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Staff Picks

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

December 31, 2012

Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners

Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners
by Emmins, Alan
364.152 EMM

After the CSI people have dusted for fingerprints and sprayed for blood and the detectives have detected, Neal Smither is the man who comes in to clean up the mess when people decide to pull the trigger on life. This book is, by turns, gruesome and graphic, obscenity-laced and irreverent; but it is also laugh-out-loud funny in parts. Emmins is a rank amateur when it comes to death: “Fear and murder have no bearing on my reality. I come from Copenhagen, where for the most part we ride our bicycles from café to café and drink overpriced lattes.” To get the story, Emmins shadows Neal for a month. Emmins finds himself immediately put to work—and totally grossed out—as he scrubs at blood, flees maggots, and learns to clean up after himself when his stomach recoils at the sight of death gone awry. Emmins starts on his journey being appalled at Neal’s cavalier attitude; a few short weeks later he is appalled to find echoes of Neal in his own thinking. But perhaps most amazing of all is how Emmins can take such a grim topic and turn it into an entertaining read.

— Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library


December 24, 2012

The Spellman Files

The Spellman Files
by Lutz, Lisa

Izzy listened for the footsteps; she knew she was being followed. She made her way to her car; once she was out of the parking garage she spotted her tail. Izzy ran red lights, drove wildly and still couldn’t shake her tail. She decided it was time to bring the chase to a close and confront her stalker. Izzy came to a stop, her tail pulled in behind her, and Izzy stormed to the car saying “mother this has got to stop!” The Spellman’s are a family of detectives who don’t believe in asking family members direct questions. They spy on and follow each other, yes of course. Izzy spent the first 20 years of her life as a juvenile delinquent in rebellion against her old brother’s perfection. The story revolves around ex-boyfriend number 9 “the dentist”; the Snow case, a 15 year old missing persons case; and the disappearance of her little sister Rae.

— Recommended by Debbie Overshiner, Eagle Library


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