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Oh, come on, Cress! Get a hold of yourself!

July 15, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Off CourseThat’s what I kept muttering while reading Michelle Huneven’s new novel Off Course.

Cressida Hartley would like to have been an artist, but doesn’t have the talent. To her surprise, she has a talent for economics, so that’s what she ends up studying in college. She has retreated to her parents’ A-frame up in the mountains to write her doctoral dissertation on art in the marketplace.

But the little community in the Sierras–which was supposed to turn into a resort, way back when, and never quite managed–has its own distracting culture; and Cress goes off course. One of her love affairs becomes an obsession. It was this second affair, insanely protracted, that had me muttering to Cress, and thinking This is my least favorite Michelle Huneven novel.

But guess what. I finished the novel last night, and there are scenes and characters and wild animals and a bearskin (in the trunk of Cress’s Saab) that are with me this morning. This is a strange, brave novel. Ms. Huneven took some risks, and has left me with a vivid sense of the wilds of California, of the way people are perched there, and of the ways a person–a middle-class person, educated and all that–can go off into the wilds herself.


Come & enjoy Wallace Stevens at Spades Park

July 12, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Selected Poems
The Spades Park Poetry Club will meet again on the last Tuesday of the month, July 29th, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Neophytes, scholars, and everyone in between are invited to join the Poetry Club in our reading and discussion of the great 20th century poet-philosopher, Wallace Stevens. The group leader will have selected a few poems, but bringing and sharing your personal favorites is highly encouraged!

Whoa-ho! Really? Bring a favorite? Bloggers are always willing to hit you with their favorites. I don’t think “Of Mere Being” is in the public domain, yet, so here’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”


Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.



I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.



The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.



A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.



I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.



Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.



O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?



I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.



When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.



At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.



He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.



The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.



It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.


Nine Gates : Entering the Mind of Poetry

I thought Jane Hirshfield said some interesting things about this poem in her book Nine Gates : Entering the Mind of Poetry–but hey, you don’t have to do any extra reading in preparation. The fearless Patrick Dugan will be here to guide the reading and discussion.

That’s Tuesday, July 29th, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., at the Spades Park Library.


Ben H. Winters to visit Indy Reads Books

July 10, 2014 by Reader's Connection

World of TroubleAs I announced with my hysteria nearly subdued in the July LibraryReads post, the third volume in the Last Policeman trilogy is due to be released this month. It’s called World of Trouble. Detective Hank Palace will go on fighting crime, even as the earth is about to be whacked by an asteroid.

Author Ben H.Winters will appear at Indy Reads Books on Saturday, July 12th, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. I cannot improve on the announcement  posted on the bookstore’s website.

Join author and raconteur Ben H. Winters to celebrate the release of ‘World of Trouble’, the concluding volume in the Edgar-award-winning Last Policeman trilogy. Ben will be reading, signing, delivering his patented Five-Minute History of Crime Fiction, giving away Last Policeman themed prizes (like limited-edition fan art and coffee beans), and playing a ukulele medley of Detective Palace’s favorite Bob Dylan songs. A lively author event.

If you haven’t read the earlier books in the trilogy, The Last Policeman and Countdown City, it’s not too late. I mean, it is kind of too late in the books, with the asteroid coming and everything, but you’ll probably have time to read this wonderful trilogy.

Indy Reads Books
911 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 384-1496


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