Nick Schenkel


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

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  Author Hisham Matar, known widely for In the Country of Men, has released a biographical account of his journey that inspired his first novel. As he searched for information about his missing father from the Gaddafi regime, he returns to his childhood home in Libya. Beautifully written and brutally honest, Matar brings the controversy of the Libyan dictatorship to the forefront. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

   Guides to travel are incredibly popular and usually highlight great places to eat and see, and things to do. But many travelers do not include some important sites on their itinerary. The Atlas of Lost Cities invites travelers to peruse the globe of destinations forgotten, destroyed by natural and manmade causes, and places yet to be inhabited. From ancient civilizations to future sites of life, include some of these fascinating places in your itinerary. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  Set in ancient Rome, this mystery novel is perfect for the election season. An unidentified corpse is found by workers in an auction house, and it strangely has ties to the fierce upcoming political race. Our protagonist, Flavia Aeria, sets out to solve the mystery and help her friends win the election. Full of wit, history, and relevance, Deadly Election is just one of many mystery novels by author Lindsey Davis. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  Poetry month in April celebrated many great titles, including One Today by Richard Blanco, Digest by Gregory Pardlo, and The Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay. Each are prize-winning pieces, covering a multitude of subjects like fatherhood, progress and hope, thankfulness, and more. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.   

  The much-anticipated eighth part of the Harry Potter saga is released on July 31. The story begins nineteen peaceful years after the Battle at Hogwarts, where Harry and Ginny are saying goodbye to their children on their way to school. Although in script-form, the next addition is full of the same intricate dilemmas, light humor, and magic that are characteristic of the seven novels that came before. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  Often, what makes a great horror novel is the notion that the characters and situations are easily perceived as possible. An unseen, lurking evil that seems to exist only for you - that is a fear we all can relate to when we find ourselves in a place alone.  The Sorrows bring those fears to life with characters temporarily residing on an abandoned island for musical inspiration. The building suspense throughout the novel grips readers, as Johnathan Janz makes his writing debut. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

  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.