April 2020

Staff book review: “Great Speeches”

Debi Strubler, circulation associate at the Main library, penned the following review of Great Speeches from Penguin Books. This title will be available for holds and curbside pickup starting on Monday, May 4th.


Abraham Lincoln

This was a thought provoking collection of speeches made from some of the greatest orators in the history of man. The spectrum of speeches ranged from Oliver Cromwell to Socrates to Abraham Lincoln to Richard III. I liked the book because the collection included history in the past and present day history. The collection included speeches from activists, literary figures, politicians, and famous philosophers. No Plato, though! Each speech had the power to activate one’s body and soul. One speech that hit me was that of Henry V.  Henry gives this impassioned motivational speech as his men prepare to storm the French town of Harfleur. He inspires the soldiers to victory in battle, and they win the fight against all odds. This reminds me of fighting this enemy Covid 19. These speeches bear witness to history’s defining moments. A short read but powerful!

Staff book review: “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich

Audrey Vowels, circulation assistant at the Main library, submitted the following review of The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich.

The Night Watchman is available to download as an eBook and audio book from OverDrive. If you do not have an HCPL library card, OverDrive offers a free digital access card using your mobile number.

Author Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman
is a powerful read filled with heart and soul. The book tells the life of the Ojibua Indians of North Dakota. Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at a factory; he is also a Chippewa council member who tries to assemble a group to go to Washington to fight to keep their land. This historical fiction book tells the tribal and personal history of the Native Americans. I really enjoyed this book because it is about family.

Requests for absentee ballots due by May 21

The primary election in Indiana will now be held on June 2. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Indiana encourages you to vote by absentee ballot.

Hoosiers can now file an application for absentee ballot for the June 2 primary online though http://Indianavoters.com .

Use the “vote by mail or traveling board” button. Click on  visit my voter portal, go to absentee voting/vote by mail on the left side.  This is a direct application – and once completed, your ballot will be sent to you.  It saves the step of printing, completing and mailing in the absentee ballot request.

Please click here to access a printable application for an absentee ballot.

Mail your completed application (if you are printing and mailing your absentee ballot) to:
Harrison County Circuit Clerk Court
Courthouse, Room 203
300 North Capitol Avenue
Corydon, IN 47112-1155

Once the application is received, you will receive your ballot by mail with a prepaid envelope. Absentee ballot application requests are due by May 21. To request an absentee ballot application by phone, please call 812-738-4289.

At this time, Indiana still plans for in-person voting on June 2.

Staff book review: “The Spy” by Paulo Coelho

Bob Ohlrich, circulation associate at the Main branch of HCPL, composed the following review of The Spy by Paulo Coelho.

The Spy is available to download as an eBook from OverDrive. If you do not have an HCPL library card, OverDrive offers a free digital access card using your mobile number.

This title is also available as an eBook from Axis360.

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho (Photo by Niels Ackermann for The Wall Street Journal)

This is a historical novel based on the life of Margaretha Zella, also known as Mata Hari. It traces her travels from her native home in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, through her time in Java with her husband, an officer in the Dutch army, to her return to The Netherlands and onto her time in France, where she invented her character, “Mata Hari.” The book then follows her through her ill-timed trip to Germany in 1914 all the way through to her last trip to Paris. 

This was a well-written book and the author did a great job in recreating both the haughtiness and the subsequent despair that the woman “Mata Hari” must have experienced throughout her life. He also did a very good job at recreating the tension felt by the people of France during this tumultuous time in their history. 

Library Facilities Will Remain Closed through Sunday, May 3, to comply with Governor Holcomb’s Extended Stay at Home Order

There is no doubt we are living in uncertain times.  The Harrison County Public Library wants you to know that no matter what, we are here for you.  That is for certain. While we are all doing our best to flatten the curve by staying and working from home, please know that your library staff are staying connected and working to find new ways to bring you needed information and resources.

As much as HCPL would like to reopen, the health of our community is most important to us. We are working with key leaders to determine the date when it will be safe to reopen. Until then we are always open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.hcpl.lib.in.us with access to eBooks, eMagazines, downloadable audiobooks and other eResources. 

Click here to find up-to-date, reliable COVID-19 information on the library public safety page.

HCPL staff continue to work creating virtual programs from home.  New content is being posted to our Brain Booster Resource page and program videos for adults have been added.

Library Wi-Fi remains on at all library locations and can be accessed outside the buildings and in the back parking lot at the Main Branch in Corydon.

Material due dates are extended until after May 11.  No library materials will be due during the March 17- May 3 closure.

To ensure library patrons have access to library eResources library card privileges have been renewed for all library cards that would have expired January 1 through June 30, 2020.  The new card expiration is now December 30, 2020. Harrison County residents who do not currently have a library card can access library eResources by applying for a Digital Access Card for eResources, or by applying for a Digital Access Card for eBooks, eMagazines and audio books.

During the closure staff will monitor the website’s Ask a Librarian and Contact Us features and return telephone messages.  Please check the library website, or Facebook page for up-to-date information. 

Staff book review: “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis

Chelsea Arnold, circulation associate at the Palmyra branch, submitted for your consideration the following review of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.

American Psycho is available to download as an eBook from OverDrive. If you do not have an HCPL library card, OverDrive offers a free digital access card using your mobile number.

Author Bret Easton Ellis

This book is just too much. And I mean “too much” in every sense of the phrase. The irony is on a level that I have never experienced before and am doubtful that I will experience it again. A few years ago, people were saying to go back and re-read 1984. If you read American Psycho in the 90s or 2000s, I recommend you re-read it as well. It is one of those novels that feels decidedly more eerie in the present than it ever could have in its prime. Life has a funny way of reflecting art, and satire ages like fine wine.

Before I go any further, I feel I should run a disclaimer. This book does contain GRAPHIC CONTENT. I do not want anyone to dive in without being prepared for that. 

This book is a look at society in its most self-centered state. The main character, Patrick, is a narcissist, as are all his friends, colleagues, and paramours. He works on Wall Street. He is young, handsome, and well to do. He spends an inordinate amount of time on primping and prides himself on his ability to recognize every name brand piece of clothing he sees on someone. He only dines at the 5-star restaurants that he does because of the magazines he reads and the people he admires. He is trying to keep up with the Joneses. Only the last name is not Jones…

But I digress. 

Patrick has homicidal tendencies and a loose grasp on reality when the book starts. The tendencies heighten and the grasp unravels as the book progresses. I’m still not sure if the “psycho” in the title stands for a psychopath or psychotic, two totally different diagnoses. However, Patrick embodies a good bit of both. His disregard for human life (though he does fake it with the occasional compassionate speech when in the presence of others, despite the vitriolic disdain he actually feels for homeless people/minorities/women/you name it in private) lends itself to psychopathy. The artificial, almost rehearsed way he recites things off his head as if he memorized an album or restaurant review verbatim lends to psychopathy. The intense narcissism and unfazed ability to hack people up obviously lends to being a psychopath. However, when he is running through the streets eating ham out of a can while hallucinating, or believing that he is having a telepathic exchange with Bono, that lends to psychosis. I would say that he is a psychopath who has episodes of psychosis. Talk about a worst-case scenario.

I know there is a great debate about whether all of this really happened, or just happened in his head. Honestly, that is irrelevant to me. Though, personally, I think it was a little bit of both. 

The book, to me, is not so much about him being totally out of his head as it is about the blind eye everyone around him turns to it. His craziness becomes less concealed and less concealed, and people are still oblivious to it. He can tell them straight out “I killed three people last night” and no reaction. You have to wonder if it is willful ignorance on their part, or the inability to see past themselves to take note of the storm whirling a path of destruction right in front of them. As for his girlfriend and secretary who think they are in love with him, they are so focused on the singular goal of getting married for the sake of getting married, they do not take even a second to get to know his real personality…which is completely and totally deranged. Everyone is out for them. So what if Bateman killed a whole cadre of people? That does not affect me. And I never cared about those people’s well-being to begin with, so no biggie if I ever learn they are no longer breathing. Clean it up, and keep it moving. That is the mindset of his crowd. 

It begs the question: What is the most dangerous emotion?

Anger? Jealously? Greed?

Or is it not a consuming emotion that is supremely dangerous, but the lack thereof? 

 While on some level this novel is a testament to the yuppie consumerism/materialism of the 80s, it is also a case study in apathy. 

One has to wonder what Patrick Bateman would be doing in this era. Would he be struggling or thriving? Would he have taken his vanity to social media and be Instagram famous? And what would he think about having to share his idol with so many new and unlikely fans?

Staff recommendation: Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel series

Judy Shaffer, circulation associate at the Main library, says that the first book in this series,  A Hopeful Heart, “is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.”

Each of these titles is available to download as an eBook from OverDrive.  If you do not have a Harrison County Public Library card, OverDrive offers a free digital card using your mobile number.

Please click a book cover to read the book description and to download.

Click to view A Hopeful Heart in OverDrive
Book 1
Book 2
Click to view A Dream of Home on OverDrive
Book 3
Click to download A Simple Prayer from OverDrive
Book 4




Staff book review: “Murder Beyond the Grave” by James Patterson

Sandy Harbeson, circulation associate at the Main library, wrote the following review of Murder Beyond the Grave by James Patterson.

This title is available in both eBook and audio book formats from OverDrive and as an eBook from Axis360.

Author James Patterson

These stories were two true crime thrillers, and I enjoyed them very much. I like to watch Dateline with Lester Holt, and these two stories are similar to Dateline. Throughout the book I kept trying to figure out who had done it. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes reading mysteries or thrillers. This was my first time using Axis360 and I maneuvered it very easily.

Staff book review: nonfiction by women in politics

Debi Strubler, circulation assistant at the Main library in Corydon, penned two book reviews for your reading enjoyment.

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush is available as an eBook from OverDrive.


I’m Not Slowing Down by Ann Richards

This book tells how the Former Democratic Governor from Texas is winning her battle with osteoporosis. She suggests that all women get a bone density test.  She explains how the risk of osteoporosis increases with menopause due to loss of estrogen. She warns readers to avoid certain products that can enhance broken bones. She also gives advice on how to help your bones by taking supplements, medications and eating certain foods. She offers over 20 pages of pictures and descriptions of exercises one can do in order to help the prevention of osteoporosis. It is an informative book that is very much a help to all women.


Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush 

This is a warm, heartfelt, easy-to-read book about the fraternal Bush twins. The book alternates from Jenna to Barbara in stories of their lives as children, young adults and adults. Each twin has a distinct personality and intellect that complements the other. Their grandparents, both maternal and paternal, have had an integral part of developing who they are. There are moments of elation and moments of sadness in the book. It was a delightful read.  



Staff book review: “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic” by Michael McCleary

Jan Hecht, circulation associate at the Elizabeth branch of HCPL, would like to offer you her review of Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum.
OverDrive is holding the Big Library Read through the end of the day Monday, April 13. For the remainder of today, Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic is available to download with no wait list, in both eBook and audio book formats.
If you do not have an HCPL card, OverDrive offers you a free digital access card using your mobile number.


You are reading this blog, so I think that you must love to read as much as I do.  I mostly read fiction, but this time of the year I challenge myself to read more nonfiction.  Using HCPL’s eBook service Overdrive, I found an interesting book by Michael McCreary, a 26-year-old Canadian comedian who is autistic—thus the name of his book is Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum.  In this autobiography, he describes his life as the middle child of a family with “neurotypical,” otherwise known as “normal”, parents.  His younger brother also has autism.  Michael has met challenges throughout his life including his experiences being different than the other kids throughout elementary and high school.  He loved to talk, he loved the arts, and at a point around his 13th birthday he decided that instead of being down-hearted about his life to make jokes about it.  He became a comedian.

This book is Overdrive’s Big Library Read selection from March 23-April 13.  The Big Library Read includes sharing thoughts about the book with other readers.  It was very interesting to read these posts.  I found that many who read the book were learning about the world on the autism spectrum for the first time.  Others shared that they lived with someone on the spectrum, or they were on the spectrum themselves.  All said that it was great to find a book in which Michael shares his life and experiences in such an open and honest way.  I recommend this book too!

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