If you enjoy both sci-fi and mysteries, investigate the Last Policemen Series. The first two books in the three-part series by Ben H. Winters bagged an Edgar and a PKD award respectively. The third has just come out. The books follow the movements of Hank Palace, a new young detective in a small New Hampshire police force. He made detective early not so much because he is a rising star on the force, but because there is an asteroid careening toward Earth and many of the police and detectives are running off to satisfy their bucket lists. Nonetheless, he takes cases seriously even though the world is coming to an end and his colleagues shake their heads and snicker. The cases themselves are interesting enough: a missing person’s case, a suspicious death and the disappearance of his sister. But this is also a pre-apocolyptic look at society slowly becoming unraveled and it is interesting to see Winters vision of it. Fortunately, it’s not so bleak or terrifying as The Road, partly because our protagonist is so dependable and his pursuit of the truth sustains us as the end nears. These are quick and enjoyable reads. We have all three.
The Iowa City Public Library has added more than 30 new digital magazines this month. I am particularly excited that we were able to add great magazines by well-established publishers like Conde Naste and the Meredith Corporation, whose own headquarters are in Des Moines, Iowa.
Never used our digital magazines before? Get started with these instructions on how to use ICPL’s Zinio collection.
Not since first picking up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have I read a book that started off full of so much life and mystery. But this is just how Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt begins. As dramatic as any play, the scene is set when a letter arrives inviting Max Starling’s actor parents to visit the Maharajah of Kashmir. His parents say Max will be coming too, but when the steamship leaves, Max is left behind. Determined to be independent until his parents return, he decides to find a job. But jobs for twelve year old boys don’t pay very well, so Max uses his experience of growing up in the theater to disguise himself and act older. To his surprise, he discovers he has a talent for solving problems for other people. He is not quite a detective and not quite a life coach, but something in between, a Solutioneer, as he calls himself. Cases start rolling in, a lost dog, a lost Baron, even a lost spoon, Max finds the solution to them all. This wonderful beginning of a trilogy weaves tricky problems and spirited characters into the the overarching story of what has happened to his parents. A story that leaves readers both satisfied with Max’s solutions and eager to find out more about Mister Max, Solutioneer.
Mister Max: The Book of Secrets is the recently released second title in the trilogy, which follows Max on his most important case yet. The problems are bigger and more complex, but Max is sure he can handle them. Fires have been springing up in small businesses, but no one will talk to the police, and with a visit from the Royal family approaching, the Mayor is desperate stop the fires without a fuss. Enter Mister Max and his ability to get people talking without knowing who they are really talking to. But with the appearance of an old schoolmate, for the first time he must deal with the possibility of being recognized, which could ruin Max’s independent lifestyle. Help is provided in the form of his librarian Grammie; his tutor Ari; and the sometimes irritating, very talkative Pia, who insists she is his assistant. All the while Max continues to receive troubling hints on the whereabouts of his parents. A great follow-up to the first, this story manages to leave some solutions open-ended while setting up the last book and what readers will hope to be Max’s reunion with his parents.
With November just around the corner, I am starting to think about FOOD! Holiday menus, edible gifts, cookie exchanges, hot chocolate…and Read to Feed!
Read to Feed is a library program that gives your family an opportunity to kick off the season with true holiday spirit—by giving! Join us in the Storytime Room on Wednesday, Nov. 12, anytime between 2-4 pm for stories, songs, activities, and snacks—and a food drive for The Crisis Center of Johnson County, hosted by The Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc. Did you know that one third of the people in households served by the Food Bank are children? Read to Feed gives kids a chance to show they care.
Take advantage of a no-school day (for students in the Iowa City Community School District) for some mid-week entertainment. Rock & Read volunteers will share some of their favorite books, and library staff will lead the group in campfire songs and chants. Throw in some fall snacks, and it’s sure to be a great time!
Drop in anytime and stay as long as you can! The only admission requested is a donation for The Iowa City Crisis Center, such as nonperishable food items or new children’s books. We invite you to join us—partnering together to feed the minds and bodies of Johnson County!
The Library offers five meetings rooms for community groups to use. Library meetings rooms are a busy community resource. In FY14 the Library hosted 1,508 community meetings in its meeting rooms. This is in addition to a very busy schedule of Library programs held in the meeting rooms.
According to Library Board Policy, “The purpose of the Library’s meeting rooms is to provide space for library programs and community events, to fulfill the Library’s role as a community center, where the public can attend informational, educational, cultural events and to champion the principle of intellectual freedom by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.”
The Library’s meeting rooms are designed to host small groups as well as large community gatherings. There are eligibility requirements for using the rooms. Groups using the rooms must be a non-profit corporation, candidate campaign committee, political committee, governmental subdivision or non-profit citizens group. Groups who do not meet these guidelines are encouraged to use the Library’s study rooms on the 2nd floor or check out a list of alternative meeting room sites in the community.
We recently updated our webpage with information about Library meeting rooms. You can see more information here. Groups are welcome to reserve meeting rooms online or call the Library at 319-356-5200 for staff assistance.
The Library has several plastic suggestion boxes for patrons to deposit a slip of paper with the title of a book (or movie, CD or video game) they loved. We recently emptied the suggestion box in the Children’s Room and here are the books they think you should add to your reading list:
- Korgi, Book 1: Sprouting Wings by Christian Slade
- The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau
- Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall
- The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen
- The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
- More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
- Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
- Young Cam Jensen series by David A. Adler
We keep a running list of all patron suggestions on our goodreads.com account (www.goodreads.com). We also have reviews written by staff members on this site. Take a look and maybe you’ll find your next book to check out!
This week I had an opportunity to work with two patrons who needed recommendations for great books on disc for a long car ride. One person is facing 14 hours in the car each way. The other patron decided to ask a Librarian after depending on the New York Times bestseller list last year and not getting the book he was expecting (funny story … he pulled over, called his wife and said, “Have you heard about a book … 50 Shades of Something?). When in doubt, it’s always good to ask Library staff for recommendations.
Below are a list of some of my favorites that I’d love to read again. Some are new and some are older. Many I have have listened to while others (A Paris Apartment) were so good I wasn’t patient enough to listen to them so I either downloaded the eBook or checked out the print book. You can’t go wrong with any of these titles.
Happy reading and listening!
Those Who Save Us
|What would you do to survive during a war? What if what you did elicits a legacy of shame? Jenna Blum explores these themes through the stories of Anna Schlemmer, a German woman who survived WWII in Germany and her daughter, who is now a professor of German history in the United States. The story is a mother/daughter drama about love, passion, survival, and choices.
Go Away Home & Growing Up Country
|Carol Bodensteiner is an Iowa author from Des Moines. Her first book (Growing Up Country) is a memoir of growing up on an Iowa dairy farm. From milking cows to giving a 4-H presentation, it captures rural farm life from a bygone era. It is also a wonderful book for our Iowa City Hospice reading partnership where volunteers present programs planned to help residents of care centers focus on memories. Go Away Home is Historical Fiction and also has a rural setting and captures the hopes and dreams in a coming-of-age story about a young woman from Iowa.
Prayers for Sale & The Bride’s House
|Sandra Dallas is a versatile author. Although all her books can be characterized as Historical Fiction, they are all different. Stories include Pioneer life in Colorado (Diary of Mattie Spenser), Gilded Age life in Denver (Fallen Women), and the lives of Mormons starting out in Iowa City and traveling to Salt Lake City (True Sisters). All books are recommended but Prayers for Sale, set in the mountains near Breckenridge, CO and The Bride’s House, set in Georgetown, CO, are my favorites.
All the Light We Cannot See
|Set in World War II, it is the story of Marie-Laure, a young French girl who lost her eyesight when she was six and must escape from Paris with her father during WWII. It is also the story of Werner, a young German boy who has a special talent for building and fixing radios. As the war rages, Marie-Laure and Werner cross paths. Doerr received a National Book Award nomination for this book.
A Paris Apartment
|The stories of two women in Paris. One is a modern-day Sotheby’s furniture specialist (April Vogt) and the other is renowned courtesan during the Belle Époque period in Paris just before World War I (Marthe de Florian). April is summoned to Paris and jumps at a chance to escape her crumbling life in the United States. In Paris she discovers an apartment that has been shuttered for more than 70 years and full of priceless furniture and paintings collected by Marthe but abandoned by her family.
Three Junes & And the Dark, Secret Night
|All of Julia Glass’ books are recommended but these two are my favorite. I first read Three Junes while I was in Positano, Italy looking out over the Mediterranean. I was swept away by the compelling story, lyrical writing, and strong characters. I was happily surprised when her newest book was a sequel to the story that started in Three Junes. Julia Glass’ novels feature strong characters and compelling plots that make the reader want more books from this author!
|The true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini. He enlisted in the US Army Air Forces in 1941. When the plane he was assigned to crashes into the South Pacific, Louis survives the crash and 47 days at sea in a plastic life raft. He was captured by the Japanese and sent to a labor camp. I refer to this books as the, “I will never complain about anything ever again book.” An older title but highly recommended.
Loving Frank & Under the Wide and Starry Sky
|Readers fell in love with Horan’s Loving Frank, a fictionalized story that captures the life of Frank Lloyd Wright and his second wife. Under the Wide and Starry Sky is the fictionalized story of Robert Lewis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. The story takes readers around the globe and, like Loving Frank, centers on the love story between the main characters.
The Paris Wife
|The fictional story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. After a whirlwind courtship the couple marries and moves to Paris so Ernest can pursue his writing career. The Hemingways are drawn into Parisian life and meet many other writers and artists. There is a constant friction, though, between Ernest the writer and Ernest the husband.
The Invisible Bridge
|Sometimes books come along and leave a lasting impression, forcing the reader to ruminate about events and characters long after the book is done. This is one of those books. Andras and Tibor Levy are Jewish brothers who grew up in a small village in Hungary. It is the 1930′s and both aspire to do great things. The book focuses on Andras, his adventures and studies in Paris, and the relationship he establishes with the mysterious Klara Morgenstern, a Hungarian ballet instructor.
|Rosnay, Tatiana de
Sarah’s Key & The House I Loved
|Tatiana de Rosnay’s writing features solid characters, a strong sense of place, and a time of significant historical events. Sarah’s Key is unforgettable and haunting. It begins with the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup of Jews in German-occupied Paris in 1942 and contrasts that story with a modern-day American journalist living in Paris. The House I Loved is a fictionalized story of Rose Bazelet and her opposition to the destruction of her family home during Haussman’s renovation of Paris, 1853-1870. Haussman’s radical plan was criticized for the large-scale destruction it caused; however, in recent times he has been credited with establishing Paris as a modern city.
|Rutherfurd presents a multigenerational story that moves between time, character, and story. With Paris as the background, this approach brings characters to life, presents an understanding of historical events, and makes this reader really want to visit Paris and explore the geographical areas of the story. I also want to read Rutherfurd’s other stories including London and New York.
Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy & China Dolls
|Lisa See’s books are full of details, family, love and complications. The characters are well developed, there’s a strong sense of place, and the reader cares about the characters and their journey. Shanghai Girls, and its sequel, Dreams of Joy, take readers on a journey from China to California and back again. China Dolls focuses on the 1930’s and 1940’s Chop-Suey Circuit in the entertainment world and focuses on three girls from diverse backgrounds who form a strong bond.
Clara and Mr. Tiffany
|Because of this book, I went to New York City to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other places to see Tiffany Glass. Fictionalized story of Clara Driscoll who worked with Louis Comfort Tiffany at his New York studio and possibly the person who conceived the idea for the iconic Tiffany stained glass lamps. Set with the turn-of-the-century New York City backdrop with issues such as the rise of labor unions, women in the workplace, and advances in technology.
Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
|A.J. Fikry owns a book store and he loves books. He’s not just any bookseller, though. He is picky, contrite, a wee bit arrogant, and has poor customer service skills. Despite these faults, he has a passion for books and a capacity to love. When his life takes turns he never imagined, and A.J. Fikry finds himself in the depths of despair, his redemption is his capacity to love. And love is what makes this book so wonderful. A love for people, community, literature, and most of all, a love of family.
Last week I heard about an interesting article in the newest Rolling Stone magazine. (An interview with the creator of Adventure Time? Yes, please!) I wanted to read the article but didn’t have time to come to the library specifically to sit and read a magazine. (Though I usually look for any excuse to spend time in our atrium – Look how cozy and beautiful it is!)
I had vaguely heard about ICPL’s digital magazine stand in the past; I decided now was the time to finally learn to use it. I was afraid it would be complicated, slow, and an all-around hassle. I happily learned, though, that this was not the case at all. From this page on our website, I learned how to access our Digital Magazine Stand, Zinio, on computers as well as personal devices. The service allows you to set up your own personal Zinio account where you can download magazines and sync your devices. During my 15 minute work break I learned about Zinio, created my own account using a computer, downloaded the most recent Rolling Stone to that account, downloaded the Zinio app on my tablet, logged in, and began reading about the creator of one of my favorite TV shows! Now, before I fall asleep at night, I am able to read my favorite magazines on my tablet in the comfort of my own bed. My only disappointment: Realizing I could have been enjoying free magazine downloads for months!
I was astounded by the amount and the variety of magazines available through the Library’s Zinio service. Whether you’re looking to keep up on your entertainment news or you’re interested in the latest literary publications, ICPL’s Zinio selection has something for you.
- Searching for new fall recipes to try? Check out the cooking magazines – More recipes can be found in the Home section.
- There are several Health and Fitness magazines available to download for those who are looking to keep fit even as the weather grows colder.
- Check out the craft section for craft patterns and ideas for projects to make for the ICPL Arts and Craft Bazaar
If you’re like me, you’ll find TOO many magazines on Zinio!
My oldest daughter is nine and she’s a super reader. She’ll be still for long periods of time and the book is all she needs. My other daughter is on her way to being a super reader too, but the being still part is tough. Part of it is her age, she’s six, but part of it is just who she is. Jumping, kicking, punching the air, or striking a pose is what she’s doing.
So I read this article about children riding exercise bikes in school while reading. There’s more on the program here. Apparently, kids like it and it helps them learn. There’s not enough research presented to satisfy a skeptic, but it fits with my experience of listening to books or podcasts while exercising. It’s a good combination.
Imagine if we had these in your school or here in ICPL. My six-year-old would love it. Maybe yours would too.
It’s the weekend and I’m reading two great books … and I can’t wait to get back to them. I know there are soccer games, football games, house chores, and other activities, but I really would prefer to just read all weekend. Who wants to join me?
A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable is based on true events and tells the story of two women in Paris. One is a modern-day Sotheby’s furniture specialist (April Vogt) and the other is renowned courtesan during the Belle Époque period in Paris just before World War I (Marthe de Florian). April is summoned to Paris and jumps at a chance to escape her crumbling life in the United States. In Paris she discovers an apartment that has been shuttered for more than 70 years and full of priceless furniture and paintings collected by Marthe but abandoned by her family. April also meets a solicitor who agrees to share Marthe’s journals. Through these journals, April learns about the woman behind the collections.
I’m also reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. This historical fiction novel is set in occupied France during World War II and is the story of Marie-Laure, a young French girl who lost her eyesight when she was six and lives with her father who is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. It is also the story of Werner, a young German boy who has a special talent for building and fixing radios. As the war rages, Marie-Laure and Werner cross paths. Doerr recently received a National Book Award nomination for this book. The writing is lyrical and foreboding and I can’t wait to start reading again.
If you are looking for a good book this weekend, head to the Library. And remember …. You can’t read all day if you don’t start in the morning!