Staff Picks

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

August 19, 2013

Neither Dead Nor Sleeping

Neither Dead Nor Sleeping
by Sewall, May Wright
133.9 SEW 2008

May Wright Sewall (1844 – 1920) was a leading citizen of Indianapolis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A well-known colleague of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she worked tirelessly on behalf of women’s suffrage, education, and the peace movement. With her devoted husband, Theodore Lovett Sewall, she founded the Classical School for Girls in Indianapolis, while also establishing the Indianapolis Women’s Club, the Indianapolis Propylaeum, and the Art Association of Indianapolis (later the Indianapolis Museum of Art). She was a true pioneer of social progress.

In 1918, toward the end of her life, she asked her friend Booth Tarkington to review the manuscript for the book she was writing – an account of her continuing contact with her dead husband for the preceding twenty years.

Booth Tarkington wrote in the preface to Neither Dead Nor Sleeping, “The amazing thing was, first, that it was written by Mrs. Sewall … It was to me dumfounding to find that for more than twenty years, this academic-liberal of a thousand human activities, Mrs. Sewall, had been really living not with the living, so to put it. And as I read, it seemed to me that I had never known so strange a story.”

To say that May Wright Sewall was initially scornful and dismissive of spiritualism is an understatement. But once she became convinced of the reality of other dimensions of life, ostensibly through the indefatigable efforts of the spirit of her dead husband, she became a medium herself, no longer requiring an intermediary between her and the spirit world.

The book scandalized Mrs. Sewall’s supporters and tarnished her reputation, as she knew it would. Her spiritualism is usually relegated to a footnote in her biographies, if it is mentioned at all.

May Wright Sewall dedicated her book “to all honest souls who have hitherto believed the grave to be a chasm and who would be comforted to know that it is a gate that swings both ways and can be unlocked by humans on both sides of it – to such I speak.”

She continued: “Mind, heart, and spirit – the power to know, the capacity to love, the tendency to aspire … These three elements being separable only from the body, their mortal vestment, are never separable from one another.”

This is a strange story, indeed – one that will leave you questioning your own assumptions about the nature of reality.

— Recommended by Deborah Jones, Franklin Road Library

 

August 12, 2013

A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior

A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior
by Enoch, Suzanne
FIC ENO

I thoroughly enjoyed this regency novel. A lady’s guide has the usual boy meets girl, problems ensue, they surmount them, they fall in love but this book has so much more: political intrigue, greed and post-traumatic stress disorder. Colonel Bartholomew “Tolly” James is crippled both physically and mentally, the sole survivor of a vicious Thugee ambush in India. Wanting only solitude, Tolly has alienated polite society and is avoiding his family. When his family catches up with him he is forced to attend a family dinner, and in attendance is Theresa, his sister in-law's cousin. During dinner he behaves insufferably and is incredibly rude, goading Theresa to respond in kind. Theresa prides herself on her ability to always behave properly and charmingly--she has even written a pamphlet on the topic. She tracks Tolly to his lair to apologize, they argue, he kisses her, and she forgets about all other eligible bachelors pursuing her.

— Recommended by Debbie Overshiner, Eagle Library

 

August 5, 2013

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body By Not Looking At It For A Year

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body By Not Looking At It For A Year
by Gruys, Kjerstin
646.7042 GRU

Kjerstin Gruys is one brave woman. She spent an entire year not looking in mirrors! This wasn’t just any year, though—it was the year she got married! Motivated to work on her body image after trying on wedding dresses, Gruys challenges long-held cultural beliefs and stereotypes about female beauty. From buying clothes without the assurance of dressing room mirrors to avoiding reflective windows at seemingly every turn, Gruys relates her experiences in a thought-provoking and often conversational tone (the book was largely adapted from her blog of the same name). A in Ph.D. student in sociology , Gruys includes plenty of research to back up her anecdotal evidence of the way many women struggle to uphold an idealized version of beauty. Any woman who has ever struggled with body image issues (are there any who haven’t?) will relate to Gruys’ engaging narrative.

— Recommended by Carrie O'Maley, Central Library

 

July 29, 2013

Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens

Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens
by Scheuer, Lauren
636.5 SCH

Deep in my soul, I believe I’m a farmer, but I know I’d much rather read about someone else’s adventures in agriculture than actually do the work myself. Lately I’ve had a fascination with chickens, and judging by the popularity of backyard flocks, I’m not alone. Lauren’s Scheuer’s new book tells in words, drawings, and photographs, the tale of her small chicken flock from her first notion of a flock through family skepticism, four cute baby chicks, adolescent hens, and the joy and delight she finds in her small flock. Jenny, one of her first baby chicks, undeniably turns out to be a rooster, and gets amusingly relocated during a daughter’s farm field trip. Tragedy is averted when Marky the dog learns to live successfully with the flock. Lauren is also the author of a chicken blog, Scratch and Peck, for those who want to continue following the antics of Lucy, Lil’ White, and the others.

                                                      — Recommended by Ruth Hans, Warren Library

 

July 22, 2013

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct
by Sharp, Zoë
MYS SHA

If you are looking for a crime thriller series with an abundance of action, adventure, and suspense to begin then Killer Instinct is for you. Author Zoë Sharp introduces readers to Charlotte “Charlie” Fox in this first title of the series. Main character Charlie Fox teaches self-defense to women in a Northern English City. She learned her skills during her short stunt in the Army Special Forces. Since leaving the army she has taken up working security at New Adelphi Night Club in Lancaster where a serial killer is on the loose. The author takes you on a wild ride while Charlie searches for the killer. This is an excellent introduction to Charlie Fox and Zoë Sharp leaves you wanting more. She is now up to book six. After reading this one you will definitely want to try the others in the series, which the library owns in various formats.(Killer Instinct is also available in large print.)

                                                         — Recommended by Denyce Malone, Flanner House Library