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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.


“In the Nursing Home” by Jane Kenyon

June 27, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Collected Poems


“In the Nursing Home” from Jane Kenyon’s Collected Poems (Graywolf, ©2005) appears by permission of Graywolf Press.








In the Nursing Home

She is like a horse grazing
a hill pasture that someone makes
smaller by coming every night
to pull the fences in and in.

She has stopped running wide loops,
stopped even the tight circles.
She drops her head to feed; grass
is dust, and the creekbed’s dry.

Master, come with your light
halter. Come and bring her in.


Click for our findings during this Year of the Horse.


(1) Are you an author who would like to register for the Indy Author Fair?

June 25, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Or (2) are you a reader or author who would like to buy a ticket to the Indiana Authors Award Dinner?

Or (3) did you nominate an author for that award?

(1) If you want a space at the Author Fair on Saturday, October 25th, click on this first picture to open the registration form for the fair.



(2) If you would like to buy a ticket to the Indiana Authors Awards Dinner, which takes place that evening, click on the Award icon.



(3) If you nominated someone for the award, THANK YOU! The National Author and Regional Author winners and three Emerging Author finalists will be announced in mid-July.


LibraryReads July 2014

June 23, 2014 by Reader's Connection

KA-POW! KA-BAM! FAZZAROOOOM! KA-BANG! I’m setting off my own fireworks because the third book in The Last Policeman series is coming in July! Thank you, author Ben H. Winters, and thanks to Jenna Persick in Pennsylvania for cluing me in.


The color choices on this month’s LibraryReads map are not governed by the usual red state, blue state assignments. Forget about those for a minute and enjoy the patriotic display.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell



Landline explores the delicate balance women make between work and family, considering the tradeoffs and pain. Rowell has a special gift for offering incredible insights into ordinary life. Never heavy-handed, Rowell’s writing is delivered with humor and grace. I finish all of her books wanting to laugh and cry at the same time–they are that moving. Landline captured my heart. — Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL




One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One


A single mom, her math genius daughter, her eye-shadow-wearing stepson, a wealthy computer geek and a smelly dog all get into a car…it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s actually another charming novel from Jojo Moyes. It’s more of a traditional romance than Me Before You, but will also appeal to fans of quirky, hard-working characters. A quick read and perfect for summer. — Emily Wichman, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH



The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day

The Black Hour


This first novel about two broken people is a psychological thriller like the best of Alfred Hitchcock. Amelia Emmet is a professor desperately trying to recover from a gunshot wound, and Nathaniel Barber is a student struggling to come to grips with his mother’s death and a lost love. Their journey, told in alternating chapters, is riveting and full of surprising discoveries. Highly recommended. — Mattie Gustafson, Newport Public Library, Newport, RI



The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling


The first of a trilogy, this book is so much more than just another fantasy. Yes, there is magic, a princess and a really bad queen, but there is also an apocalyptic twist that makes readers hungry for the next installment. This book caught me from the first page and kept me guessing till the last. A great read! — Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK





Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands


Thousands of lives are irrevocably changed by a nuclear disaster in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. When her parents are blamed, Emily becomes homeless and her situation, desperate. Told retrospectively, Emily’s story is devastating to read, but her passionate interest in Emily Dickinson comes with flashes of brilliance and a growing acceptance of her past. — Kim Storbeck, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA




World of Trouble: The Last Policeman, Book III by Ben H. Winters

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman, Book III


Still the last policeman, Detective Hank Palace tirelessly pulls together clues from crime scenes and interrogates witnesses to find his missing sister. Winters paints a believable picture of a world awaiting its end thanks to an asteroid on a collision course. A great series for mystery and science fiction lovers, as well as anyone looking for a pre-apocalyptic tale without a single zombie. — Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA




California: A Novel by Edan Lepucki

California: A Novel


Driven away from the violence of cities and a crumbling society, Cal and Frida live an isolated existence, struggling to survive on what they grow and forage. When an unplanned pregnancy pushes the couple to search for other people, they discover an unexpected community. This well-written debut is great for apocalyptic fiction fans and fans of realistic, character-driven fiction. — Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH




Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal



In this coming-of-age story set in the Civil Rights era, Ibby is dropped off at the home of her eccentric grandmother in New Orleans after the death of her beloved father. Filled with colorful characters, family secrets and lots of New Orleans tidbits, this book will appeal to fans of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt. — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA





The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee


A warm and engaging telling of the life story of Harper Lee. Like no other biography, this book offers insights directly from Lee’s point of view as shared with the journalist she and her sister embraced in friendship late in their lives. Informative and delightful! — Jan Fisher, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT






Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

Dry Bones in the Valley


A body has been found in an elderly recluse’s field, neighbors are fighting over fracking, and meth labs and heroin dealers have settled deep in the woods of Officer Henry Farrell’s Wild Thyme Township. Bouman’s prose reveals not only the beauty of northeastern Pennsylvania, but also abject poverty and despair. A startling debut rich in setting and character with an intricate plot that will stay with readers after the last page. — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ