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Author Archive for Melody Dworak



Esquire’s “Hater in Chief”

by Melody Dworak on February 10th, 2016

gallery-1451926582-esquire-march-cover-trumpSo Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary last night and racked up 10 delegates. If you love the media frenzy around this unconventional presidential candidate, check out Esquire’s February cover article, “Hater in Chief.” Behind a paywall everywhere else, you can check it out digitally through ICPL’s digital magazine collection Zinio. Have your library card and password ready and go to www.icpl.org/zinio/ to log in and download that grumpy, frowny face.

Under-the-Radar Read

by Melody Dworak on February 8th, 2016
Under-the-Radar Read Cover Image

I can’t stop talking about this memoir of African American life and prison life in the 19th Century. The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict by Austin Reed is “the first known prison narrative by an African American writer,” editor Caleb Smith wrote in the Yale Alumni magazine. The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library purchased the manuscript, and Random House published it as a book this winter.

This book is a remarkable find. Perfect for history buffs, rare manuscript nerds, and African American prison researchers, this book was written by an African American man born free in the 1820s but living much of his life in confinement. Reed was a natural storyteller and his memoir reads like a novel. He documents his experiences both in prison and as a free man, the cruelties of the whip and other 19th Century torture tactics as well as adventures and opportunities he encountered while living free.

This book has not received a ton of press at this point. The New York Times highlighted the find in 2013 before the manuscript was edited for publication, and the Smithsonian Magazine picked up the story for its arts and culture section. It doesn’t have a long holds list and we’ll be buying the e-book and e-audio versions soon.

If there is one nonfiction book you read in 2016, make it Austin Reed’s groundbreaking memoir.

 

Daydreaming of gardening? Check out one of these magazines.

by Melody Dworak on February 5th, 2016

Country GardensThe next Project Green Second Sunday Forum is on Valentine’s Day—Sunday, February 14, 2016. Jonathan Poulton will present on Daylillies—Past, Present, and Future. If you can’t wait until then to get your garden on, but also don’t want to go out into the cold, visit the ICPL Zinio collection, where you can look through 18 different home and garden digital magazines.

Magazines are perfect for the weekend where you get to kick back a little more. Our gardening magazines include Country Garden, Better Homes & Gardens, Grit, and Successful Farming.

The January issue of Rodale’s Organic Life features the article “Grow from Scratch,” which includes a guide to growing plants from seeds and lovely illustrations.

ICPL has more than 150 digital magazines. They are available 24/7 through your computer or mobile device. After you log in with your Iowa City library card and password, you can check one out and flip through page by page just like a regular magazine. Reading magazines lets you kick back and relax, and enjoy big beautiful photographs and creative infographics.

Have questions about how to use our Zinio digital magazine collection? Ask a Librarian!

 

 

Inspiration for your fiction

by Melody Dworak on November 17th, 2015
Inspiration for your fiction Cover Image

NaNoWriMo is more than halfway over. Looking for inspiration to get you past writer’s block? Consider consulting dictionaries and encyclopedias on specific subjects.

Last week, someone stumbled upon our encyclopedias on the short Reference shelves on the second floor. He wondered if we had anything like that for sci fi/fantasy mythology. He was curious as to where storytellers got their information about the strengths and weaknesses of monsters.

Lucky for him, he was talking with someone who’s been reading a ton of fantasy fiction this year. I have read the accounts of countless vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fae, demons, witches, trolls, shape-shifters—you name it!

I got him the book How to Kill a Vampire as a place to start. As we were talking about what his goals were for finding books like this, it struck me that he had a great idea: use these kinds of books to inspire and research your fiction writing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Uproariously funny and irreverent take on modern pregnancy and parenting

by Melody Dworak on November 3rd, 2015
Uproariously funny and irreverent take on modern pregnancy and parenting Cover Image

Emily Flake’s Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting hilariously pokes fun at experiences of expectant and first-time parents, particularly those of women who established careers and were fully independent thinkers before deciding to start a family.

At eight months pregnant myself, I peeled through the first third of her book, howling with laughter every few pages or so. I can identify with dealing with “swole” feet and eating cookies to make the baby kick (and just to eat cookies). This book was much needed comic relief for my final stretch as a pregnant lady.

Read the rest of this entry »

What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time

by Melody Dworak on October 30th, 2015
What it’s like to read Janet Evanovich for the first time Cover Image

Okay, I’m using the term “read” here liberally as I’m really listening to her audiobooks. But the sentiment is the same: after a long aversion to mainstream romance and mystery, what do Janet Evanovich’s stories have for me?

Caving in to one of OverDrive’s auto-generated recommendation that I should try out Wicked Business, I listened to a sample of the book and discovered a familiar voice. Lorelei King, talented performer of my beloved Mercy Thompson series, reads Evanovich’s Wicked books too. I have really enjoyed King’s tender interpretation of the Mercy Thompson books–she has whisked me up in wistfulness before–so I was tickled to find that her voice narrates more stories in our collection. (You never think to search by reader, do you?)  Read the rest of this entry »

New Zinio magazines, app

by Melody Dworak on October 12th, 2015
Zinio for Libraries App

Zinio for Libraries App

As of last Friday, the Iowa City Public Library has five new digital magazines we’re offering on Zinio. Plus, Zinio is offering a new app for Kindle Fire/HD users now, too! The above Zinio link directs you to a page where you can read about our Zinio service, as well as find the links for the new app on Amazon and how-to instructions for the Fire.

So what about these new magazines? Take a look: Read the rest of this entry »

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 2)

by Melody Dworak on September 30th, 2015

Part 2: e-magazines on Zinio

Yarn bombing a car

A yarn-bombed car in Alicante, Spain. Source: Wikipedia.

Today I wanted to focus exclusively on the craft magazines we have on our digital magazine portal Zinio. Like yesterday’s post about crafty e-books on Digital Johnson County, you can find what e-magazines we have through our catalog, as well. You follow the same steps as finding only the e-books as you do for e-magazines. But instead of selecting “Adult EBOOK” under Format, you choose “EMAGAZINE.”

Read our Zinio Digital Magazines introduction and connect to the service with your library card number and password. You might also consider reading my how-to blog post introducing the new Zinio app in April 2015.

What crafting magazines do we offer? Here is the current list: Read the rest of this entry »

Craft from home with ICPL! (Part 1)

by Melody Dworak on September 29th, 2015
"Mr. Whiskers and his knitting needle" from MonotonousG on DeviantArt.

“Mr. Whiskers and his knitting needle” from MonotonousG on DeviantArt.

Love to knit, sew, or quilt? We have books for you! In addition to the great recommendations from Library Director Susan Craig, I wanted to share my own ways to find crafting books and magazines—ones you can check out from the comfort of your own home.

Part 1: e-books on Digital Johnson County (OverDrive)

If you are used to searching our catalog on a computer, you can always start there. Type in your craft of choice, then go to the left-hand side and select “Adult EBOOK” under the Format heading.

Once you are there, you can click the “Check out with OverDrive” button. If your library account is up to date and you know your password, you can log in and be on your way! If you haven’t updated your address with us in a while or have more than $10 in fines, you may get an error message.

You can also go directly to the Digital Johnson County website to browse around that way. To get all the craft books we have on OverDrive, you’ll want to do an Advanced Search, and change the drop-down menu that says “All Subjects” to “Crafts”. For some reason, you can’t get to the Crafts subject from the red box area where you might be used to looking around. You can type in “crafts” into the general search, too, but not all of the books that show up will be relevant. You’ll have a better time searching for the specific craft (knitting, crochet, etc.) in that simple search box.</p?

And keep the 4th Annual ICPL Arts and Crafts Bazaar in mind while you work on your projects. If you have something special enough to donate, this ICPL fundraiser is on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and donations will be accepted through Friday, December 4.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow–Craft magazines on Zinio!

Quick Guide to Local Newspaper Resources @ICPL

by Melody Dworak on August 25th, 2015
Irving B. Weber

The headstone of Iowa City historian, Iriving Weber. Findagrave.com

Use this guide to find obituaries and articles in Iowa City area newspapers. To access the premium databases listed here, you must reside in Iowa City or one of the library’s contracted service areas. You will want to have your library card number and password ready. Call 356-5200 if you need assistance.

Read the rest of this entry »




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