Nick Schenkel Book Reviews

"Binti: The Complete Trilogy" is 2021's "Big Read," A community reading event hosted by the Purdue english department, in parternship with the West Lafayette and Tippecanoe county public libraries.

West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel reviews the graphic novel: "Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation" by Mira Jacob. This book explores the realms of the very contemporary experiences of immigrants and their descendants.  Jacob takes us deep into the immigrant experience, using first person dialogue presented in graphic novel form to examine  her life from childhood through motherhood, in a story as old as the colonization of the Americas and as new as today.

Written by Tom Schott and Nathan Baird, with a forward from Robbie Hummel, "100 Things Purdue Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die,"  is a collection of chapters detailing 100 of the greatest people, locations, events and activities in Purdue University's atheletics history. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review.

West Lafayette Public Library Director, Nick Schenkel, reviews "The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth."  Truly sweeping in its scope, this book is a journey through the history of humankind as heard through music.  It is chock full of facts and music, each paragraph packed with fascinating ideas, taking us from the pre-historic world to the modern age.  Truly a well thought out effort to encompass the meaning, celebrations, alarms and hope that music has inspired throughout the ages.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

This book's scope is wide, its writing inviting, and the sources sometimes suprising.  It's one of those rare books that grabs us from the first lines of its introduction. Immerse yourself in the book from the get-go. Read "Best American Travel Writing 2020" for the introduction alone, as editor Robert Mcfarlane muses about the drama and dramatic upsets that would turn the world, traveling, and travel writing topsy-turvy. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review of this compilation of travel articles.

Book Review: The Thin Light of Freedom

Aug 6, 2021

One of the most examined and historically significant wars to the United States, the American Civil War, has always been a popular period of discussion between history buffs and otherwise, but what did the war mean to those of the time? And how do the major impacts of a war in the mid-19th century still affect the U.S. today? With first-hand sources of diary entries and newspaper columns, Edward Ayers details the suspense and total feeling of uncertainty experienced by those in the 1860s and on, whose lives were directly shaped by one of the most defining eras in our nation’s history.

Book Review: The Forbidden Promise

Jul 30, 2021

One secret. Two lives changed forever. That’s the premise for Lorna Cook’s The Forbidden Promise, a tale of mystery and romance across two timelines. The first, from a war-torn Scotland of the 1940s, and the other from the same highlands in the modern-day. How will the decisions of the past affect the future, and how will the two timelines converge? Filled with secrets, twists, and cliffhangers, this book is sure to keep readers guessing until the very end. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review.

Book Review: Man Enough

Jul 23, 2021

The topic of traditional masculinity has become a prominent issue of discussion in today’s social climate. Man Enough, written by director, activist,  and Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni, seeks to tackle the sometimes uncomfortable topic of what it means to be a man, and attempts to redefine the idea of the male role for a generation that is all too familiar with the idea of toxic masculinity. A book for everyone (not just men), Baldoni encourages us to be confident enough to be vulnerable, and brave enough to be honest, while sharing his own experiences along the way.

Book Review: Beginners

Jul 16, 2021

This book is for the newcomers! Many learn new skills at a young age, but what about those who strive to learn something new later in life? What about the adult beginners? Tom Vanderbilt, in recounting his varied experiences as an adult beginner, from surfing and singing, to chess and drawing, focuses on the psychology of taking up a new skill after one’s youth, the mindset of not immediately succeeding at something, and the joy of starting from square one. No matter your age, everyone can benefit from being a beginner again.

Book Review: The Scapegoat

Jul 9, 2021

Filled with intrigue, mystery, and thrilling discoveries, The Scapegoat follows a nameless protagonist through his torment regarding his father’s recent death, and his journey to uncover the truth. With the contrast between the strict order of everyday routines and the disruption and chaos brought on by the narrator’s investigation, author Sara Davis effectively blurs the line between the monotony of life and the insanity within it. If you are looking for a story loaded with unease, suspense, and plenty of wit, Davis’ debut novel may be for you.

Book Review: Goodbye, Again

Jul 2, 2021

In a life of constant transitions, belonging can prove a difficult feat. That’s just one of the many topics Jonny Sun tackles in Goodbye, Again. Through a collection of short essays, poems, stories, and illustrations, Sun dives into his own life through themes of productivity, anxiety, and humor, and invites readers to explore their own life within these themes as well. For an honest and introspective journey through life and its many transitions, look no further than Sun’s witty and unique style of storytelling. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review.

Book Review: A Most Beautiful Thing

Jun 25, 2021

With the Tokyo Olympics just on the horizon, global sports fans will come together to cheer on their nation in familiar, and unfamiliar, athletic events. Based on a true story and coming off the success of the 2020 documentary of the same name (narrated by Grammy-winning artist Common), A Most Beautiful Thing explores the somewhat unfamiliar sport of rowing, and the determination of a group of Chicago-based high school students who emerge as the first all Black high school rowing team in the nation.

 Our favorite words may not be the ones we can always say, but they have certainly become a big part of our vocabulary. Nine Nasty Words takes a deep dive into nine of the most taboo words in the English language, showing us where these words came from, and where they got all that power. Did your favorite expletive make the list? West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review.

Book Review: The New PhD

Jun 6, 2021

With the rising costs of tuition and the changing job market, university graduate degrees have garnered more and more scrutiny. The New PhD proposes a way to rectify some of the problems it lays out with graduate degrees. Not only does it talk about the new practices that should be put in place, but it also discusses the practical methods in how changes can be made. Does this book hold up for people outside of the academic field? West Lafayette Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review. 

Book Review: The History of the World in 21 Women

May 31, 2021

When one thinks of the historic individuals who had the largest impact on the world, often we may think of a man. The History of the World in 21 Women is a book that aims to show how the world has largely been impacted by historic women. Do you know these 21 historic women and their impact? Does the book do them justice? Tune in as West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has the review.