Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!
July 7, 2014
Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home
by Carville, James and Mary Matalin
B Carville, James CAR
The old saying “politics makes strange bedfellows” certainly is true for this couple. She loves Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, he sings the praises of the Clintons. They are passionately, adamantly, unashamedly firmly entrenched in their own beliefs, one a staunch Republican, the other a diehard Democrat. They married late in life, had two daughters when Mary was in her 40s, James past the mid-century mark. She loves her critters and adopts all homeless varmints that come her way; James hisses and waves his arms when they come near his beloved La-Z-Boy. He loves routine, she likes to wing it through each day; he’s an early-to-bed-early-to-rise fellow, while she’s a night owl. He holds tight to the purse strings; she wheedles him into letting go long enough to purchase some classic piece of furniture. They’re like night and day. They’ve thought of killing (perhaps not quite literally) each other, but never of leaving. Somehow they make it work. Despite stark differences in their beliefs about politics and almost everything else, they have learned the fine art of give and take, learned to compromise. A lesson that all of us—including the politicians in Washington—would do well to learn.
--Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Library
June 30, 2014
The Dharma Bums
by Kerouac, Jack
Jack Kerouac’s 1958 publication of The Dharma Bums is his much anticipated follow up to his groundbreaking 1957 book On the Road. Many consider the these two works companion pieces due to their detailed description of Kerouac’s journey across America and his eventful relations with some of America’s most influential “Beatniks” of the Beat Generation Era. However, where Dharma Bums separates itself from On the Road is in its vivid spirituality and Kerouac’s crazed infatuated search for the eternal soul.
The peripatetic Ray Smith, the main character sitting in for Kerouac, takes epic and spiritual journeys through the rugged American wilderness with his companions Japhy Ryder, a fictional version of naturalist Gary Snyder, and Alvah Goldbook, standing in for famed poet Allen Ginsberg. These three men’s presence in this book is truly pivotal because it shows the diversified lifestyles and outlooks held by the three mad Beat Generation giants, and because their roles in this book exemplify the vision and dream of the “Beat Movement.” This book is centered on the idea of returning humanitarianism to an uncultured and disconnected 1950s America.
Kerouac has prophetic visions and vibrations of future generations abandoning their television sets and so-called idealistic lifestyles, and seeing and feeling everyone packing up their rucksacks for a spiritual enlightening journey through the crossroads of America.
Kerouac’s Christian background comes to the forefront in some manner throughout the course of the book by him showing extreme compassion for individuals not only in his circle but also to those who are on the outside looking in. Kerouac’s search for spiritual enlightenment and eternal soul is powered for his search for Zen, a term Kerouac embraced in 1950s America before many even know what it actually was. Kerouac’s epic journey us and down the west coast with his rucksack on his back containing nothing but the bare essentials are laced with midnight meditations under the desert and woodland stars. The reader often finds Kerouac and his town companions embarking days at a time on spiritual mountain climbs through some of the most rugged woodlands in America. The final scene is absolutely beautiful. Kerouac sitting isolated atop Desolation Peak in deep meditation taking in the scenery and extending extreme gratitude for all the life that has been bestowed upon him.
Kerouac also gives an account of the Sixth Gallery Reading in San Francisco which he declares is, “The birth place of the poetry renaissance.”
If you are familiar with Kerouac’s works The Dharma Bums is a great piece to add to your collection if you haven’t already. If you aren’t familiar with Kerouac then this is a great book to dive into the great madness that is Jack Kerouac.
The Dharma Bums is also available as a downloadable audiobook
--Recommended by Jeremy Sexton, East Washington Library
June 23, 2014
The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat
by Moore, Edward Kelsey
Get ready to sit back and relax and take a trip to Plainview, Indiana during the 1960’s. The reader goes on a journey with three friends Barbara Jean, Clarice, and Odette through four decades. What happens during this coming of age story is at times funny and sad, with a dash of paranormal activity. Most of the story takes place at the small town’s diner which is known as Earl’s Diner. It is here where the three friends meet, eat good food, and have great conversation. Fantastic read on true friendship. It is a well written story, a first novel by native Hoosier musician and writer Edward Kelsey Moore; and it will leave you wanting more.
--Recommended by Denyce Malone, Flanner House Library
June 16, 2014
Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives
by Caddick-Adams, Peter
Britain’s Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and Germany’s Erwin Rommel fought each other during World War II in France 1940, North Africa 1942-43, and France 1944. Each cultivated good press relations, and was popular in his own country, but they had quite different reputations. “Monty” was meticulous in preparation and deliberate in execution, while Rommel was a fast-moving, risk-taking improviser. These different approaches to combat reflected their experiences a generation earlier when they fought (heroically) as junior officers in the First World War.
Monty’s WWI unit was overrun and dispersed amid great confusion, requiring exhaustive marching with little food or water, fueling his later obsession with physical fitness, careful planning, and thorough briefing of all subordinates. Rommel’s successes as a young officer all derived from flexible thinking and risky exploitation of enemy weaknesses. Both officers spent the inter-war years thinking, training, teaching, writing, and becoming outstanding practitioners of their craft.
--Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Library
June 9, 2014
by Katz, John
First, let me say that I am not a fan of short stories. But I am a fan of dogs and the author Jon Katz. No one captures the human/ animal bond quite like he does. So when I saw his new title “Dancing Dogs” I picked it up. There are sixteen delightful stories in the book. Among the dogs we meet are Pearl, who keeps an elderly woman company, Gus, who helps a widower through a rough patch, Dolly, the dog who kept men away, and Ernie, the psychic dog. I think my favorite story was “Luther and Minnie in Heaven” in which we are treated to a description of dog heaven which is quite disgusting. But I suspect these things really would be heaven to our four-legged friends! If you are looking for an engaging little book, this is it. And by the way, I found out that short stories aren’t so bad after all.
--Recommended by Brenda Grable, Pike Library