Staff Picks

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

June 20, 2016

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Hoosier Public Enemy: A Life of John Dillinger
by Beineke, John A.
B Dillinger, John BEI

The Great Depression was a time of hardship and bleakness… except when America’s favorite criminal made news! John Dillinger’s swash-buckling ways, smooth good looks, and his care for the poor farmers – leaving their money on the counter when robbing the banks – won the hearts of Hoosiers and Americans everywhere. For a period of fourteen months, John Dillinger’s escapades lifted the average American from their despair.

This book, with historic photos generously splashed through the pages, gives us a fascinating look at Indiana during the Dillinger years (from Johnnie’s childhood through 1934). Fast-paced and full of Dillinger’s sparkling personality, it shows us Dillinger’s early childhood in Indianapolis and Mooresville, and escorts us through his escapades – and thrilling escapes – in a time when fast cars and new modern crime-fighting techniques were finding a place in current culture.

As a part of our Adult Summer Reading Program, this book will be discussed at the Sun King Brewery (135 N. College Ave.) at 5:30 p.m. on August 29th.

Hoosier Public Enemy is also available as an eBook.

             — Recommended by Deb Ehret, Spades Park Library

 

June 13, 2016

Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet

Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet
by Itzler, Jesse
613.7 ITZ

It’s not like he needed the money. Jesse Itzler is a former rapper, co-founder of Marquis Jet, partner in Zico Coconut Water. He’s also married to the woman who created Spanx (and is worth—literally—a billion dollars). So, no, it’s not like he needed the money. And he was already running marathons. So it’s not like he wasn’t already physically fit. But when Itzler ran in a 24-hour relay race and spotted a man running the entire race alone, he was curious. Who was this man running with such relentless determination? Displaying the curiosity and perseverance that had already made him a success, Itzler tracked the guy down, cold-called him, asked the guy to live with him for a month and take his fitness training to a new level. The guy—who turned out to be a SEAL—said yes, on one condition: “You do everything I say.” Itzler agreed. And then regretted it for almost every one of the 31 days they spent together. But he endured. And along the way he learned that he could do more than he would ever have believed possible. Itzler has accomplished that all-too-rare feat of relating a story that is funny as well as inspirational.

        --Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library

 

June 6, 2016

Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace
by Krueger, William Kent
MYS KRU

Love, loyalty and understanding is the result of a tumultuous summer in 1961 that passively matures a young boy and his even younger brother as they process the impact of murder and the meaning of death in their small town of New Bremen, Minnesota. Written by New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace captures the journey from naïve country-boy towards manhood, and is rooted in the openness and forgiveness experienced by thirteen year old Frank Drum - the middle child of the town’s Methodist minister and a local would-be Hollywood starlet. Recognizing that life has a way of testing the boundaries of relationships and jeopardizing the lives of those striving to function within them, this story masterfully reveals the true essence of God’s love - Grace.

Truly a mystery novel at its core, William Kent Krueger provides the reader with an unexpected ride in the mind of a young boy who sincerely seeks to understand his surroundings, the people who he has grown to trust and his faith. This book is perfect for a reader who enjoys the long road to enlightenment with twist and turns along the way.

Ordinary Grace is also available as an eBook and in large print.

— Recommended by Tiffani Carter, Warren Library

 

May 30, 2016

Crooked Heart

Crooked Heart
by Evans, Lissa
FIC EVA

In bombed and war-ravaged London, Vee takes in orphaned 10-year-old Noel, whose godmother Mattie has died suddenly. Vee is not driven by generous impulse; she wants the allowance that comes with caring for Noel. Disappointed by men and love, Vee's tumultuous life has given her a tough shell; her elderly mother is mute by choice and her shiftless son Donald is a pillar of immorality. Into the lives of these misfits stumbles poor Noel - bookish, awkward,and desperately missing the anchor of Mattie and their Highgate house.

The characters are bewitching. Brusque and hardened Vee, possessed of the proverbial heart of gold and poor little Noel, old beyond his years and wanted by no one, with his sticking-out ears and difficult ways. They are a glorious combination, with a story that will grab you and never let you go until you turn the last page. The supporting characters are just as engaging: Vee's mother, who has lost the power of speech but writes admonishing letters about the war effort to everyone from Winston Churchill to Arthur Askey; Vee's son Donald - delighted that his dicky heart has allowed him to dodge the draft; and Noel's atheist godmother Mattie, a former suffragette who appears only in the prologue but makes an indelible mark on the plot.

Greater events of wartime Britain are the background, often in the hilarious epistles to Churchill. The impact of this “moral war” on the home-front is to suspend peacetime ethics. But in the end, there is redemption for nearly everyone, and perhaps a journey toward love.

Lissa Evans is a wry and gifted voice - and Crooked Heart is a true tour de force of modern literature.

Crooked Heart is also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook.

          --Recommended by Emily Talbott, Nora Library

 

May 16, 2016

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse
by Hutton, Robin L.
951.9042 HUT

This adult, non-fiction title chronicles the exploits of a small horse who accomplished great things. It will appeal to military history buffs and to those who enjoy true stories about exceptional animals.

The Korean Conflict, often called America’s “Forgotten War,” was fought on treacherous terrain that sometimes rendered mechanized transport useless. Reckless, a small Mongolian mare, was purchased by the soldiers of the 5th Marines Recoilless Rifle Platoon to carry the 24-pound rounds for the 75 mm recoilless rifle, a potent weapon capable of accurately firing the heavy rounds several thousand yards under ideal conditions.

While a fully-outfitted Marine could carry two or sometimes three rounds in addition to other essential battlefield supplies and encumbrances, Reckless learned to carry six rounds regularly and up to ten at a time during a fierce battle. Accustomed to the noise and chaos of the battlefield and bonded to her platoon-mates as to an extended family, Reckless made the perilous journey from an ammo supply to the front-line gunners time and again. Frequently, Reckless made the journey alone.

The book details Reckless’s adventures as a Marine from late 1952 through her retirement at MCCS Camp Pendleton, California in November of 1954 following a national call to bring her to American soil. Reckless earned two Purple Hearts for her service, and was promoted to Sergeant following her heroic efforts in the savage Battle of Outpost Vegas in March, 1953. No other animal has been awarded such an honor.

Author Robin Hutton makes excellent use of archival photographs of Reckless and her platoon-mates, detailed maps and descriptions of battlefield conditions, and interviews with veterans who served alongside the brave little horse. Hutton was herself involved in the successful efforts to commemorate Reckless with a monument and memorial at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. The Indianapolis Public Library maintains five copies of Hutton’s book, which was originally published in 2014.

               --Recommended by Todd Gilbert, Pike Library