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ICPL open on Easter Sunday

by on March 30th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will be open during its regular hours, from noon to 5 p.m., on Easter Sunday, April 5.

More information on ICPL’s hours can be found here.

Book Madness Update: And then there were four

by on March 30th, 2015

It wasn’t easy, but you managed to whittle 64 titles down to four in ICPL’s Book Madness.BookMadness

In the teens and adults bracket, How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal was the winning title in our Humor Me category, while Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale won the Books That Blow Your Mind category. Local author Sarah Prineas was voted the winner of the Iowa Writers category and The Lord of the Rings was named the best Big Book Worth the Effort.

In the children’s bracket, Percy Jackson edged out The Pigeon to win the Beloved Character category, while Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White won the Books That Got You Hooked on Reading category. Elephant and Piggie were named the Best Series and Bill Thomson’s Chalk took the Wordless Picture Book category.

How will these books fare against each other? Your votes decide!

Voting for the Finals begins now and continues until 6 p.m. Saturday. Be sure to stop by the Library this week to vote for the books you want to see go head-to-head. We will update the bracket Sunday morning.

We are open from noon to 5 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

If you can’t make it to the Library before Saturday, you can vote on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @ICPL using the #ICPLBookMadness hashtag! We’ll accept social media votes until 6 p.m. Saturday.

You can find the list of all books in this year’s Book Madness literary competition here. We also have extra brackets at the Children’s Desk, Help Desk and Info Desk if you’d like to pick one up as a reading list.

BOOK MADNESS 2015: TEENS & ADULTS FINAL FOUR

How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal vs. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien vs. The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas

BOOK MADNESS 2015: CHILDREN’S FINAL FOUR

Percy Jackson vs. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Elephant and Piggie vs. Chalk by Bill Thomson

Book Madness Update: We have our Elite Eight!

by on March 28th, 2015

BookMadness

The votes are in! Below are the titles and beloved book characters that are our 2015 Book Madness Elite Eight!

Be sure to visit the Library this weekend to vote for your favorite book(s) to advance to the Final Four! We’ll update the brackets on Monday!

If you can’t make it to the Library this weekend, you can vote on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @ICPL using the #ICPLBookMadness hashtag! We’ll accept social media votes until 8:30 a.m. Monday.

And if anyone knows how to choose between Island of the Blue Dolphins and Charlotte’s Web in the Books That Got You Hooked on Reading category, please let us know. It’s too hard!

You can find the list of all books in this year’s Book Madness literary competition here. We also have extra brackets at the Children’s Desk, Help Desk and Info Desk if you’d like to pick one up as a reading list.

Book Madness 2015: Adults and Teens

HUMOR ME

  • How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey

BOOKS THAT BLOW YOUR MIND

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

BIG BOOKS WORTH THE EFFORT

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

IOWA WRITERS

  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
  • The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas

Book Madness 2015: Children’s

BELOVED CHARACTERS

  • Percy Jackson
  • The Pigeon

BOOKS THAT GOT YOU HOOKED ON READING

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

BEST SERIES

  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Elephant and Piggie

WORDLESS PICTURE BOOKS

  • Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson

Return of the Sheep Man

by on March 27th, 2015
Return of the Sheep Man Cover Image

I saw an online review for the latest book by Haruki Murakami called The Strange Library. It has been several years since I have finished one of his books. I have started a few but never followed through and read the whole things. I didn’t even read the review, just the title of it, but that was enough. How could I, or anyone for that matter, resist a book involving a cannibalistic librarian?

Murakami’s fiction frequently falls into the genre of Magical Realism. A lot of odd things happen in his books. Most of the time the bizarreness of the situations are not really addressed. We never find out exactly why these supernatural and surreal events are happening. If not having all of the answers bothers you then his books might be frustrating for you. I  like the lack of explanation. This is the world where the events take place and there is no need to explain it all. 

As I began reading this short story I started feeling a bit of nostalgia for the first books of his I read: Dance, Dance, Dance and A Wild Sheep Chase. I remember very little about the books but I know I enjoyed them at the time. I remember that the main character like to iron clothes, which I can relate to, and I remember there was a character called Sheep Man. I had forgotten about Sheep Man until he reappeared when I read this fairy tale last week.

Don’t worry, we can help you find information about tax collection in the Ottoman Empire and none of our staff have cannibalistic tendencies. At least not that I know of. 

 

 

Want a better horse this year?

by on March 27th, 2015

3-sets

This series of DVDs could be your ticket to a really nice horse.   Regardless of what your equine discipline/interest may be, you will find information and techniques that you can use.

7 Clinics is extensive footage from the filming of  the award-winning documentary “Buck”.  While “Buck” was designed for a wide audience, this series is geared more to the equine aficionado looking for self-education and a better relationship with their (or any) horse.   It has been thoughtfully and professionally edited to move seamlessly from clinic to clinic covering the materials presented at each in a cohesive fashion.

I have attended several Buck clinics over the years as both a participant and an observer. Either way, one is exposed to a wealth of excellent information and not a small amount of entertainment.  Other than not being physically present, almost every aspect of a clinic comes through on this set.

Watching  participants progress throughout the clinic is always interesting. Those who are focused and came to learn will invariably have the “aha” moment when things click with them and their horse and the techniques start to fall into place.  That moment is a wonderful thing!  Even more can be learned from those having problems as Buck walks them through the process of coming out better.

There is way more happening than can be assimilated  in one viewing. Buck’s philosophy/methods work for anyone who considers riding and building horsemanship skills as an endless journey of improvement and education.  I don’t think I can overstate the value especially of the emphasis on groundwork.  I only wish I had been exposed to this caliber of  horsemanship years earlier.  I certainly would have saved both myself and my horses a lot of frustration and mishaps not to mention some unscheduled dismounts!

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Brannaman clinic I highly recommend it. In the mean time, this set of DVDs is the next best thing!

B.Y.O.Book recommends…

by on March 26th, 2015
B.Y.O.Book recommends… Cover Image

The B.Y.O.Book “Books In Bars” book club had our second of three winter meetups at Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar last Tuesday to discuss Jon Ronson’s The psychopath test : a journey through the madness industry.  Each session ends with us going around the room to announce what we’re currently reading and I thought it would make a great booklist to share with those that couldn’t attend.  There’s still time to register for the next meetup where we’ll be discussing Dept. of speculation by Jenny Offill, called one of the 10 Best Books of the Year – 2014 by the New York Times Book Review.

Fiction:

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.  2009 Pulitzer Prize winner. At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. Annie initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they’ve got.

The bastard’s tale: A Dame Frevisse medieval mystery by Margaret Frazer. In fifteenth-century England, Dame Frevisse reluctantly leaves the sanctuary of her nunnery for the intrigues, high politics, and treachery of the royal court as she becomes embroiled in a plot that could threaten the throne of England itself.

The lowland : a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. Brothers Subhash and Udayan Mitra pursue vastly different lives–Udayan in rebellion-torn Calcutta, Subhash in a quiet corner of America–until a shattering tragedy compels Subhash to return to India, where he endeavors to heal family wounds.

The secret place by Tana French (audiobook version). Investigating a photograph of a boy whose murder was never solved, aspiring Murder Squad member Stephen Moran partners with detective Antoinette Conway to search for answers in the cliques and rivalries at a Dublin boarding school.

Bone in the throat by Anthony Bourdain. When up-and-coming chef Tommy Pagana settles for a less than glamorous stint at his uncle’s restaurant in Manhattan’s Little Italy, he unwittingly finds himself a partner in big-time crime.

A blink of the screen : collected shorter fiction by Terry Pratchett. A collection of short fiction spanning the author’s career includes pieces from his school years, his early writing jobs, and the successful Discworld series.

Longbourn by Jo Baker. A reimagining of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” from the perspectives of its below-stairs servants captures the drama of the Bennet household from the sideline viewpoint of Sarah, an orphaned housemaid.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Calliope’s friendship with a classmate and her sense of identity are compromised by the adolescent discovery that she is a hermaphrodite, a situation with roots in her grandparents’ desperate struggle for survival in the 1920s.

A spool of blue thread by Anne Tyler. The changing needs of aging parents impact a family gathering during which Abby Whitshank relates how her husband and she fell in love during the summer of 1959 and shared decades of marriage impacted by children and long-held secrets.

Leaving time : a novel by Jodi Picoult. Abandoned by a grief-stricken father and scientist mother who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, thirteen-year-old Jenna Metcalf approaches a disgraced psychic and a jaded detective in the hopes of finding answers.

Get in trouble : stories by Kelly Link. A collection of short stories features tales of a young girl who plays caretaker to mysterious guests at the cottage behind her house and a former teen idol who becomes involved in a bizarre reality show.

The bone tree by Greg Iles. A follow-up to Natchez Burning finds Southern lawyer Penn Cage desperately struggling to protect his father from false charges and corrupt officers by confronting the puppet master behind the Double Eagles terrorist group.

Stoner by John Williams. William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar’s life, so different from the hardscrabble existence he has known.

The bone seeker by M. J. McGrath. A former polar bear hunter and Inuit guide in the Canadian arctic investigates after finding one of her summer school students dead near Lake Turngaluk, in the third novel of the mystery series.

The buried giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. As the wars that have ravaged Britain fade into the past, Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, set out on a journey to find the son they have not seen in years, and are joined in their travels by a Saxon warrior, his orphaned charge, and a knight.

Nonfiction:

All joy and no fun : the paradox of modern parenthood by Jennifer Senior.  Drawing on a vast array of sources in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology, a journalist challenges basic beliefs about parenthood, while revealing the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to life.

Not that kind of girl : a young woman tells you what she’s “learned” by Lena Dunham. The creator and star of HBO’s “Girls” documents her coming-of-age in and out of the spotlight, recounting her experiences with everything from dieting and embarrassing sex to dirty old men and performing in less-than-ideal conditions.

Lean in : women, work, and the will to lead by Sheryl Sandberg. The Facebook CEO and “Fortune” top-ranked businesswoman shares provocative, anecdotal advice for women that urges them to take risks and seek new challenges in order to find work that they can love and engage in passionately.

Dead wake : the last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. A chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as Woodrow Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat, and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.

Silver screen fiend : learning about life from an addiction to film by Patton Oswalt. Reveals the author’s addiction to film between 1995 and 1999, during which he absorbed classics and new releases three days a week and applied what he learned in these films to acting, writing, comedy, and relationships.

How to be alone : essays by Jonathan Franzen. The author presents his 1996 work, “The Harper’s Essay,” offering additional writings that consider a central theme of the erosion of civic life and private dignity and the increasing persistence of loneliness in postmodern America.

Undeniable : evolution and the science of creation by Bill Nye. Revealing the mechanics of evolutionary theory, the scientist, engineer, and inventor presents a compelling argument for the scientific unviability of creationism and insists that creationism’s place in the science classroom is harmful to the future of the greater world.

A different look at love

by on March 26th, 2015

Do you ever go through reading slumps during which nothing grabs your attention? You pick up a book, read a few chapters, decide it’s not for you, and move on to the next.

I’d been battling that for almost two months when I decided enough was enough. Rather than check out another book I likely wouldn’t finish, I went to the book store and purchased a book. It sounds odd that a Library employee would do that, but I figured I had a greater chance of finishing the book if I was financially committed to it.something different

Because I am doing the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge with my book group, I purchased Sandy Hall’s A Little Something Different to satisfy the read a book because of its cover requirement.

I’m glad I did because this book, like its cover, is adorable.

A Little Something Different is the story of how two college students, Lea and Gabe, fall in love — only they don’t tell the story. Instead, everyone around them tells it, from Lea’s roommate and Gabe’s older brother, to their creative writing instructor and the cynical Starbucks barista. Even a campus squirrel has insights to offer. He may not be able to communicate with Lea and Gabe, but he loves that they share their food with him.

This is not a deep read. This book probably won’t change your life, though it might inspire you to give a squirrel a piece of your bagel. It will, however, make you smile. I finished it in two days and it was exactly what I needed to get over my reading slump.

Oh, and the author is a librarian in New Jersey. How can I not love that?

 

Book Madness Update: Vote now to determine our Elite Eight

by on March 26th, 2015

We have our Sweet Sixteen, though the sweet aspect might be pushed aside as people vote to keep their favorite title and/or character in the running. It’s getting harder to choose. Percy Jackson vs. Laura Ingalls Wilder? Gone With the Wind vs. The Grapes of Wrath? The Giver vs. Charlotte’s Web? BookMadness

“It’s too hard to choose,” one patron tweeted.

We agree, but it must be done. Voting in this round continues through the end of the day Friday. We will reveal our Elite Eight Saturday morning.

Go Books!

Click here to see the original lineup.

Book Madness 2015: Adults and Teens

HUMOR ME

  • How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey

BOOKS THAT BLOW YOUR MIND

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

BIG BOOKS WORTH THE EFFORT

  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

IOWA WRITERS

  • A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
  • On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
  • The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas

Book Madness 2015: Children’s

BELOVED CHARACTERS

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Percy Jackson
  • Curious George
  • The Pigeon

BOOKS THAT GOT YOU HOOKED ON READING

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

BEST SERIES

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Babymouse
  • Elephant and Piggie

WORDLESS PICTURE BOOKS

  • Journey by Aaron Becker
  • Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
  • Owly by Andy Runton
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson

New Games in the Teen Center

by on March 26th, 2015

Image9
We’ve just received a fresh batch of card and dice games for the Koza Family Teen Center!

I’ve never played Get Bit! Deluxe or Bang! The Dice Game, but I’m looking forward to trying them out. Get Bit! is all about being a swimmer escaping a hungry shark, and includes little action figures with removable limbs, a shark, and a deck of cards. It takes about 20 minutes to play, and 3-6 people can play against one another, using bluffing and strategy to play the cards that will get them farthest from the pursuing shark. Bang! The Dice Game takes place on dry land, in the Wild West in fact. 3-8 people can play as the Sheriff, a Deputy, an Outlaw, or a Renegade. The game takes about 15 minutes to play one round, rolling dice with each turn and choosing who to attack. A little bit of luck and you’ll be the one to survive the game.

I have, however, enjoyed many a game of Bohnanza. It sounds a little silly, but it’s a highly-rated, fast and fun game. 2-7 people can play, each assuming the role of a bean farmer. There are 11 types of beans in the game, and each player starts with two bean fields. Each field can only grow one type of bean at a time, and the goal is to make as many sets of the most valuable beans as possible before the cards run out. Each time you harvest a set of beans you can plant whatever you want next, but you are constrained by the order of the cards in your hand – you’re not allowed to re-order your hand, and you must play the first two cards each turn. Players have a chance to make deals with each other on their turns, bargaining and trading cards with one another. But you want to be careful – you might get a good card in a trade, but your opponent might get just what they need to win! Bohnanza takes about 45 minutes to play, and it’s a blast.

Check out all the games in the Teen Center any weekday after 3pm or Saturday from 1-5!

Storytime Recap: Welcome Spring

by on March 25th, 2015

Spring is officially here, and today at Preschool Storytime we did our best to welcome all things spring. To start we talked about how you can tell spring is here with the changes in the weather. Which conveniently led into our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” in which we do many things, no matter what the weather. To introduce our first story, I talked about how friends stay friends even when the weather changes and they live far apart. Then we settled down to read Forever Friends by Carin Berger, which follows the friendship of a bird and a bunny through a year.

Next we did an action rhyme “Wind, Oh Wind.” Since I forgot my scarves we improvised and blew kids away instead, which turned out to be just as fun.

Wind, oh wind, oh wind I say. (Wave hands forward in a pushing motion)
What are you blowing away today? (Shrug shoulders and raise hands in question)
Kids, oh kids, oh kids I say, (Point to each other)
I am blowing the kids away. (Hop backwards  as if being blown away)

We followed another rabbit through the changing seasons in Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na. This time the rabbit visited all of his friends to see where they go and what they do during winter before returning in the spring.

Next up I asked what animals might they see on a creek or pond in spring. I gave a hint: they quack. The answer was, of course, ducks. I sang “Six Little Ducks” and asked the kids to join in and flap their arms on each quack, quack, quack. Everyone was singing by the end of the song.

ducks

Six little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, cute ones too.

Chorus:
But the one little duck with the feather in his hat
He led the others with his quack, quack, quack.
Quack, quack, quack-quack, quack, quack
He led the others with his quack, quack, quack.

Down to the river they would go.
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble to and fro.
Chorus

Home from the river they would come.
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, ho-hum-hum.
Chorus

Six little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too.
Chorus

With such enthusiastic singers, we moved right on to another song, “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.”

It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning

I told everyone that next we would rest our voices and read a book based on a song. Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake replaces the green grass from “And The Green Grass Grew All Around” with green leaves all around as the story progresses each page towards eggs hatching in a nest. I like to read cumulative stories like this, as it helps kids learn the concept of sequential order.

For our last action rhyme we stayed with the rain and nature theme and recited “Rain on the green grass”

Rain on the green grass, (Wiggle fingers, bringing fingers all the way to ground.)
Rain on the trees, (Wiggle fingers to shoulders, then sweep hands around to form treetop.)
Rain on the housetop, (Wiggle fingers to top of head, then form triangle over head.)
But not on me! (Make large “x” with right index finger; point to self.)

We ended storyime with a sweet story about a girl caring for her flower, Ava’s Poppy by Marcus Pfister.

After storytime we watched In the Small, Small Pond, an animated film based on the book by Denise Fleming.





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