Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center

By William Langewiesche 

This book answers some of the questions you may have wondered about after 9/11: Why did so many more firemen die than policemen? How, exactly, did the towers collapse? Why did the subways have to close? Why was excavating the site so dangerous? The way New York City responded to this extreme emergency, who stepped up to assume positions of authority, and what they faced as they did it, is half the interest of this book. It is also a fascinating casebook in leadership.  Langewiesche, a respected New York journalist, was on the spot and takes you there with him.


American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center

Where the Wild Things Are: Right Here

Tom Springer doesn’t understand why folks feel the need to go up north to experience wildness. And he's right. It’s all around us in Southwest Michigan. All we need to do is take some time and look around.

Tom’s new book, Looking for Hickories: The Forgotten Wildness of the Rural Midwest, is a collection of essays celebrating wild things in and around this part of the world —  from the satisfaction of gathering berries to the restorative experience of wading down a river. Billing his July 15 program as the “Smell the Wood Tour,” Tom passed around pieces of wood cut from trees found in the area — burr oak, cherry, hickory, osage orange and walnut — so we could appreciate each specimen's characteristic beauty and fragrance.

Tom was joined by artist Lad Hanka who illustrated the book. For the program, they brought along some tasty samples of foodstuffs made from wild things: serviceberry jam, maple syrup and sassafras tonic.


Looking for Hickories

Nineteen Minutes, or, How Long is YOUR Coffee Break?

Author Jodi Picoult, said to be the #1 New York Times best-selling author, has written a compelling novel using alternating narratives between the past and the present that tells the story of two main families who live in a small town, and whose children used to be friends.  Now in high school, the two kids have long since dissolved their friendship, or so it seems.  If one would let it, the other would have an "I Love You" relationship.  This lack of response may be one trigger to what happens next in the book.  Nineteen Minutes has been described by Entertainment Weekly  as "expertly crafted, thought-provoking, and compelling."  An appended study guide, aimed toward book discussion groups, says the novel is "rich with psychological and social insight."  Peter Houghton and Josie Cormier and others from their school become involved in a Columbine-type shooting where students and staff alike are killed.  There are not only deaths, but also life-changing physical repercussions, possible death sentences, jail terms, and an ending that took this reader totally by surprise.  Other titles by this author, My Sister's Keeper, The Tenth Circle, and Vanishing Acts are just as well-written and forceful.


Nineteen Minutes: a Novel

Go Guides!

Here’s a plug for the topic guides on the new KPL website. During my first post-launch visit to the site, I found that the highlighted topic guide was “Parenting.” I took a look and realized that the guide will be useful for a local committee I’m serving on.

Today I distributed copies of the Parenting guide to the group.  They were impressed to see such a variety of resources gathered together… …KPL catalog headings and website topics, books recommended by staffdatabasesnewspapers and magazinescommunity resources and websites.

The committee includes some early childhood development experts and educators, and they offered some suggestions for additional resources we could add. I’m glad the new website will be interactive so users of the topic guides can help us make them even better!


mother reading while child jumps on bed

World War Z Author is Coming!

Born in New York City in 1972, the only son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, Brooks’s introduction to the living dead began with a traumatic childhood incident, an incident he still refuses to discuss.

Brooks has devoted much of his life to the study and development of anti-ghoul security. He is, at present, the leading Western student in the Afro-Caribbean martial art of Mkunga-Lalem, the world's oldest and most effective anti-ghoul fighting skill.

After working for the B.B.C. in Great Britain and East Africa, Brooks began writing The Zombie Survival Guide. A former writer for Saturday Night Live, he lives in New York City with his wife, Michelle and his miniature dachshund, Maizey.


World War Z
Kevin King
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