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What? Another Beatles Day?

July 10, 2014 by Reader's Connection

In His Own Write

Global Beatles Day was sometime last month, but July 10th was the original Beatles Day, so I will now type-recite, from memory, passages from John Lennon’s In His Own Write.

This is from “On Safari with Whide Hunter”

In the jumble, the mighty jumble, Whide Hunter sleeps tonight. At the foot of the bed, Otumba kept wogs for poisonous snacks such as the deadly cobbler and the apply python. Little did he nose that in the early owls of the morecombe a true story would actually happen.

Taking my copy down from the shelf–yes, I still own one, though it’s not in eBay shape–I see that, among other mistakes, I didn’t get the title right: “On Safairy with Whide Hunter.”

Time has passed since I last performed this material. A self-pitying teenager, unhappy about having moved to Indiana, I didn’t think I fit in at all; but I discovered that there were actually kids at the bus stop whom I could amuse by reciting this stuff. John was my favorite Beatle–everybody had a favorite–because on some level he seemed to be as miserable as I was.

My favorite recital piece was from “Randolph’s Christmas.” Randolph is sad because no one has shown up for his Christmas party. His “desecrations and muzzle toe” seem to have gone to waste. But then a bunch of kids appear. From memory, again:

In they came, jorking and labbing shoubing, haddy grimble, Randoob, and other hearty. And then they jumped on him and smited him with mighty blows about the head, crying, “We never liked you, all the years we’ve known you. You never really were one of us, you know, fat head.”

They killed him, you know. But at least he didn’t die alone, did he? Merry Chrustove, Ranglolphe old pal buddy.

Opening the book, I see that once again I got the title wrong. It’s supposed to be “Randolph’s Party.” Overall, though, I didn’t do badly.

After the 50th anniversary of the first Ed Sullivan appearance, and then Global Beatles Day, I imagine that people have had enough of these observances. I’ll celebrate quietly with John’s weird stories and poems and his even weirder drawings.

Have the half-pea day of your chewies.


OverDrive Streaming Video

July 7, 2014 by Reader's Connection

The Indianapolis Public Library is thrilled to offer the brand new OverDrive Streaming Video service to our patrons. You can search, sample, borrow and instantly watch videos from the comfort of your own home or while on-the-go with your mobile device.

The library has a starting collection of almost 1000 titles that include: classic films, modern features, instructional videos, award winning foreign films and documentaries, TV series, independent films, children’s videos and more!


Whether you are interested in learning guitar, catching up on a TV series, or entertaining your family with kid-friendly titles like Sesame Street or The Adventures of Paddington Bear, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy with the just one click through the new OverDrive Streaming Video service.

OverDrive Streaming Video service is a convenient and fun way for you to borrow and watch library videos anytime, anywhere, on any computer, tablet or mobile device with an internet connection. The best part is that titles are never lost, and there are no late fees!

A valid Indianapolis Public Library card is required to access the streaming movies. To browse the library’s streaming video collection, please visit (If you’re on the homepage, you can get there by clicking the eVideo link pictured at the top of this page.) For more information about this service, please visit

• Watch titles right in your web browser without having to download files or use special software
• No overdue fines
• Can check out as many as 25 titles between all Overdrive services
• Content for all age groups
• Most videos check out for up to 7 days and return automatically. starz2An exception are the Starz video titles, which when initially checked have an expiration date, with the note or 48 hours after first play.

After you’ve watched the movie, or part of it, the due date is strictly 48 hours after first play.





10 Years














Silver Linings Playbook







The Iron Lady








For My Father















Inch’Allah Dimanche





Beatles Stories









Jillian Michaels: One Week Shred






Easy Sign Language






Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way (This link is to Part 1 of 3)






Meditation for Beginners









Spartacus: Blood and Sand – Season 1






Shameless Series – This link is to Episode 1






The Greatest Journeys on Earth







The Real McCoys – Season 1









Strawberry Shortcake – Season 1






Spy Kids: All the Time in the World






Back to the Sea






New Adventures of Madeline





–Selector Jessica Lawrence



The Buddha in the Attic at the Foundry

July 4, 2014 by Reader's Connection


The woman working at Foundry Provisions was sweet about coming outside and taking my picture.

Oh, no! It’s another picture of me, grinning outside a book discussion spot.

This won’t go on all summer, I promise. You won’t have to look at me knocking back a brew in front of Sun King or New Day Craft, when those brewery book discussions roll around in August.

On Monday, July 14th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., there will be a discussion of Julie Otsuka’s novel The Buddha in the Attic, followed by a workshop led by the Indiana Writers Center.

This will happen at Foundry Provisions (236 E. 16th Street, that’s 16th & Alabama).

The Buddha in the Attic

I love the way The Buddha in the Attic is narrated. Early in the twentieth century, a group of young Japanese women sail over to San Francisco. They (or their parents) have agreed to arranged marriages with men who have sent pictures and letters and money.

The novel’s main character is the whole group. There must be other novels like this, but they don’t come to mind. Individuals are named, fragments of individual stories told, but–at least as far as I’ve read–we are hearing a sort of swarm-voice. This sounds as though it might get in the way of an emotional connection with any of the women, but the story works in its own way.

table_quarterSome of us on the boat were from Kyoto, and were delicate and fair, and had lived our entire lives in darkened rooms at the back of the house. Some of us were from Nara, and prayed to our ancestors three times a day, and swore we could still hear the temple bells ringing. Some of us were farmers’ daughters from Yamaguchi with thick wrists and broad shoulders who had never gone to bed after nine. Some of us were from a small mountain hamlet in Yamanashi and had only recently seen our first train. Some of us were from Tokyo, and had seen everything, and spoke beautiful Japanese, and did not mix much with any of the others. Many more of us were from Kagoshima and spoke in a thick southern dialect that those of us from Tokyo pretended we could not understand. Some of us were from Hokkaido, where it was snowy and cold, and would dream of that white landscape for years. Some of us were from Hiroshima, which would later explode, and were lucky to be on the boat at all though of course we did not then know it.


Otsuka’s canny use of the we, when the we is describing our first sexual experiences with our new husbands, pulls the reader’s attention here and then there and then here, rather than following one romantic or titillating line.

I know from the reviews that the story moves forward through internment during World War II, and I’m reading with dread and anticipation. The claims on the dust jacket about the poetry of this book are not empty boasts.

Yikes! What is that horse doing outside Foundry Provisions? Has the blogger found some twisted way to include this post in his celebration of the Year of the Horse?

Their plows weighed more than we did, and were difficult to use, and their horses were twice the size of our horses back home in Japan. We could not harness them without climbing up onto orange crates, or standing on stools, and the first time we shouted out to them to move they just stood there snorting and pawing at the ground. Were they deaf? Were they dumb? Or were they just being stubborn? “These are American horses,” our husbands explained. “They don’t understand Japanese.” And so we learned our first words of horse English. “Giddyap” was what you said to make the horse go forward, and “Back” was what you said to make it back up. “Easy” was what you said to make it slow down, and “Whoa” was what you said to make it stop. And after fifty years in America these would be the only words of English some of us could still remember by heart.

Hope to see you at Foundry Provisions on the 14th, or at some other events in the Adult Summer Reading Program.

Happy Independence Day to all, especially to those whose ancestors didn’t experience a whole lot of independence in our country.


It’s not too late: Turn left at the Caspian Sea, then go to Calvin Fletcher’s.

July 2, 2014 by Reader's Connection

On Wednesday, July 9th at 4:00 p.m., there will be a discussion of Anthony Marra’s novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena at Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company.

If you last visited Calvin’s 3 or 4 years ago, you need to be told: THE BUILDING PICTURED BELOW IS NO LONGER THE RIGHT ONE.
calvin7This used to be Calvin’s, but is now a South of Chicago Pizza and Beef. It’s probably a wonderful place, but no book discussion.

In April 2012, Calvin moved to more spacious quarters a block down the street, at 647 Virginia Avenue. Be looking for a window that looks like the one below, minus the greybeard specter.


The specter is not the ghost of Calvin Fletcher. It is I, your blogger, smiling because I’m jazzed up on decaf and a chocolate croissant, but also because the fellow whom I ambushed to take my picture has misunderstood what I’ve said about the book discussion. He thinks I wrote the novel. Oh, buddy, in my dreams.


Image by Kbh3rd, Wikimedia Commons

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena  is set in Chechnya, where two wars occur in the course of the novel, and where the eventual “peace” doesn’t deserve the name.

Sonja is a doctor who has left “a decent life in London” and returned to Chechnya in search of her younger sister Natasha. Natasha shows up and works for a while at Sonja’s nearly unstaffed hospital; but then she disappears again. Despite the fact that the sisters never got along, Sonja is possessed by the desire to know where Natasha has gone. “What had happened to her sister? When she died, this one need, so near to eternal it could be her soul, would survive her.”

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Sonja’s life is further complicated by Akhmed, a stranger who shows up with a little girl called Havaa, whose father has been taken away by Russian soldiers. Akhmed claims that Havaa is also wanted by “the Feds,” and insists that Sonja should take the girl in.

The novel jumps around in time and involves a guns-and-heroin smuggler, an informer for the Feds, the author of an unpublishable history of Chechnya, and characters who linger with me even though they inhabit only a couple of pages. The book was an incredibly fast read for me, and that’s why I’m saying It’s not too late.

welcome_signA Constellation of Vital Phenomena  is also available as a downloadable e-book, but when I looked, yesterday, there were 15 requests and only 5 e-copies. Both copies of the downloadable audiobook version were checked out, and there was a request. So (word to the wise, here) your best bet for reading the book before July 9th is an old-fashioned paper copy.

And don’t forget: Other events around town are coming up in our Adult Summer Reading Program.


Tralisa McNeal to Visit East 38th Street

June 30, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Love Me Sane


Local author Tralisa McNeal will appear at the East 38th Street Library on Monday, July 14th at 6:00 p.m.

She will be discussing her 2010 novel Love Me Sane, a work of Christian fiction which touches on the themes of tragedy, loss, faith, redemption and valor in hard times.