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Author Archive for Kara Logsden



Top Secret 21

by Kara Logsden on July 21st, 2014
Top Secret 21 Cover Image

The newest installment of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, Top Secret 21, is out and it’s a page-turner.  While I thought the last couple Plum books were not up to Janet Evanovich standards, I though with this book she was back on target with quirky characters, humor, and more adventures for bounty-hunter, Stephanie Plum.  If you are looking for a quick summer chick-lit read, this is a great option.

If you haven’t read the Stephanie Plum series, we have many of the earlier books in multiple formats including regular print, large print, spoken word, eBook and eAudiobook.  The plot is easy to follow and it’s not necessary to start at the beginning.

If you are a Janet Evanovich fan and looking for similar authors, there are quite a few I would recommend including Lisa Lutz (Spellman Files), Mary Kay Andrews, and Diane Mott Davidson.  These authors have books that are fast paced, funny and perfect for summer reading.  If you need help finding a good book, Library staff are always happy to help.  Happy Summer Reading!

Slices of Life

by Kara Logsden on June 18th, 2014
Slices of Life Cover Image

Recently a friend suggested we meet at Prairie Lights for a book reading.  We have a monthly meet-up to knit and chat, but thought we might mix it up a bit and go to a book reading.  I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the Live from Prairie Lights schedule, so I was delighted when I discovered Iowa City native, Leah Eskin was reading from her new book, Slices of Life.

Leah and I were in 4-H together many years ago.  She was a few years older than me and someone who I looked up to.  It was fun to hear her read, and learn about her ‘slices of life’ – mother of teenagers, writer, cancer survivor, and mu1977 07 Kara Rabbitch more.  When she was signing my book afterwards, my friend mentioned our 4-H connection.  Leah wondered if I remembered the goats she showed at the fair. I didn’t, but our conversation conjured happy memories for me of showing my rabbits and dog at the Johnson County Fair.

I’ve enjoyed Leah Eskin’s Slices of Life and how she connects her slices of life with her experiences.  One entry that jumped out at me was an ode to her dog, Theo, as an introduction to the “Summer Couscous” recipe.  After losing our dog to old age and illness last week, I still have a raw emotion when I think about the human-dog bond.  Eskin writes, “At dinnertime we come. We sit. We stay for something delicious, something that fetches memories of meals past.  Happily gnawing on a stick of grilled lamb, hunched over a jackpot of couscous, we know that in our family, we all speak the same language.”

I also appreciate the index to the book and the suggestions Eskin weaves into the list.  For example, “BRUNCH: I always make Onion Tart (page 153). Other good ideas: Tortilla Espanola (page 185), Sparkling Salad (page 64), and Crab Cakes (page 111).”

Slices of Life is a wonderful tribute to love, cooking, connections and life.  And the recipes are yummy too …

 

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

by Kara Logsden on June 9th, 2014
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin Cover Image

I discovered this wonderful book when someone described it as being similar to Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society and The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  I don’t think I would compare it to those books (which I’d highly recommend) but I’m also not sure how I would describe it.  Is it a love story?  Is it a coming of age story?  Is it a mystery?  Is it a book with strong characters?  Does it have a strong sense of place?  I could answer yes to all of the above.

A quick look at the subject headings reveals these entries:

Booksellers and bookselling — Fiction.
Bookstores — Fiction.
Widowers — Fiction.
Abandoned children — Fiction.
Man-woman relationships — Fiction.

Indeed, this is a book about all of these things.  But it is also so much more.  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 all these faults, he has a passion for books.  A.J. Fikry also has 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.

If you are looking for a great summer read, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is recommended.

 

 

Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

by Kara Logsden on May 15th, 2014
Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear Cover Image

Jacqueline Winspear, the author of the popular Maisie Dobbs mystery series, is set to release a standalone historical fiction novel on July 1. I had the privilege of reading an advanced reader copy. The Library has five copies on order, so place your hold soon so you will be at the front of the hold queue.

The Care and Management of Lies is set in rural England in 1914 and on the battlefields of France during World War I. Young bride, Kezia Brissenden, is left to manage the family farm as her husband (Tom) and his sister (Thea), who is Kezia’s best friend, head to fight in France. Tom feels honor-bound to serve while Thea, who was a teacher and suffragette in London, volunteered to serve as an ambulance driver in order to escape incarceration for her political work. Kezia transforms from an educated city-girl to an experienced farmer who expertly manages her land and livestock.

Winspear is an expert storyteller who captures the personal anguish and struggles with a backdrop that contrasts agrarian life with the life experienced by soldiers on the battlefront in France.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and especially enjoyed reading the commentary from Jacqueline Winspear on her webpage.  I look forward to more novels from Jacqueline Winspear and the historical fiction stories she weaves.

Friday Night Concerts Begin THIS WEEK!

by Kara Logsden on May 13th, 2014

2014 05 FezLet the SUMMER begin in Downtown Iowa City! Summer of the Arts’ “Friday Night Concert Series” kicks off this Friday May 16 with The Fez.

The Fez is a 15-piece Steely Dan jazz/rock-fusion tribute band composed of many awesome local musicians. Bring your lawnchair and head Downtown to the Weatherdance Fountain Stage to enjoy summer sounds from 6:30-9:30 PM.  If there’s a chance of bad weather, check the Summer of the Arts webpage for schedule and location updates.

Can’t wait until Friday night for some local music?  Check out the Library’s Local Music Project at http://music.icpl.org/ or click here to listen to Fez musician Saul Lubaroff and his quartet play “Blues for Zane and Will.”

For a full Summer of the Arts schedule, navigate to: http://www.summerofthearts.org

We’ll see you Downtown this summer!

P.S. Don’t forget the Library is open until 8:00 PM on Fridays :)

Ready for Summer & Library Cards

by Kara Logsden on May 7th, 2014

Library staff members are diligently working to make sure students have Library Cards and are ready for summer!  Staff traveled to Robert Lucas and Grant Wood elementary recently to sign students up for Library Cards.  2014 04 Grant Wood library cardsStaff will be at Mark Twain Elementary’s Family Night on May 29 to sign students and family members up for Library Cards.

We are also working with Teacher Librarians and Student & Family Advocates to help students at other schools sign-up for Library Cards.  In these cases, school staff collect applications and forward them to Library staff.  Library staff issue the Library Cards and mail them to the student’s home.

We are also working with Johnson County Extension’s 4-H on Wheels summer program to extend Library services to students who will participate in 4-H on Wheels in Lone Tree this summer.  Library staff will travel to Lone Tree once a week to check out Library materials to students based on the weekly 4-H on Wheels theme.  The themes are generally STEM based and including information about nutrition, science, and other interesting topics.

Since the beginning of February, Library Staff have issued 144 Library Cards though our outreach efforts with local schools.  We appreciate the wonderful staff at our schools and their dedication to help students continue to read over the summer.

Here’s a rundown of the numbers.  Three Cheers for Library Cards!

School # Cards Issued
Lone Tree 13
Shimek 5
Weber 12
Horn 28
Mann 5
Lucas 19
Hills 2
Wood 60
Total 144

Kirkwood English Language Learner Program Tour

by Kara Logsden on May 6th, 2014

We received a wonderful letter today from Kirkwood Community College’s English Language Learner program following a tour for their students last month. Students enrolled in Kirkwood’s program who were on this tour were from Sudan, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, El Salvador, Guinea, Laos, Vietnam, Mexico and Algeria. They were a fun group and even enjoyed some of my jokes (which building downtown has the most stories?).

Library staff enjoy welcoming everyone to the Library and especially people who are new to our community. It is fun to see the Library through new eyes, and to see patron making connections with how they may utilize Library resources in their own lives.

The letter from Kirkwood’s staff says, “The students were frankly amazed about the size, services, comfort, and approachability of the library … Thank you for teaching these Iowa City newcomers from around the world about your library services and for making them comfortable with and eager to visit the library.”

We extend our thanks to Kirkwood for introducing the Library to their students and for working with us to host the English Conversation Group on Friday mornings.  For more information about Kirkwood’s program for English language learners, navigate to http://www.kirkwood.edu/esl.

Library Services for Persons over Age 55

by Kara Logsden on May 5th, 2014

Recently the Iowa City City Council appointed an ad-hoc Senior Services committee that will begin meeting in May. In preparation for these meetings, the Library provided information about collections, programs and services of interest to people over age 55. I thought I’d share some of the interesting tidbits from the Library’s report.

Library Cards:  As of April 24, 2014, 7,491 people over age 55 had active Library cards with 8,089 items checked out.  Of those, 4,938 people live in Iowa City and they have 5,567 items checked out.  995 live in rural Johnson County and they have 1,091 items checked out.

At Home Services:  The Library’s At Home service provides traditional Library collections by mail to residents of the Library’s service area (Iowa City, rural Johnson County, Hills, University Heights and Lone Tree) for those who are unable to come to the Library because of a physical disability. Most people enrolled in At Home Services are over age 55. Currently 128 patrons are enrolled in At Home services and in FY13, an average of 39 patrons were served each month. In FY13, the Library loaned 2,888 items to and the Library’s Switchboard answered 255 calls from At Home patrons.

Community Outreach Collections:  The Library maintains community outreach collections at many retirement residences and other community organizations that serve people over age 55. These sites include the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, Oaknoll, Melrose Meadows, Walden Place, Capitol House Apartments, Chatham Oaks, Hope Lodge, and MECCA. Some sites utilize books checked out from the Library’s collection, while others accept donated materials. In FY13, 660 items were loaned to community organizations from the Library’s collection and 2,242 items, culled from donations to the Library and withdrawn materials, were sent for members of the community to use.

Volunteer Program:  The Library connects with many community members through our Volunteer Program. In FY13, 364 people volunteered at the Library. Of those, 83 volunteers were over age 55 and they volunteered 4,154 hours.

Technology Support:  For the first nine months of FY14, the Library assisted 358 patrons in our Drop-In Tech Help sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Staff estimates 50% of the people who seek assistance at these sessions are age 55 and over.  There is a also special Senior Tech Zone weekly on Thursdays, from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, staffed by volunteers from the Johnson County Livable Community project.

The Library serves people over age 55 in many ways. The information above represents a snapshot of some of the collections, programs and services available at the Library. If you have questions, please give us a call.

Iowa Author New Novel

by Kara Logsden on April 9th, 2014

2014 04 go away homeCarol Bodensteiner’s debut novel, Go Away Home, is due out in July. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bodensteiner is best known for her series of essays, Growing Up Country, that capture life in rural Iowa.  Her stories resonate with our patrons, and most especially with people who participate in our collaborative program with Iowa City Hospice that sends readers to local care centers for reading programs.

Go Away Home is set in rural northeast Iowa and focuses on the life of teenager Liddie Treadway.  Liddie is a talented seamstress with dreams of moving to the big city of Maquoketa and leaving the farm behind her.  Despite personal challenges, she does not lose sight of her dreams and eventually convinces her family to let her go.  What Liddie learns in the big city surprises her and helps as she is forced to make decisions that affect the path her life takes.

Set against the backdrop of agrarian life, changes with the introduction of the automobile and gas-powered engines, changing roles of women, and foreboding before WWI, Go Away Home is a coming of age novel that is well-written, compelling, and endearing.  Themes include family, friendship, choices, love and loss.  There is a strong sense of place, excellent character development, and an engaging plot line.  The story is well researched and I learned a lot about Iowa in the early 1900′s.  I also thought a lot about my grandparents and what their lives must have been like at this time.

I highly recommend Carol Bodensteiner’s new novel. The Library has not placed an order for this book yet, but watch the catalog and place your hold.  I anticipate it will be a popular novel with local readers and book groups.

 

KXIC Jay Capron Morning Show

by Kara Logsden on April 1st, 2014

We had a lot of fun on the Jay Capron Morning Show today!  We learned about Bark Madness (I voted for the cat) and send our best wishes to our good friend, Dottie Ray, to feel better soon!

We started off by talked about D.E.A.R. (Drop everything and READ) and had to delay the radio program a bit while I finished reading a chapter in the book I brought (just kidding).

Anne talked about ICPL Collections, and most specifically OverDrive and Zinio.  The big news on that front is OverDrive is now available through the Library’s catalog and some titles can now be renewed.  eCollection titles are great for cold blustery days like today!

Anne also talked about a number of upcoming programs including Money Smart Week, Mission Creek FREE programs at the Library this weekend, and B.Y.O. Book.

I talked about the Library’s new Blog, 123 South Linn, and how the response has been great.  We have between 50 and 250 views per day.  I also talked about Book Madness FINAL FOUR and encouraged patrons to vote on the Library’s Facebook page or in person at the Library.

There’s always something going on at the Iowa City Public Library and we enjoy sharing the information with our friends who listen to KXIC.

 

 




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