Nick Schenkel Book Reviews

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The ancient Bushman of Africa painted the giraffes they knew as “ethereal, with legs that looked like whisps of smoke…” many thousands of years later, Dale Peterson and photographer Karl Ammann write about their encounter with giraffes in Africa. With beautiful photography and prose, this is a fitting nod to these giant and awe-inspiring beasts that have captivated humankind for thousands upon thousands of years.

Rock Chronicles is 560 + pages of testament to the tenacity of Rock ‘n Roll! Written by a gaggle of music critics and introduced by the inimitable Alice Cooper, this is a visually rich compendium of facts and reviews any rock and roll fan will enjoy.

Witty, insightful, in-your-face and humorous, Bike Snob is an irreverent and worthy read focused on the contemporary world of bicycling – for both the avid cyclist and for those of us left wondering all the hoopla is about.

As a young girl growing up in the 1860s on a Wabash County, Indiana, farm, Geneva Grace Stratton received a wondrous gift from her father, Mark, who had noticed his daughter's love for nature and wildlife, especially the larks, cardinals, passenger pigeons, swallows, and hawks that flew overhead.  He declared that all birds on the farm belonged to her, and she was to become their protector.  "I was the friend and devoted champion of every bird that nested in the garden, on the fences, on the ground, in the bushes, in the dooryard, or in the orchard trees," she noted years earlier.

Ashfall and the follow-up tale, Ashen Winter by Hoosier author Mike Mullin, is part coming of age story and big part adventure – taking us on a peril filled journey of discovery through a modern-day Midwest America ravaged by a cataclysmic natural disaster.  The concluding volume, Sunrise will be published this Spring.

Two strong woman, two very different eras, one uniting story.  Mary Elgin used her Scottish fortune to fund the removal (“stealing”) of the marble statuary from the Athenian Acropolis, statuary that the Greek consort to ancient  Perikles  was so influential in imagining in their original creation.  Stealing Athena takes us to both Napoleonic and Ancient Classical Athens as the tales of these two incredible women play out, separated by over 2,000 years, united by a love for beauty.

She Who Tells A Story takes us into the world of the modern Arab and Iranian culture seen through the lens of women photographers.  Beautiful and sometimes jarring, always insightful photographs and essays make this a book you won’t want to miss.

Death and the Penguin is one of the more memorable tales you’ll read this year, reminding one of early 20th century absurdist novelists – though without the insects.  

Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan left lasting architectural imprints on West Lafayette.  Their student & colleague architect Barry Byrne took their iconic Midwestern prairie architecture to a European audience and perhaps did his mentors “one better”, for Byrne’s influence on modernizing church architecture in both Europe and North America re-imagined the architecture of the Catholic churches he designed.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking joins a grand parade of good reading – and eating – by presenting the culinary memories of three generations of a Soviet family as mother and daughter seek to renew their bittersweet memories of Russia’s 20th century history through the venue of decadal dinners.

One was a mathematical genius and the other a leader of offering library services to children.  One was focused on the joy of his life to the exclusion of almost everything else, the other was a people person who delighted in working with children and adults.  Both are the subjects of delightful biographies for children, parents and anyone else who wants to learn more about the fascinating people who've helped to craft the world we live in today!

The Eclectic tells the story of an iconic Hoosier of his time, Dr. Wallace Wheat, the “herb doctor of the Wabash Valley” who utilized the pharmaceutical powers found in medicinal herbs, focusing on allaying pain and building stronger bodies with natural materials that were ready to hand, techniques and medicines in sharp contrast to the often crude and painful remedies popular among physicians at the time. Hoosier author Laura Clavio’s fictionalized story of Dr.

The ghost of Christmas future as written by Charles Dickens to the Nativity story told by Luke; Clement Clarke Moore’s “Night Before Christmas” to the culinary delights of Mrs. Beeton’s “One Shilling Cookbook”.  O’Henry’s sly “Gift of the Magi” to Sherlock Holmes’ “The Adventure of Blue Carbuncle” – they're all here for you to enjoy in this delightful holiday collection!

Snow

Nov 22, 2013

Religious vs. Secular.  Urban vs. Rural.  Orhan Pamuk delves into the differences that set the current Turkish cultural scene and that resonate with many of us in the States as well.

Author Thomas Dyja writes that "the most profound aspects of American modernity grew out of the flat prairie land next to Lake Michigan." - Chicago

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