Literary Themed Spots You NEED to Visit in Indianapolis

When you think about Indianapolis, you probably think about the Indianapolis 500 or the Colts. Maybe only cornfields come to mind. We are a “flyover” state after all.

However, if you’re a punk ass book jockey like me, then you’re probably seeking out bookish related things in each city you visit. Well, I’m here to tell you that Indianapolis has got it going on when it comes to literary spots you should check out.

Here are five spots you don’t want to miss next time you are in the Circle City.

Books and Brews

Books and Brews marries used books and craft beers in a unique setting. With several locations around Indianapolis, this cute little brewpub features a gently used bookstore in the front of their space and  10% of all proceeds goes to IndyReads (which I’ll highlight a little later).

The drinks are named after books and with names like “The Stout of Monte Cristo”, “Clifford” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Stout”, you’ll want to partake even if you aren’t a beer drinker.

Each location hosts trivia nights, has board games on tap for you to play with friends and serves lunch and dinner so you can grab a bite to eat to go with your bubbly. There are nine locations around Indy, one in Muncie, and one in Ohio, so no matter what side of town you live on, there’s bound to be one near you.

James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home
Located in the historic Lockerbie neighborhood, this gorgeous Victorian home and museum celebrates the life and accomplishments of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, who spent the last twenty-three years of his life living and writing in the home.

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The museum also hosts events, like Victorian teas and summer writing camps.

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Admission is dirt cheap – at $4/person, that’s practically a steal and the home/museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to check out Crown Hill Cemetery, where Riley is buried. You’ll also get a great view of the city skyline from his tomb at the top of the hill and you can also try to find President Benjamin Harrison and outlaw John Dillinger’s grave sites while you are there too.


Woody’s Library Restaurant
A restaurant in a former Carnegie library? Yes, please!

Woody’s Library Restaurant is located just north of Indianapolis in the swanky town of Carmel. The library moved out of the space in 1970, selling it to the Town of Carmel. They used it as office space and even a courthouse until 1998, when owners Richelle & Kevin “Woody” Rider purchased the property.

Since then, the former library has been serving up lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere and while the menu offers fairly standard American fare (think burgers, tenderloins, and BBQ), there are several unique options for people wanting something a bit different. Those with dietary restrictions will be pleased that the menu designates vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.

The owners kept the original library reference desk, which now serves as the bar counter and all the shelves and floors are original. You will be in love when you see the interior!

Indy Reads Books
In time when bookstores are dying, Indy Reads Books is thriving and for a good cause. Located off Mass Ave., the new/used bookstore is a funding source for Indy Reads, a non-profit whose mission is to make Indianapolis 100% literate.

They also offer diverse programming and feature local artists pieces on the walls. It’s a magical place, so be sure to stop in, support a great cause and check out their book mural on the side of their building while you are at it!

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The Public Collection
This is one of the coolest art installments in Indianapolis!

A few years ago, several artists were commissioned to create public art pieces that could house library books. Similar to the Little Free Library, these books can be borrowed and returned at any time. They are scattered all over the city, and more are popping up each year.

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The Indianapolis Public library donates all the books, the artists are based in Indiana and the purpose of the project is to “improve literacy, foster a deeper appreciation of the arts (and artists), and promote social and educational justice in our community.”

Cool, right? Check out their web site for more information and to find all the locations of the art pieces.

And in Carmel, their city has installed a Little Free Library in a telephone booth!! Make sure you check out the book benches next to it which feature Indiana authors. (You can find the phone booth off the Monon Trail in Carmel next to the Booth Tarkington Civic Center)

I hope whether you live here or are just passing through that you’ll check all these awesome bookish places out in Indianapolis! Let me know if you do and if you find anything I didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering Indy’s Wall Murals

I love wall murals. They really make cities colorful and provide perfect backdrops for photos. When traveling some place new, I usually seek out some of the more unique murals, especially if they have the city name in them somewhere.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working on a mural guide for Indianapolis and surrounding areas. As more and more pop-up, I decided it would be best if they were all in one post!

I’m also including a map with all the locations, which I’ll update when I add new ones to this post. A few are no longer there, but since I think it’s kind of fun to look at past murals too, those are at the bottom of the post in their own section.

Fountain Square

Fountain Square is FULL of murals and new ones keep popping up all the time, including this cool two-toned green wall next to 317 Juicery. When you’re done snapping a photo, pop in and pick up a four pack of carrot juice – it’s so delicious!

1354 Shelby Street
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1429 Shelby St.

You can find this tough looking pup behind The Hero House comic book store in Fountain Square. There are a couple others around it as well, including a robot and a Tardis.

1112 Prospect Street.

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You Are Beautiful, 1029 Fletcher Ave #100, Indianapolis, IN 46203

Jules Muck recently spend a few days in Indianapolis, blessing us with her quirky street art, including this tribute to Dolly Parton. There’s been some controversy over other murals she’s done around the city, including people getting mad because she’s not local, but I say there’s enough space for everyone. I’ll be checking them out and adding them as I find them!

653 Virgina Ave.

Downtown

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Indianapolis Public Schools Building, 120 E. Walnut

Bigger than life, Reggie Miller is the latest famous person mural to crop up near Mass Ave. Miller played for the Indiana Pacers (our NBA team) from 1987 – 2005 and remains one of the most loved athletes to ever wear a Pacers’ jersey.

127 E. Michigan St

Last year, my favorite rainbow wall was torn down to make way for more apartments and a CVS downtown. However, this one still exists and I had no idea it was there until recently! There are two other murals nearby too. You can find this one at 1049 Southeastern Avenue.

Just around the corner from the rainbow wall are these cool tools! I believe the building is vacant, but it’s right next to Angie’s List which has another retro Quaker Oats mural on the side of their building. So you can knock out three very different pieces of art right in a couple blocks of each other.

Here’s the Quaker Oats mural I was talking about! It’s so retro – I’m not sure the story behind it, but it’s been there for a really long time.

Remember the rainbow wall I mentioned earlier that was torn down? Well these two stunning murals from Kelsey Montague were put up in the same area and are so pretty! She’s famous for the wings murals you see all over the country and her latest installment at City Way might be my favorite set she’s designed.

This “Dream Big” mural is on the side of a doggie daycare. It’s super bright and fun and there are some cute dogs painted around the side of the building too. I just happened to see this one while driving on the interstate. It’s not too far from the rainbow wall or tools mural. 925 E. Vermont Street.


This mural of a construction worker DJing is at the end of Mass Ave, near the Indy Reads bookstore. They also have their own mural, so be sure to check it out too!

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East Side

Shout out to my friend Forensic Fashion Notes who peeped this colorful mural on the side of Greek’s Pizza off 16th street . She knows the owners, but they were closed the day we went, so we had to climb a small fence to take a photo (with owner permission, of course). If you find yourself craving something good to eat, hop on over to Greek’s then snap a picture in front of this colorful and uplifting piece of art. You can find it at 1601 Colombia Ave.

If retro is your jam, take a trip to Rock Cola Cafe in the Irvington area! This 50s style diner not only has some fun murals on the side of their building, but it’s full of other vintage photo spots inside.

Another one of Jules Muck’s murals – the KISS cats can be found on the side of Chuck’s Coney Island. This part of town is a bit sketchy, so I’m going to recommend that you take a friend with you. There was a guy parked in the parking lot when I pulled up and he got out of his car to take a photo of me. He said the owner is his cousin and he’s being paid to watch the mural because people have threatened to vandalize it. Maybe – either way, it was kind of weird. He didn’t bother me, but I didn’t stick around real long after that.

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South Side and Suburbs

This hip rendition of Benjamin Franklin is located on the south side in Franklin, Indiana and pays tribute to the man the town was named after. You can find Ben at 351 E. Jefferson St. Be sure to check out the fun shops downtown Franklin has to offer!

Right next to Benjamin Franklin is a collection of kites. Perhaps an ode to his kite experiment with electricity?

This is one of my favorites! It’s actually part of a larger mural (see below) and was painted by Amy Hommell from the Teal Canary. You can find it in downtown Greenwood, Indiana located at 189 W. Main St.

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This mural is so new that the paint was barely dry when I took a picture of it! Also located in Franklin, you can find this colorful wall underneath the Main Street bridge next to the skate park.

Located in Whiteland, Indiana, this super cute heart mural would be the perfect backdrop for engagement or Valentine photos. Just turn on Main Street off of 31 and it’s on the side of a building next to Crystal Graphics.

At the intersection of Shelby and Raymond Street

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This running mural is located in the tiny town of Trafalgar. The Franklin Creative Council designed the mural and members of the community came out to paint it. I just love the bees! You can find this one at the Indian Creek Learning Center just before you get to the high school.

Broad Ripple

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On the side of Burger Fuel, 6320 Guilford Ave.
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Near the Bungalow, 924 E Westfield Blvd.
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4851 Winthrop Ave. (there are several bright murals right next to each other with uplifting messages as well as another set of angel wings but the sun was too bright to get a good picture of those. These are on the Monon Trail, right around the corner from Winthrop Supply Co.)

1095 E. 52nd St. near Bent Rail Brewery. The Monon Love Train is a extensive mural, spanning a long stretch of the Monon Trail.

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Muckrock worked her magic with Debbie Harry on the side of Indy CD & Vinyl in Broad Ripple. 806 Broad Ripple Ave.

North Side


The Monon Trail has a plethora of mural art. This colorful creation is located in Carmel, and was painted by a group of high school students. It’s located at 43 W. Main St.

West Side

This gorgeous mural is located at the Central State Mansion – an apartment community built on the grounds of an old mental institution. It’s located at 202 Steeples Boulevard, not far from Speedway.


Indianapolis Motor Speedway! This bright mural is inside the speedway, not too far from the pagoda which is one of the most popular backdrops for the month of May. Visit the museum year-round and if you live in Johnson County, Indiana, you can check out a museum pass for 50% off general admission to the museum from the Johnson County Public Library.

 

Gone But Not Forgotten…These Murals are No Longer with Us

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Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2020

It’s a new decade! We’re back in the Roaring 20s, folks, and with a new year, comes a new reading goal. Last year, I barely met my Goodreads goal of 70 books, but the last few months were a whirlwind of change, so I’m pretty sure that in 2020, things won’t be quite as hectic and I can easily top that.

Some of my favorite authors have books coming out in 2020: Sarah J. Maas, Ransom Riggs, and Kimberly McCreight, just to name a few AND there are even a few musical memoirs and political non-fiction titles on my list.

What are you looking forward to reading in 2020? Here are my top picks for the first half of the year since many of the fall releases haven’t been announced yet!


Ransom Riggs – The Conference of the Birds

Conference-BirdsThe fifth installment in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, Ransom Riggs continues the story which has now moved to America. While this series has lost some of the charm it once had, the books are still enjoyable reads and I’m looking forward to seeing where the author takes us.

Releases: January 14

 

 

 

Kiersten White – Chosen

Last year, Kirsten White took us back to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a 41gOetoeHfL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_new story set in the Buffyverse. It was magical, entertaining and a nostalgic return to a much loved world. Book two finds Nina trying to manage the Watcher’s Castle as she attempts to turn it into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons.

Releases: January 7

 

 

 

Mary Kubica – The Other Mrs.

One of my favorite thriller writers returns with a new mystery set in Maine. Sadie and Other-MrsWill Foust haven’t lived in their new home long when their neighbor is murdered, setting everyone in the small town on edge. Kubica is the queen of twists and her books just keep getting better.

Releases: February 18 

 

 

 

 

Sarah J. Maas – Crescent City

Ok, so this one made my list LAST year because it originally was supposed to come out in the fall. But it got delayed, so it’s making the 2020 list too. And we have a cover and a plot about a half fae, half human who falls in love with an angel. Sarah J. Maas is one of the Crescent-Citybest young adult writers out there, but this one is aimed at an adult audience, so you know the romance is going to be on fire!

Releases: March 3

 

 

 

 

 

Zan Romanoff – Look

Lulu Shapiro’s a social media star. But when a video of her that she didn’t want public gets posted to the Internet, it creates a series of events that lead her to meet 51XQz7KureLCass. But the online fame continues to follow her around, even when she’s trying to find herself and explore a new relationship in an offline way. Zan Romanoff is sort of an under the radar young adult author, but she crafts great realistic fiction stories that often reflect the trends and times we live in.

Releases: March 31

 

 

 

The Jonas Brothers – Blood

I probably don’t read as much non-fiction as I should, but when I do, I love to read music biographies and political stuff. Weird combination, I know. The Jonas Brothers are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I used to hate them because there was some tension between them and Hanson and if you know me at all, you don’t talk smack about my favorite 41AkISOahNL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_band. But they’ve buried the hatchet, and let’s face it: the Jonas Brothers made some pretty catchy music. So I’m really interested to read this one and find out some background info on the brothers because siblings really do make the best music together.

Releases: March 17

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Collins – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Honestly, this title makes me nervous. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a new Hunger Games book and many times when an author returns to a series after a long hiatus, the new story isn’t any good. Since this is a prequel, it might be interesting to read 46346381._SY475_about some of the events before the Katniss world began, although I would have rather read about the first Hunger Games, not the tenth. Still, it will be a big one in 2020 and I’m intrigued.

Releases: May 19

 

 

 

 

Kimberly McCreight – A Good Marriage

It’s been a while since Kimberly McCreight wrote anything for adults, but her psychological thrillers fill the Gillian Flynn void for me. There’s murder, marriage 417k2BUfO6Lproblems and intrigue as lawyer Lizzie Kitsakis juggles personal problems and a call from an old friend who needs her help. Eagerly awaiting this one.

Releases: May 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Books of 2019

It’s that time of year again! I always have fun blogging my favorite reads of 2019 and this year I set a goal to read 70 books. Toward the end of the year, I struggled to complete it because we moved, my cat died and life got super busy with a new position at work. However, I managed to complete my goal just in the nick of time!

Here are some of my very favorites published in 2019. Have you read any of them? Let me know what you think and tell me about some I may have missed!

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

41weZhY-JLL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Imagine getting a call that your daughter has been kidnapped and the only way for you to get her back is to pay a ransom, then kidnap someone else’s child. You can’t go to the police, target the children of law enforcement or politicians and if you don’t complete your assignment within twenty-four hours, your child is dead.

So begins The Chain, an elaborate kidnapping ring that’s been going on for years.

Twists and turns abound in this thriller and what’s even more terrifying is how realistic the plot can be. The story moves very quickly and you will have a hard time putting this one down!

 


The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

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Every summer, Sadie vacations with her family in the town of  town of Littleport, Maine, spending most of her time with her best friend Avery who lives in the town year round. The girls are inseparable, but one summer, Avery is found dead.

The police rule it a suicide, but Sadie isn’t so sure. And some of the townspeople act like she’s to blame, casting suspicious glaces in her direction whenever she’s in town.

So Sadie sets out to figure out what exactly happened to her friend, to both clear her name and put her friend to rest.

The Last House Guest is another page turner from author Megan Miranda. The ending wasn’t easy to figure out, which is always a plus when it comes to mysteries!

 


Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book is phenomenal. If you love music, especially 70s style rock, you will be in 91yzz1aYgeLheaven when you read Daisy Jones & The Six. The format is written in oral history style, which took a few chapters to get used to, but once you have that down, you’ll be riveted by the story of a band’s rise to fame, then subsequent fall from stardom during the 70s.

Is it based on a true story? Possibly. It definitely feels like maybe Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac are the inspiration behind this fictional account, but who really knows. I’ve also heard the audio is exceptional, so if you enjoy listening to audio books, give it a shot in that format and let me know what you think.

 


Recursion by Blake Crouch
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Helena Smith’s mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s and she wants nothing more than to bring back her mother’s precious memories. So she begins experimenting with a new technology that will preserve special moments in life while also allowing them to relive learning to drive, getting married, the birth of their children or the last few moments with a loved one who is about to pass over into the afterlife.

Blake Crouch remains one of the best science fiction authors out there and this follow up to Dark Matter is stellar. Earlier this year, I wrote a more in depth review of Recursion, so be sure to check it out.


Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
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Take everything you know about the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella and toss it in the trash! This story about Isabelle, the step sister who cut off her toes so the glass slipper would fit, is brilliant.

Her whole life, Isabelle has wanted to be like Cinderella and it’s left her wanting. So she sets out on her own adventure, thwarting evil plans for the kingdom and redeeming herself in this fractured fairy tale.

I couldn’t put Stepsister down and you won’t be able to either.

 


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

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This was just as good as “The Hate U Give.”

I really enjoyed the plot and plight of the main character, Bri, as she deals with the struggles of the inner city and trying to make it as a teenage rap star. The rap battles reminded me a lot of the movies “8 Mile” or “Patti Cake$,” and I liked the subtle connection to T.H.U.G. It’s pretty awesome that Thomas wrote the rap songs/lyrics herself instead of having someone else do it.

Thomas is a wonderful new voice in YA fiction and I’m really excited to see where she takes us in future novels.

 


The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

During their sixteenth year, the young women of Garner County are banished graceto the wilderness. They’re thought to possess a magic power as they’re coming into adulthood that affects both men and women, so they’re sent out into the woods to overcome the magic and return on their seventeenth birthdays pure and ready for marriage.

Not many make it back home – there are poachers out in the wild, ready to kill them and sell their bodies on the black market. They also turn against each other.

Tierney James wants to change all that, but surviving her grace year and starting a revolution in her society will come with great costs.

The Grace Year is a mix of The Handmaid’s Tale and a female version of Lord of the Flies. At times it can be brutal, but it’s an excellent story that leaves you with an uneasy feeling. Definitely recommended for fans of dystopian with a feminist edge.

 


The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern

starlessZachary Ezra Rawlins stumbles upon an ancient book hidden deep within the library’s stacks and as he’s reading the enchanting story, he discovers he’s a character in the book. Stunned that a story from his childhood exists within the pages of a book, Zachary sets out to find out how and why he became part of the story.

The clues – a bee, a key and a sword, lead him to a secrect society and masquerade party held deep in an underground library and readers are treated to an adventure like no other.

Erin Morganstern, who is best known for her debut novel, The Night Circus, returns in this highly anticipated sophomore novel. It’s masterfully written and honestly, there’s no one else this good out there at the moment. I hope it won’t take her another eight years in between novels, but if all the rest of her books are as good as The Starless Sea and The Night Circus, they will certainly be worth the wait.


Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Book two in the spectacular series that kicked off in 2018 with Children of Blood and Bone. Zélie and Amari struggle to unite the kingdom of Orisha as Amari triesCOV&V_JKT_Trade_032819.indd to assume her spot on the throne. Her mother and brother have other plans though, and with the return of magic to the land, the maji find that the opposing side also has access to those powers and are using it against them.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is a non-stop thrill ride that leaves you wanting book three immediately. There’s romance, action and fantasy and Adeyemi remains one of the top writers in the young adult fantasy sphere. If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for??

 

 

 


 

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