the feds. Now a mole is in the Org. Who would put the entire Org in jeopardy? Renata is the only one who can find out–and she will need to go to her clients in the Quinault Nation for answers.
  • Search History by Eugene Lim
    • Search History oscillates between a wild cyberdog chase and lunch-date monologues as Eugene Lim deconstructs grieving and storytelling with uncanny juxtapositions and subversive satire. Frank Exit is dead–or is he? While eavesdropping on two women discussing a dog-sitting gig over lunch, a bereft friend comes to a shocking realization: Frank has been reincarnated as a dog! This epiphany launches a series of adventures–interlaced with digressions about AI-generated fiction, virtual reality, Asian American identity in the arts, and lost parents–as an unlikely cast of accomplices and enemies pursues the mysterious canine. In elliptical, propulsive prose, Search History plumbs the depths of personal and collective consciousness, questioning what we consume, how we grieve, and the stories we tell ourselves.
  • The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
    • The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.
  • Temporary by Hilary Leichter
    • In Temporary, a young woman’s workplace is the size of the world. She fills increasingly bizarre placements in search of steadiness, connection, and something, at last, to call her own. Whether it’s shining an endless closet of shoes, swabbing the deck of a pirate ship, assisting an assassin, or filling in for the Chairman of the Board, for the mythical Temporary, “there is nothing more personal than doing your job.” This riveting quest, at once hilarious and profound, will resonate with anyone who has ever done their best at work, even when the work is only temporary.
  • The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai
    • In this visionary novel by Larissa Lai–her first in sixteen years–a community of parthenogenic women, sent into exile by the male-dominated Salt Water City, goes to war against disease, technology, and powerful men that threaten them with extinction. Bold, beautiful, and wildly imaginative, The Tiger Flu is at once a female hero’s saga, a cyberpunk thriller, and a convention-breaking cautionary tale–a striking metaphor for our complicated times.

December 14, 2020
by library
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Book Review: Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Image from Goodreads

The book Carmilla is an 1872 English novella by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. Carmilla can be downloaded as a PDF from the library’s website or it can also be requested in tangible form through E-ZBorrow (when E-ZBorrow is accessible). The novella features the first appearances of a female vampire in English gothic literature. Carmilla served as an inspiration for Brim Stoker’s Dracula, which was published about twenty-five years later in May of 1897.

The novella begins with a prologue from a doctor’s assistant explaining that the tale that follows is a recounting of events that befell one of the doctor’s patients. It is told from a young woman named Laura’s point of view. She begins by telling the reader of her first encounter with Carmilla when she was just six years old, saying that it is her oldest memory. She is left scared and scarred from this encounter.

The story picks up years later as Laura explains the castle she and her father have come to live in. Together with Laura’s governess and “finishing governess” – as Laura calls her – Laura and her father live in Syria but are originally from England. One day Laura and her father receive a letter from one General Spielsdorf. He has unfortunately cancelled his visit to them because his niece and ward had died, claiming that she was killed by a monster. On a walk shortly after, a carriage crashes in front of Laura and her father. The riders of the carriage consist of an elderly woman and a younger woman the elder claims as her daughter.  The young woman is hurt in the crash but seeing as her mother is on an important journey, she leaves her daughter in the care of Laura’s father. The girl is introduced as Carmilla, and Laura is excited to have a friend to spend the foreseeable days with.

I thought the novella was well written, though the dialect – being that of the 1800’s can be a bit confusing for the modern reader. While I was reading there were passages that I read twice to make sure I understood them, but I don’t think this detracted from the story that was being told. Carmilla, the character, was not forth coming with details about herself. This gripped me as a reader and made me want to read onwards.

Vampires are often characterized in stories with alluring and mysterious airs. Carmilla is no exception. There are often times in the story where either Carmilla speaks to Laura, vice versa, or even when Laura describes Carmilla to the reader that shows an attraction between the girls – romantically and even physically. It is not explicit in the novel that Carmilla and Laura are together in any sense, but it creates a dynamic between the two characters that made me want to read more. It made me what to learn more about the mysterious Carmilla just as Laura wished to.

The story is not one of grand fights or intense dramas like novels or novellas of today, but I felt that Carmilla was a great book. It is a quick read and holds themes and motifs that are ahead of its time.

Nerice Breen Lusen is an English Major here at Chatham University with a minor in Creative Writing. They have been working at the Jenny King Mellon Library as a student worker since their freshmen year, starting in 2018. Following their time at Chatham they plan to gain their master’s degree in Library and Information Science and become a librarian themself.
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