Staff Picks

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

September 8, 2014

Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile

Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile
by Jackson, Nate
796.332 Jackson JAC

As the football season begins, we often think of some of the legendary players from yesterday and today – Jim Brown, “Mean” Joe Greene, Peyton Manning. However, we seldom think of some of their less-heralded teammates, some of the men who played, or sat on the bench, in relative anonymity. The men who were bruised and battered in practice at the bottoms of piles. The players who made all of the same sacrifices of their time, energy, and bodies that the superstars did, but with none of the glory.

Nate Jackson was one of those players. In his autobiography, Jackson recounts his six seasons in the NFL and takes us with him from small time football at Menlo College to becoming an undrafted rookie with the Denver Broncos to a stint in Germany for NFL Europe and finally through the deterioration of his body and career. On the journey, Jackson doesn’t pull any punches about the realities of his gruesome injuries, the off-the-field perks of being a professional athlete, and the moral dilemmas of using performance enhancing drugs.

While so much of our focus is often spent on the goings-on of the best known athletes in football, it is interesting and refreshing to read a detailed and honest account of the not-so-famous athlete.

Slow Getting Up is also available as a downloadable e-book.

                           --Recommended by Adam Todd, Spades Park Library


September 1, 2014


by Leonard, Elmore

Elmore Leonard has been one of my favorite authors since I read my first Leonard book, Killshot, in 1991. In this fast paced action story, two brothers, known as drug dealers, decide to get into the “body parts” business, specifically Kidneys. U. S. Marshall Raylan Givens is the man assigned to stop them in their tracks.

The book has a lot of characters and action going on at the same time. Layla, the nurse, removes and collects kidneys for a cool 10 grand. The executive of a Kentucky coal mine will stop at nothing to get what she wants; and Jackie Nevada, a cool-handed cheat and expert poker player, finds herself being tracked by U.S. Marshals.

Even if you’re not an Elmore Leonard fan, you will love this book!

  Raylan is also available as a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD

                                    --Recommended by Gregory Hill, Decatur Library


August 25, 2014

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
by Howe, Katherine

What do we really know about history? About our country’s history, or our own?

On a harsh winter night in 1681, Deliverance Dane races to the bedside of a dying child, only to face the fear and derision of the townsfolk when her skills as a healer are called into question. The resulting lawsuit changes the course of her family’s history forever.

Connie Goodwin is a modern-day PhD candidate in American Colonial History, desperate to find a topic for her dissertation. Meanwhile, she must spend her summer preparing her grandmother’s run-down ancestral house for sale. The task seems pointless to Connie, until she finds clues that could lead her to historical gold.

Katherine Howe’s novel keeps her audience riveted with the contrast between the grueling life of Colonial Massachusetts and the mystery unfolding in modern day New England. The author’s own background as a historian provides a richness to both settings, letting us walk a mile in both women’s shoes.

                                    — Recommended by Kasey Panighetti,  Franklin Road Library


August 18, 2014

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats
by Marciuliano, Francesco
811.6 MAR

In a sea of funny pet books, it is easy to overlook this small gem. For cat (and animal) lovers looking for a quick read and a bit of humor, check out this very silly book of cat poetry. In a quick sitting you can chuckle away at these tongue-in-cheek poems written “by cats” about behaviors and quirks that cat owners love and love to hate. Less praising a cat’s beauty, and more understanding why a cat paws at your bedroom door, this collection explores a housecat’s psyche with a sense of humor. Interspersed between delightfully funny poems are adorable pictures of what else…cats! And if you are more of a dog lover, check out the companion volume I Could Chew on This: And Other Poems by Dogs.

The dog poems are also available as a downloadable but less chewable e-book, and the cat poems are available as an e-book which can be peed on only if you're talking about your hardware.

                                    --Recommended by Meredith Albertin, Lawrence Library


August 11, 2014

Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible

Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible
by Rusbridger, Alan
B Rusbridger, Alan

Alan Rusbridger must not sleep much. As editor of the world-renowned Guardian newspaper, he shepherds coverage of WikiLeaks and other hot global and British top news, while also prepping for technological and design changes -and negotiating the release of foreign correspondents in tight spots. “If you make your life the news business, the news will to some extent dictate your life,” he writes. For him, family, friends, and music are part of the escape.

Rusbridger liked sight reading but wasn’t a fan of practicing piano as a child; he resumes piano lessons in his 40s “as some inklings of mortality began to twitch.” Using music as both a respite and a mental challenge, he sets a one-year goal of learning, memorizing, and publicly performing the very difficult Chopin Ballade No. 1 in G Minor. Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible recounts his challenge and his talks with pianists, neurologists, and other solid amateurs about the appeal, the benefits, and the physiology involved in playing.

Rusbridger carefully researches Steinway pianos and buys one. He also sends his serviceable Fazioli to the Italian piano-building facility for loving hand restoration. Rusbridger snatches 20 minutes a day or more when he can to practice. He takes lessons, battling reticence and brain freeze in performing for an audience. A veteran piano teacher advises playing even to pets and teddy bears, as a reminder to play through at the best possible level. That won’t be a professional level – and that’s part of the joy of it. Rusbridger makes a compelling case for the value of amateur musicianship.

Rusbridger gives a friendly account of his challenging and stimulating job, which his musical interludes help him juggle better. Maybe it’s time to dig out that old sheet music…

                                          --Recommended by Diane Palguta, College Avenue Library