Staff Picks

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

August 11, 2014

Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible

Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible
by Rusbridger, Alan
B Rusbridger, Alan

Alan Rusbridger must not sleep much. As editor of the world-renowned Guardian newspaper, he shepherds coverage of WikiLeaks and other hot global and British top news, while also prepping for technological and design changes -and negotiating the release of foreign correspondents in tight spots. “If you make your life the news business, the news will to some extent dictate your life,” he writes. For him, family, friends, and music are part of the escape.

Rusbridger liked sight reading but wasn’t a fan of practicing piano as a child; he resumes piano lessons in his 40s “as some inklings of mortality began to twitch.” Using music as both a respite and a mental challenge, he sets a one-year goal of learning, memorizing, and publicly performing the very difficult Chopin Ballade No. 1 in G Minor. Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible recounts his challenge and his talks with pianists, neurologists, and other solid amateurs about the appeal, the benefits, and the physiology involved in playing.

Rusbridger carefully researches Steinway pianos and buys one. He also sends his serviceable Fazioli to the Italian piano-building facility for loving hand restoration. Rusbridger snatches 20 minutes a day or more when he can to practice. He takes lessons, battling reticence and brain freeze in performing for an audience. A veteran piano teacher advises playing even to pets and teddy bears, as a reminder to play through at the best possible level. That won’t be a professional level – and that’s part of the joy of it. Rusbridger makes a compelling case for the value of amateur musicianship.

Rusbridger gives a friendly account of his challenging and stimulating job, which his musical interludes help him juggle better. Maybe it’s time to dig out that old sheet music…

                                          --Recommended by Diane Palguta, College Avenue Library

 

August 4, 2014

One Summer: America, 1927

One Summer: America, 1927
by Bryson, Bill
973.91 BRY

Debbie Overshiner of the Eagle Library is recommending a title that will be discussed at the Nora Library on August 18th.

I just finished listening to One Summer: America, 1927 read and written by Bill Bryson. He did a very good job narrating his book. I really enjoyed the book and the way Bryson brought people of America and America itself to life, warts and all.

Bryson skillfully weaves the story of 1920's America by following the lives of the headline makers of the summer of 1927. I loved the way he introduced a new story by including the background story of the celebrities thereby bringing them to life. Consequently you understand what motivated them to perform glorious acts or heinous crimes.

The book opens up with a murder trial that cemented the place of tabloid journalism in America. Ruth Snyder a NYC housewife from Queens’s and her corset-salesman lover strangled her husband. Coverage of the subsequent trial and execution of the lovers made it into such distinguished newspapers as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as well as the tabloids. Before this trial the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal would never have acknowledged anything as vulgar as a murder.

Charles Lindberg, Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover Calvin Coolidge Henry Ford, and Al Capone are 6 of the prominent figures in the book you may recognize.

In addition to the book format, One Summer: America, 1927 is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD.

 

July 28, 2014

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter: a Novel
by Wildgen, Michelle
FIC WIL

If you are anything like me, just the title of this book is interesting enough to make you want to read more. I like the simplicity of eating a slice of toast with a pat of butter. The taste is simple, but oh so satisfying! And, so is the book, Bread and Butter: a Novel by Michelle Wildgen.

It’s the story of three brothers; two who are restaurateurs – and one who soon will be after drifting in and out of careers for a while. This is a simple story of squabbling siblings, fierce competition, and in the end – who will get the girl?

The reader gets a great read about creating a restaurant from the ground up, cutthroat competitiveness in the restaurant industry, interesting foodie lingo, and some titillating restaurant industry secrets.

Bread and Butter is also available as a downloadable e-book and a downloadable audiobook.

                                   --Recommended by Rhonda Oliver, Brightwood Library

 

July 21, 2014

The No Recipe Cookbook: A Beginner's Guide to the Art of Cooking

The No Recipe Cookbook: A Beginner's Guide to the Art of Cooking
by Crowther, Susan
641.5 CRO

I have always been a person who follows recipes and at times I can create something on my own. I didn’t think, until recently, about the concept of creating a food dish using my skills as a cook. The No Recipe Cookbook gives the basics for philosophies, ingredients, procedures and beverages, along with charts and tables that have information to guide the beginning or novice cook on their way to cooking independence. Crowther is an expert in the culinary arts with her education from The Culinary Arts Institute. She is also a nutrition instructor and mother giving her a well-rounded background to share her expertise.

Susan tells the story of working in a grocery store where a woman comes in and is looking for a particular type of ingredient for a recipe she wants to create. When Susan tells her that the store doesn’t have that one specific ingredient but does have 30 other types that could work for her recipe the woman says no, it calls for this one particular kind. The woman left discouraged and Susan felt sad that she could not help her understand that she could substitute another type of ingredient. The quote in the book that I have made my own kitchen mantra is, “use a recipe for inspiration rather than a commandment.” I found the book informative and it has helped me to see what I am capable of doing as a cook. Susan also talks about the need to cook with love. The idea is to share a good meal that you have taken the time to create that others will enjoy and the love comes through the creation. I am also reminded of Italy where it is customary to spend a long time in preparing, serving and eating food at mealtime. The idea is to create a culinary delight for family and friends that they can enjoy, is nutritious and can spend quality time with them as well. We should all take note in our hurried world. I know I am going to try.

                 --Recommended by Kris Gould, Nora Library

 

July 14, 2014

Technicians of the Sacred : A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania

Technicians of the Sacred : A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania
by Rothenberg, Jerome, editor
398.2 TEC 1985

I was once asked to name 3 books that changed the way I thought. We were at the Aristocrat on College Avenue, before it burned and reopened. I had to think while munching my black bean Tex-Mex salad.

James Hillman’s Re-Visioning Psychology had changed the way I thought about the human soul, and Benjamin DeMott’s The Imperial Middle had changed the way I thought about class. Neither of these titles is available at IndyPL, anymore, but you can get them on interlibrary loan.

Jerome Rothenberg’s anthology Technicians of the Sacred changed my ideas about what poetry could be. This is indeed a "range" of poetries. It was the launching of an effort called "ethnopoetics," which was an attempt "to present the tribal poetries as values in themselves rather than as ethnographic data."

Poems from Europe didn't appear in Rothenberg's first (1968) edition, and it's wonderful now to have Ezra Pound's translation of "Praise Song of the Buck Hare" included.

I am the buck hare, I am,
The shore is my playground
Green underwood is my feeding.

I am the buck hare, I am,
What's that damn man got wrong with him?
Skin with no hair on, that's his trouble.

And the buck hare goes on. From a nomadic tribe somewhere in Russia, I think.

Want to travel around the world, and the world within? Open this ground-breaking collection.

                 --Recommended by Glenn Halberstadt, Information Technology