Indy Reads is a nonprofit literacy organization whose unusually creative outreach is transforming the lives of adults and families in Indianapolis’s lowest literate areas—and fueling a community determined to give back both on and off the page. Inside, trained volunteers offer one-on-one tutoring and barrier-breaking programming; outside, Indy Reads runs an independent bookstore, Indy Reads Books, in downtown Indianapolis that helps fund their initiatives. Now, they’re uniting local authors—like #1 New York Times bestselling author John Green—in a new cross-genre collection, Indy Writes Books: A Book Lover’s Anthology (Cardinal Publishers Group, $25.00 hardcover, July 1, 2015)
Indy Writes Books is an anthology of local Indiana authors who have helped Indy Reads’ independent bookstore grow and thrive, including John Green, Karen Kovacik, Dan Wakefield, Ben Winters, Will Shortz, and Cathy Day, and 23 additional powerhouse literary voices. All proceeds from Indy Writes Books support Indy Reads’ adult literacy programs in Central Indiana. The book features fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and puzzles centered around bookstores and reading, and was funded by a grant from The Margot L. and Robert S. Eccles Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation.
Indy Reads Books is Indy Reads’ independent bookstore; the bookstore relies on donations of used books from the community, is staffed by volunteers, and donates all of its revenue to Indy Reads. It’s the only bookstore in downtown Indianapolis selling new and used books. They also host more than 250 cultural events annually, including author events, art exhibits, concerts, workshops, and lectures.
In addition to individualized tutoring, Indy Reads offers an inmate outreach program, neighborhood literacy labs, family workshops, library student outreach, and ESL and creative writing classes. They are the only organization in Indianapolis that is a partner of ProLiteracy Worldwide, the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world.
Indy Reads’ Executive Director and editor of the collection, M. Travis DiNicola says, “Indy Writes Books is a celebration of literacy, and a celebration of the amazing authors who are making Central Indiana a thriving literary community. This collection is for anyone who loves books and bookstores. Not only is it a great read, but every purchase helps support adults learning how to read.”
This was a great introduction to the works of indie authors. I never really gave much thought to the term before, or where it came from. Now I am well informed on both subjects. Not only that, I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories in this anthology. I absolutely loved the idea of OpenBooks. I am still thinking of all the different books I would like to enter, even if it were for just an hour. The author mentions saving Wilbur from Mr. Arable and some other favorite classics, but how about walking with Mr. Darcy, or Visiting Needful Things to buy something. The author’s story is also very interesting and includes “A Clockwork Orange”. I am giving this story “Between the Lines” by Ben H. Winters a 5/5. The rest of the anthology was really good as well. However I would have liked a better table of contents. The types of stories (fiction versus nonfiction and poetry) were all mixed in. The Table of contents does not go in page order, but rather type order first. I found myself flipping back and forth to see what was fiction. However it did add a sense of eeriness to the nonfiction stories. There are a few other great things about this book that I have to mention in this review. One is that “The Green Mile” (dir.) is listed as a works cited, and another is that there are two mind games in the book, made specifically for this book. These were really fun, and I enjoyed them. I also enjoyed the two translated stories that were included in their original form as well. I was able to read both versions and get a better understanding for the author. Finally I have to mention a phrase that I read in this book. “Grief Never Dies”. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own. This is definitely one of my favorite books of 2015!