Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!
February 8, 2016
A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction
by Kennedy, Patrick J. & Stephen Fried
The Kennedy family has been larger than life in the history of our country and we have looked to them with admiration and intrigue. They have had many accomplishments, politically and socially, often putting their name behind causes close to their hearts. With Steven Fried, Patrick Kennedy has co-authored the book “A Common Struggle,” in which he opens up about many of the struggles his family has endured and that were kept secret for many years.
He details his immediate family’s battles with alcoholism, and mentions his Aunt Rosemary 's mental illness, which was exacerbated when she was given a lobotomy as a “cure.” Patrick writes of his own mental illness that was not diagnosed properly for many years. He describes his life path of overcoming drug addiction and trying to control his illness.
Having had these experiences, and with his political family background, Patrick has set out to fight the stigma of mental illness for all. He has been an advocate in mental health legislation--as were his Uncle, John F. Kennedy, and his father, Ted--trying to make health care available for those who have not been considered ill due to the definition of an illness in the eyes of the medical community. The Kennedy family has really put mental illness in the forefront, by creating legislation that has helped with insuring the mentally ill and by creating events like The Special Olympics that offer a sporting event for the mentally challenged.
Patrick shows us just how far health care for the mentally ill has come and how far it still has to go. “A Common Struggle” is an intriguing read that is concluded with the information for supporting different mental illness organizations that Patrick Kennedy supports and promotes with all of his heart.
--Recommended by Kris Gould, Nora Library
February 1, 2016
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story
by Rice, Anne--art and adaptation by Ashley Marie Witter
A parent’s worst nightmare is a willful child, but what if the body of said willful child is harboring the resentful embodiment of a woman named Claudia? This adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire focuses on Claudia, a woman vampire trapped in a child’s body. Claudia is highly intelligent and well versed in the ways of the world around her, and 65 years after her turning she has questions that Lestat refuses to answer. Claudia is no longer the child that Lestat made all those decades ago. She is a clever and cunning advisory who will stop at nothing to cease being Lestat’s living doll. Claudia’s resentment toward Lestat fuels his ire towards her, building in fervor until they finally reach the age-old showdown between male and female. Who will win; centuries-old Lestat or the dangerously small powder keg known as Claudia?
--Recommended by Vanessa Jamerson, East 38th Street Library
January 25, 2016
Land of Shadows
by Hall, Rachel Howzell
When Monique Darson is found dead, it brings back painful memories for Detective Elouise Norton. Her own sister, Tori, went missing years before when Lou was a spindly teenager, and Lou is still bitter over the way the case was handled. She determines to find Monie’s killer—and perhaps the person responsible for Tori’s disappearance as well. Lou’s partner is Colin Taggert, freshly arrived from Colorado Springs and with no L.A. experience, so it will be up to Lou to train him even as she searches for a killer. And just because when it rains it pours, Lou is also dealing with an absent husband, gone on a business trip that she suspects may involve more than business. Hall excels at pace and plotting, and brings a fresh, new voice to the mystery genre. The second book in the series—Skies of Ash—was published in 2015, so there’s still time to get in on the ground floor with this series, one that will hopefully have many more installments in years to come.
--Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library
January 18, 2016
How to Start a Fire
by Lutz, Lisa
In a departure from her Spellman series, Lisa Lutz introduces us to a trio of very different women.
When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find a passed-out Georgianna “George” on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Thus begins the start of a friendship that manages to withstand tragedies, betrayals, and the mystery of the unlocked door. Anna is their fearless leader who leads the group in mischief and mayhem during their college years. Katie is a woman with a life plan and ever changing quirky obsessions. Georgianna is an athletic, beautiful woman who is always reinventing herself to please Mr. Wrong. The story, told exclusively in flashbacks, covers a twenty year period. Lisa Lutz works her magic as the characters' stories wander randomly from 1993 to 2014.
This book was wonderfully narrated by Tavia Gilbert, who kept the three main characters' voices easily distinguishable from one another.
--Recommended by Debbie Overshiner, Eagle Library
January 11, 2016
How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
by Stark, Rodney
Western society originating in Europe has dominated the world for more than half a millennium, providing its people with the highest living standards and the greatest individual freedom to be found anywhere. Military and economic power founded on relatively advanced technology has enabled this dominance, but there is no agreed explanation for how the west achieved this.
Professor Stark rejects the claim that Europe’s river network and natural resources ordained this, arguing that the democratic governments of ancient Greece – abetted by the harsh geography –forced people to work harder at agriculture and defense against huge enemy (Persian) forces.
He notes that great empires – Egypt, Persia, China, and even Rome – consumed their treasure in monuments and luxuries for the few while leaving their people at a subsistence level. Medieval Christian Europe was fragmented as Greece had been, so the competition and the plethora of smaller governments drove the innovation that, in dominating the world, improved living standards everywhere. His story, though out of step with modern revisionism, is a fascinating one.
--Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Library