Nick Schenkel


Nick Schenkel is the director of the West Lafayette Public Library, and reviews books from all walks of literature.

Ways to Connect

  Over time, the greats of past generations can be forgotten without a trace. John T. McCutcheon, a Lafayette native and highly successful cartoonist, seems to be one of those whose contributions during the Great Depression are largely lost. Author Tony Garel-Frantzen hopes to bring his legacy back, documenting his small-town upbringings and his path to prestige in the big city of Chicago. With diary pieces by McCutcheon and original material from the author, the journey to fame is presented for new audiences to appreciate the history of Indiana's own.

  The infrastructure we use every day is usually taken for granted. It is expected that cities have working roads, sidewalks, and water systems. But the history of that infrastructure is long and broad. From migration paths of buffalo, all the way to interstate highways, The Road Taken accounts for all the small improvements that have led to the backbone of American commerce and travel. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  Ebola may seem like a disease of the past, but the outbreak that struck much of Africa happened only a few years ago. Zika virus seems to be at the forefront today, but many parallels between the two diseases can be made in the way we treat, support, and remember those who are struck with them. Lafayette native Richard Mertens, a nurse, recalls his experiences in Ebola Safari when he traveled to Sierra Leone to care for Ebola-stricken patients. Accounts of patient interactions, compassion, and the hardship of the medical field are captured in his many anecdotal chapters.

  Author and illustrator Ben Hatke has released yet another colorful children's book, filled with his characteristic watercolor pages of monsters and whimsy. Julia's House for Lost Creatures strays from the usual overly dramaticized tough girl heroine, instead creating a lovely character reviewers see as someone who "just happens to be a girl". Like the Zita the Space Girl trilogy, this book is for young and old readers alike. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  As a former president, FDR is well known for navigating through the Great Depression and World War II, and helping the nation's people get back on their feet with the New Deal. But one of his most underrated features is the way he valued nature and conservation. From a childhood surrounded by wilderness to a determination to bring conservation to the forefront of the United Nations agenda, FDR loved the natural world and the wonders it held. Historian Douglas Brinkley brings this side of him to life in Rightful Heritage, and shows readers how human he really was.

  The Midwest is known for using the potato as a meal staple. But did you know that there are many other tubers around the world that are staples for other exotic cultures? Buried Treasures: Tasty Tubers of the World dives into the many different kinds of root vegetables and plants and the roles they have played throughout human history. From potatoes to hicama, yams to lotus,  there is a new variety out there for you to try in your own home. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  Translated from it's original text by Howard Goldblatt, Apricot's Revenge follows the case of a rich Chinese businessman, suspiciously found dead during a casual afternoon swim. Along with twists and turns that take the reader from suspect to suspect, the beautifully translated language is as gripping as the plot. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.



  Life always has its challenges we must deal with. But when the challenge is a degenerative disease like early-onset Alzheimer's, it can make even the most simple things difficult. The Day We Met is such a story about a woman who finally puts all the pieces of happiness together, just to realize she has been diagnosed with the terrible disease. The novel is a collection of her journal entries, and the entries of her loving husband and oldest daughter.

  While the entire state of Indiana is celebrating its 200th birthday, the establishment of Indiana's state parks is having it's 100th anniversary in 2016. The 24 parks around the state have been commemorated by Matt Williams, who has captured the beauty and wonder of each unique location. With historical narrations and explanations of what each park has to offer, Hoosiers now have a breathtaking guide to the state's wilderness. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.