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North Water, by Ian McGuire (Remember: anyone can submit reviews to Reader’s Connection.)

July 18, 2016 by Reader's Connection

The North Water

It is the late 1800s and the whale hunting industry is beginning to fade. Why would a ship owner send a ship this far north so late in the year? A ship carrying men of questionable character…..a murderer, thieves, some running from the past? The Arctic is becoming more unwelcome each day! The crew more agitated. This fast-paced adventure tale is perfect reading for a sweltering Indiana summer. –Sharon


Ian McGuire’s The North Water is available as a book or an eBook.


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The 2016 Indiana Author Award Winners and Finalists Have Been Announced!

July 14, 2016 by Reader's Connection


I am completely excited! The winner of the 2016 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award in the National Author category wrote a novel that I read just a couple of months ago, and I went swinging through the trees when I read it.

The winners in the National, Regional and Genre Excellence categories have been announced, as have three finalists for the Emerging Author Award. The Emerging Author winner will be announced at the IAA Dinner on Saturday, October 29th.

National Author Award

Karen Joy Fowler - 5

Karen Joy Fowler is the winner of the National Author Award.

Fowler was raised in Bloomington, where much of her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is set. That’s the one that had me swinging through the trees.

I should come down to the ground long enough to announce that Fowler has written other books. Click her name or picture to see the novels and story collections that are available at the library.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves will be discussed at the Indianapolis Zoo on Tuesday, August 16th as part of the Adult Summer Reading Program.



Regional Author Award

gulleyThe Regional Author Award winner is Philip Gulley. Originally from Danville, Gulley is a Quaker pastor, an essayist, columnist and novelist. He has also served as a television host.

Novels set in the fictional towns of Harmony and Hope are among his popular works, and his memoir I Love You, Miss Huddleston : And Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood records his growing up in Danville.




Genre Excellence Award


The winner of the Genre Excellence Award is April Pulley Sayre. If the category sounds unfamiliar, that’s because it’s new this year. It will rotate each year to recognize authors of excellence in specific genres. This year’s category is Children’s Picture Books.

This is not to set our authors off against one another, but Sayre, who lives in South Bend, has more books in our catalog than any of the other authors. Many of them are science books, and my favorite title at first sight is Trout Are Made of Trees.



Emerging Author Award

The three finalists for the Emerging Author Award are Sarah Gerkensmeyer, Bill Kenley, and Edward Kelsey Moore.



Sarah Gerkensmeyer is the author of the prize-winning story collection What You Are Now Enjoying, which will soon be ordered for the library. She lives with her family in Greencastle.









Bill Kenley is a teacher at Noblesville High School, and is the author of High School Runner (Freshman).








Indianapolis native Edward Kelsey Moore is the author of The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, which is a novel set in the fictional Indiana town of Plainview. This book is another that will be discussed–next Monday, in fact, July 18th, at the downtown Sun King Brewery–as part of our Adult Summer Reading Program.




The winners and finalists will all appear as part of the free Indy Author Fair during the day on October 29th, and the awards will be presented at the ticketed dinner that evening. Congratulations to all!


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Books & Movies to Inspire Your Next Epic Road Trip

July 12, 2016 by Reader's Connection

“All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change.” -Huck Finn

Take a trip this summer without ever leaving your house. Dive into one of these books or movies to inspire your next epic summer road trip. You never know where you will end up.




America Day by Day

America Day by Day – Simone de Beauvoir

Here is the ultimate American road book, one with a perspective unlike that of any other. In January 1947 Simone de Beauvoir began a four-month journey that took her from one coast of the United States to the other. She traveled west by car, train, and Greyhound, immersing herself in the nation’s culture, customs, people, and landscape.





American Nomads

American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders – Richard Grant

Along with a personal account, American Nomads traces the history of wandering in the New World, through vividly told stories of frontiersmen, fur trappers and cowboys, Comanche and Apache warriors, all the way back to the first Spanish explorers who crossed the continent.




An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships.






Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson

This is the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest, addle-brained, rollicking journeys ever undertaken.








Going Bovine

Going Bovine – Libba Bray

Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Mad Cow disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.








The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America – Bill Bryson

Journalist Bryson decided to relive the dreary vacation car trips of his American childhood. Starting out at his mother’s house in Des Moines, Iowa, he motors through 38 states over the course of two months, looking for the quintessential American small town.






The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey – Ernesto “Che” Guevara

A freewheeling account of an extended youthful road trip undertaken in the early ’50s by the future poster boy of Communist insurrection.








On the Road

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac’s alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture. – Review







Road Trip: A Pocket History of Indiana

Road Trip: A Pocket History of Indiana – Andrea Neal

The bicentennial of Indiana statehood in 2016 is the perfect time for Hoosiers of all stripes to hit the road and visit sites that speak to the nineteenth state’s character. In her book, Andrea Neal has selected the top 100 events/historical figures in Indiana history. This will enable interested Hoosiers to travel the entire state to experience history firsthand. The sites appear in chronological order, beginning with the impact of the Ice Age on Indiana and ending with the legacy of the bicentennial itself.



Travels with Charley in Search of America

Travels with Charley in Search of America – John Steinbeck

With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.





Vicariously Yours, Letters and Lessons from the Ultimate Road Trip

Vicariously Yours, Letters and Lessons from the Ultimate Road Trip – Traci Bray

The story of a woman who won one of the 276 cars on The Oprah Winfrey Show. With the proceeds from selling the excess car, she and her family abandoned a suburban lifestyle, and spent a year discovering America through the windshield of a 38-foot motorhome. This three traveled 20,000 miles in 12 months, visiting 36 states and two foreign countries. What started as an adventure with a loose plan became a journey that, when ended, would change this family forever.



Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig

An unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America’s Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of growth, discovery, and acceptance that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life’s fundamental questions.



Movies & Documentaries


America’s Great Road Trips & Scenic Drives

America’s Great Road Trips & Scenic Drives

This collection takes you down the American roads less traveled to discover the pulse of the Heartland: the scenic splendor of the country’s most treasured national parks, the people and communities created far from major cities.







American Road Trip

American Road Trip

Take the ultimate cross-country road trip to some of America’s most popular destinations, and learn the fascinating true stories of Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge.







Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

When Suzanne’s work keeps her in Vancouver for the holiday, Nick offers to bring her kids to the city from Portland, Oregon. The kids are determined to turn the road trip into a nightmare.







Boys on the Side

Boys on the Side

Three women sharing a car going west also share a friendship that becomes family. One is a wisecracking club singer, one a finicky real-estate agent, and one a free spirit. Each has secrets to reveal, strengths to impart, vital moments of self-discovery awaiting.








Easy Rider

Easy Rider

Two motorcyclists travel across the U.S. in search of the “real” America. And find it.








Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson. Fueled by a suitcase full of pharmaceuticals, journalist Raoul Duke and his sidekick Dr. Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of crazy characters.







Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. (We’re ordering more copies of this title.)







The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries

An inspirational adventure based on the true story of two young men whose thrilling and dangerous road trip across Latin America becomes a life-changing journey of self-discovery.








National Lampoon’s Vacation

National Lampoon’s Vacation

A suburban Chicago family travels across the United States on a comic trek to an amusement park, and encounters a series of disasters along the way.








On the Road

On the Road

Traveling cross-country, young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.






Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Pee-wee hits the open road to look for his missing bicycle and encounters riotous adventures with bikers, bums, cowboys, cons, a phantom trucker, and a waitress with wanderlust.






Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

An uptight businessman faces disaster after disaster as he tries to get back home in time for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and along the way is joined by an insane traveling salesman that will not leave him alone.






Rain Man

Rain Man

A callous young hustler living in California finds his father has died and left him only rose bushes and a ’49 Buick convertible. Feeling cheated out of what he thinks should be his 3 million dollar inheritance, he kidnaps the autistic brother he never knew he had, and takes him on the ride of his life.








Bob Munro (Robin Williams) and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.










After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.






Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise

An Arkansas waitress and a housewife decide to break out of their normal life and jump in a ’66 Thunderbird to hit the road for some adventure. Their journey, however, turns into a violent flight from the authorities all the way to Mexico in this cult classic.






Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart

Lula knows she’s destined to be with her ex-con boyfriend, Sailor, no matter how many times her mama tried to kill him. But when she and Sailor hit the road to find happiness, their journey plunges them into a disturbing underworld.

You can check out all of these titles and more at the Indianapolis Public Library!

Selector Jessica Lawrence:


Indiana, Our Indiana

July 8, 2016 by Reader's Connection

From Selector Emily Chandler:

For those interested in reading beyond the Indiana titles chosen for the Adult Summer Reading Program, check out this supplemental list of recently released novels all written by contemporary Hoosier authors!

Unless otherwise noted, the book summaries here were provided by the publishers.

Coble, Colleen Mermaid Moon: a Sunset Cove Novel

Mermaid Moon: a Sunset Cove NovelMallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find…mother.” Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point. Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart–and left–without a word, years ago. When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life–and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie–their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye. As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer–it is also about finding herself again…and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

Mermaid Moon is also available as an eBook, an eAudiobook, an audiobook on CD, and in large print.



Collins, Kate Moss Hysteria

Moss HysteriaFlower shop owner Abby Knight and her husband, Marco, are ecstatic to finally be moving into their new home, despite the prospect of unpacking a seemingly infinite number of boxes. After all, Brandywine–their new subdivision–seems like an oasis with its welcoming neighbors and beautifully manicured lawns. But their idyllic community is suddenly uprooted when a body is found floating in a nearby pond. The police think Abby and Marco’s helpful next door neighbor is the culprit, but the newlyweds aren’t convinced. Meanwhile, Marco distrusts his mother’s slick new boyfriend, and Abby’s cousin Jillian has agreed to decorate their new home, resulting in comic chaos. Even worse, as Abby and Marco dig through Brandywine’s secrets in search of a killer, they discover that some flowers come from very bad seeds…and danger stalks even the sunniest small-town streets

Moss Hysteria is also available as an eBook.



Crandall, Susan The Flying Circus

The Flying CircusFrom the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties. Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price–and one of them won’t be able to survive it. As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure–worldly or private–they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.

The Flying Circus is also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook.



Dams, Jeanne Blood Will Tell

Blood Will TellAmerican Anglophile Dorothy Martin tackles a tricky puzzle in the historic university town of Cambridge. Dorothy Martin isn’t overly enthusiastic when her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, invites her to accompany him to a conference in Cambridge, picturing cramped student accommodation. But St. Stephen’s turns out to be recently renovated, and, bolstered by en suite facilities, Dorothy is looking forward to exploring the historic and beautiful city. It is not long, though, before disaster strikes: lost in the maze of college buildings, Dorothy stumbles into a laboratory…and is shocked to find what looks like a pool of blood on the floor. She flees, to fetch help, but when Alan checks it out, there is nothing to be found. Was she mistaken? Or has a terrible crime been committed? Dorothy, who can never resist a puzzle, determines to find out.

Blood Will Tell is also available as an eBook.



Gulley, Philip A Place Called Hope

A Place Called HopeWhen Quaker Pastor Sam Gardner is asked by the ill Unitarian minister to oversee a wedding in his place, Sam naturally agrees. It’s not until the couple stands before him that he realizes they’re two women. In the tempest of strong opinions and misunderstandings that follows the incident, Sam faces potential unemployment. Deeply discouraged, he wonders if his pastoral usefulness has come to an end. Perhaps it’s time for a change. After all, his wife has found a new job at the library, his elder son is off to college, and the younger has decided to join the military once he graduates high school. Sam is contemplating a future selling used cars when he receives a call from a woman in the suburban town of Hope, Indiana. It seems Hope Friends Meeting is in desperate need of a pastor. Though they only have twelve members, they also have a beautiful meetinghouse and a pie committee (Sam is fond of pie). But can he really leave his beloved hometown of Harmony.

A Place Called Hope is also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook.



Jannetides, Elaine A Golden Bond

A Golden BondGolden Bond is a story of growing up as the daughter of immigrant parents during the1950 ; a time very different than today. Our story opens with a gathering of girls walking to the start of the last day of their senior year of high school. Their journey will span decades, take a few unexpected turns along the way, and end as a tale of caring, hope, and love. When young Angela Demetrious mother dies her father casts aside any reminder of his late wife and refuses to speak of her to their children. Following the funeral her father to returns to Greece for an arranged marriage. Soon after meeting her stepmother, Angela becomes aware that her life will never be the same. She will have to break from her family s traditions and set her own course. She will not do it alone.



Perona, Elizabeth Murder on the Bucket List

Murder on the Bucket ListThe septuagenarian women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club have gathered in secret late one July night to check skinny-dipping off their bucket list. But as Francine observes, the jittery members seem more obsessed with body issues and elaborate preparations than actually stripping down and getting in the pool. A pungent smell emanating from the pool shed provides a perfect distraction. When a dead body flops out, its an answered prayer for Charlotte, since the first item on her list is to solve a murder.




Ryan, Hank Phillippi Prime Time

Prime TimeIn the cutthroat world of television journalism, seasoned reporter Charlotte McNally knows that she’d better pull out all the stops or kiss her job goodbye. But it’s her life that might be on the line when she learns that an innocent-looking e-mail offer resulted in murder, mayhem and a multimillion-dollar fraud ring. All too soon her investigation leads her straight to Josh Gelston, who is a little too helpful and a lot too handsome. Charlie might have a nose for news, but men are a whole other matter. Now she has to decide whether she can trust Josh…before she ends up as the next lead story.

Prime Time is also available as an eBook and in large print.



Sorrells, Amy Lead Me Home

Lead Me HomeAbandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good. As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most…and reconsider where they truly belong. —

Lead Me Home is also available as an eBook.



Winters, Ben H. Underground Airlines

Underground AirlinesIt is the present-day, and the world is as we know it: smartphones, social networking and Happy Meals. Save for one thing: the Civil War never occurred. A gifted young Black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service. He’s got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called “the Hard Four.” On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn’t right–with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself. A mystery to himself, Victor suppresses his memories of his childhood on a plantation, and works to infiltrate the local cell of a abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines. Tracking Jackdaw through the back rooms of churches, empty parking garages, hotels, and medical offices, Victor believes he’s hot on the trail. But his strange, increasingly uncanny pursuit is complicated by a boss who won’t reveal the extraordinary stakes of Jackdaw’s case, as well as by a heartbreaking young woman and her child who may be Victor’s salvation. Victor himself may be the biggest obstacle of all–though his true self remains buried, it threatens to surface. Victor believes himself to be a good man doing bad work, unwilling to give up the freedom he has worked so hard to earn. But in pursuing Jackdaw, Victor discovers secrets at the core of the country’s arrangement with the Hard Four, secrets the government will preserve at any cost. Underground Airlines is a ground-breaking novel, a wickedly imaginative thriller, and a story of an America that is more like our own than we’d like to believe.


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I discovered Rage on Virginia Avenue

July 4, 2016 by Reader's Connection

Rage Against the DyingYou know how some stories are said to have “twists?” Well, Becky Masterman’s 2013 novel Rage Against the Dying begins in a twist. I can’t go into details, but the reader doesn’t know who’s what when the story kicks in.

Brigid Quinn is a retired FBI agent who used to track sexually predatory serial killers. An old case opens up, and of course she is drawn back into the darkness.

This may sound familiar, but author Masterman has created some wonderful characters–starting with Brigid–and is so good at creating suspense that she can visit an old crime, of which the readers already know the outcome, and still keep us jumping.

topiarymapsmallerI found Rage Against the Dying at the Topiary Library. By which I mean I drove down Pennsylvania Street, crossed Washington Street and made a quick left turn onto Virginia Avenue (if you reach Maryland Street you’ve gone too far) and there was Eric Nordgulen’s sculpture Topiary, on a southern reach of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, filled with books for the borrowing.

Topiary is one of the nine artworks/book-collections in the Public Collection. They’re situated at different locations in town, and part of my Bicentennial Reader’s Challenge for 2016 was to visit at least three of them in the course of the year, and read a book from each of the three. To be honest, I hope to visit more than three, but we had a rainy spring; and Topiary is only the second Public Collection library at which I’ve touched down.

According to artist Nordgulen, Topiary is

a series of linear vine forms that suggest growth and development, a kind of topiary composition that wraps around an existing planted garden space on the trail. Thus, these sculpture forms emerge from the garden space and suggest that reading is another form of growth.

I deposited a couple of books, and took a couple. The first was from the tall, free-standing trellis; but I’m not sure I’m going to read that one.



Rage Against the Dying was waiting for me in the smaller middle pod.



What awaits me at the next Public Collection library that I visit?


Rage Against the Dying is also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook.


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