I love history. And I love cake. So Anne Byrn’s new baking book, American Cake spoke to me. Byrn provides a timeline of American history through recipes, from gingerbread and sugar cakes of colonial times to more recent favorites like tres leches or beet velvet cake. Each recipe includes the cake’s significance, whether a change in cooking techniques and ingredients to major societal and technological shifts, as well as an updated recipe.
Author Archive for Anne Mangano
Until it isn’t.
Or I receive the error message “Bad Audiobook Part: This audiobook part cannot be played because of a bad file.”
Or the audiobook won’t open at all.
Don’t panic. It is easy to fix these problems. Something probably happened in the downloading process and you need to delete the bad file(s) and redownload.
This pretty much fixes the problem. Except if you are out running and have to wait until you get home to redownload it. For that, I sympathize and apologize.
We thank you for your patience and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
This morning, these services were down so we could update the operating system on our library system’s server. Our library system is integral to our day-to-day operations. It’s where we keep track of everything in our collection, if an item is on the shelf or has been borrowed. It is what digital services like OverDrive and Zinio reference to lend eBooks, eAudiobooks, and digital magazines to you. It holds your library card numbers and keeps track of what you currently have checked out and when the books are due back. It allows you to renew your books, place holds, and use the self-checks. The system also keeps track of our orders for purchased books, paid invoices, and what issue of magazine didn’t arrive so we can contact our vendor. When the library system is down, everything stops. Well, almost everything.
Because it is so important, we want to ensure we are running the most recent software on updated equipment.
Again, thank you. And we’re glad it’s over.
On KCJJ with Captain Steve and Tommy Lang this morning, Melody and I had a great time discussing what ICPL staff are reading this summer. Here are some of the books we talked about if you are looking for your next read:
My favorite book of the summer is Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett. Our narrator and hero, Mary Davidson is looking back to the 1908 whaling season in New South Wales. That year her father, a whaler was having a very bad year—there just doesn’t seem to be any whales to catch. She was also in charge of the Davidson Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re like me, you’re waiting patiently for PBS to air another season of The Great British Baking Show (or The Great British Bake Off as it is known across the pond). And if you’re like me, you’re baking your way through the wait. The show has inspired me to venture out of my baking comfort zone, exploring the shelves of the Iowa City Public Library for new and interesting recipes to try. The library even has a number of cookbooks by your favorite Bake Off personalities. So, on your mark, get set, bake!
Perhaps the best place to start is a baking book by one of the show’s judges. Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake acts as a primer on technique. The recipes here are pretty detailed, offering the how and why to each Read the rest of this entry »
What was Iowa City like 170 years ago? To get an idea, we can turn to John B. Newhall, author of A Glimpse of Iowa in 1846*. In this work, he states that one couldn’t help but think of Saint-Omer in France and he “speaks as an eye-witness.” I do not believe Newhall in this. He was a noted salesman in his day and his product was Iowa. He wrote a number of books and he lectured both on the east coast and in England proclaiming the wonders of the new state (or territory depending on the publication date of the book).
Despite what Iowa diarist T.S. Parvin calls “too flowery” of language, Newhall is extremely useful in providing a directory for the city in 1846. He lists sellers of dry goods, doctors, mills, schools, churches, and newspapers. For our purposes, Iowa City had two coffee houses, one owned by Charles Frink and the other by R. C. Keathy. Lawyers included G. Folsom, M. Reno, and W. Penn Clark. There was one insurance company.
This month marks the 75th anniversary of the release of Citizen Kane. Well, if you want to get very specific about it, it’s the anniversary of the film’s premiere at the Palace Theatre in New York. It was widely released that September. Citizen Kane tops several “best of” lists, including the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time and the BBC’s 100 Greatest American Films. It was also among the first 25 films selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
But there was a chance that we would have never seen this film. The film angered a number of powerful and influential people, including media mogul and inspiration for the film, William Randolph Hearst, and film columnist Louella Parsons. Hearst put pressure on RKO, the production studio, refusing to allow advertising for any RKO films in Hearst papers and threatening to sue. When that didn’t work, he put pressure on other studio heads with negative press in exchange for those studios to put pressure on RKO. They even offered to purchase the film with the understanding that they would destroy the negative and all prints. Certain theaters wouldn’t show the movie. Hearst and Parsons printed any and all stories about Orson Welles. And no one caved. Hip hip hooray! To read more on this story, check out Harlan Lebo’s Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker’s Journey or watch the American Experience documentary, the Battle Over Citizen Kane.
Yes, there is a lot of hype around this film and it turns some people off. Is it really as great as everyone says? Well, I love it. There are scenes in Citizen Kane that are works of art. It is almost unbelievable that they were conceived and executed so perfectly. If I was a director at the time, the film would have either made me want to quit or force me to be a better filmmaker. And, Orson Welles knows how to tell a story. So a good story, well-filmed and well-acted–you really can’t ask for anything more from a movie.
So Happy Birthday Citizen Kane! I am so glad we can celebrate, especially knowing that for $805,000 ($13 million today), the other studios would have been happy to take the film off RKO’s hands for it to suffer the same fate as Rosebud.
Over the weekend, we were reunited with a book from long ago, Aline Kilmer’s Vigils (1921). We weren’t looking for it; the book was legitimately withdrawn from the collection. But, perhaps the book was seeking a return to us. Of course, I was interested in the history of this particular book and perhaps you are too. So, to the accession records!
In storage, we hold accession records for books we purchased dating back to January 14, 1897. In the ledger, each book was given a number, assigned in the order in which it was added to Read the rest of this entry »
Chauncey Swan is not, as I thought when I moved here, a species of water fowl. (I know, I know, but I’m not an ornithologist.) He is also not two people; there is no Mr. Chauncey. He is one man, a founding father of Iowa City. He was one of three appointed by the territorial governor (Robert Lucas) to determine the location of the capital of the new Iowa territory. It should be noted that Chauncey Swan deserves the most credit of the three men as he was acting commissioner for the survey, reported back to the legislature, and Robert Ralston was three days late and didn’t really help at all. It should also be noted that they chose the site of Iowa City on May 1st, 1839. It wasn’t really official until May 4th because they were waiting for Ralston. So, a Happy Chauncey Swan Day to you! Read the rest of this entry »
It is finally spring and time to throw open the sashes and take in the fresh air. But it is also time for spring cleaning, to dust the baseboards, turn the mattresses, and wash those windows. Why not change things up a bit? Perhaps it is time to rethink the rooms entirely.
If you haven’t thought about home design, start with Emily Henderson’s Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves. Henderson helps you determine your style and then provides tips on how to show off those design inclinations in your home. Styled doesn’t call for a complete overhaul. Small changes in rearranging furniture or adding a few elements like a rug or a lamp can go a long way to transform a room.
After months of the winter doldrums, you probably can’t get enough of the outdoors. Lauren Liess’ Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating uses nature as inspiration in home design. Her rooms are sophisticated, but also simple, comfortable, and achievable. Habitat works through explaining the basics of interior design, offering advice on lighting, color combinations, and accessories.
Need to surround yourself with a little more glamor? The Elements of Style by Erin Gates is your best bet. This book shows off Gates’ personality from beautiful, dramatic dining rooms to elegant, yet serene bedrooms. If you are interested in adding bold prints and lush rugs to your abode, this book is for you.
Perhaps you would prefer to go traditional? For this, check out Ben Pentreath’s English Decoration, inspired by British manor houses and country cottages. Some of Pentreath’s work isn’t practical for us Iowans; there is an entire chapter on “Rooms of Display.” Nonetheless, there are some beautiful color combinations and intriguing room arrangements.
We are a UNESCO City of Literature and your style may be influenced by your favorite books. Novel Interiors by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti showcases rooms inspired by sixty different novels, including those by Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh, L. M. Montgomery, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Borgnes Giramonti finds passages describing chairs, plates, and linens and builds the rooms from there. For booklovers and design aficionados alike.
Anne Mangano at the Library