July 21, 2016 by Reader's Connection
A Great Reckoning by Lousie Penny
Armand Gamache is back, and it was worth the wait. As the new leader of the Surete academy, Gamche is working to stop corruption at its source and ensure the best start for the cadets. When a copy of an old map is found near the body of a dead professor, Gamache and Beauvoir race against the clock to find the killer before another person dies. A terrific novel that blends Penny’s amazing lyrical prose with characters that resonate long after the book ends. Highly recommended. — David Singleton, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
This book is so full of twists and turns that my head was swiveling. Who took baby Cora? Marco and Anne decide to leave their baby home alone. After all, they share a wall with their neighbors, with whom they are partying. They would take turns checking in on her baby monitor. But when they return to their flat the first thing they find is an open door and no Cora. Who’s to blame? Could it be an unlikely suspect that you won’t see coming? If you like a book that keeps you guessing until the very end you won’t be disappointed. — Debbie Frizzell, Johnson County Library, Roeland Park, KS
Watching Edie by Camilla Way
Twisty psychological banter makes this book a thrill ride. Edie was the girl in high school who had it all. Heather was the awkward girl who wanted so badly to be accepted. That was high school and now Edie is a single mom caught in a dead end job. She is about to lose it when Heather comes to her rescue. While Edie loves being able to get her life back, the hold that Heather has on her and the baby is disconcerting. The story jumps back and forth between past and present and you will change your mind about their friendship right up to the last page. — Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Talented chef Olivia Rawlings didn’t make the best decisions in her love life, but it takes an accident with a flambéed dessert to force her into a major life change. She flees to a small town in Vermont and takes a job at a small inn. She soon discovers that even though the town is small, the world she has known is about to get much bigger. Miller’s writing is descriptive enough to imagine Olivia in this setting, smell her pastries baking, and hear the music in the story. Miller has captured the essence of a great character in a setting that could easily feel like home to many readers. — Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
This is the story of the women who stayed in the Barbizon Hotel in the 1950’s. A reporter is tipped off about one of the women, who still lives in the building over 60 years later. As she tries to research a murder and a case of switched identities, she starts becoming part of the story. The narration switched between 2016 and 1952 and as I read the novel, I soon got caught up in the next piece of the puzzle. It had history, romance, and a way to view the changing roles of women. Enjoyed it very much! — Donna Ballard, East Meadow Public Library, East Meadow, NY
The Book That Matters Most: A Novel by Ann Hood
A recently separated woman seeks solace and purpose in a local book group, while her daughter is dealing with her own life-changing problems that just might be resolved with a little literary assistance. The juxtaposition of the idyllic small town and the harsh reality of the seedier side of Paris, the weight of memory and regret, and the power of human connection, along with the engaging characters all work together to create an enthralling read. Readers will be carried away with the hope that these lovely and damaged characters can find their own happy ending. — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, South Huntington, NY
Arrowood by Laura McHugh
Arden Arrowood returns to the family home, a stately Second Empire mansion, after the death of her father. She is hoping to find some peace and possibly an answer to the decades old mystery of her twin sisters’ kidnapping. Arden, at age 8, was the only witness to their disappearance, but memory is a tricky thing. The spooky old house, the setting on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River Bluffs, the small town atmosphere, a creepy caretaker, and many family secrets make this novel un-put-down-able! Highly recommended. — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
On the surface, Jack and Grace have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, and the perfect jobs. What lies beneath the surface is something so sinister yet so believable that it will horrify most readers. What happens behind closed doors and could, or would, you believe it? This is a superb story of psychological abuse that will have your heart racing right up to the end. — Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Twp, MI
First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
First Star I See Tonight is a satisfying addition to the Chicago Stars series. Cooper Graham has just retired as the quarterback when he meets private investigator Piper. Their relationship starts off with a mutual dislike that quickly turns into one full of sparks. Watching them navigate the waters is fascinating. In the end Cooper lays it all on the line in order to win his biggest game ever…a happily ever after. I highly recommend the book. — Jennifer Cook, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire , WI — Jennifer Cook, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire , WI
Die Like An Eagle: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews
Meg and her family embrace America’s favorite past time. It’s the opening weekend for the Caerphilly Summerball baseball league and Meg finds a body in the porta-potty. Meg, her friends and family must catch a killer and figure out how to oust the petty league president before everyone’s weekend is ruined. Reading Andrews’ books are like a visit home to your favorite relatives, plus she weaves humor and fun while still penning an enjoyable mystery. — Karen Emery, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN
July 18, 2016 by Reader's Connection
It is the late 1800s and the whale hunting industry is beginning to fade. Why would a ship owner send a ship this far north so late in the year? A ship carrying men of questionable character…..a murderer, thieves, some running from the past? The Arctic is becoming more unwelcome each day! The crew more agitated. This fast-paced adventure tale is perfect reading for a sweltering Indiana summer. –Sharon
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You’ll be taken to a form where you can enter your review, and I’ll post it here on Reader’s Connection as soon as I can.
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July 14, 2016 by Reader's Connection
I am completely excited! The winner of the 2016 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award in the National Author category wrote a novel that I read just a couple of months ago, and I went swinging through the trees when I read it.
The winners in the National, Regional and Genre Excellence categories have been announced, as have three finalists for the Emerging Author Award. The Emerging Author winner will be announced at the IAA Dinner on Saturday, October 29th.
National Author Award
Karen Joy Fowler is the winner of the National Author Award.
Fowler was raised in Bloomington, where much of her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is set. That’s the one that had me swinging through the trees.
I should come down to the ground long enough to announce that Fowler has written other books. Click her name or picture to see the novels and story collections that are available at the library.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves will be discussed at the Indianapolis Zoo on Tuesday, August 16th as part of the Adult Summer Reading Program.
Regional Author Award
The Regional Author Award winner is Philip Gulley. Originally from Danville, Gulley is a Quaker pastor, an essayist, columnist and novelist. He has also served as a television host.
Novels set in the fictional towns of Harmony and Hope are among his popular works, and his memoir I Love You, Miss Huddleston : And Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood records his growing up in Danville.
Genre Excellence Award
The winner of the Genre Excellence Award is April Pulley Sayre. If the category sounds unfamiliar, that’s because it’s new this year. It will rotate each year to recognize authors of excellence in specific genres. This year’s category is Children’s Picture Books.
This is not to set our authors off against one another, but Sayre, who lives in South Bend, has more books in our catalog than any of the other authors. Many of them are science books, and my favorite title at first sight is Trout Are Made of Trees.
Emerging Author Award
The three finalists for the Emerging Author Award are Sarah Gerkensmeyer, Bill Kenley, and Edward Kelsey Moore.
Sarah Gerkensmeyer is the author of the prize-winning story collection What You Are Now Enjoying, which will soon be ordered for the library. She lives with her family in Greencastle.
Bill Kenley is a teacher at Noblesville High School, and is the author of High School Runner (Freshman).
Indianapolis native Edward Kelsey Moore is the author of The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, which is a novel set in the fictional Indiana town of Plainview. This book is another that will be discussed–next Monday, in fact, July 18th, at the downtown Sun King Brewery–as part of our Adult Summer Reading Program.
The winners and finalists will all appear as part of the free Indy Author Fair during the day on October 29th, and the awards will be presented at the ticketed dinner that evening. Congratulations to all!
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July 12, 2016 by Reader's Connection
“All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change.” -Huck Finn
Take a trip this summer without ever leaving your house. Dive into one of these books or movies to inspire your next epic summer road trip. You never know where you will end up.
America Day by Day – Simone de Beauvoir
Here is the ultimate American road book, one with a perspective unlike that of any other. In January 1947 Simone de Beauvoir began a four-month journey that took her from one coast of the United States to the other. She traveled west by car, train, and Greyhound, immersing herself in the nation’s culture, customs, people, and landscape.
Along with a personal account, American Nomads traces the history of wandering in the New World, through vividly told stories of frontiersmen, fur trappers and cowboys, Comanche and Apache warriors, all the way back to the first Spanish explorers who crossed the continent.
An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
This is the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest, addle-brained, rollicking journeys ever undertaken.
Going Bovine – Libba Bray
Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Mad Cow disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America – Bill Bryson
Journalist Bryson decided to relive the dreary vacation car trips of his American childhood. Starting out at his mother’s house in Des Moines, Iowa, he motors through 38 states over the course of two months, looking for the quintessential American small town.
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey – Ernesto “Che” Guevara
A freewheeling account of an extended youthful road trip undertaken in the early ’50s by the future poster boy of Communist insurrection.
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac’s alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture. – Amazon.com Review
Road Trip: A Pocket History of Indiana – Andrea Neal
The bicentennial of Indiana statehood in 2016 is the perfect time for Hoosiers of all stripes to hit the road and visit sites that speak to the nineteenth state’s character. In her book, Andrea Neal has selected the top 100 events/historical figures in Indiana history. This will enable interested Hoosiers to travel the entire state to experience history firsthand. The sites appear in chronological order, beginning with the impact of the Ice Age on Indiana and ending with the legacy of the bicentennial itself.
Travels with Charley in Search of America – John Steinbeck
With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.
The story of a woman who won one of the 276 cars on The Oprah Winfrey Show. With the proceeds from selling the excess car, she and her family abandoned a suburban lifestyle, and spent a year discovering America through the windshield of a 38-foot motorhome. This three traveled 20,000 miles in 12 months, visiting 36 states and two foreign countries. What started as an adventure with a loose plan became a journey that, when ended, would change this family forever.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
An unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America’s Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of growth, discovery, and acceptance that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life’s fundamental questions.
Movies & Documentaries
This collection takes you down the American roads less traveled to discover the pulse of the Heartland: the scenic splendor of the country’s most treasured national parks, the people and communities created far from major cities.
Take the ultimate cross-country road trip to some of America’s most popular destinations, and learn the fascinating true stories of Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
When Suzanne’s work keeps her in Vancouver for the holiday, Nick offers to bring her kids to the city from Portland, Oregon. The kids are determined to turn the road trip into a nightmare.
Three women sharing a car going west also share a friendship that becomes family. One is a wisecracking club singer, one a finicky real-estate agent, and one a free spirit. Each has secrets to reveal, strengths to impart, vital moments of self-discovery awaiting.
Two motorcyclists travel across the U.S. in search of the “real” America. And find it.
Based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson. Fueled by a suitcase full of pharmaceuticals, journalist Raoul Duke and his sidekick Dr. Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of crazy characters.
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. (We’re ordering more copies of this title.)
An inspirational adventure based on the true story of two young men whose thrilling and dangerous road trip across Latin America becomes a life-changing journey of self-discovery.
A suburban Chicago family travels across the United States on a comic trek to an amusement park, and encounters a series of disasters along the way.
Traveling cross-country, young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.
Pee-wee hits the open road to look for his missing bicycle and encounters riotous adventures with bikers, bums, cowboys, cons, a phantom trucker, and a waitress with wanderlust.
An uptight businessman faces disaster after disaster as he tries to get back home in time for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and along the way is joined by an insane traveling salesman that will not leave him alone.
A callous young hustler living in California finds his father has died and left him only rose bushes and a ’49 Buick convertible. Feeling cheated out of what he thinks should be his 3 million dollar inheritance, he kidnaps the autistic brother he never knew he had, and takes him on the ride of his life.
Bob Munro (Robin Williams) and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.
After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.
An Arkansas waitress and a housewife decide to break out of their normal life and jump in a ’66 Thunderbird to hit the road for some adventure. Their journey, however, turns into a violent flight from the authorities all the way to Mexico in this cult classic.
Lula knows she’s destined to be with her ex-con boyfriend, Sailor, no matter how many times her mama tried to kill him. But when she and Sailor hit the road to find happiness, their journey plunges them into a disturbing underworld.
You can check out all of these titles and more at the Indianapolis Public Library!
July 8, 2016 by Reader's Connection
From Selector Emily Chandler:
For those interested in reading beyond the Indiana titles chosen for the Adult Summer Reading Program, check out this supplemental list of recently released novels all written by contemporary Hoosier authors!
Unless otherwise noted, the book summaries here were provided by the publishers.
Coble, Colleen Mermaid Moon: a Sunset Cove Novel
Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find…mother.” Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point. Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart–and left–without a word, years ago. When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life–and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie–their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye. As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer–it is also about finding herself again…and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.
Collins, Kate Moss Hysteria
Flower shop owner Abby Knight and her husband, Marco, are ecstatic to finally be moving into their new home, despite the prospect of unpacking a seemingly infinite number of boxes. After all, Brandywine–their new subdivision–seems like an oasis with its welcoming neighbors and beautifully manicured lawns. But their idyllic community is suddenly uprooted when a body is found floating in a nearby pond. The police think Abby and Marco’s helpful next door neighbor is the culprit, but the newlyweds aren’t convinced. Meanwhile, Marco distrusts his mother’s slick new boyfriend, and Abby’s cousin Jillian has agreed to decorate their new home, resulting in comic chaos. Even worse, as Abby and Marco dig through Brandywine’s secrets in search of a killer, they discover that some flowers come from very bad seeds…and danger stalks even the sunniest small-town streets
Moss Hysteria is also available as an eBook.
Crandall, Susan The Flying Circus
From the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties. Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price–and one of them won’t be able to survive it. As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure–worldly or private–they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.
Dams, Jeanne Blood Will Tell
American Anglophile Dorothy Martin tackles a tricky puzzle in the historic university town of Cambridge. Dorothy Martin isn’t overly enthusiastic when her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, invites her to accompany him to a conference in Cambridge, picturing cramped student accommodation. But St. Stephen’s turns out to be recently renovated, and, bolstered by en suite facilities, Dorothy is looking forward to exploring the historic and beautiful city. It is not long, though, before disaster strikes: lost in the maze of college buildings, Dorothy stumbles into a laboratory…and is shocked to find what looks like a pool of blood on the floor. She flees, to fetch help, but when Alan checks it out, there is nothing to be found. Was she mistaken? Or has a terrible crime been committed? Dorothy, who can never resist a puzzle, determines to find out.
Blood Will Tell is also available as an eBook.
Gulley, Philip A Place Called Hope
When Quaker Pastor Sam Gardner is asked by the ill Unitarian minister to oversee a wedding in his place, Sam naturally agrees. It’s not until the couple stands before him that he realizes they’re two women. In the tempest of strong opinions and misunderstandings that follows the incident, Sam faces potential unemployment. Deeply discouraged, he wonders if his pastoral usefulness has come to an end. Perhaps it’s time for a change. After all, his wife has found a new job at the library, his elder son is off to college, and the younger has decided to join the military once he graduates high school. Sam is contemplating a future selling used cars when he receives a call from a woman in the suburban town of Hope, Indiana. It seems Hope Friends Meeting is in desperate need of a pastor. Though they only have twelve members, they also have a beautiful meetinghouse and a pie committee (Sam is fond of pie). But can he really leave his beloved hometown of Harmony.
Jannetides, Elaine A Golden Bond
Golden Bond is a story of growing up as the daughter of immigrant parents during the1950 ; a time very different than today. Our story opens with a gathering of girls walking to the start of the last day of their senior year of high school. Their journey will span decades, take a few unexpected turns along the way, and end as a tale of caring, hope, and love. When young Angela Demetrious mother dies her father casts aside any reminder of his late wife and refuses to speak of her to their children. Following the funeral her father to returns to Greece for an arranged marriage. Soon after meeting her stepmother, Angela becomes aware that her life will never be the same. She will have to break from her family s traditions and set her own course. She will not do it alone.
Perona, Elizabeth Murder on the Bucket List
The septuagenarian women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club have gathered in secret late one July night to check skinny-dipping off their bucket list. But as Francine observes, the jittery members seem more obsessed with body issues and elaborate preparations than actually stripping down and getting in the pool. A pungent smell emanating from the pool shed provides a perfect distraction. When a dead body flops out, its an answered prayer for Charlotte, since the first item on her list is to solve a murder.
Ryan, Hank Phillippi Prime Time
In the cutthroat world of television journalism, seasoned reporter Charlotte McNally knows that she’d better pull out all the stops or kiss her job goodbye. But it’s her life that might be on the line when she learns that an innocent-looking e-mail offer resulted in murder, mayhem and a multimillion-dollar fraud ring. All too soon her investigation leads her straight to Josh Gelston, who is a little too helpful and a lot too handsome. Charlie might have a nose for news, but men are a whole other matter. Now she has to decide whether she can trust Josh…before she ends up as the next lead story.
Sorrells, Amy Lead Me Home
Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good. As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most…and reconsider where they truly belong. — Amazon.com
Lead Me Home is also available as an eBook.
Winters, Ben H. Underground Airlines
It is the present-day, and the world is as we know it: smartphones, social networking and Happy Meals. Save for one thing: the Civil War never occurred. A gifted young Black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service. He’s got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called “the Hard Four.” On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn’t right–with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself. A mystery to himself, Victor suppresses his memories of his childhood on a plantation, and works to infiltrate the local cell of a abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines. Tracking Jackdaw through the back rooms of churches, empty parking garages, hotels, and medical offices, Victor believes he’s hot on the trail. But his strange, increasingly uncanny pursuit is complicated by a boss who won’t reveal the extraordinary stakes of Jackdaw’s case, as well as by a heartbreaking young woman and her child who may be Victor’s salvation. Victor himself may be the biggest obstacle of all–though his true self remains buried, it threatens to surface. Victor believes himself to be a good man doing bad work, unwilling to give up the freedom he has worked so hard to earn. But in pursuing Jackdaw, Victor discovers secrets at the core of the country’s arrangement with the Hard Four, secrets the government will preserve at any cost. Underground Airlines is a ground-breaking novel, a wickedly imaginative thriller, and a story of an America that is more like our own than we’d like to believe.
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