Staff Picks

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

January 13, 2014

The Best Film You’ve Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love

The Best Film You’ve Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love
by Elder, Robert K.
791.4375 ELD

“Movie Lover” has a different connotation for everyone. It means just that: a cineaste: a film enthusiast. For others it is something rather highbrow, requiring the ability to read subtitles and interpret Ingmar Bergman or enjoy only the tortured filmic outcries of obscurant and little appreciated artistes. This is not a book for that bunch. It is rather a book for the hardcore lover of the craft’s prime focus: to entertain.

Robert Elder interviews 35 directors to learn the unappreciated (or flatly disliked) movies that they love and why. Here you will find nuggets of brilliance such as Ugetsu (1953), directed by Kenji Mizoguchi and beloved of Kimberly Peirce who directed the devastating Boys Don't Cry (1999). There are disturbing picks, such as The Swimmer (1968) by Frank Perry and an uncredited Sydney Pollack, and starring Burt Lancaster in an unusual role, which won high praise from Alex Proyas who has directed such movies as The Crow (1994) and I, Robot (2004). And there is the weirdly wonderful, such as the great John Waters (he of Polyester (1981) and Hairspray (1988) fame) and his seemingly inexplicable love for Boom! (1968) directed by Joseph Losey and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

The Best Film You’ve Never Seen will allow readers to find a director whose work they like and discover a hidden classic that will entertain in new and interesting ways.

                                      --Recommended by Deanna Long, East Washington Library


December 30, 2013

The African-American Heritage Cookbook: Traditional Recipes and Fond Remembrances

The African-American Heritage Cookbook: Traditional Recipes and Fond Remembrances
by Tillery,Carolyn Quick

This cookbook not only has savory recipes from beverages to desserts but also takes the reader on a journey through history. Author Carolyn Tillery states, “The occasional observations and first-person anecdotes I have provided throughout the book are not intended to be a definitive history of Tuskegee, but an attempt to give a human dimension to Tuskegee’s great men and women through their relationship to food and its preparation.”

Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee Alabama was founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881. Booker T. Washington was concerned about the diet of the sharecroppers and one of the first things he taught was farming. Scientist Dr. George Washington Carver came to Tuskegee and demonstrated to the sharecroppers how to farm the land and shared recipes and preservation methods. The results were great recipes that are found throughout this book. Some of the recipes are Collard Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Dr. Carver’s Sliced Sweet Potato Pie. Readers will enjoy these historical recipes.

                           Recommended by Denyce Malone, Flanner House Library


December 16, 2013

Black Fridays

Black Fridays
by Sears, Michael

Since the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, there have been any number of books written about the hotshots, the wheeler-dealers, the sleight-of-hand masters who inhabit that world. In this entry, Sears—himself a 20-year veteran of those particular wars—introduces Jason Stafford, a one-time Wall Street star who took one too many chances and paid for it by way of two years in Ray Brook Prison. Now he’s out and trying to put his life back together. He manages to land a consulting job with a boutique firm looking into minor irregularities that have come to the attention of the SEC. But the bigger problem for Jason is getting his son back. The ex has taken “The Kid” back to live with her mother in Louisiana. Grandma is Southern Sweet, but, lacking the skills necessary for coping with an autistic boy, she keeps him locked in a room. Jason is determined that his son will have a better life; the problem is how an ex-con with limited options can make that happen. Compounding the problem, his investigation into the minor irregularities begins to spiral into something much bigger, which has the wrong people wanting to stifle Jason’s search for the truth. For all the power of Wall Street, the real story here is Jason’s struggle to make a better world for his son.

                              — Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library


December 2, 2013

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution
by Anderson, Chris
338.04 AND

So what is the difference between the “old” industrial revolution and the “new” industrial revolution? In the past in order to get something made it required a factory, lots of time and lots of man power. Now innovators are able to produce a product simply by using open-source designs, communal ideas, and a 3-D printer. That may sound very simplistic but the time between an initial idea and when it becomes available to the public has become drastically shortened. Anderson uses his vast knowledge and personal experience to chart a course for the next ten years. He feels that because of the networking effect of the web “Makers” can use file standards that allow anyone to design a product, send it to a commercial manufacturing service or fabricate it from their own desktop. This is the new way products will be developed and manufactured. Anderson feels we will not do away with large companies, just the monopoly the large companies used to enjoy. A very eye opening read.

               — Recommended by Lygia Bischoff, Pike Library


November 18, 2013

Still Life

Still Life
by Penny, Louise

When selecting a book for recommendation on the library web site, our guidelines encourage us to select something “to pique the interest of the reading public.” In other words, select a book that’s out of the ordinary, not necessarily a blockbuster bestseller. The mysteries in the Chief Inspector Gamache series by award-winning Canadian author Louise Penny are, in my opinion, definitely superior. I’ve just finished reading How the Light Gets In, the ninth book about the man who leads an elite group of homicide investigators in the Surete du Quebec. The adjectives that I would use to describe the book include original, complex, gripping, and satisfying. I had to restrain myself several times to keep from rushing ahead to see what was going to happen. Also, the characters are ones that I’ve come to care about during the course of the series. Gamache is strong, principled, and devoted to his colleagues, his family, and his friends in the almost magical village of Three Pines which is somewhere south of Montreal. This is where the reader meets him on his first case, and this is where you must begin with Louise Penny’s first Inspector Gamache book, Still Life.

In Still Life, school teacher Jane Neal is found dead in the woods near the village, and her death is assumed to be a hunting accident at first. But something is suspicious, and Inspector Gamache and his right hand man Inspector Beauvoir are called to Three Pines from the city to investigate. This is just the beginning of a great reading experience.

Click on the title link at the top of this review, and when the box opens, click where it says Excerpts, and you can read the opening passages of Still Life, which is as well-crafted as all of the others in the Gamache series. Most of the books in the series are available from the library in some alternative format--in large print, as downloadable audiobooks or e-books, or as audiobooks on CD.

                                   — Recommended by Georgia Silvers, Warren Library