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Author Archive for Bond Drager

Watch monarch caterpillars live at Iowa City Public Library

by Bond Drager on August 27th, 2015

photocaterpillarDo you like butterflies? Have you ever wanted to watch a caterpillar as it goes through metamorphoses? Iowa City Public Library has two monarch caterpillars on a live stream so you can check in and see what’s happening. We also have three caterpillars already in the chrysalis stage that we will put on camera from time to time. Check out our live feed here:

MonarchCam 2015 – Iowa City Public Library

Can you spot the caterpillar hidden in the milkweed?

And as always, you can come down to the library and check out some of our great books about monarchs.


Enjoying farmer’s market bounty all year long

by Bond Drager on August 25th, 2015

I often say the thing that makes our winters worth it is our summers. One thing that contributes is our terrific farmer’s market. In the weeks leading up to the first market of the year I tend to get annoyingly giddy with anticipation. I start daydreaming of fresh produce and happy Iowans finally emerging from their winter habitats. I needn’t suffer all winter from a lack of good local food, however. This year I have been stockpiling fresh produce for my family in various ways.

There are lots of options for this, and ICPL has resources to help you get started. If it’s canning and freezing you’re into, we have a program on safe practices from the Johnson County Extension that you may be interested in:

ICPL has a huge selection of books on canning and preserving. You can find many of these materials under call number 641.4.

Here are just a few selections:
You Can CanBetter Homes and Gardens You Can Can (A Guide to Canning, Preserving, and Pickling)

Home PreservingBall’s Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today

I have a young one at home who will be ready to start eating solids right about the time that getting fresh local produce is impossible. I’m planning ahead by freezing some pureed fruits and veggies (and it’s also so much less expensive than purchasing jarred baby food!)cherries
“Some lovely cherries getting ready to be pureed”

I happened to use the book Realsmart Baby Food, although we have a large selection of books on making homemade baby food.

If you’re interested in batch cooking to store ready made meals in your freezer, we have a lot of options. Last fall I did a batch cook from the book “Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook” The great thing about this book is that it gives you a complete plan for your batch cook, complete with a grocery shopping list and detailed instructions about what order to prep and cook things. However, this means you’re limited to the menu plans that they outline, and if you want to alter any of the recipes you would have to factor that in. We have many more books about make-ahead cooking available in our collection.

So stop by the farmer’s market this weekend and stock up on fresh, local produce that you can enjoy all miserable tolerable Iowa winter long.

Video Staff Picks: a biography of ee cummings for children

by Bond Drager on August 11th, 2015

Katherine shares the book “enormous smallness” a story of the poet ee cummings.

On Air – The ICPL Podcast: Episode 12

by Bond Drager on July 29th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

“Summer Livin/Easy Reading and Over Hyped Releases”

In which the gang goes off the rails. This month we have a special guest, Anne from Collection Services. It’s summertime and the livin is easy, and so are the things we are reading, watching, and listening. Also Anne brings a segment on “Go Set a Watchman” and other over hyped releases. Spoiler alert: Brian loves Star Wars. 01:10 What we’re reading/watching/listening to -Anne: Penderwicks Series -Jason: The Wire -Melody: As If: The Oral History of Clueless -Brian: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera -Meredith: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 11:34 Easy Reading/Watching/Listening -Brian: Weezer, Dune Books -Melody: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne, Road Warrior, The Dresden Files Series Audiobooks -Anne: Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett, Jaws -Jason: Kurt Vonnegut novels, Hot Chip’s album Why Make Sense, Back to the Future trilogy -Meredith: The Great Outdoors 30:52 Go Set a Watchman and other over hyped releases -Brian: Star Wars prequels -Jason: Elliot Smith’s posthumous album From a Basement on the Hill -Melody: Grand Budapest Hotel -Anne: Louisa May Alcott’s A Long Fatal Love Chase -Meredith: Maeve Binchy’s Chestnut Street

Finish Summer Reading Program with Short Audiobooks

by Bond Drager on June 29th, 2015

I find I can get a lot more reading done by using audiobooks. I may not have time to sit down and read a book every day, but I can listen to them during my commute and while doing other things. It’s the halfway point in our Summer Reading Program, so here are a few short reads (4 hours or less) to help you finish your list strong.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (2 hours, 46 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
Alice is wondering what to do one day, when a talking rabbit steals her attention. She is so intrigued that she follows him into his hole, and tumbles down into Wonderland. Alice soon discovers that reality and logic, as she knows them, do not apply here. In an attempt get out of the hole and into, “the loveliest garden you ever saw”, she eats a cake to grow large enough to reach the key to the garden.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (3 hours, 11 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
George Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution has become an intimate part of our contemporary culture, with its treatment of democratic, fascist, and socialist ideals through an animal fable. The animals of Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm are overworked, mistreated, and desperately seeking a reprieve. In their quest to create an idyllic society where justice and equality reign, the animals of Manor Farm revolt against their human rulers, establishing the democratic Animal Farm under the credo, “All Animals Are Created Equal.” Out of their cleverness, the pigs—Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball—emerge as leaders of the new community. In a development of insidious familiarity, the pigs begin to assume ever greater amounts of power, while other animals, especially the faithful horse Boxer, assume more of the work. The climax of the story is the brutal betrayal of Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: “But Some Animals Are More Equal than Others.”

This astonishing allegory, one of the most scathing satires in literary history, remains as fresh and relevant as the day it was published.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (2 hours, 52 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to her at Tiffany’s. Her poignancy, wit, and naivete continue to charm.

The Breathing Method by Stephen King (2 hours, 50 minutes) (Available on Overdrive)
The Breathing Method, from Stephen King’s bestselling collection Different Seasons, takes place in an exclusive gentleman’s club in New York, where no one pays any dues. Membership is based upon a telling of tales, and one nightmarish tale about a disgraced woman determined to give birth—no matter the consequences—pays for them all.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (3 hours, 20 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (2 hrs., 45 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
As an unusual illness plagues Russian public official Ivan Ilyich, his life is forever changed as he deals with doctors who cannot diagnose or treat him, as well as a certain death sentence.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (3 hours, 10 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offill’s heroine, referred to in these pages as simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband, postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes–a colicky baby, bedbugs, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions–the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it, as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation can be read in a single sitting, but there are enough bracing emotional insights in these pages to fill a much longer novel.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (3 hr., 42 min.) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk (2 hours, 27 minutes) (Available on Overdrive)
Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal television shows. This book, his first, is a spleen-bruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (“Martin Luther King Jr.’s Worst Speech Ever”) to intentionally bad theater (“Hitler Dinner Party: A Play”), from avant-garde fiction (“Obit for the Creator of Madlibs”) to free-verse poetry that’s funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined.

Odenkirk’s debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that’s exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in “The Second Meeting of Jesus and Lazarus,” it is a book “to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.”

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (2 hrs., 45 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
The story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

Video Staff Picks: Children’s and Young Adult Summer Reading Recommendations

by Bond Drager on June 25th, 2015

Don’t let your kids lose steam in their summer reading! Here are some picks from library staff for kids of all ages.

Video Staff Picks: Celebrity Biographies with Terri

by Bond Drager on June 18th, 2015

Terri shares some of her favorite (and not so favorite) celebrity biographies, memoirs, and retrospectives.

11 TV Shows to Binge Watch on Maternity Leave

by Bond Drager on June 10th, 2015

I’ve just come back from a maternity leave, and here’s my advice for new parents everywhere: get some fun, light things to watch while you’re feeding your kid. You’ll spend a crazy amount of hours parked on the couch, not able (or unwilling) to focus on anything with much depth. The library makes a great first outing for a new family – there are changing tables and a private lactation room in the children’s area, and parking is free at the Sheraton for an hour. Here are a few shows I’d recommend grabbing the next time you’re here.

Alias – College student is super secret spy on her days off. Bradley Cooper takes his shirt off. ‘Nuff said.

Arrested Development – Dysfunctional formerly rich family loses everything when their dad goes to jail. This show lends itself to binge watching because jokes build on themselves throughout the episodes.

Broad City – If you want some very adult humor to keep you going, this is your show. It is modern and totally funny.

The Good Wife – Former attorney who’s been a stay at home mom for years has to start over when her husband, the State’s Attorney for Cook County, Illinois, gets caught up in a sex scandal and is sent to jail. Surprisingly high quality for a “murder of the week” type show.

IT Crowd – British sitcom about three lazy people who work in an IT department. If you’re a little bit nerdy, you’ll love this show.

Louie – A comedian aptly named Louie lives in New York and shares custody of his two young daughters. As the seasons have gone on, this relatively simple show from standup comedian Louis CK has matured and now each episode is almost a short film.

The Mindy Project – a lighthearted sitcom about Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a single gynecologist who lives in New York. Of course there’s a will they/won’t they plot with her handsome colleague.

Orange is the New Black – suburban girl/former drug smuggler goes to prison. Kind of a comedy, kind of a drama. It’s easy to get hooked on this show.

Parks and Recreation – The main character is a woman who accomplishes terrific things for a small town using her brain and with the help of her friends. This show is terribly funny and the kind of thing I would be okay with my daughter watching one day. Skip the first season and start with the second.

Scandal – A DC “fixer” who is also secretly the President’s former mistress. This show is plot heavy and full of overacting. Lots of twists and mysteries without being super deep. Just the thing for a sleep deprived parent.

Silicon Valley – A comedy about a brilliant programmer who comes up with an algorithm that’s going to “change everything” and how he and his friends try to build a start-up company. Again, over-the-top adult humor (This show aired on HBO), but very funny.

Must Have Baby Books Chosen By Library Staff

by Bond Drager on March 30th, 2015

I count myself among the lucky few: I work at Iowa City Public Library. The staff here are truly dedicated to what they do, and their knowledge of books is formidable. Since I’m expecting my first child in a few weeks my coworkers threw me a wonderful baby shower. I was completely overwhelmed with new books.

Because their choices are so considered, I thought others might be curious to know just what books library staff think someone should have for a new baby’s library. Here’s a list of what they chose. Most, if not all of these books are available in our collection or Prairie Lights Bookstore.

Board Books
Giraffes Can't DanceGiraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
MadelineMadeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Barnyard DanceBarnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
HippopotamusBut Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
doggiesDoggies by Sandra Boynton
moo baaMoo Baa La la La by Sandra Boynton
snuggle puppySnuggle Puppy! by Sandra Boynton
caterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
monkeysFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
carlGood Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
rainbowPlanting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
rabbitLittle White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
belly buttonWhere is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
zoom zoomZoom, Zoom, Baby! by Karen Katz
boogieBaby Loves to Boogie! by Wednesday Kirwan
boom boomChicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
book of sleepA Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
tiggy winkleThe Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle by Beatrix Potter
tom kittenThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter
hop on popHop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
circleCircle by Justine Smith
dinosaurThat’s Not My Dinosaur by Fiona Watt
napping houseThe Napping House by Audrey Wood

Picture Books
snoozefestSnoozefest by Samantha Berger
mittenThe Mitten by Jan Brett
click clack mooClick, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
motherAre You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
imogeneImogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming
princess knightThe Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
mooseThis Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
purple crayonHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
library lionLibrary Lion by Michelle Knudsen
put me in the zooPut Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
hey diddle diddleHey Diddle Diddle and Other Nursery Rhymes (Stories in Stitches) Illustrated by Dawn Mitchell
just go to bedJust Go to Bed by Mercer Mayer
ducklingsMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
wild thingsWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
baby woodlandYou Are My Baby: Woodland by Lorena Siminovich
abcABC by Dr. Seuss
green eggs and hamGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
tailsTails by Matthew Van Fleet
catCat by Matthew Van Fleet
one night far from hereOne Night, Far From Here by Julia Wauters

On Air – The ICPL Podcast: Episode 10

by Bond Drager on March 24th, 2015

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

“Great Movies that Didn’t Win Oscars, and Jen’s Dating Game Results”

This month the gang discusses Great Movies that Didn’t Win Oscars plus Jen is back with follow up on how her Blind Date with a Book went.

00:41:What we’re reading/watching/listening to Jen: Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
01:19 Brian – The Martian by Andy Weir
03:21 Melody – Tim Johnston’s Descent
04:41 Jason – Louise Penny
6:02 Melody Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction
06:40 Meredith – Maeve Binchy’s new biography
08:35 Great Movies that Didn’t Win Oscars
09:10 Brian – LA Confidential loses to Titanic
14:35 Jason – Movie Scores – Psycho
19:25 Melody – Bechdel Test Movies – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night/Before Midnight
26:27 Jen – Sense and Sensibility
28:03 Meredith – Shawshank Redemption
30:17 Brian – Short Term 12
32:39 Jason – Last of the Mohicans
36:53 Jen – The Descendants
41:37 Jen’s Dating Game Follow Up – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss