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Poverty Creek Journal

March 29, 2015 by Reader's Connection

Poverty Creek Journal

I’ve never been a runner, and never been attracted to books about running, but I was caught up by Thomas Gardner’s Poverty Creek Journal.

His account of the year 2012 includes the death of a brother, the aging and illness of friends, and recollections of his daughter’s days as a competitor. If you read the passages below, you’ll see how his mind enlarges the track as he runs.

Poverty Creek Journal was published by Tupelo Press, © 2014 Thomas Gardner. These passages are used with permission.


From June 12, 2012

Two miles easy to this hill, rhododendrons in bloom, shading from white to pink. The woods dripping after last night’s rain. A terrible focusing down as I swing into each sprint, ten or twelve digging steps as I get up to speed and then hold on, crossing an imaginary line and then falling back to a jog. Something foreign and odd about this concentrated rhythm. As if I were watching myself run, studying my stride by tearing it to bits. Thoreau recognized “a certain doubleness” in himself, aware of “a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it; and that is no more I than it is you.” It didn’t seem to bother him. As I turn to begin the last hill, I notice a man and his dog walking toward me. I’ve seen them before. I know his dog’s name but not his, having heard him plaintively calling her deep in the woods. Usually we nod, but today he stops to chat. I’m flushed, self-conscious, as if I’d been caught wanting something too much. When he’s out of sight, I do one more hill and jog back to my car. Off the trail, rhododendrons are scattered through the trees like lanterns, calling me out of myself.


From August 29, 2012

I try to erase my thoughts as I jog back and start again, though hours later, those last steps are still there, my legs buzzing as if they had been shocked. The first time up, I scrape a line across the dirt when I hit 2:30, marking the time. When Seamus Heaney writes about the woman taken in adultery in John 8 he uses that phrase. The scribes and Pharisees bring the woman to Jesus in order to  test them. They know the law. He does too. Jesus bends down and writes in the dust. He “marks time in every sense of that phrase.” Everything stops. The words don’t seem to matter, only the act itself, the space of attention marked off in the road. This is poetry, says Heaney, the power to concentrate “concentrated back on itself.” When Jesus looks up the second time, the crowd has melted away. Only the woman remains. Sin no more he says. She’s ready now to read what he wrote.


ALA 2015 List of Notable Videos for Adults

March 26, 2015 by Reader's Connection

From Selector Jessica Lawrence:


The American Library Association (ALA) has announced their 2015 list of Notable Videos for Adults. This list is comprised of 15 exceptional films released within the last two years that have made a significant impact and had a positive influence in the world of film.

Interested in learning more? Explore further with the wealth of information in the library’s non-fiction and database resources.


The Act of Killing


The Act of Killing – Director’s Cut

The Act of Killing – Theatrical Version




After Tiller


After Tiller





Anita: Speaking Truth to Power


Anita: Speaking Truth to Power





Dirty Wars


Dirty Wars





Five Broken Cameras


Five Broken Cameras






Gideon’s Army


Gideon’s Army






Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America


Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America






Inequality for All


Inequality for All






The Internet’s Own Boy


The Internet’s Own Boy






Let the Fire Burn


Let the Fire Burn






Los Angeles Plays Itself


Los Angeles Plays Itself






Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God


Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God







Particle Fever IndyPL has not been able to acquire this title, but you can click on the cover art to see the trailer.




(And click here for an earlier blog post in which Brenda Hillman’s poem “Symmetry Breaking” is quite helpful about the beginning of the universe. — Reader’s Connection guy)


Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People


Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People





Who is Dayani Cristal?


Who is Dayani Cristal?





Discover many of these titles and more at the Indianapolis Public Library!


Book Discussions April 2015

March 23, 2015 by Reader's Connection

The book covers from this month’s Cookbook Chat at Glendale have me salivating. I need to get over it. Lots of other books are being discussed.

The Big Read discussions of Dinaw Mengestu’s novel The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears , which will continue through April, are an obvious example.

The author himself will appear at Central Library on April 25th.

Click on the book’s cover to learn more about the book and The Big Read.

The book will be discussed at:

Warren Library Thursday, April 2, 2015 10:30 am

Franklin Road Library Monday, April 6, 2015 6:30 pm


Ivy Tech Community College Library
50 West Fall Creek Parkway, North Drive
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Irvington Library Thursday, April 9, 2015 1:30 pm

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library 
340 N. Senate Avenue
Thursday, April 9, 2015
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Flanner House Library Monday, April 13, 2015 6:30 pm

Big Car Service Center
3739 Commercial Drive
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

East 38th Street Library Monday, April 20, 2015 6:00 pm

Brightwood Library Tuesday, April 21, 2015 2:00 pm

Spades Park Library Wednesday, April 22, 2015 6:00 pm

Wayne Library Wednesday, April 29, 2015 2:00 pm



Absalom, Absalom!


The Shared Reading Group at Spades Park Library will continue to read and discuss Willam Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! on the Fridays in April–3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

A poem will be read each week, and refreshments will be eaten.







The What Would Jane Austen Read? Book Club will meet at the College Avenue Library on Monday, April 6th at 1:30 p.m.

austen_zombiesThis 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



On Monday, April 6th, at 6:30 p.m., the Wayne Library will host a discussion of Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Nothing to EnvyA detailed, grim portrait of daily life under the repressive North Korean dictatorship, where schoolchildren are taught to sing anthems in praise of their leader asserting that they “have nothing to envy in this world.`Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Demick bases her account on seven years of interviews with North Koreans who escaped to South Korea. She focuses on individuals whose stories began in the 1990s and continue to the present, including Mi-ran, a lower-class girl who became a teacher; Jun-sang, a university student who eventually got a glimpse of outside life through books, radio and television; Mrs. Song, a middle-aged true believer, and her defiant daughter Oak-hee; Dr. Kim, an idealistic female physician; and Kim Hyuck, an orphan boy surviving alone on the streets. Along with their personal stories, Demick includes background information on the Korean War and the dictatorships of Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il . . . In one unforgettable scene, Dr. Kim, having crossed a river into China, sees that dogs in China eat better than human beings in North Korea . . . Demick shows the state of mind of each of her subjects, what their daily life was like, how they coped and eventually how each escaped. — Kirkus Reviews

Nothing to Envy is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and an audiobook on CD.



The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

The Glendale Library‘s Cooking Chats on Monday, April 6th at 6:30 p.m. will feature three books on baking.

Check out one of the featured cookbooks, try some recipes and bring a sample to share. Or send one to Glenn Halberstadt, Library Services Center, 2450 North Meridian.

The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day , by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, is one of the books.

I’m going to shrink the rest of the cover art, to help me deal with my salivation problem.

The Baker's Book of Essential Recipes


The Baker’s Book of Essential Recipes from Good Housekeeping

The Baking Bible


The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum




Tom Dyja’s The Third Coast : When Chicago Built the American Dream will be discussed at Central Library on Tuesday, April 7th at 6:00 p.m.

The Third Coast : When Chicago Built the American DreamDyja contends that “Understanding America requires understanding Chicago,” and he shows why in this robust, outspoken, zestfully knowledgeable, and seductively told synthesis of biography, culture, politics, and history. Writing with velocity, wry wit, and tough lyricism in sync with Chicago’s “ballsy” spirit, Dyja focuses on the years between the Great Depression and 1960, dissecting the city’s “three most powerful ­institutions–the Cook County Democratic Party, the Catholic Church, and the Mob.” As vibrant and clarifying as his overarching vision is, what makes this such a thrilling read are Dyja’s fresh and dynamic portraits not only of the first Mayor Daley and his machine but also of key artists and innovators who embodied or amplified Chicago’s earthiness, grit, audacity, and beauty, including writers Nelson Algren and Gwendolyn Brooks, the multitalented Studs Terkel, singer Mahalia Jackson, architect Mies van der Rohe, jazz visionary Sun Ra, and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Dyja pieces it all together, from the city’s epic political corruption, vicious racism, and ethnic enclaves to the ferment that gave rise to world-changing architecture, urban blues and gospel, McDonald’s, improv comedy, and the “birth of television.” Here is the frenetic simultaneity of an evolving city torn between its tragic crimes and failings and tensile strength and creativity. — Booklist

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream is also available as a downloadable audiobook and an audiobook on CD.



Mary Beth Keane’s novel Fever will be discussed at the Fountain Square Library on thursday, Aprilth at 1:30 p.m.

FeverIn this compelling historical novel, the infamous Typhoid Mary is given great depth and humanity by the gifted Keane. Irish immigrant Mary Mallon is eager to better her station in life and unafraid of hard work. When she is finally made a head cook, she is hired by some of the best families in Manhattan but unwittingly leaves a trail of disease in her wake. A “medical engineer” ultimately identifies her as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever and quarantines her on North Brother Island, where she is separated from her lifelong companion, Alfred Briehof, and forced to live in isolation. She is released three years later under the condition that she never cook again. But her inability to understand her condition, her passion for cooking, and the income she had become used to all conspire to lure her back into the kitchen. Keane not only makes of the headstrong Mary a sympathetic figure, she also brings the New York City of the early twentieth century to teeming life . . .  — Booklist

Fever is also on order as an audiobook on CD.



Clyde Edgerton’s novel Walking Across Egypt will be discussed at the Pike Library on Monday, April 20th at 6:30 p.m. The library doesn’t currently own any paper copies.


She has as much business keeping a stray dog as she would walking across Egypt–which not so incidentally is the title of her favorite hymn. She’s Mattie Rigsbee, an independent, strong-minded senior citizen who, at seventy-eight, might be slowing down just a bit. When teenage delinquent Wesley Benfield drops in on her life, he is even less likely a companion than the stray dog. But, of course, the dog never tasted her mouth-watering pound cake. Wise and witty, down-home and real, Walking Across Egypt is a book for everyone. — Publisher’s note.




The Lawrence Library will host a discussion of Khaled Hosseini’s novel And the Mountains Echoed on Tuesday, April 21st at 10:15 a.m.

And the Mountains EchoedIn a 2013 interview, Hosseini said, “In Afghanistan, you don’t understand yourself solely as an individual. You understand yourself as a son, a brother, a cousin to somebody, an uncle to somebody. You are part of something bigger than yourself. The things that happen within families … I’m so fascinated by how people destroy each other and love each other.” And the Mountains Echoed follows the breaking up of an Afghan family, and the way that break echoes down through the generations in Afghanistan, Europe and the United States.

And the Mountains Echoed is also available as a downloadable e-book, an audiobook on CD, and in large print.

Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, April 26th at 1:00 p.m. The theme for this program will be “Truly Evil.”

Edward Kelsey Moore’s novel The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat will be discussed at the Southport Library on Monday, April 27th at 6:30 p.m.

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-EatOdette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean have been close friends since girlhood, growing up in the 1960s in the southern Indiana town of Plainview. Their personalities and cool good looks earned them the name the Supremes when they’d meet regularly to eat at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, with Big Earl keeping a watchful eye on them. Now in middle age, the Supremes meet regularly with their husbands for dinner at Earl’s, now managed by his son. The aging Supremes and Earl’s are institutions in a black community that has seen much progress since the 1950s, when the restaurant became the first black-owned business in a racially divided town. But the town as well as the women have also seen much trouble. Odette makes time in her busy life for the regular visitations of her dead mother, Clarice copes with the humiliation of an unfaithful husband, and Barbara Jean struggles to hide her drinking to assuage the death of her child. Moore intersperses episodes from the past with their current lives, showing their enduring friendship through good times and bad. — Booklist

The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, an audiobook on CD, and in large print.


LibraryReads for April

March 20, 2015 by Reader's Connection

libraryreads_2015_4_springDon’t let lingering chilly temperatures get you down. Greener days are coming, and so are ten new books, reviewed here by ten librarians from eight different states.


At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water’s Edge


Set in Loch Ness, right in the middle of WWII, a foolish group of rich Americans arrive in search of the famous monster. Narrator Maddie must make sense of the circumstances that have brought her to this wild locale. Only then can she discover the strength she needs to make her own decisions. Enjoy a delightfully intriguing cast of characters and the engaging style of storytelling that has made Gruen so popular. — Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI



The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

The Royal We

This delightful spin on the story of Prince William and Kate Middleton is the perfect beachy, weekend read for anyone who loves love stories with a healthy dose of humor. Here, Will and Kate are replaced by Nick and Bex–he’s the heir to the British throne, she’s the American who effortlessly steals his heart. Can they weather many obstacles to find their Happily Ever After? Part fairy tale, part cautionary tale, the novel is pure fun from start to finish. — Donna Matturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH



A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

A Desperate Fortune


While transcribing an old manuscript of a young girl’s diary, Sara decodes an account of Jacobite spies. Long before, Mary Dundas gets involved in a mission which makes her confidante to the King of Scotland in exile. And along the way, both women fall for men they know little about. Kearsley is a master at seamlessly blending stories from two time periods. Readers who enjoy a little puzzle solving with their historical fiction will be rewarded. — Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX



The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

The Dream Lover

George Sand leaves her estranged husband and children to embark on a life of art in bohemian Paris. A talented writer who finds monetary and critical success, Sand adopts a man’s name, often dresses as a gentleman and smokes cigars. Through her writing, politics, sexual complexities and views on feminism, Sand is always seeking love. This novel has spurred me to learn more about George Sand, a woman truly ahead of her time. — Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA



Still the One by Jill Shalvis

Still the One


Oh Jill Shalvis, how I love thee! Although all the books in this Animal Magnetism series have strong heroines, this one is the absolute best. And chemistry–wowza, it’s intense. The novel brings a focus on two important social issues: the lack of funding available for those who need physical therapy, and the fact that service dogs who do not pass their certification should not be thrown away. I fell in love and learned something at the same time. Instant classic. — Amanda Brown, Roanoke Public Libraries, Roanoke, VA



Inside the O’Briens: A Novel by Lisa Genova

Inside the O’Briens: A Novel


The O’Briens are an Irish Catholic family living in Boston. Joe, the father, is a cop, and when he is diagnosed with Huntington’s, he must somehow tell his wife and four grown children and learn to live with the disease. I couldn’t put the book down for too long. Genova made me feel as if I was part of the family. I loved the way she developed her characters with style and warmth. — Valerie Giambona, Secaucus Public Library, Secaucus, NJ




House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes


Eager to get out of the big city, Ben and Caroline Tierney purchase a large, old house upstate hoping to renovate it into a hotel. However, their house, called The Crofts, has a dark, mysterious past, and terrifying secrets begin to threaten the family. This wonderfully eerie and atmospheric debut novel is a great recommendation for fans of Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers and McMahon’s The Winter People. — Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH



The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

The Precious One


Taisy hasn’t seen her father since he dumped her family and started another one 17 years ago. An unexpected invitation to write his biography returns her to her hometown, and gives her a rare chance to knit together a broken web of relationships. Like all de los Santos’ books, The Precious One features smart, funny characters who form an unconventional family. It’s luminous and heartwarming, without an ounce of sap. — Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC



The Bone Tree by Greg Iles

The Bone Tree


Based on a real series of unsolved murders from the civil rights era in Louisiana, and the crusading journalist who uncovered the story, Iles’ novel shines a bright light of truth upon one of America’s darkest secrets. Iles’ compelling writing makes this complex tale of good versus evil a must-read for those who love thrillers, and those who want to learn a little bit of American history not normally taught in school. — Ellen Jennings, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL



Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Where They Found Her

Molly Sanderson is covering a feature for the Ridgedale Reader that not only stirs up her recent grief over a stillborn child, but secrets that have been kept hidden for over two decades in this northern New Jersey college town. As the stories of four different women unfold, a new piece of the puzzle is revealed. Chilling and gruesome at times, this is a novel with characters who will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned. — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ



Go ahead, get in trouble.

March 18, 2015 by Reader's Connection

Get in Trouble

If you don’t like strange stories, you won’t be interested in Kelly Link’s new book, Get in Trouble, though I suppose you might enjoy “The Lesson.” There aren’t any ghosts or spaceships or pocket universes or secret identities–in the superhero sense–in that story, and that one moved me more than any of the others. By which I mean I got weepy.

But strange things do happen on Bad Claw Island, where most of “The Lesson” takes place, and which is named after an extinct mammal that has never been classified. So if your weirdness allergy is acute, take some Claritin even if you’re only going to read the one story.

I just reread it, and got weepy again.

I loved every funny, creepy, jarring story except “Origin Story,” and I’m not sure what my problem was, there. All the stories circle around questions of human identity, and the oddity of our existence.

For professional reasons, my favorite should be “Light,” in which Lindsey, the main character, sees a guy in a bar, scribbling in a children’s library book.

“Excuse me,” she said, “but I’m a children’s librarian. Can I ask why you’re defacing that book?”

“I don’t know, can you? Maybe you can and maybe you can’t, but why ask me?” the man said. Turning his back to her, he hunched over his picture book again.

Which was really too much. She had once been a child. She owned a library card. She opened up her shoulder bag and took a needle out of the travel sewing kit. She palmed the needle and then, after finishing her Rum and Rum and Coke–a drink she’d invented in her twenties and was still very fond of–she jabbed the man in his left buttock. Very fast. Her hand was back in her lap and she was signalling the bartender for another drink when the man beside her howled and sat up. Now everyone was looking at him. He slid off his bar stool and hurried away, glancing back at her once in outrage.

But this fast-thinking woman doesn’t really work in a library.

Lindsey’s job was not a particularly complicated one. There was an office, and behind the office was a warehouse full of sleeping people. There was an agency in D.C. that paid her company to take responsibility for the sleepers. Every year, hikers and cavers and construction workers found a few dozen more. No one knew how to wake them up. No one knew what they meant, what they did, where they came from. No one really even knew if they were people.

Welcome to Linkland.

Get in Trouble is also available as a downloadable e-book and a downloadable audiobook.