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Staff Picks

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

May 11, 2015

The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps
by Buchan, John
FIC BUC

Written in 1915, this book served as the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic film. It’s been said that the film was 80% Hitchcock and 20% Buchan. Too bad, because the book as written stands up at least as well as the film 100 years on! A classic man-on-the-run thriller, the hero, Richard Hannay, dodges the police and foreign spies on his way to save the life of the Greek premier. But, that’s not the most of his worries. Escapes from London, the Scottish heath, a foreign agent’s bomb factory and a master of disguise (or worse – remember, it was written in 1915) make this as much a page turner as it was for the readers of Blackwood’s Magazine. The 39 Steps is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and a dramatized version on on CD. Of course, the Library also owns DVDs of Hitchcock’s version.

                       — Recommended by Gregg Jackson, Southport Library

 

May 4, 2015

The Gospel According to the Son

The Gospel According to the Son
by Mailer, Norman
FIC MAI

I first read Norman Mailer’s The Gospel According to the Son several years ago. I have read it a couple of times since then. The book centers on the four gospels, Mark Matthew, Luke and John. Mailer explores and envisions the gospel as told by the messiah himself in the first person. Mailer's use of fact and fiction to explore the inner conflicts of the Son of God makes for a very entertaining and thought-provoking read.

I found this book to be very entertaining. Although it’s a mix of fact and fiction, it’s fun to see how the story is told from Jesus’ point of view. A must read.

The Gospel According to the Son is also available as a downloadable e-book.

            — Recommended by Gregory Hill, Decatur Library

 

April 20, 2015

Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After

Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After
by Lowe, Cherie
332.024 LOW

Cherie Lowe's book starts with the birth and growth of the family's “debt dragon.” They lived from paycheck to paycheck and spent without an economic plan. When the brakes went out, they charged the repairs. When someone was ill, they charged the medical costs. Too exhausted to cook, they charged take-out meals. After a few years, even without buying jewelry, vacations or other luxuries, they owed more than $127,000 in credit card and student loan debt.

Cherie then discusses how they realized the dragon hovered around their world, challenging their security. What did Cherie and her husband do to slay the dragon? The remainder of the book describes the process. They prayed, discussed, simplified their life, budgeted and aggressively paid off bills. In short, they changed their behavior.

Cherie divides the book into easily read chapters on topics such as budgets, grocery store strategies and back to school strategies. Her witty conversational style enlivens the topic. Each chapter closes with a list of doable debt slaying strategies. She includes other simple charts such as grocery store ten commandments and instructions on couponing. The personal stories make the reader feel like Cherie is talking directly to her friend, the reader. Read her blog and get new tips at www.queenoffree.net.

Slaying the Debt Dragon is also available as a downloadable e-book.

                  --Recommended by Sue Kennedy, Irvington Library

 

April 13, 2015

In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari. A Novel

In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari. A Novel
by Geda, Fabio; translated by Howard Curtis
FIC GED

Enaiat woke up, and his mother was gone. He remembered the night before when she put him to bed; she held him tight against her chest and made him to promise three things in life: never use drugs, never use weapons, never cheat or steal. Here began Enaiatollah’s long journey through unfamiliar worlds and he was ten.

This is not a book of fancy words or literary acrobats but a story of humanity in its simplicity. Reading Enaiatollah’s story was like sitting with him and listened to his story - how he was pushed to take the long journey of his life from his hometown Nava, Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iran to Turkey to Greece to Italy; the people he met and his survival of unimaginable hardships in the journey. Reading Enaiatollah’s story is like living through his adventures, his fears and his dreams. It humbles you and makes you a better human being.

                       --Recommended by Sailan Liang, Glendale Library

 

April 6, 2015

Treasury of Joy and Inspiration: 90 Years of Uplifting Storytelling

Treasury of Joy and Inspiration: 90 Years of Uplifting Storytelling
by Editors of Reader’s Digest
808.8 TRE

If you need a break from the tedium and discouragement of the world, pick up this lovely book and just start reading. Instead of ploughing straight through, why not try reading a story from each of the different sections. Your sense of wonder and of goodness in the world will be miraculously restored.

When the Franklin Road book discussion group read this title last fall, each participant picked out their favorite story, the story which had meant the most to them. There were some group favorites, but in the end, no one else picked my favorite: “Information, Please” by Paul Villiard:

As a small child growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Paul watched his mother call “Information, Please” for all sorts of questions on the large old-fashioned box telephone fastened to the wall on the stair landing in their home. One day when he was home alone, little Paul hit his finger with a hammer, and not knowing what else to do, he thought of calling “Information, Please.” The kind operator consoled him and told him to go the ice box and get an ice chip to hold on his finger.

After that, Paul called “Information, Please” every time he had a problem: when he needed to know where the Orinoco River was, when he needed help with his arithmetic, when he needed to know what to feed the pet chipmunk he had just caught in the park. And “Information, Please” came through with the right answer every time.

But one day, his pet canary died, and nothing “Information, Please” said could console him – until at last she told him quietly, “ Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”

When Paul was nine, the family moved across the country to Boston, but the memories of those childhood conversations never left him. Years later, on his way west to college, on a layover in the Seattle airport, he tried calling his old hometown operator once again. Miraculously, the same voice answered. He inquired about how to spell the word “fix,” and he told her how much their conversations had meant to him. “I wonder,” she replied, if you know how much you meant to me. I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls.” Her name was Sally.

After his first semester was over three months later, he stopped at the same airport and called Sally again. Only this time a strange voice answered, and when he asked for Sally, he was told that she had been ill for some time and had died about five weeks ago. But then the new operator caught his name. Sally had left him a message: “Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”

                     — Recommended by Deborah Jones, Franklin Road Library