Next Indiana Bookshelf

Next Indiana Bookshelf

With Indiana’s bicentennial coming up this year (our Statehood Day will be December 11th, 2016), now is a great time to reflect on our state’s history and contributions to American culture. And one indelible area of these influences has been in literature. While most of us might be able to name James Whitcomb Riley, the truth is Indiana has been a very fertile ground for writers (you might even be one of them – maybe you participated in NaNoWriMo last November).


Enter the Next Indiana Bookshelf. The NIB is a collection of modern and classic works, both fiction and nonfiction, by Hoosier authors. IU East is one of 55 libraries in the state to be selected to offer and promote these books, which are made available through a collaboration of Indiana Humanities, the Indiana Center for the Book, the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Indiana State Library.


Come in and see our display in the library. Peruse the books, check them out, even get a free ‘literary map’ of Indiana writers. The NIB features books that show how Indiana shapes and is shaped by the modern world, from faith to warfare to agriculture, from rural farmlands to downtown Indianapolis. Some of the books are meant for adults, and some are great for kids and young adults, too (these are marked with a yellow ‘J’ sticker on the spine). While reading them, reflect on what it means to be a Hoosier – two hundred years ago, today, and perhaps most importantly, what we will be in the future.

Books available include:

Earth Works: Selected Essays by Scott Russell Sanders raises big questions about how we are connected to each other and the earth, how our Midwestern roots shape who we are, and what it means to live a good life.

The Essential Etheridge Knight by Etheridge Knight gathers the works of Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominee Knight, who first started writing poetry as a prisoner at the Indiana State Prison in 1968.

Food For Thought: An Indiana Harvest by David Hoppe, photos by Kristin Hess captures and explores this exciting moment of change and possibility in Indiana food and agriculture.

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf tells the story of Syrian immigrant Khadra growing up in Indianapolis in the 1970s, questioning what it means to be “Muslim” and “American,” and follows her conflicted return to Indiana as an adult.

The Indiana Chant by April Pulley Sayre celebrates the nature and culture of the Hoosier State in a lively chant form that will appeal to kids and grown-ups alike!

Invincible, Indiana by Nate Dunlevy incisively captures life in small-town Indiana, where ambitious protagonist Dale Cooper coaches high school basketball and finds that both team and townsfolk alike are all too content to settle for mediocrity.

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., edited by Dan Wakefield collects more than sixty years’ worth of the irascible author’s observations and recollections about growing up “a native Middle-Westerner.”

Paper Towns by John Green is equal parts literary mystery, classic road-trip fiction and coming-of-age story as teenager Quentin explores the real and imagined landscapes of suburbia in his quest to discover the secrets of long-time crush Margo.

Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. lyrically and timelessly both celebrates and critiques the American dream by telling the story of one day in the life of Hoosier schoolteacher and poet John Shawnessy.

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix surprises readers of all ages as 13-year-old Jessie discovers the truth behind her seemingly simple life in 1840 village Clifton, Indiana and races to save the lives of her friends and family.

Sailing the Inland Sea: On Writing, Literature, and Land by Susan Neville asks us to consider the Hoosier landscape and the many writers who have shaped our appreciation of it.

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe traces the stories of three Indiana National Guardswomen during twelve years of military service, revealing the sacrifice and fortitude of today’s new generation of veterans.

What This River Keeps by Greg Schwipps tells a familiar Hoosier story—an elderly couple fears the loss of their bottomland farm to eminent domain, their son struggles with duty to his family’s land and legacy—and, in so doing, asks us to consider how we balance public good and private interests.

Any questions? Ask us at!

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