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Staff Picks

Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!

January 12, 2015

The Heir Apparent:  A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince

The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince
by Ridley, Jane
B Edward VII RID

King Edward VII was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Ridley’s scholarly biography gives a detailed account of Edward’s youth and long years as Prince of Wales, with special attention regarding his many vices. Extramarital affairs with various beauties and courtesans are well documented, along with his fondness for gambling and a penchant for getting into embarrassing scrapes. That Edward was consistently denied any meaningful employment by his mother has long been cited by historians as the reason for his seemingly endless dissipation. The author explores this angle and more in her extensive biography.

Much of the book is devoted to Edward’s troubled relationship with Queen Victoria. His marriage to Queen Alexandra is detailed, as is his public and private life. But Ridley also emphasizes the King’s lesser known but outstanding efforts in foreign diplomacy, his role as facilitator in home politics, and his modernization of the monarchy.

This biography portrays Victoria and Albert in an unflattering light as parents (and as humans). Edward himself is depicted by Ridley as a deeply flawed person. His many mistakes are thoroughly examined here. And yet there is ultimately much to admire in the end as we see a king who really wanted to do his job and do it well.

--Recommended by Angie Lewis, Wayne Library

 

January 5, 2015

Whitewater Valley Railroad

Whitewater Valley Railroad
by Parker, Francis H. & Judy Clem with the Whitewater Valley Railroad
385.54 PAR

Images of Rail: Whitewater Valley Railroad covers the history of a railroad museum from inception to today. Since this book is published by Arcadia publishing it contains hundreds of black and white photographs, with captions, taken along the railroad line between Connersville, Indiana and Brookville, Indiana.

The original White Water Valley Railroad was built in the 1860’s on the tow path to the Whitewater Canal. It connected Connersville, Indiana to Cincinnati, Ohio. The railroad line changed owners many times; including the Big Four Railroad, The New York Central Railroad and the Penn Central Railroad. In 1972 a group of investors and dreamers from Southeastern Indiana formed the Whitewater Valley Railroad as an operating railroad and museum. The Whitewater Railroad is still in operation today.

Historic Images in this book include pictures of Connersville, Metamora and Brookville, Indiana, including parts of the railroad line that no longer exist. This book also contains the only known photograph of an original White Water Valley Railroad engine during the Big Four Railroad days. However, the majority of the pictures are from the last 40 years and include many of the volunteers and most of the railroad equipment. They show the progress made by the volunteers of the Whitewater Valley Railroad in their quest to preserve the railroad history of Indiana.

--Recommended by Katy Hejazi, Garfield Park Library

 

December 29, 2014

The Ways of the Dead

The Ways of the Dead
by Tucker, Neely
MYS TUC

There are few things that this mystery reader likes more than to get to the final pages of a mystery and do a palm slap to the forehead and exclaim, “Why didn’t I see that?” The writer has played fair, given all the clues, and yet somehow worked them in so adeptly that they were overlooked. Steve Martini accomplished that feat in Compelling Evidence, and now Tucker has done the same. That slap is going to leave a bruise. That Tucker is an accomplished writer is a given: 25 years as a journalist, 14 of them with The Washington Post. No surprise that his main character, Sullivan Carter, is a reporter. But Carter has an edge to him. He’s reported from some war-torn countries, seen and done some things that have left him torn and battered. Now he’s based in Washington, D.C. where the waters can be nearly as treacherous to navigate. A judge’s daughter is killed and the city is outraged, on edge. Tensions are mounting, racial divides widening. Sully’s sources are telling him one thing, while the police investigation goes in a different direction. They have the culprits, but Sully is not so sure, so he digs deeper, believing there is a serial killer operating in a closely-defined area. All he needs now is proof. Fighting his own demons, he delves deeper and deeper into his own investigation, and what he finds will threaten his own belief system. Tucker has performed that most magical of writing tricks: he has not only hidden his clues masterfully, he has kept me thinking about his book long after I read the last page.

                 --Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library

 

December 22, 2014

Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems

Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems
by Carter, Jared
811.54 CAR

I had already read many of the poems that are gathered in this collection--in books I had bought or checked out from the library, or in the chapbooks that Jared Carter brought to me when I was a librarian at his neighborhood branch. But the book is still a revelation, and (Pulitzer Prize-winner) Ted Kooser has done us a great service in initiating the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry series, and in making this its first volume.

I would have liked to reprint "Galleynipper" and "Wind Egg" on the Reader's Connection blog. You'll have to seek the poems out yourselves. "Galleynipper" grows unmistakably out of Carter's Indiana upbringing, but it explores different aspects of human consciousness in a way that "would carry me high above" state boundaries, high above this website. (Hey, wait. Click here to read it on the Poetry Foundation website. When you get to their website, make sure you use their arrow to get to page 348 and the rest of the poem.) And "Wind Egg," with its egg-slick barnyard mythos, would have given me another poem for my Year of the Horse collection.

I'm sad to say that there's a misprint in "Ditchweed," which had been my favorite poem in Carter's villanelle collection. With all those repeated lines, though, you'll be able to spot the misprint in a snap. There's another misprint, somewhere, but I forget where. You'll have to find it.

Jared Carter is a great poet. Happy Holidays.

              --Recommended by Glenn Halberstadt, Information Technology

 

December 15, 2014

Who Asked You?

Who Asked You?
by McMillan, Terry
FIC MCM

Author Terry McMillan is back with another great realistic fiction titled Who Asked You? This is her eighth title and it is a good one. Throughout this story the reader is taken on a family journey that many can relate to. Set in Los Angeles, California, the story opens with matriarch Betty Jean being left to care for her two grandsons by her daughter Trinetta. This adds to Betty Jean interesting life with the drama of her two other adult children, two sisters that love giving advice, and an ill husband to care for. Not to mention her 9 to 5 working as a hotel housekeeper. How does she keep everything together you will have to find out by reading Who Asked You?

Who Asked You? is also available as a downloadable e-book and a downloadable audiobook, and is on order in large print.

                   --Recommended by Denyce Malone, Flanner House Library