Nick Schenkel Book Reviews

President Obama reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2014, and Americans can now travel to this once-forbidden Caribbean island. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review for the moon travel guide to Cuba for those who want to take advantage of the nation's re-opening.  

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When a body washes up on the shore of the Thames river in 1930s London, Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Joe Sandilands must split his time between investigating its murder and guarding a visiting American Senator.

Sandilands quickly discovers that the man he is assigned to protect is strangely connected to the young dead woman.

So goes the plot of A Spider In The Cup -- one of Barbara Cleverly's Detective Joe Sandilands novels. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

 Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and even Walt Disney have made careers of collecting and retelling fairy tales. But where do all the stories come from, and what distinguishes a fairy tale from any other folk tale? Author Marina Warner explores the history of the fairy tale in her book Once Upon A Time

Detractors of modern-day Israel often compare it to apartheid South Africa, but how valid are those claims? Journalist Benjamin Pogrund, who has lived in both modern Israel and apartheid South Africa, examines the comparison in his book Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

Tomatoes are a summer staple,and Craig LeHoullier details absolutely everything about the fruit in his book Epic Tomatoes: How to Select & Grow the Best Varieties of All Time. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel shares his review of this beautifully illustrated guide to cultivating tomatoes.

When the musicians of Leningrad first performed Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, their city was under siege by Nazi forces.  The players were unsure they could finish the piece without collapsing. All of Leningrad was famished and frozen. Author Brian Moynahan tells the compelling story of how Shostakovich's ode to Leningrad made it to the stage, despite all odds. Leningrad: Siege and Symphony highlights the need for beauty and art in difficult times. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

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Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kelley just wants to dance with her friends underneath the moonlight, but what she finds in the dark of night is sinister and strange. Hoosier author Aaron Galvin constructs a chilling tale of the aftermath of the Salem witch trials in his historical thriller, Salem's Vengeance. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review of the first book in Galvin's Salem Trilogy.

The L.S. Ayres department store was a keystone of Indianapolis for more than a hundred years before its branch stores closed their doors in 2006. Ayres was known for its decadent tea room, ornate window displays, and collection of high-end women's fashion. Author Kenneth Turchi fondly traces the long history of the store in his book L.S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has this review. 

Before anyone got their news from Facebook or Twitter, telegrams made current events accessible around the globe. The invention's rise in popularity allowed the American Civil War to become one of the first conflicts to spark global interest.

The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War by Professor Don Doyle examines how the war was received in the rest of the world, and how both sides attempted to sway international opinion. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has this review.

West Lafayette Public Library

Purdue currently has a “Dean of Students,” as many colleges do. But in the early part of the 20th Century, it had a “Dean of Women” – a position held, in succession, by several women who shaped both the job and the way female students were seen at the school.

That position is the subject of Angie Klink’s book “The Dean’s Bible,” which itself is the subject of this week’s book review by West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel.

From her first comics published in the Evergreen State College school paper to her influential weekly comic strip, Ernie Pook's Comeek, books, novels, graphic memoirs and plays, Lynda Barry has been part of the North American alternative comics scene for thirty years. In her first book, What It Is: The Formless Thing Which Gives Things Form, Lynda Barry singlehandedly created a literary genre all her own: the graphic-memoir-how-to. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has a review.

Seth Godin maintains that a tribe is a group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For thousands of years, humans have joined tribes: religious, ethnic, political, or even musical. Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time, allowing for new tribes to emerge.In this week’s book review, West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel discusses Godin’s book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, which encourages people to shake up the status quo and lead these tribes.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/peskylibrary/15860308919

Each week, millions of people visit Randall Munroe’s web-comic XKCD. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. And, fans of XKCD ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. Questions you probably would never even think to ask.

Munroe’s answers are clear and witty, and paired with hilarious cartoons and infographics. From The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek through chemistry, geography and physics, Munroe leaves no stone unturned in his quest for knowledge.

Matt Walton / https://www.flickr.com/photos/minusman/11397198025/

 

There are dozens of children’s books that have stood the test of time – that is to say: bedtime.

If you’ve got kids, you can probably name many of the classic works of Robert McCloskey, Dr. Seuss or Sandra Boynton.

But there are also new takes on kiddie lit, by the likes of Mo Willems and BJ Novak – many of which take on a more sardonic tone aimed both at adults and as the children they’re reading to.

Did monkeys cross the wide Atlantic Ocean - long ago - traveling from Africa to South America? The Monkey's Voyage suggests that yes, monkeys and other creatures did make many such journeys.  Delve into the fascinating world of bio-geography – and read why we find so many creatures distributed so widely across the varied landscapes and biomes of the world.

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