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Author Archive for Kara Logsden



Why am I excited about the Iowa City Book Festival?

by Kara Logsden on September 25th, 2014
Why am I excited about the Iowa City Book Festival? Cover Image

Recently I was in a meeting and someone asked, “Who was the first author you heard speak in person?”  Suddenly I was swept back to my junior high years and listening to Madeleine L’Engle.  I know there were author readings before that (I grew up in Iowa City and we had the amazing experiences of authors visiting our schools) but it was my memory of listening to L’Engle speak that conjured such a strong memory for me.  Not only was L’Engle the author of my favorite books (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet) but she was an amazing speaker.  I didn’t want the program to end, and really wished I could have found a rocking chair, curled my teenage body up in her lap, and had her read A Wrinkle in Time to me … cover to cover.

I’ve had strong reactions to listening to other authors read since then, but nothing as powerful for me as that experience.  I love listening to authors because I always learn something new.  A couple years ago, at the Iowa City Book Festival, I had the opportunity to ask Robert Goolrick why he chose a story theme for one of his characters in A Reliable Wife.  His explanation was logical but sparked a reaction for me because I didn’t agree with him.  At an outreach program for the Library, I saw a person with dementia brighten up and connect with author Carol Bodensteiner over a story from Bodensteiner’s childhood about ironing.  Who would have guessed a story about ironing would awaken such a strong response?

Each year the Iowa City Book Festival brings an amazing group of authors to town and we have the opportunity to listen to them speak … and it’s free.  I can’t guarantee the programs will be as transformational as my experience with Madeleine L’Engle, but you never know :)  The Festival is a couple weeks away so there’s plenty of time to read a book or two written by one of the authors who will be speaking.  Here’s the list to help you get started:   2014 FESTIVAL READING LIST.

 

Ride and Read at Your Library!

by Kara Logsden on September 16th, 2014

Did you know your Library Card is a ticket to ride an Iowa City Transit bus? The program is called “Ride and Read.”  Two times a week, patrons with a valid Iowa City Public Library card may present their card to the Help Desk, Children’s Desk or Reference Desk and get a FREE bus pass to ride an Iowa City Transit bus.  The bus pass is stamped with the current date, and must be used on that day.  The Ride and Read program is for people of all ages – the only requirement is a valid Library card.  This is another great reason to make sure you always have your Library Card handy.

And speaking of bus rides, we recently received information from Iowa City Transit staff about utilization of the Summer Library Bus program.  We think this program is awesome, and many others thought so too because 2,943 people hopped on the Summer Library Bus and caught a ride downtown this summer.  What’s even more awesome is that utilization of this program was spread throughout Iowa City – the busiest routes were Lakeside and Oakcrest.  There’s a chart below that shows how use was spread across the Transit routes..

For those who don’t know about the Summer Library Bus program, the Library provides free bus rides to children through 12th grade, and the adult caregivers who are with them, on any Iowa City Transit bus route, from the day after Iowa City Schools dismiss until the day before school start, on weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  Bus riders show their Iowa City Public Library card to the bus driver to gain free access to the bus.
Happy Reading and Happy Riding!
2013 Summer Library Bus

 

 

 

 

Bus Route # Rides
Lakeside 514
Oakcrest 426
Court Hill 350
Broadway 326
Westwinds 253
Rochester 213
Towncrest 206
N Dodge 106
Crosspark 84
Manville Hgts 79
Westside Hosp 77
Mall 74
Plaen View 72
Westport 67
Eastside Exp 58
Melrose Exp 33
7th Avenue 5
Total Rides 2,943

Connecting: Your Library Easier to Use

by Kara Logsden on September 3rd, 2014

Recently the Library Board voted to make changes to help make your Library easier to use. We also updated a couple procedures to respond to patrons requests.

Patrons may now place 10 (ten!) FREE holds.  Login to your account, call the Library or stop by – there are many ways to place holds.  We’ll even let you place holds on items that are on the shelf.  Periodically, throughout the day, staff pull items with holds that are on the shelf.  We just ask that you give us a little bit of time to do this work.  You’ll know when the hold is ready when we send you a notice.  Notices come by eMail, telephone or in the mail depending on your preference.

Overdue Fines changed too and we hope they are easier to understand.  All fines are 25 cents per overdue day with the following exceptions: Express DVDs, Games and Equipment are $1.00 per overdue day and Wii Game Consoles are $5.00 per overdue day.  Our goal is to make the collection as available to our community as possible.  We view fines as a motivation to return items on time so others can enjoy them.

Patrons may now receive one free replacement card per year.  We can also make a replacement card with the same number, so there’s no need to worry if you have your number memorized.  We need the original card in order to replace a card with the same number.  Also, it takes us a few minutes to make the card, so please plan for a little extra time if you are getting a card replaced with the same number.

Videogames may now be renewed 1 (one) time.  Patrons may still have a limit of 2 videogames checked out at a time, but they can be renewed once and the fine is now only 25 cents per overdue day.

We hope these changes will make it easier to use your Library and we hope to see you at the Library soon.

China Dolls by Lisa See

by Kara Logsden on August 20th, 2014
China Dolls by Lisa See Cover Image

Lisa See’s new novel, China Dolls, brings to life an element of the 1930′s and 1940′s entertainment world I was not aware of, the Chop-Suey Circuit.  Three unlikely Asian friends, Ruby, Helen & Grace, gravitate to the newly introduced Chinese revues in San Francisco for different reasons.  Although they are from diverse backgrounds, they form a strong bond and the book follows their lives through happiness and heartache.  Woven with a backdrop of the attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II and happier times in the 1940′s, the story brings alive not only the glitz and glamor of the stage, but the personal coming-of-age stories of three women whose lives are, for better or worse, intertwined.

Lisa See is a remarkable novelist and I thoroughly enjoyed her other books including Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy.  I listened to the book and Jodi Long’s narration is excellent. ~~Enjoy~~

And the Dark Sacred Night

by Kara Logsden on July 23rd, 2014
And the Dark Sacred Night Cover Image

Ten years ago I fell in love with Julia Glass’ writing. It was a rainy day and I was in Positano, Italy, looking out over the aquamarine Mediterranean and delighted to have survived a white-knuckle drive along the Amalfi Coast. I curled up with Three Junes, a book I’d been meaning to read for a long time, and fell in love with the writing. Most notably I was pulled into the stories, loved the characters, and grieved for the one of the main characters, Malachy Burns (who was dying of AIDS) and his beloved friend, Fenno McLeod (who lovingly cared for him). I look forward to each new Julia Glass book and enjoy her storytelling and how she weaves stories, characters, and places together.  It’s like canoeing down a meandering stream, encountering interesting people along the way, and enjoying the journey as much as the moment.

I was delighted when Malachy and Fenno popped up in Glass’ new book, And the Dark Sacred Night.  Once again readers are taken on a journey and details are not shared until Glass is ready to share them. The book begins with the main protagonist, Kit Noonan, and a view into his stalled life. Kit is an unemployed art professor who is struggling in his roles as husband, father, and (not by choice) person designated to manage his household. When it’s obvious he must be jarred from his rut, his wife’s wish for a separation serves as the catalyst to send him on a journey of personal discovery.  The journey begins in Vermont at the home of Kit’s Stepfather.  From there readers are propelled through time and memories in a story woven together in classic Julia Glass style. I was sad when the story ended, but enjoyed the journey and always appreciate a great story!

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 :)




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