Nick Schenkel Book Reviews

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.

A son of Indiana, Greenburg captures the look, the feel, the sounds of post Civil War Indiana with its characters taking up tumultuous lives right here in Lafayette.  A book that won a deserved place on Library Journal’s “Top Indie Fiction…Beyond the Best Sellers List” this Fall ,  Greenburg’s debut novel is one you’ll be glad you read!

Life and death struggles, bullies and leaders, passionate love and searing hate; it all takes place in a post apocalyptic Illinois where the sun has been hidden for the many, many months and a frozen world of snow and gloom has taken over the US Midwest.  Sunrise is the concluding chapter in Hoosier Mike Mullin’s trilogy of life after the eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano. It's a concluding read you don’t want to miss!

Jock athletes, jock writers - athletes of Jewish birth and upbringing have a long, award winning history of engagement and success in the sporting world.  Be they pugilists, baseball players, swimmers or essayists surely there is a sportsman/sportswoman among these fifty short biographies for you to enjoy!

Ben Wachs is a fellow whose roots are deeply local.  And a fellow who has traveled the world since growing up in Greater Lafayette. The fruits of his travels blossom forth in this wonder-filled, often fanciful collection of short stories set in often gritty urban environments around the world. This "guide" is a book worthy of frequent detours of reading pleasures.

The Soldier's Friend. What a fitting title for this biography of Indiana’s home grown, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ernie Pyle who ended his career covering the GI's in WW II. Pyle shaped the consciousness of WW II America in the 1940's - from the foot soldiers to the folks back at the home front. Give it a read and see if you don’t agree!

Skin Game is the latest installment of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.  It follows Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard who's about to have a very, bad day.

One hundred years after his inauguration as the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson still stands as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.  He is considered the leader of the Progressive Movement and he led his democratic party to win control of both the White House and Congress in 1912.  Wilson induced a conservative Democratic Congress to pass a progressive legislative agenda, unparalleled until the 'New Deal' in 1933.

Department of Speculation puts a welcome spin on stream-of-thought fiction with quirky writing focused on the life of a young urban dweller that is diving into speculation about her life, discovering the excitement of romance and the confusing and ultimately rewarding world of marriage and family life.

Napa Valley offers sunny skies, fine food and especially rich tasting wines.  But there are sharpshooters wandering this beautiful land - one a tiny wasp that murders the grape vines of the valley, the other a human character who takes the life of a local vintner on a quiet moonlit night. Sunny McCoskey entangles herself – and us - in both threads in this taut, fast paced mystery novel.

If Mayors ruled the world we’d be much better served- no matter how large a population is involved, Mayor-led  government, in the end as in the beginning, is about filling potholes in the street – not so much ideology as practical “how do I get this done” government.  That’s the thesis of this international look at why local government might just be the nexus for all government in the coming decades.

The unnamed North African nation is a state of being more than a country, a story without borders or time told in this emotionally moving tale through the eyes of a man remembering a summer of his boyhood when his family and the world he knew was torn apart by revolution.  Nominated for a Mann Booker Prize In The Country of Men will be the featured book in our new Fall Muslim Journeys Book Discussion at the West Lafayette Public Library on Thursday, August 28, 2014.

One hundred years ago this month Sir Edward Grey wrote "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time" as the First World War began. 

Novelist Anne Perry takes us deep into the British psyche that fateful summer of 1914 with this murder-mystery where we meet characters whose idyllic lives at Cambridge University are torn apart by murder, deceit and the looming darkness of continental war. 

A first novel, this is one of those rare and exciting finds, marvelously capturing both the brittleness of youth culture and the soon-to-be, wanting-to-be adult personality – the bravado and the inner doubts. It's a book that features young adult characters with themes and prose that will captivate readers regardless if they are teens or adults.

These essays written by young Muslim women take us into their everyday lives with extraordinary insights and writing skills. It is, as well,a thoughtful antidote to the fear expressed by many Americans towards those who profess Islam. Love InshAllah is a book I’m glad to recommend to your attention!