Staff Picks

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

April 2, 2012

Highest Duty : My Search For What Really Matters

Highest Duty : My Search For What Really Matters
by Sullenberger, Chesley with Jeffrey Zaslow
B Sullenberger, Chesley SUL

What do we learn of Captain Chesley Sullenberger’s capability in this now famous airliner crisis? We learn there was no great epiphany. The landing was instead the result of years of training and preparation, years as a private, military, and commercial pilot, an accident investigator, and safety consultant, all of which resulted in his "cool" approach to the events of January 15, 2009. This life of "skill honing" is central to our understanding of Captain Sullenberger. Our hero spent many years going to an airplane.

Highest Duty culminates with Flight 1549. We are all aware of Captain Sullenberger’s moment of fame, as he and his crew pancaked the crippled jetliner in the Hudson River and successfully saved the lives of all 155 aboard. Yes, we readers know the outcome, and yet we are a part of the drama as the dangerous seconds pass in the cockpit of US Airways Flight 1549.

— Recommended by Mike Hylton, Irvington Branch, where this book will be discussed on April 12th


March 26, 2012

A Big Little Life: A Memoir Of A Joyful Dog

A Big Little Life: A Memoir Of A Joyful Dog
by Koontz, Dean
636.7527 KOO

If you are familiar with Dean Koontz's fiction titles, this is definitely a change of pace. A Big Little Life is the story of a 3-year-old rescue dog who came to live with the Koontz family. In this true account of his life with Trixie, Mr. Koontz shares many tales of the trickster. During obedience class, trainers would leave the room with dogs on a "sit/stay". Trixie moved down the line of dogs, trying to get one to break the command, running back into place when hearing the doorknob rattle. She was also very bright. While on a walk, Mrs. Koontz tried to get Trixie to leave the tennis court before she found a tennis ball. Trixie spoke, "BAW." She had never uttered anything similar to that before. She was allowed to look again for tennis balls that day, and she found one! Trixie taught Mr. Koontz that joy can be found in the simple things in life. If you want to learn more about Trixie, check out her series of books!

— Recommended by Jill Wetnight, Franklin Road Branch


March 19, 2012

The Cat Sitter's Pajamas

The Cat Sitter's Pajamas
by Clement, Blaize

Don’t let the title fool you. Dixie, our heroine, is a pet sitter (dogs, cats, snakes, etc.). The only way animals are involved is when she goes to feed and exercise them.  However, there always seems to be a body somewhere along the way. In this particular situation, the plot is very convoluted. Why does the "Supermodel" break into a famous football player’s house which is in a very sophisticated, guarded community? How does a dead body appear in the house while Dixie is in her car waiting for the police and the supermodel is changing clothes in the bedroom? Who is the homicide detective who is NOT a homicide detective and causes Dixie nothing but trouble? And, finally, who are the thugs who knock out Dixie and search her home? All of these questions will be answered someplace in the 260 pages. If you enjoy this outing, there 6 other stories in the Dixie series.

— recommended by Kay Smith, Spades Park Branch


March 12, 2012

Milk: A Local And Global History

Milk: A Local And Global History
by Valenze, Deborah
641.37109 VAL

Got milk? Probably. Most Americans have milk sitting in their refrigerators right now. It’s a staple part of school lunches and your favorite latte. But people didn’t always think that milk does a body good. In fact, in some centuries milk drinkers were considered barbarians of weak moral character. And before the advent of modern science, milk was thought to be a form of blood, suitable for drink only by infants and the infirm. In her chronicle of the history of milk, Deborah Valenze walks us through the changing roles of milk in human society, from a symbol of divine provision to a marker of status and luxury to a universal necessity for health and well-being. We learn how cow’s milk came to prominence over goat’s milk and why our country’s wars have been so important to modern milk developments. If you usually only think of milk as a way to soften your morning cereal, this book will give you new insight on the power of that white liquid peeking out through your Cheerios.

— Recommended by Rebekah Koves, Central Library


March 5, 2012

The Doll: The Lost Short Stories

The Doll: The Lost Short Stories
by Du Maurier, Daphne

Short stories are not to everyone’s taste. For me they too often seem like exercises in construction rather than storytelling. However I have found an exception to this (admittedly) sweeping generality.  Daphne du Maurier's The Doll is a collection of stories, many of which were previously printed in magazines during the 1930's and not reprinted again until this collection.  Du Maurier, famous for the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, writes with great insight, using a sharp wit and an ability to construct a tightly woven tale to either pull at your heart or creep out your nerves, and occasionally both. "The Doll," a bizarre creation that starts off as a love story before sharply turning into Stephen King territory, and "East Wind," about the effects of a ship full of sailors on an isolated island, both contain surprise endings that shock. Others beautifully examine the heartbreaking way our ability (or lack thereof) to communicate can crush hopes and damage lives, as in "A Difference in Temperament" and "The Limpet," the second title being an uncomfortable look at those who think they are "helpful."

If you are looking for a set of short stories that are full of surprises and variety, The Doll is an excellent choice.

— Recommended by Deanna Long, East Washington Branch