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Author Archive for Melody Dworak



Digging in to Consumer Reports online

by Melody Dworak on August 29th, 2016

Consumer Reports LogoLast year, Candice introduced the library blog-reading public to our new online subscription to the Consumer Reports website. Today I’m going to call out some special features that have helped me recently in my search to replace my workhorse of a vacuum cleaner. We’ve had our little bagless Hoover for eight years before I did something stupid and tried to suck up silver maple helicopters with an indoor vac. Now it’s time for me to find its replacement.

First things first, if you’ve never used our access to the Consumer Reports website, you will want to know how to get there. You need to live in Iowa City or one of our contracting services areas, have a library card number and password, and have fines less than $10. Check, check, and check? Do this next: Read the rest of this entry »

Farm to Table cookbooks

by Melody Dworak on August 12th, 2016
Farm to Table cookbooks Cover Image

Inspired by my overabundant CSA hauls (Community Supported Agriculture) and the Farm to Street dinner next Thursday, I thought I’d put together a list of “Farm to Table” cookbooks.

This is a list of fantastic books that came out within the past year or so, books that feature vegetables in all their fabulous glory. I curated this list with the easy meal in mind. Check out one of these books, pour that glass of wine, and start cooking! Read the rest of this entry »

Get your grill on!

by Melody Dworak on June 29th, 2016

grill-878001_960_720Grilling season is well under way and we are having perfect weather here in Iowa City. Not too hot, not too cold, lovely evenings and mornings for walking the dog, taking a jog, or hunting for frogs in the creek.

With this blissful weather upon us, I’ve been on the lookout for digital magazine articles on grilling and outdoor cooking. Here are a few I’d like to share with you today: Read the rest of this entry »

Urban fantasy audiobook series worth a listen

by Melody Dworak on May 24th, 2016
Urban fantasy audiobook series worth a listen Cover Image

I was excited when I checked OverDrive this month and saw new audiobooks in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. I have listened to all of the urban fantasy audiobooks we have on OverDrive, so I was thrilled when I saw these books from a series I enjoyed show up when I was browsing the app.

Last week I burned through Shattered, book 7, and I’m currently listening to Staked, book 8. The series follows the adventures and blunders of 2,000-year-old druid Atticus O’Sullivan as he goes on different quests and fights epic battles. It takes place in modern times, and the author often entertains us with the story-within-a-story tactic. O’Sullivan is 2,000 years old, after all. He has tons of stories to tell. Read the rest of this entry »

Download this! Interior decorating edition.

by Melody Dworak on April 20th, 2016
HGTV Magazine, May 2016

HGTV Magazine, May 2016

A couple of weeks ago, Anne walked us through some of the new interior decorating books. Today I’d like to share what ICPL has to offer on that front in terms of digital magazines. Even if you never plan to shop at Crate & Barrel, you can indulge in the guilty pleasure of flipping through home decor magazines straight from your phone, tablet, or computer.

What did I read over my cereal this morning? Read the rest of this entry »

OverDrive app updates

by Melody Dworak on February 18th, 2016

OverDriveYou may have noticed that OverDrive looks a little different this month. On February 1, OverDrive released an update to its app that solved some problems for people but also created some major bugs. Many of us at the Information Desk have been helping people troubleshoot getting things working again.

It sounds like people who read e-books on an iPhone or iPad bore the brunt of these problems. What’s worse, we at the library didn’t have clear instructions for how to solve these problems. Everyone who has come in has been so patient while we take the time to troubleshoot and get things working for them.

Well, yesterday, OverDrive sent out an email that linked to the full instructions for how to deal with these issues. It looks to me like they broadcasted this email far and wide, but in case you missed it and you are still struggling with OverDrive problems on your Apple device, read through this OverDrive Help article to see if it answers some of your questions.

If you don’t want to troubleshoot on your own, you don’t have to! Give us a call (319-356-5200) or stop in and we can help you get things working. Thanks again for your patience in working through these bugs.

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 »




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