Staff Picks

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

December 19, 2011

Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey To Discover How The Ingredients Found In Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), And Manipulated Into What America Eats

Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey To Discover How The Ingredients Found In Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), And Manipulated Into What America Eats
by Ettlinger, Steve
641.308 ETT

Being deep-fried, chocolate-covered, smothered in strawberry syrup or plain doesn’t matter because at the beginning it is a Twinkie. Just what is in that Twinkie? If you’ve ever wondered (and wanted to know the answer) then Twinkie, Deconstructed might be the next great read for you. Steve Ettlinger takes a close and personal look at how the ingredients are grown, mined, created, and processed on their way to becoming Twinkies. Twinkies are just cream-filled cakes, right? Well, not exactly, according to our author. Take the example of flour, the processing of flour from the field to the cake involves a multitude of steps. Steve Ettlinger explains the purpose of the steps and how they contribute to the creation of each Twinkie. Whether you love Twinkies, detest Twinkies, or are just curious to know what they are made of, this is a book you can sink your teeth into.

— Recommended by Erin Murphy, Irvington Branch


December 12, 2011

22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road
by Hodgkinson, Amanda

In 1939,  Janusz Nowak left his wife and baby to go off and fight against Hitler and the Nazis. It is now 1946, and Janusz has not seen his wife, Silvana, and little boy, Aurek, since he left them in Warsaw, Poland, all those years before. Janusz manages to locate his wife and son and have them brought to England, where he is now living.  In anticipation of their arrival, Janusz buys a house at 22 Britannia Road; he is determined to put his family back together again. But when Silvana and Aurek arrive, it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been brutal for them all, though in vastly different ways. They each have secrets they feel unable to share and the secrets deepen the rift between them. The war, it seems, continues to devastate long after it has been declared officially ended. This is the story of three people who have lived through horrific experiences and are trying to mend, individually and as a family. 

— Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Branch


December 5, 2011

The Christmas Shoes

The Christmas Shoes
by VanLiere, Donna

Both Robert Layton and Nathan Andrews are at difficult points in their lives. Robert has a wonderful wife and two beautiful children, but his marriage is close to ending. Eight-year-old Nathan's childhood is being overshadowed by the fact that his mother is dying of ovarian cancer. A chance happening between the two in a department store on Christmas Eve causes profound changes for both. As Robert observes Nathan trying to buy shoes for his mother to wear in order to be beautiful when entering heaven, he realizes that there are much more important things in life than money and prestige. This book, based on a song by the musical group Newsong, was adapted into a made-for-television movie. While a quick read, it will definitely touch your heart.

— Recommended by Jill Wetnight, Franklin Road Branch


November 28, 2011


by Thurman, Rob

Fans of Anita Blake and others who battle preternatural baddies will be intrigued by a new member of that heroic club in this first book in a series by Indiana author Rob Thurman. Cal (Caliban) Leandros is half human and half Auphe. The Auphe are an ancient race of elves, but these are not the beloved, benevolent elves of Middle Earth and other recent places. These creatures date back to the folk and fairy tales of old, where elves were dangerous, evil beings who stole human babies and human souls. The Auphe are even worse. Cal and his totally human half-brother Niko have spent most of their life running from the Auphe. For Cal, the only worse thing than being captured by that side of his family is the fear that same monster lurks within him. But when he is attacked by an Auphe one night after work, and realizes that they need him for a purpose that puts all of humanity at risk, he decides to stop running and fight back.

— Recommended by Doriene Smither, Pike Branch


November 21, 2011

The American Leadership Tradition: Moral Vision From Washington To Clinton

The American Leadership Tradition: Moral Vision From Washington To Clinton
by Olasky, Marvin N.

Although Dr. Olasky writes from a staunchly Christian perspective, he provides balance and nuance in the vignettes of thirteen American leaders, most of whom were Presidents.  Andrew Jackson’s courage and pugnacity are known to the most casual student of history, but his intellect, vision, discernment, morality, and even cleverness, emerge in his chapter.  Meanwhile, his callous attitude toward Indians and slaves, while not defended, is at least explained.  The Lincoln chapter could well have been called "Feet of [Henry] Clay" in reference to some proclivities the two men shared.  The chapters, at about twenty pages each, are long enough to illustrate the subject’s character in historical context--warts and all--without letting the reader’s interest flag.

— Recommended by John Ridge, Wayne Branch