Monthly Archives: March 2012

Staff Picks – The Litigators

The Litigators by John Grisham

I can’t help myself. I like reading legal thrillers. The Litigators is the latest book by John Grisham, one of my favorite authors. It doesn’t hurt that Grisham has mentioned Beckley in a few of his books, but not this one.

This one starts out with David Zinc, a young lawyer at a prestigious law firm, having a panic attack trying to go to work one morning. Working in a windowless office doing endless research for big corporations, is not why he became a lawyer.

He makes a break for it, but can’t bring himself to go home and face his wife. Instead he goes to a bar, and gets beyond drunk. He ends up in a boutique law firm on the wrong side of town. The partners are a couple of down on their luck ambulance chasers. He decides to stay because anything is better than what he had just left. He wanted to get into the real world with real clients and this is about as real as it gets.

The partners take him on because they think his presence will give them some respectability, but they tell him he has to generate his own revenue. He finds ambulance chasing very distasteful, but does manage to get a few cases on his own. Mostly he lives off his savings.

One of the partners has dreams of having one big case that will make him rich. He goes after a large pharmaceutical company for a “bad drug” and lets David be second chair. He thinks since David worked at the prestigious law firm, it makes the case seem more legitimate. There are many twists and turns in the story and it has an unexpected ending. It is a good read and I recommend it for those who like legal stories.

Recommended by: Kay from Main

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Staff Picks – Soldier of the Union

Soldier of the Union by Ken Hechler

It’s been 150 years since the Civil War and still unique and interesting materials on that war are coming out. This has to be one of the most interesting books I have read in recent years. Ken Hechler – former WV Congressman, WV Secretary of State, and author of “The Bridge at Remagen” – brings the war home with letters his grandfather wrote to his sister in Hamar, Ohio as a member of the 36th Ohio Infantry.

Although two brothers are involved in this story, George and John Hechler, George seemed to be the letter writer of the two. In most of the letters he says “John says hello” or “John is well”. The letters bring home the war as nothing else can and they are extremely interesting to read. They were originally published in part in The Parkersburg News in 1962 and detail George’s experiences at Parkersburg, Summersville, Lewisburg, Antietam, and Chickmunga.

George Hechler was born in Schwaigerm, Wurtemburg, Westphalia, Germany on October 17, 1840. He was 13 when his family arrived in America and took a train to Marietta, settling in the small town of Hamar across the river from Marietta. In 1861 when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers, George and John enlisted in Company G of the 36th Ohio; but they decided to stay until all the crops were harvested. In spite of this John climbed out a window at home in August of 1861 to enlist a month before his brother George.

The letters George wrote home to his sister, Kate, began September 20, 1861 and ended on July 7, 1865. Hechler does a superb job filling in the breaks when letters weren’t written and narrating background for the letters and their aftermath. The book presents a lot of interesting information on General George Crook, who at one time was commander of the George Hechler’s unit, the 36th. While George survived the war, John did not. He was captured at Chickamunga and died at the infamous prisoner of war camp in Andersonville.

I was hooked on this wonderful and interesting book at the very first page and was enthralled by the letter writing of George Hechler and the stories he told. This book is an amazing read and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in History, not just those interested in the Civil War. First person accounts, I believe, are always the most interesting and this highly informative book is no exception. It’s a worthy addition to Civil War literature and Ohio history.

Recommended by: Darrell at Main

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Staff Picks – Chicks With Guns

CHICKS WITH GUNS By Lindsay McCrum

Gun ownership is generally a controversial issue in politics and society. Here, photographer Lindsay McCrum presents the female side of gun ownership and use through stunning photographs and thoughtful essays written by the subjects themselves.

The women and girls presented here possess a variety of guns and reasons for owning the guns. The essays describe how the “chicks” got interested in guns, how they learned to shoot, what they shoot (mostly game, some trophies, and a lot of targets), and if they keep the guns for protection. Some of them have professions that require guns — police officer and armed services.

The reader is likely to be impressed by the guns themselves, as well as the knowledge possessed by their owners. They all know at least the name, type, and caliber of their guns; other know much more—examples, 20-gauge Remington 879 Express Magnum with a 1-4.5x variable Bushnell scope; Remington Model 700, in 7mm Weatherby Magnum, with custom walnut stock by Harry Lawson, fitted with Swarovski TDS 6×16 telescope sight. These women are very serious about their guns.

The photographs are in black and white as well as color; the subjects are females ranging from age 8 to 85; the props are taxidermist specialties or the outdoors or the subject’s bedroom; and every one of these gals has something special about her.

This is a very interesting book, slightly oversized, published in 2011, and found in Adult Nonfiction at 363.33 McCrum.

Recommended by: Paula at Main

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Staff Picks – Start Something That Matters

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Those of you who have heard of TOMS shoes will be interested in this book. For those of you who have not heard of TOMS shoes, you will be interested in finding out all about this company from this book.

I did not know about TOMS shoes and now feel that I have learned a lot about how to make a company successful. Blake Mycoskie, an entrepreneur, had started a number of companies with some success but it was not until he was in Argentina and saw how children with bruised and battered feet needed shoes that he came up with his best idea yet.
 
In Argentina, shoemakers produce a comfortable shoe that Blake could imagine on the feet of these children. So, working with this pattern, he approached American shoe manufacturers about making a durable shoe that was still comfortable—a shoe that would be suitable for the poor children of Argentina, yet attractive to American buyers. His new concept: For every pair of shoes that he sold he would give away a pair of shoes to the children.
 
The new company—TOMS—had a rocky start but now is very successful and in just 5 years has given away more than a million pairs of shoes around the world. The story of how Blake made this company is an inspiring one. It is a story of lessons and improvisation, of trust and dedication—in short, Blake tells everyone how he made his company work. It is a plan that any entrepreneur could use to make a successful organization.
 
This book is well worth a read, even if you are not trying to make a living as a company owner. It is found in the Adult Non-Fiction area under call number 658.408 Mycoskie.

Recommended by: Paula at Main

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