Staff Picks

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

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


November 14, 2011

The Tenderness Of Wolves

The Tenderness Of Wolves
by Penney, Stef

It's 1867 and winter is beginning to bear down on the Canadian Dove River community.  Mrs. Ross, A Scot immigrant, finds a French fur trader's body, murdered and scalped. In this expansive, well researched who-done-it, many loners, fugitives, fur traders and trappers are suspect. The crime investigation is orchestrated by two who represent the greedy, pervasive Hudson Bay Company. Mrs. Ross is astonished that her seventeen year old son, one of the suspects, has gone missing. She sets out with an Indian guide to find her son before the impending snow obscures his tracks. The wilderness is so breathtakingly described that the reader feels a part of the landscape. By journey's end we've learned more about the unsolved disappearance of two young girls many years ago, a fur trading empire falling into ruin, an ancient Indian artifact, and a deteriorating marriage. Chapters are written from several of the community members' voices, each describing their theme and perspective. This sparkling debut novel leaves a craving for a continuation of this desolate, wintery tale.

— Recommended by Sharon McKittrick, Lawrence Branch