Staff Picks

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

December 17, 2012

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship
by Patchett, Ann
362.196994716 PAT

This warts-and-all biography of a decades-long friendship of two writers recounts the sustaining power of friendship, the complications of talent and competition, and the contrast of the spurts-of-brilliance versus consistent disciplined approach (which Patchett describes as the grasshopper or ant approach). She also explores the importance and fragility of self-esteem. Patchett, best known for her fiction such as Bel Canto, writes searingly in this non-fiction work about the frustrations suffered by her brilliant and charismatic poet friend Lucy Grealy, who survived cancer, pain, and 38 surgeries, was a major talent, charming person, and gifted teacher, but who was consumed by insecurities. For Grealy, sex was a tool that expressed hope for but didn’t lead to lasting love. Her need to be loved by a man and swirling other doubts trigger a spiral of depression and drug and alcohol use. The book won the American Library Association’s Alex Award.

— Recommended by Diane Palguta, College Avenue Library


December 10, 2012

Ready Player One

Ready Player One
by Cline, Ernest

This is a story set in the near future of 2044. For a future in which resources are scarce and the outlook for many bleak, the biggest escape for most is a multiplayer online simulation game known as OASIS, a place where a lot of daily life is lived. When the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, dies suddenly, he leaves behind a video will. Having no living heirs, he states that whoever can collect three keys hidden in the game, with clues dealing largely with 1980’s pop culture, will receive his vast fortune and controlling stake in his company. Within this world we find Wade, a teenage “gunter,” players that devote large amounts of time to looking for clues to help find the keys, as he goes about finding them himself. Mixing science fiction, adventure, and tons of 80’s nostalgia, it is an entertaining story for adults and teens. This book is also available in electronic and audio book formats.

— Recommended by Darren Stewart, Pike Library


December 3, 2012

Confessions of a Scary Mom

Confessions of a Scary Mom
by Smokler, Jill
306.8743 SMO

Remember that moment when you held your first baby and your heart flooded with so much love for this little bundle of joy that you thought it might burst? Do you see every baby as beautiful? Did you play Mozart for your unborn child, pre-plan his/her preschool, and now find yourself joyously transporting your child genius from violin lesson to ballet lesson to soccer practice to French teacher, all the time dreading the day that all of this wondrous experience will end? If so, then you're going to be appalled by the "scary mommy". A few gems contained therein: "If I have to watch Barney one more time, I may have to stick a fork in my eye. Actually, then I'd get some attention. Maybe not such a bad idea." "Ketchup is the closest my kids have gotten to vegetables in months." "I have no friends ... considering hiring my kids' babysitter to hang out with me." Reading Smokler's book was like sitting down with a good friend who tells it like it is, and how it is, if you're Smokler, can be pretty doggone funny at times.

— Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library


November 26, 2012

There But for the

There But for the
by Smith, Ali

Midway through a rather boring dinner party, a guest named Miles Garth quietly gets up from the table without speaking, proceeds to sequester himself in an upstairs guestroom, and refuses to leave.

The hosts, obsessively worried about maintaining the historical character and quality of their home and thus unwilling to call the police, earnestly begin a search for anyone who might know Miles in the hope that they might convince him to depart.

Upon this rather silly premise writer Ali Smith overlays a modern narrative structure, weaving the stories of four different characters around their relationship to Miles.

Smith's ability to wring truth out of this structure is remarkable. The connections between the characters are funny, surprising, traumatic, and powerful. Readers who enjoyed David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas or Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad will feel right at home.

— Recommended by Chris Murray, Haughville Library


November 19, 2012

The Dog Who Knew Too Much

The Dog Who Knew Too Much
by Quinn, Spencer

If there’s a move lovable crimefighter in fiction today, I don’t know who it would be. Chet is a professional through and through and if he occasionally gets sidetracked by a bit of bacon or discarded Big Mac, we really can’t hold that against him. He and Bernie—who tends to be a bit of a bumbler and mumbler at times—work together to make the world a safer place. They almost always get their man and today those perps are breaking rocks in the hot sun. And, really, who can blame Chet if he gets a quick nip in as they’re subduing those perps? Chet and Bernie make a great detective duo and Spencer Quinn—aka Peter Abrahams has nailed Chet’s voice perfectly. This latest entry in the series has Chet and Bernie searching for a lost boy, but their investigation leads them into abandoned mines and corrupt leaders. But with a duo this charming, the plot is almost secondary; hanging out with them is the real pleasure.

— Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library