We published a summer reading list a few weeks back (NUVO June 27-July 4) recommending 10 new books by local authors and/or books with local subject matter. Turns out, we barely scratched the surface where the local talent pool is concerned.
Thanks to a great reader response, we’ve discovered several new books to add to our summer list. You sent us recommendations for histories, mysteries, and a new Vonnegut collection.
Determination to survive is at the heart of Two-Moon Journey, the meticulously researched historical novel by Peggy King Anderson. Sept. 3, 1838, Twin Lakes, Indiana. Rows of corn are ripening for the long winter’s food supply. But there never will be a harvest; the federal government has a different agenda. This is the day of forced removal of 859 Potawatomi people from ancestral land. Simu-quah narrates the journey of loss, brutality, and her personal struggle to forgive and start over. —RK
Susan Crandall spins lies into truths as we follow the threads of a dysfunctional family’s tapestry of gentility stitched over a canvas of shame. Set within the 1960s and 1970s in a confining Mississippi town, we too become entangled in a series of events that compound into a feeling of doom. We can sense something isn’t right here, but what is it? Heightened suspense, engrossing atmosphere, believable characters, and vivid first-person storytelling are Crandall’s forte throughout her oeuvre of award-winning Southern Gothic fiction. —RK
There’s something captivating in the voice of Luann, the 8-year-old narrator in “Ghosts,” one of the stories that makes up Melissa Fraterrigo’s novel Glory Days. Through her eyes, you see the environmental desolation that comes when developers bring progress to the town in which she lives with her father, Teensy, who is still mourning the death of Luann’s mother. The so-called progress comes in the form of an amusement park called Glory Days. We meet both the winners and losers of said progress in this book, which might feel disjointed to some and kaleidoscopic to others, like a trip through an amusement park funhouse. Fraterrigo founded the Lafayette Writers’ Studio in Lafayette, Indiana, in 2014. —DG
Street and institutional names in Indianapolis’ Near Eastside resonate with references to the extended family of Indiana’s fifth governor, Noah Noble. Pogue’s Run cuts through their storied past, the most intriguing chapter being Preston Archer Davidson’s enlistment in the Confederate army in Virginia, thrusting us into the steaming cauldron of mid-19th century politics, religion, and economy and boiling us over with heightened personal and regional passions. Jason Lantzer re-creates our most divisive moment as a nation on fields of combat and within familial breaking points. How Gov. Noble’s grandson implicates Butler University in his choices is part of this book’s intriguing story. —R
Larry Sweazy is back with another detective mystery set in Dickinson, North Dakota. Protagonist Marjorie is an indexer for a non-fiction publisher. She’s in a constant squeeze to meet deadlines, yet when a young woman goes missing, she’s compelled to lend her skills to help the police department find her. The third in the series, this thriller telescopes into truths about what lies underneath a small-town circle of church ladies supplying comfort to the recently widowed Marjorie. But what we don’t know can make small-town life downright scary. Sweazy is a master storyteller with two dozen award winning novels, most reviewed in NUVO. —RK
Just in time for President Benjamin Harrison’s 185th birthday (born Aug. 20, 1833) comes a delightful retelling of a family incident and its aftermath by Donna Griffin. Retold here as an action-packed picture book, it’s an all-ages delight illustrated by Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel with back pages detailing facts about the sole Indiana-born U.S. president. Old Whiskers is a goat with an attitude whose antics in 1892, along with President Harrison’s 5-year-old grandchild, made headlines about the White House. —RK
Looking through this massive tome filled with stories that vary from outré science fiction (“The Big Space Fuck”) to urban romance (“City”), I’ve come to realize Vonnegut was a transitional author for me. Before discovering him in high school, I was reading science fiction and horror for pleasure. After Vonnegut, whose books often cross genres, my reading selections followed suit. Vonnegut may seem like a deeply pessimistic author in some of his novels—even nihilistic—but he is always morally committed. As Dave Eggers notes in his insightful introduction, “Most of the stories in this collection are moral stories. They tell us what’s right and what’s wrong, and they tell us how to live. In 2017, this is a radical act.” And so it goes for 2018. —DG