Staff Picks

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

October 29, 2012

The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky
by Bowles, Paul
FIC BOW 1998

At the beginning of The Sheltering Sky, a married couple, Port and Kit Moresby, and their friend Tunner arrive in North Africa shortly after the end of World War II. As New Yorkers in an unfamiliar land, the Moresbys seek adventure together, but more importantly they hope to strengthen their troubled marriage. However, soon after arriving, it becomes apparent that their self-interest, the inclusion of the handsome Tunner on the journey, and the stress of life in a strange land will likely prevent them from achieving their goal.

As in most travel novels, the main characters encounter a host of odd and interesting personalities, but as the trio moves deeper into the Sahara, you begin to see that this novel is not so much about a group experience, but about the individual feelings of loneliness, despair, and dread that can impact a person’s existence. As the story progresses, we find that this is ultimately Kit’s tale and that the feelings of impending doom she has throughout the novel will materialize in ways that neither she, nor the reader, could have ever imagined.

Recommended by Adam Todd, Warren Library


October 22, 2012

Carly's Voice: Breaking through Autism

Carly's Voice: Breaking through Autism
by Fleischmann, Arthur & Carly
618.9285882 FLE

Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed very young with autism and went for years being wild and out of control, without speaking, although there was often a gleam of intelligence that popped through between wild episodes. Her parents devoted their lives and resources to getting her good teachers and caregivers; but things still looked hopeless until at age 10, she realized she knew enough words to type on a laptop. Her first typing was, “HELP TEETH HURT.” Over the next several years, she learned to express herself and slowly was able to get her caretakers, parents, and autism specialists to understand what she was going through and had been going through all of her life. She eventually appeared on television shows as an advocate for children with autism. She is now a high school student in gifted classes and a constant internet presence, answering questions about her condition. She still cannot speak, but she has found her “voice” through writing.

This is an incredibly moving and valuable book. I would think this is essential reading for any parents of autistic children, anyone who works with autistic children, and anyone just trying to understand the variability of the human mind.

You can follow Carly at:

— Recommended by Steve Bridge, Irvington Library


October 15, 2012


Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors
by Delingpole, James
333.72 DEL

Environmentalism has become so much a part of our lives that most of us give it no more thought than fish do about water. But what if the whole “global warming” movement were a scam, a sort of mass hysteria designed and promoted for the purpose of taking power?

According to James Delingpole, author of Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors, that is exactly what it is. “Watermelons” are people who are “green” on the outside, “red” on the inside—they may claim they want to “save the planet,” but in reality they want to dominate it. Environmental organizations such as The World Wildlife Foundation and Greenpeace are not, as they purport to be, tiny helpless organizations fighting against corporate greed. They themselves are massive, greedy corporations that amass billions of dollars. To further their goal of assuming world power, these eco-communists utilize junk science, character assassination, and lying. Delingpole warns, “taxes will be raised, your liberties curtailed and your money squandered to deal with this ‘crisis.’”

Recommended by Patricia Fogleman, Southport Library


October 8, 2012


by Colfer, Eoin

Daniel McEvoy is an Irish bouncer at a seedy casino in New Jersey. He’s not crazy about his job, hates his boss, and really hates the new hair plugs that are driving him crazy. And all of that was before his favorite hostess, Connie, is killed in the parking lot. McEvoy is sure he knows who the killer was, since a recent customer hadn’t been pleased that Connie had rejected his overtures. But really, overtures involving barbecue sauce? Who could blame her? As he investigates, McEvoy is pulled deeper into the underbelly of New Jersey crime. He’s plagued by real-life arguments with his lovely but certifiable upstairs neighbor Mrs. Delano, and the constant nattering of his sketchy doctor friend, Ghost Zeb (conversations that take place in McEvoy’s head, but annoying nonetheless). It’s too late to save Connie, but McEvoy refuses to give up on rescuing his friend Zeb. Colfer has created a world that is sometimes gritty and sad, but often laugh out loud funny.

                               Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library


October 1, 2012

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
by Winchester, Simon
551.4613 WIN

His publisher calls this a biography of the Atlantic Ocean, and indeed this tale spans its life from geological beginnings on to its expected demise 140,000,000 years hence. The book’s scope seems as broad as the ocean itself, including a thousand years of human history and natural phenomena occurring on, in, and above it.

And Mr. Winchester is up to the task; he has spent most of his life on the Atlantic and its islands and shores, as well as reading the nearly 200 books cited in his bibliography. An engaging and colorful writer, he has filled the book with personal anecdotes, facts, and bits of trivia about history – commercial, military, natural, economic, and social.

He makes a persuasive case that the Atlantic is the axis of western civilization as was the Mediterranean Sea for classical civilization, and he describes some of the problems that civilization has created. The once inexhaustible supply of codfish has gone the way of the once inexhaustible supply of buffalo, and we do not yet know how tolerant the ocean will be of the oil spills and other pollutants that are disgorged into it.

It is a fascinating, erudite, and entertaining read.

— Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Library