Staff Picks

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

November 28, 2017

The Coaster

The Coaster
by Wurster, Erich
MYS WUR

Bob Patterson is a coaster. Although he prefers to think of himself as an Everyman, which he is if it’s every man’s lot to have married a rich man’s daughter and to be handed a job that requires little to no effort. Bob knows that he’s phoning it in, and he’s okay with that, defaulting to self-deprecating humor when forced to rub elbows with rich snobs at obligatory fund raisers. But, of course, nothing lasts forever, and as so often happens, once the snowball starts rolling, it picks up momentum and heft. Bob’s father-in-law dies, leaving Bob to handle his vast financial affairs, a job that Bob is ill-equipped to do. And then an old college friend turns up; you know, that college friend, the one who did all the wild and crazy stuff that everyone else was afraid—or too principled—to do. Toss in the possibility for Bob to make it on his own when he’s offered an opportunity to buy into a too-good-to-be-true deal, and, yep, right there you’ve got the beginnings of a perfect storm. With Bob right in the middle, coasting along. Until he can’t coast anymore and has to (gulp) do something. Will he—can he—rise to the challenge?

The Coaster is also available as an eBook.

           --Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Branch

 

November 14, 2016

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires, Book 1)

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires, Book 1)
by Butcher, Jim
SF BUT

The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the first book in a new fantasy series by Jim Butcher. He is the author of two other popular fantasy series: Codex Alera and The Dresden Files.

While there is magic and there are fantastic creatures, this is neither a traditional fantasy nor a modern urban fantasy. The world of the Cinder Spires is a completely new one. Etheric crystals can be used to fire blasts of electricity, heat or light. Crystals can make objects move or fly. There are talking cats and dangerous monsters. People live in huge multi-layered cities called spires. The surface of the world is dangerous creatures, and flying warships can go from spire to spire.

There are battles big and small, and the action is steady from the start to the end. The characters and creatures are fascinating. The story is one that you can’t put down.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass is also available as an eBook, an eAudiobook, and an audiobook on CD.

                   --Recommended by Keith Dinnage, Haughville Branch

 

October 31, 2016

Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives

Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives
by Rodriguez, Jose A., Jr. with Bill Harlow
B Rodriguez, J.A. ROD

This memoir by the head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terror attack of 2001 is a robust and spirited defense of the CTC’s performance in that period. While there was immediate public and congressional support for the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) in the early years, criticism began to replace it as the public felt more secure; and mischaracterization of the EIT program increased.

The actual program included ten increasingly stringent actions designed to make a prisoner compliant, the last of which, waterboarding, was used on fewer than twelve prisoners and more than 26,000 U.S. military personnel. Critics also claimed that EITs were ineffective, in that men will say anything under duress and that all useful information was gained by other means. Mr. Rodriguez rebuts those claims by citing facts he is now permitted to reveal and by pointing out that corroboration was always sought from other sources. A highly readable insider account which contradicts many widely held beliefs.

— Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Branch

 

October 17, 2016

The Time In Between

The Time In Between
by Dueñas, María
FIC DUE

Author María Dueñas spins a sweeping tale of dressmaking and intrigue, spanning the years 1935 to 1942.

The story begins with fourteen-year-old Sira Quiroga, an apprentice in a Madrid dressmaker’s shop. After several years, Sira’s life and fortunes are derailed by both the Spanish Civil War and an unfortunate romance. She finds herself in Morocco, alone, and destitute. Fortunately, her natural talents as a dressmaker will both become her salvation and will lead her toward peril.

With the passage of time, Sira finds herself now leading a double life…she has evolved into one of the most celebrated dressmakers in Europe, and complete with a THIRD identity courtesy of British Intelligence, now has access to pampered Nazi officer’s wives, their secrets, and all the accompanying dangers of being a spy during the end of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of World War Two.

Author Maria Dueñas use of actual British Agents, Spanish politcos, and her marvelous descriptions of exotic 1930s and 1940s locales make for a very entertaining read. This novel has been called the “Spanish Downton Abbey”. I might describe this story as Casablanca meets Gone With The Wind.

The Time In Between is also available as an audiobook on CD.

             —Recommended by Mike Hylton, Irvington Branch

 

October 3, 2016

After This: When Life Is Over, Where Do We Go?

After This: When Life Is Over, Where Do We Go?
by Smith, Claire Bidwell
133.9013 SMI

Author Claire Bidwell Smith debuted with The Rules of Inheritance, a memoir that chronicles her experience losing both parents to cancer at a young age. Now in her 30s with a career as a grief counselor and some distance from her losses, Smith’s After This follows her exploration of the afterlife and the various beliefs and practices related to life after death. Through visits with psychics and mediums, psychotherapists, hospice workers and clergy members, Smith makes the reader feel like they’re along for the journey, which is as much a metaphorical trip as it is a literal trip crisscrossing the country. She mixes a healthy bit of skepticism with a deeply compassionate perspective and the book winds up being as informative as it is therapeutic.

After This: When Life Is Over, Where Do We Go? is also available as an eAudiobook.

            — Recommended by Carrie Voliva, Pike Branch