December 6, 2013
Five Books: My picks from Novel Conversations

Today we start a new series about reading called “Five Books.” Staff member Nancy Conner will check in, from time to time, with notes on books in Indiana Humanities’ lending library for book clubs, Novel Conversations.

For the first post, here are Nancy’s picks from the collection:


  1. Ashfall & Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin – Already I’m doubling up with a two-for-one pick, the first and second volumes in Mullin’s award-winning trilogy about a catastrophic eruption in Yellowstone that covers the western United States in ash & devastation. As Iowa teenager Alex sets off on a journey through a totally changed landscape to find his parents, he must mature quickly in order to survive.
  2. Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley – A true favorite of mine, author Phil Gulley writes about small towns and the hilarious characters who make life interesting for their pastors. Daily events in Harmony are sometimes funny, sometimes touching, especially around the holidays (we also have Christmas in Harmony).
  3. The Territory by Tricia Fields – Novel Conversations offers a choice of genres. Tricia Fields writes mysteries or crime dramas and sets them in the Southwest desert, an environment that fascinates this Midwestern writer. Her heroine, Police Chief Josie Gray, finds herself right in the middle of a vicious border conflict, battling drug lords to keep her town safe.
  4. Rocket Boys (October Sky) by Homer H. Hickam, Jr. – Extraordinary lives make for reading that is enjoyed by our book clubs, and Hickam is a great example. This memoir tells the story of his rise from boyhood among the coal mines to science fair winner to real-life rocket scientist, but the complicated relationship with his father is what gives the book its heart.
  5. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen – A series of remembrances by novelist Quindlen, this book is the product of much life experience. She says: “It’s nothing short of astonishing, all that we learn between the time we are born and the time we die.” Whether musing on marriage and motherhood, or looking around her home and pondering “Stuff,” Quindlen has a lot to tell us about what she has learned over the years.

Consider adding these books to your book group’s reading list in 2014!

This post was written by Nancy Conner, director of grants at Indiana Humanities and coordinator of Novel Conversations.

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