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From a street that has disappeared from Indy’s east side to a 1632 Shakespeare folio: The Indianapolis Special Collections Room.

November 10, 2015 by Reader's Connection

Here’s a video about the Nina Mason Pulliam Indianpolis Special Collections Room. Located on the 6th Floor of Central Library, the room is the home for an amazing variety of books, posters and other materials.

Click the picture to start the YouTube.

Exhibits are open during regular library hours, and you can call 275-4100 to request a tour of the Indianapolis Room.


The perfect Thanksgiving gift: Readers will all be thankful they don’t live in 18th Century Greenland

November 7, 2015 by Reader's Connection

The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

Kim Leine’s The Prophets of Eternal Fjord is an epic novel of Greenland and its tortured relationship with Denmark.

Morten Falck, as he calls himself for most of the novel, is a Norwegian who goes to Denmark for schooling and is then off to Greenland as a missionary. The story is told from several points of view, but much of our time is spent with Morten. We read of his lice, his diarrhea, his sexual wanderings, his visions (or hallucinations), and his uneasy position between the great island’s indigenous population and the Danish colony whom Morten is supposed to be serving.

Moby DickI love this novel, and some lover of historical fiction might love to receive it as a gift. In case you hadn’t guessed, though, the story is intense. There is stolen gold, stolen liquor, an exploding house, murder, excruciating descriptions of a rape and an abortion, and some whaling episodes that make the guys in Moby Dick seem as though they were sticking to OSHA regulations.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Nothing could make you think Melville’s whalers were good with OSHA. But you get what I mean.

The prophets of the title are Habakuk and his wife Maria Magdelena. Based on Maria’s dreams of Jesus, these two Inuit, native Greenlanders, set up an outpost community which the Danish colonists find intolerable, but which Morten Falck views with increasing ambiguity as the novel goes on.

I keep wanting to tell too much of the wild story, so I’ll step back. Click the picture for an interview with author Kim Leine.

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If you’re going to Wrestle with the Infinite today, be mindful of the Marathon street closings

November 7, 2015 by Reader's Connection

Spirit & Place’s Wrestling with the Infinite program begins today (Saturday, November 7th) at 12:30 p.m. at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

Programs continue through the week, but if you’re attending the RSVP opening event, you may have to wrestle with street closings related to the Monumental Marathon.

Here’s a link to the Marathon website:

Here’s a link to the map that I find the most useful:

Here’s a link to Spirit & Place’s description of the Wrestling events:

And here’s a link to my neurotic blog post about the program.

Drive carefully! Best wishes with your wrestling and all your Indy driving today.



2 poems by Lawrence Raab

November 5, 2015 by Reader's Connection

Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts


“It’s Not Just Trains” and “I Was About to Go to Sleep” are from Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts. Published by Tupelo Press, copyright 2015 Lawrence Raab. Used with permission.







It’s Not Just Trains

The ticket office was closing
when we arrived and were informed
our train had departed ahead of schedule.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Trains
leave on time, or late, but never early.”
“Such things happen,” the agent replied,

more often than you would think.”
“Look around,” he added,
“and pay attention. It’s not just trains.”

When I told my family of the unexpected
predicament, I was taken aback
by their lack of surprise. “Let’s wander

a while through this pretty little town,”
my wife proposed, “and see what happens.”
“Or else,” said my son, “let’s head off

into that dark woods beyond the tracks,
each alone and without our baggage,
and try to find our way out

before nightfall.” He smiled, I thought,
at me in particular, as if he’d known
all along that would be the plan.



I Was About to Go to Sleep

I’d seen him all day, sitting in his front yard,
looking straight ahead, so I figured
something was wrong, though not as wrong
as it turned out. But let me ask you first–
Does anyone who reads your newspaper
really need to know about this, just because
it happened? Doesn’t it happen everywhere?
A man comes home from the war and can’t
fit back into what used to be his life.
Then he can’t imagine any life
that could be his. I won’t say I’ve felt
that bad, but I understood how much
like a ghost he’d become. You sit there.
You see the desert, how far away it is.
You see the lawn and how impossible
it’s become to mow it. You keep looking
straight ahead for a long time until
you don’t see anything, because you’re a ghost,
all hollowed out and waiting to vanish.
And then it’s dark so you go inside the house
because that’s where people go when it’s dark.
And maybe you do what he did.
So I don’t suppose I was telling the truth exactly
when I said I hadn’t imagined how wrong
things had become. Why didn’t I
walk over and speak to him that afternoon?
I could tell you I was afraid, and I was, but really
I had no words for the moment, not even one.
Yet I can hear myself speaking to him now.
“Is it like you’re a ghost?” I ask, and he
replies, “Yes, sir, that’s what it’s like.”
Leave that out, please, when you write your story.
Just say I saw him and was afraid.



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Reading The Sun . . . hey, here’s Nikki-Rosa!

November 3, 2015 by Reader's Connection

sun_nikkiRemember how I wasn’t capable of listening to audiobooks while I drive, so I invented a new Read Harder Challenge?

How I’m going to read magazines all the way through?

I’m on my third magazine, now, the November issue of The Sun. I’ve never read The Sun, before, but I’m enjoying it. There are original articles and some reprinted (modern) poems.

The November issue is focused on families, parenting, children.

I mention this because when I reached the poetry pages, there was Nikki Giovanni’s poem “Nikki-Rosa,” which Carrie had linked to over on the Kids’ Blog, in anticipation of Giovanni’s appearance at Fall Fest at Central Library on November 21st.

I got all excited. Thanks for letting me share.



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