Staff Picks

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

February 1, 2016

Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story

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

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

How to Start a Fire
by Lutz, Lisa

This title is available as an audiobook on CD, a book, a downloadable e-book and a downloadable audiobook. I listened to an audio version.

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

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
by Stark, Rodney
909.09821 STA

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


January 4, 2016

Glamping with MaryJane

Glamping with MaryJane
by Butters, MaryJane
796.54 BUT

I have fond memories of outdoor camping as a Girl Scout. Sleeping bags, canoes, backpacks and sit-upons are all camping accoutrements that I recall. The most vivid memory that I have is of the primitive camping that 7 of us campers did when I attended CYO camp as a youth. Seven middle school girls and our teenage camp counselor rode horses to our camp site in Brown County, Indiana. No tents for us campers – we slept in the very dark woods, on the ground, under the stars. Dried leaves cushioned our sleeping bags, scurrying spiders kept us up all night, and the fire provided some warmth and sense of security. Boy, were we scared to death! But we loved it.

The book, Glamping with Mary Jane, does away with the old notion that camping has to be dirty, hard, and primitive, and the purview of strapping young boys and hardy men. This book shows women and girls how to buy the trailer, glam it up, back it into position, unhitch, and then how to do traditional camp activities – all with feminine style. In a warm and conversational style the author includes chapters on how to select a trailer, what gear to pack, safety, glamping eats, and entertainment. Although primarily an informative how-to book; the author uses humor to illustrate the practical side of camping life particular to females (read the page on the “can’t live without” FUD). The author's own years of personal experience as a ranger in the Forest Service makes her a trusted “glamping” advisor.

--Recommended by Rhonda Oliver, Brightwood Library