Monthly Archives: May 2011

Staff Pick – Running the Books

RUNNING THE BOOKS: Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg

Avi realizes he’s just not making enough money writing obituaries so he starts a job search and falls into the position of librarian at a Boston prison. Despite his physically slight stature and naturally meek disposition, Avi learns to assert himself as he deals with hardened criminals on a daily basis. But this transformation comes gradually. In between episodes of being chastised by convict leaders and prison officials alike, Avi decides what is important to him – and the prisoners he serves.

Some of them are library workers, shelving books and helping fellow inmates find information while they seek to enhance their education to make life after prison better than the one that led them to crime. Some of them are women taking Avi’s writing course. One of them just wants to look out the window and, in so doing, snares Avi’s attention, which turns to dedication as he attempts to help her fill a void in her life. Avi becomes so involved in some lives that he crosses the line between “classes” on more than one occasion outside the prison.

Being a prison librarian is ultimately not Avi’s niche in life, so after a few years he leaves the job but the stories he passes on are riveting. In a conversational style, he tells of individuals and personalities that most of us will never know, but whom we readers find compelling in many ways.

This is an entertaining and enlightening book, one you’d likely never find while browsing the library shelves, since it is located in 027.66, but do check it out!

Find the book in our catalog!
Recommended by: Paula at Main

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Staff Pick – Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Who hasn’t looked at some exotic animal and thought “If only they weren’t wild so I could have one as a pet?” I know that I’ve often admired and wished I could have a pet like a tame lion, or wolf, or even something silly like a giraffe. Even though it couldn’t work, I think we often wish it could.

That desire is what the book “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” plays up to. We can read about the way an ordinary house painter transforms his life to look after a smart, friendly group of penguins that become his pets. It’s fun to suspend your disbelief long enough to enjoy the tale of someone living in harmony in their own home with wild animals.

This book was one of my favorites as a child, and when I saw that a film would be coming out next month based on the book, I thought I would pick it up again. Even as an adult, I wasn’t disappointed reading this story again. If your kids are excited about the movie coming out, like penguins, or just the idea of having a special sort of pet, let them read this book. Or if you want to feel a bit of nostalgia or just enjoy a playful, simple story with a wonderful happy ending, check it out for yourself. 😉

Recommended by: Ashley at Main
Find the book in our catalog!

Staff Pick – Decision Points

Decision Points by George Bush

As a library clerk, I have the opportunity to read the latest book releases. Recently, I decided to stray from my usual preference of graphic, fictionalized horror and read a piece of a more historical and educational nature.

Although I have always considered myself to be blissfully ignorant of mainstream politics, I had settled upon George W. Bush’s autobiography titled: Decision Points.

This book is an insightful and introspective look at a president and administration that I can now say I knew very little about. It focuses on his family, life, staff, and firmly instilled beliefs that steered him through his darker White House hours. The behind-the-scenes account of 9/11 and the destruction of hurricane Katrina, were both gripping and poignant.

Decision Points, though losing me occasionally in 180 degree back and forth turns through several years, held my attention with its thought-inducing and often tear-provoking look at a tumultuous period in our country’s history.

The honesty, openness, bluntness, and humility of this president are to be applauded. Despite many of his televised verbal blunders, the book is eloquen and well-written.

I would recommend Decision Points for any reader who enjoys American HIstory, autobiographies, or just a very good book.

Find the book in our catalog!
Recommended by: Amy at Shady