October 6, 2015 by Reader's Connection
This year’s Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts at the Jewish Community Center runs from October 28 through November 16. Click on the banner to read about all the programs–films, musical events, and author visits.
Here’s a list of the authors who are scheduled to visit. All the programs listed here begin at 7:00 p.m. There is a charge of $10.00 for each program.
Monday, November 2nd — Tess Gerritsen
Gerritsen will be playing a musical piece she wrote for the novel, accompanied by internationally-known violinist, Susanne Hou.
On a trip to Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell, the narrator of this haunting standalone from bestseller Gerritsen, buys an old music book titled Gypsy from an antique shop. Inside the book, on a loose sheet of paper, is a handwritten waltz, Incendio, by one L. Todesco. Back home in Boston, Julia plays Incendio on her violin, but doing so appears to set off a series of calamities . . .Julia subsequently travels to Venice, to try to learn more about the music and its Jewish composer, Lorenzo Todesco. Flashbacks spanning 1938 to 1944 chronicle Lorenzo’s tragic story . . . Gerritsen movingly depicts Julia’s search, which has some surprising repercussions and builds to a satisfying crescendo. — Publishers Weekly
Playing with Fire is also on order as an audiobook on CD.
Tuesday, November 3rd — Local Authors
Indy Reads Books’ local authors program comes to the JCC featuring Dan Wakefield, Barb Shoup, Lou Harry and Jeff Knurek.
Wednesday, November 4th — Nicole Dweck
Blogger’s note: I am having a hard time picking one of the four- or five-star reviews of The Debt of Tamar on Goodreads. Click here and have a look.
The Debt of Tamar is also available as a downloadable e-book.
Thursday, November 5th — Michelle Goldberg
Indra Devi was renowned as the First Lady of Yoga in the West, but her flamboyantly dramatic story has never been fully told until now. Investigative journalist Goldberg, by dint of ardent research, adept synthesis, and narrative pizzazz, tracks her chimerical subject around the world to chronicle Devi’s intrepidly improvised, nomadic, and seemingly charmed life with awe and skepticism. Born Eugenia Peterson in Riga, Latvia, in 1899 to a 16-year-old Russian aristocrat who jettisoned marriage for an acting career, Devi also became a performer as they navigated the violent upheavals of WWI and all that followed. Goldberg establishes each scene with dazzling detail and rich historical dimension as she chronicles her subject’s astounding adventures in Weimar Berlin, Bombay, Shanghai, Hollywood, and Buenos Aires . . . Throughout this whirlwind biography, Goldberg provides fresh and enlightening insights into the evolution and impact of modern yoga while Devi, who lived to be 102, forever at the “spinning center of things,” shimmers provocatively in her “almost supernatural” charisma, ambition, contrariness, and resilience. — Booklist
If you wish to practice yoga, before listening to the tale of Indra Devi, bring your yoga mat and be at the JCC at 6:00. Ashley Zeller and her fellow JCC Community Yoga School teachers will lead a group in some gentle poses. (There will be a $5.00 charge for this pre-program program.)
Monday, November 9th — Rabbi Sandy Sasso and Penninah Shram
Rabbi Sasso and storyteller Schram, in a synergistic collaboration, have created an engaging compilation of Jewish love letters and love stories. Beginning with tales about the love relationships of biblical couplings (many interwoven with rabbinic midrash), the book also includes Jewish folktales about courtship, fascinating love letters by Jewish historical figures, and a diverse collection of contemporary stories of meeting, loving, and joining in marriage. The collection highlights both the differences and the commonalities between present-day and past experiences of love and marriage. In part a celebration of modern, romantic love, this book is also about the covenantal relationship between members of a couple (with same-sex couples explicitly included), as well as love’s subtleties, conflicts, and hardships. The book concludes with a chapter designed to help a couple to write their own love story. Likely to appeal to a broad range of readers, the book is of particular value to those celebrating a wedding or anniversary. — Publishers Weekly
Tuesday, November 10th — Jon Wertheim
Wertheim is the co-author with Al Michaels of You Can’t Make This Up : Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television
A veteran sportscaster revisits his career . . . Michaels’ father had one sort of connection to the celebrity world, and the author got an early audition (at 19) with sportscaster Curt Gowdy, who was encouraging and gave him some important advice: “Don’t ever get jaded.” . . . [Michaels] was in the booth for some of the most memorable contests of our era. He writes in detail about the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the United States and the Soviets (and how he ad-libbed his classic line, “Do you believe in miracles?”). He also writes frankly about his friendship with OJ and Nicole Brown Simpson. He was slow to accept OJ’s guilt and visited him several times in prison. The author does not really eviscerate anyone here (he has kind words for almost everyone), but he does declare that by the end of Howard Cosell’s career, the tell-it-like-it-is guy had become “the world’s biggest pain in the ass.” . . . A playful puppy of a memoir about a big dog career. — Kirkus Reviews
Wednesday, November 11th — Katja Goldman & Lisa Rotmil
Across the continent, JCCs are cultural epicenters of modern Jewish life. The buildings are hives of activity; at any given moment, hundreds of people of all ages, backgrounds, interests, and opinions gather to engage in a myriad of activities. And nothing says community more than food. While sitting down to enjoy a meal together is undeniably bonding, working together to prepare it is even more so. Now, three chefs who are longstanding members of the JCC Manhattan share classic recipes such as Weekly Challah, Latkes Four Ways, and Pumpkin Rugelach, plus an inspiring selection of contemporary dishes with a farm-to-table emphasis and international flavors: Fig and Fennel Bread, Iraqi Lamb Burgers, Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Citrus Glaze, and much more. Holiday menu suggestions and a complete chart grouping recipes by dietary restriction (meat, pareve, dairy) are included as well. With anecdotal contributions from JCCs all around the country, this cookbook highlights the JCC’s vibrant, eclectic community-and celebrates all of its many flavors. — Publisher’s note.
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October 4, 2015 by Reader's Connection
Leading up to the dinner, the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation is sponsoring a silent auction online.
GenCon tickets, Pacer tickets, movie tickets, theater tickets, a round of golf, wine and beer and skin care products and a year’s pass to use those yellow bicycles downtown. The range of prizes is amazing.
CLICK THE PICTURE TO SEE THE AUCTION ITEMS. When you’ve looked the items over, you can go to the upper right and click on Register for Auction.
The bidding will go on until 8:45 Saturday evening. You don’t have to be present at the dinner to win. (One of the winners last year was in California that night.)
Proceeds of the silent auction benefit programs of The Indianapolis Public Library and the Library Foundation. If you have questions about the silent auction, please contact Caity Withers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 1, 2015 by Reader's Connection
There’s a statute of limitations on quotation use, so it’s legal for me to once again quote W. S. Merwin (who turned 88 on Wednesday): “I have been younger in October than in all the months of spring.” In the same poem, he called October “a month that has been to the mountain and become light there.”
To help us celebrate my favorite month, here are ten new books, reviewed by ten librarians from eight different states.
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
WOW! An excellently executed work with intricate plot lines and fascinating characters. It’s a story of how the stories of many different people of New York City in the late seventies crash into each other like waves on rocks. This work may encapsulate the whole of New York City, as it has wealth, love, filth, passion, aimless angst, and the myriad of other aspects of humanity swirling in that amazing city. — Racine Zackula, Wichita Public Library, Wichita, KS
After You by Jojo Moyes
I loved Me Before You and thought it ended in the perfect place, but any doubts I had about continuing the story were quickly erased when I started this sequel. Jojo Moyes is a master at tugging on your heartstrings. I laughed, I cried, and I nearly threw my Kindle against the wall at one point. Give this to anyone in your life who has experienced a tragic loss. With a box of tissues. — Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH
A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George
Still reeling from a previous fall from grace, police detective Barbara Havers has a chance to redeem her standing–if she can unravel the very twisted threads that led to the murder of a prominent English feminist. Meanwhile, her superior officer Thomas Lynley pursues a love interest even as he keeps a sharp lookout for any slip-ups by Havers. This is the strongest addition to the series in years. — Starr Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, Falls Church, VA
Slade House by David Mitchell
Every nine years, Slade House appears in a little alley in London, and every nine years, someone disappears into it, never to be seen again. Fans of The Bone Clocks will inhale this compact, six-part work that draws on Mitchell’s established mythology and reintroduces a familiar character or two. New readers, however, won’t be lost. Literary fiction, fantasy, and a dose of horror combine here to make a deeply satisfying book. — Jenny Arch, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
(Blogger’s note: I appreciate Jenny Arch’s review, but as I pointed out in the previous post, I disagree on one point: I think it’s important to read The Bone Clocks before entering Slade House.)
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
The premise of Atwood’s latest is interesting, grounded strongly in current social and economic issues. The writing is as elegant and beautiful, as always with Atwood. I recommend this book because it is a wonderful and thought-provoking novel. People who have enjoyed other Atwood works should definitely take a look at this one. — Lauren Mitchell, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
Brooks does it again, in this fascinating and richly detailed fictionalized account of the life and times of King David. We see David as he might actually have been: a charismatic leader of men, both brutal and conflicted. This is perfect for historical fiction readers who enjoy lots of detail and believable characters. It transports you to the times and places inhabited by David. — Marilee Cogswell, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
From the creators of the popular podcast about a nameless town where the supernatural and strange are commonplace comes a new mystery novel. This is classic Night Vale in written form. It’s an absolute must for Night Vale fans, and will possibly provide an introduction for those who haven’t found this snarky little podcast yet. — Debra Franklin, York County Public Library, Rock Hill, SC
In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
Great new mystery set in the atmospheric Peak District of England. When a woman’s suicide is found to be related to an unsolved case of a missing girl, the police must reinvestigate a long cold case. I hope this book will be the first in a new series! — Pamela Wiggins, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC
Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan, Edie Windsor and Lisa Dickey
The attorney who argued before the Supreme Court for the plaintiff in this landmark case gives the story behind the headlines. Kaplan integrates personal narrative with legal strategy throughout, combining her own struggles with a fascinating look at the brave and unconventional life led by her client. This is a heartwarming and inspiring account of one widow’s pursuit of justice and dignity. — Darren Nelson, Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA
We Were Brothers: A Memoir
by Barry Moser
Moser’s deeply personal memoir of his volatile relationship with his brother in the segregated south is thoughtful and beautifully written. Strong differences of opinions divided the brothers. Late in life, reconciliation came, but only after years of heartache. There is much to ponder from this work, which is timely given current racial tensions. — PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC
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September 28, 2015 by Reader's Connection
I don’t remember if my holiday gift suggestion list has ever paid attention to Halloween before, but listen up: David Mitchell’s Slade House is due to be published on October 27th. This is a horror tale, and the house named in the title is haunted.
That’s not quite accurate, but as close as I can come.
Some reviewers disagree with me, but I think you should read Mitchell’s 2014 novel The Bone Clocks before visiting Slade House. At least three characters from the earlier novel make appearances of some sort, and one of them has a supernaturally important effect on the way the story goes.
If a friend on your list loved The Bone Clocks, he or she would love to get a copy of Slade House. The new novel is much shorter, doesn’t take place on as many continents, and didn’t make me as weepy as the latter parts as The Bone Clocks did; but it grabbed me and made me laugh and reminded me again that we humans are sacred beings.
Stay tuned. Slade House will probably be available in other formats, too.
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September 24, 2015 by Reader's Connection
A breathless beginning and an unexpected lack of reference to the lush setting mark this lively launch of a projected series of Venetian mysteries. When legendary German conductor Helmut Wellauer is found dead in his dressing room two acts into a performance of La Traviata , police commissario Guido Brunetti is called in. Among those who might have provided the cyanide poison that killed the maestro, immediate suspects include the vaunted conductor’s coolly indifferent young wife and those many in the music industry who are offended by his homophobia . . . Though burdened by a dictatorial superior and two lumpen subordinates, Brunetti gets help from his aristocratic wife and her well-connected parents. — Publishers Weekly
Hubbard & Cravens Coffee & Tea
4930 North Pennsylvania
Thursday, October 1st, 5:00 p.m.
Monday, October 5th at 3:30 p.m.
Ivy Tech Library
50 West Fall Creek Parkway
Thursday, October 8th at 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 14th at 6:00 p.m.
Cologne Sister City Committee
401 East Michigan Street
Tuesday, October 20th at 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 21st at 6:00 p.m.
Quentin–or “Q.” as everyone calls him–has known his neighbor, the fabulous Margo Roth Spiegelman, since they were two. Or has he? Q. can’t help but wonder, when, a month before high-school graduation, she vanishes. At first he worries that she might have committed suicide, but then he begins discovering clues that seem to have been left for him, which might reveal Margo’s whereabouts. Yet the more he and his pals learn, the more Q. realizes he doesn’t know and the more he comes to understand that the real mystery is not Margo’s fate but Margo herself–enigmatic, mysterious, and so very alluring. Yes, there are echoes of Green’s award-winning Looking for Alaska: a lovely, eccentric girl; a mystery that begs to be solved by clever, quirky teens; and telling quotations (from Leaves of Grass, this time) beautifully integrated into the plot. Yet, if anything, the thematic stakes are higher here, as Green ponders the interconnectedness of imagination and perception, of mirrors and windows, of illusion and reality. That he brings it off is testimony to the fact that he is not only clever and wonderfully witty but also deeply thoughtful and insightful. In addition, he’s a superb stylist, with a voice perfectly matched to his amusing, illuminating material. — Booklist
I missed a birthday! The Shared Reading Group at Spades Park Library turned 2 in early August.
The group at will continue to read aloud from William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! on Fridays in October–the 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th–from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
A poem is always read. If you can’t make it to Spades Park to read with the group, here’s a favorite of mine from a couple years ago: Hum for the Bolt, by Jamaal May. But that’s just one poem, and four others will be read in October.
Refreshments are always eaten. If you can’t make it to Spades Park, you can munch on a Little Debbie; but the Shared Reading Group offers such a variety.
And when you sit down to read Absalom, Absalom by yourself, you won’t have all the other voices to listen to. They can help you hear something different. (And I think they’ll be starting a new book pretty soon.)
In addition to this weekly shared reading, there will be a monthly book discussion at Spades Park on September 28th. See below.
The What Would Jane Austen Read? Book Club will meet at the College Avenue Library on Monday, October 5th, at 1:30 p.m.
This is a group that reads selections of 18th century literature that Jane Austen might have read. Well-known novels of Burney, Edgeworth, Fielding, Defoe, Sterne and others formed our earliest reading. If you enjoy Jane Austen, you may like some of the writers who influenced her. We now are reading lesser-known works which were popular in her day . . . As these are sometimes obscure works, the library often doesn’t have copies, so our members have to use on-line sources, purchase second hand copies (under $5) or use interlibrary loan to obtain the books. — Group facilitator Elizabeth K. Jarvis
|Glendale Library‘s Cooking Chats: On Monday, October 5th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Denise Ferguson–Coordinator of Nutrition Services for the Marion County Health Department–will discuss crockpot cooking.
Registration for this program is required by calling 275-4410.The featured cookbooks are Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen, 40 Slow Cookers, 200 Fresh Recipes and Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness.
The Franklin Road Library will host a discussion of Molly Guptill Manning’s When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II on Monday, October 5th at 6:30 p.m.
By telling the story of the “Armed Services Edition” series of books, released specifically for consumption by U.S. soldiers during World War II, Manning demonstrates the power that positive morale and a strong connection to the world left behind can have on the fighting spirit. The author catalogs the struggles–obtaining quality books, maintaining high standards while meeting the voracious reading demands of the soldiers, securing adequate funding and resources–that made the project a success, with an eye for a stirring narrative. As Manning explains through the letters and reminiscences of the soldiers themselves, providing those in combat with tangible reminders of home gave them the balance and hope they needed to overcome dreadful conditions and maintain even the slightest optimism amid the horrors of war. Well written, carefully researched, and drawing upon primary sources and news articles, this book brings to life a little-known part of World War II culture. — Library Journal
A long journey from home and the struggle to find it again form the heart of the intertwined stories that make up this moving novel. Foster teen Molly is performing community-service work for elderly widow Vivian, and as they go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, they discover that their lives have much in common. When Vivian was a girl, she was taken to a new life on an orphan train. These trains carried children to adoptive families for 75 years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the start of the Great Depression. Novelist Kline (Bird in Hand, 2009) brings Vivian’s hardscrabble existence in Depression-era Minnesota to stunning life. Molly’s present-day story in Maine seems to pale in comparison, but as we listen to the two characters talk, we find grace and power in both of these seemingly disparate lives. Although the girls are vulnerable, left to the whims of strangers, they show courage and resourcefulness. Kline illuminates a largely hidden chapter of American history, while portraying the coming-of-age of two resilient young women. — Booklist
Four-year-old Jonah Crow loses both parents to the 1918 flu epidemic and is taken in by elderly relatives, both of whom die when he is 10. The foundation of love for his people and his rural northern Kentucky homeland has been deeply laid, however, and it sees him through the orphanage in which he is labeled J. Crow, the seminary in which he learns that the call he feels isn’t to the pulpit, early jobs and a trek back home during the great winter flood of 1937, and into his real calling as Jayber, bachelor barber of Port William, the epicenter of all Berry’s fiction. Giving dramatic structure to Jayber’s memoirs, which consist mostly of anecdotes revealing his and the other Port Williamites’ personalities and souls, is his long, silent love for Mattie Keith, whom he first notices, indelibly, when she is 14 . . . While affection and ardor suffuse this beautifully crafted novel, sentimentality and sensationalism are not in it. With the seeming effortlessness of art, Berry marries the book’s host of amusing and affecting stories and characters to the practical and religious lessons he has learned and striven to communicate during his 40-year literary career. Informing all those lessons is the insight that loving care for others, both living and dead, and for God’s creation redeems and justifies one’s life. This may be Berry’s finest book. — Booklist
While a highly motivated killer murders his family, a baby, ignorant of the horrific goings-on but bent on independence, pulls himself out of his crib and toddles out of the house and into the night. This is most unfortunate for the killer, since the baby was his prime target. Finding his way through the barred fence of an ancient graveyard, the baby is discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a stable and caring couple with no children of their own and who just happen to be dead. After much debate with the graveyard’s rather opinionated denizens, it is decided that the Owenses will take in the child. Under their care and the sponsorship of the mysterious Silas, the baby is named Nobody and raised among the dead to protect him from the killer, who relentlessly pursues him. This is an utterly captivating tale that is cleverly told through an entertaining cast of ghostly characters. There is plenty of darkness, but the novel’s ultimate message is strong and life affirming. — Booklist
The Graveyard Book is also available as a downloadable e-book, an audiobook on CD, and in large print. And I don’t usually include graphic novels in these groupings, but I raved about the graphic The Graveyard Book, a few weeks back, and here’s my rave.
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, by Jeff Hobbs, will be discussed at the Flanner House Library on Monday, October 12th at 6:30 p.m.
A man with seemingly every opportunity loses his way in this compelling biographical saga. Novelist Hobbs (The Tourists) chronicles the life of Peace, who was born in a Newark, N.J., ghetto to an impoverished single mom and a father who went to prison for murder. Thanks to his mother’s sacrifices and his extraordinary intellect he went to Yale and got a biology degree but when he returned to Newark after college, he became a drug dealer and was eventually shot to death by rivals. Writing with novelistic detail and deep insight, Hobbs, who was Peace’s roommate at Yale, registers the disadvantages his friend faced while avoiding hackneyed fatalism and sociology. Hobbs reveals a man whose singular experience and charisma made him simultaneously an outsider and a leader in both New Haven and Newark, Peace was a pillar of his family and community, superbly capable in both settings, but he could not reconcile their conflicting demands. (The author’s indelible portrait of Peace’s inner-city neighborhood shows how it could draw him back from the world his talent and education had opened.) This is a classic tragedy of a man who, with the best intentions, chooses an ineluctable path to disaster. — Publishers Weekly
In his run-down store in a gentrifying neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Ethiopian immigrant Stepha Stephanos regularly meets with fellow African immigrants Ken the Kenyan and Joe from the Congo. Their favorite game is matching African nations to coups and dictators, as they consider how their new immigrant expectations measure up to the reality of life in America after 17 years. From his store and nearby apartment, Stephanos makes keen observations of American race and class tensions, seeing similarities–physical and social–to his hometown of Addis Ababa, where his father was killed in the throes of revolution. When Judith, a white woman, and Naomi, her mixed-race daughter, move into the neighborhood, Stephanos finds tentative prospects for friendship beyond his African compatriots. Mengestu, himself an Ethiopian immigrant, engages the reader in a deftly drawn portrait of dreams in the face of harsh realities from the perspective of immigrants.
The Country of Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett’s masterpiece, established her among the consummate stylists of nineteenth-century American fiction. Composed in a series of beautiful web-like sketches, the novel is narrated by a young woman writer who leaves the city to work one summer in the Maine seaport of Dunnet Landing, and stays with the herbalist Mrs Almira Todd. She writes a New England idyll rooted in friendship, particularly female friendship, weaving stories and conversations, imagery of sea, sky and earth, the tang of salt air and aromatic herbs into an organic ‘fiction of community’ in which themes and form are exquisitely matched. To quote Willa Cather: ‘The ‘Pointed Fir’ sketches are living things caught in the open, with light and freedom and air spaces about them. They melt into the land and the life of the land until they are not stories at all, but life itself’. — Publisher’s note
Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, October 25th at 1:00 p.m. The theme for this program will be “Eldritch horrors that will ruin your sanity.”
He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited. Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his–based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. — Kirkus Reviews
St. Elizabeth’s is a home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. Life there is not unpleasant, and for most, it is temporary. Not so for Rose, a beautiful, mysterious woman who comes to the home pregnant but not unwed. She plans to give up her baby because she knows she cannot be the mother it needs. But St. Elizabeth’s is near a healing spring, and when Rose’s time draws near, she cannot go through with her plans, not all of them. And she cannot remain forever untouched by what she has left behind … and who she has become in the leaving. — Publisher’s note.