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My True Love Gave to Me

by Brian Visser on November 17th, 2014
My True Love Gave to Me Cover Image

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve holiday stories by popular young adult authors.  I was initially drawn to it because Rainbow Rowell supplied a story.  Rainbow’s story–”Midnights”–is great!  It’s about two friends who over the course of four New Year’s Eves decide if they want to be more than friends.  I hope we see the characters again!

Another plus for this collection is the chance to sample authors that you’ve been curious about.  I’ve never read anything by Matt de la Peña or Stephanie Perkins, who also edited the collection, and I loved both of their stories.  It made me want to read all of their books.  Holly Black has a great story–called “Krampuslauf”–about a group of friends who want to throw the perfect New Year’s Eve party and get revenge on a cheating ex.  An unexpected guest makes the party even more memorable.

A lot of the stories fall into the “meet-cute during the holidays” category, but they’re well done (except for a couple stinkers).  It’s a great book to read as a break from reading another book.  If you like holiday stories, you won’t go wrong with My True Love Gave to Me.

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

by Maeve Clark on November 7th, 2014
Some Luck by Jane Smiley Cover Image

I admit it, I can’t get enough of Jane Smiley.  And thanks to a sales rep from Random House and the recent Iowa City Book Festival I was not only able to get a advance reading copy of Some Luck, Smiley’s latest novel, but I, with several hundred other avid readers,  was able to hear her read from it at the Englert Theatre. I have heard Smiley read before and she can weave a great story in person as well as in print and she did just that on the Sunday afternoon she stopped in Iowa City.  She clearly still loves Iowa, her home for many years while she studied in Iowa City and then taught at Iowa State.  In fact, she shared the story of  her vintage bag, she said it reminded her of Iowa and her sweater, which she knit herseJane Smileylf, from yarn made from soybeans, which she thought might just have been grown here too.

The focus of Some Luck, the first of a trilogy, is the Langdon family; their farm, their kin and their lives for the next 33 years.   And what a 33 years it is.  The book begins with Walter and Rosanna and their five month old son, Frank.  The novel explores their life on the farm outside the small town of Denby. It was a rural Iowa that many of us grew up hearing about from our parents and grandparents, a time when fields were plowed with draft horses, and hired men lived with the family, schools were one room and the students were the children of the nearby families. The pace of life had a rhythm and pattern.  But change comes and Smiley illuminates the change chapter by chapter, with each each chapter covering a year in the Langdon family.

If you have been waiting for another novel from this Pulitzer Prize winning novelist you will be thrilled to read Some Luck.   And as luck would have it, there are two more books to follow.

 

 

 

From the news to the shelves

by Candice Smith on November 6th, 2014
From the news to the shelves Cover Image

It’s always interesting and thought-provoking to read or hear about someone receiving the Medal of Honor, but especially so when it’s  150 years have passed since the act of service took place. Today, Alonzo Cushing was awarded the Medal for his actions on the field at Gettysburg; you can read about it here.

I looked in our catalog to see if we had any books about him, and we don’t. However, there is a new book about his brother, Commander Will Cushing: Daredevil Hero of the Civil War, that is just about ready to go on the shelves. Will also played an important role in the Civil War, in the Navy, and led a distinguished military career for several years afterwards.

If you’re a fan of military nonfiction, or looking for an interesting biography, this book might be a good choice for you. Put a hold on it and get to it first!

 

 

Changes to ICPL’s Express collections make more popular titles available

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 5th, 2014

Changes to the Iowa City Public Library’s Express collection means more popular titles on the Express shelves.ExpressShelf-SocialMedia

The Library’s Express collection is comprised of popular fiction, non-fiction, and DVD titles. Collection Services Coordinator Anne Mangano says these are the items staff knows will be highly circulated or have received a lot of attention in the media.

Items in the Express collection have a shorter check out time (two weeks for books, two days for DVDs) and can’t be renewed. The Library has anywhere from 200 to 400 titles in the Express collection at a given time.

“It’s always a great place to go and look for the title you just heard about,” Mangano said.

Mangano also points out that while most popular titles come with a long holds list, holds can’t be placed on Express items. That means there’s always the chance that the book or DVD a patron wants is available on the Express shelf.

“Anytime you visit the Library, the Express collection is a great place to start,” Mangano said. “I like to call it the serendipity collection because you never know what will be available.”

For more information, please call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Review: Superman For All Seasons

by Ella Von Holtum on November 4th, 2014
Review: Superman For All Seasons Cover Image

 

 

 

I never got excited about Superman because I couldn’t relate to him. I have a friend who felt the same way, until he read Superman For All Seasons. He said I should give it a shot. He was right – this book changes everything for me. Well, no, not everything, but Superman For All Seasons casts the man who masquerades as Clark Kent in a whole new light. Suddenly he is complex and relatable, and perhaps more heroic for it.

This book is made up of a four issue series written by Jeph Loeb and with art by Tim Sale. Bjarne Hansen is the colorist, using watercolors that move between bold primary, easter-eggy, and sad purples. The art style is Rockwellian and evokes a simple life – the graphics are all Americana, with gentle subtleties provided by both the coloring and the writing.  Each issue is told from the point of view of a different main character, and with each switch the reader gains a new bit of insight into our hero. I was left with an image in my mind of someone utterly more conflicted and connected and brave than I had thought.

We begin with a farm boy, a dog, a dear mother and father, and a highschool sweetheart. There’s that simplistic Superman I have no patience for. Only, highschool is ending, his powers are growing, and Superman, like many American teenagers, has the scary and exciting task of deciding, “what next?” The decision is more complicated that he wants it to be, and no matter what he must give some things up.

The story unfolds from here with standard comic book elements – heroics, races against time, feats of strength, villains. But in this story too are questions about honesty and making connections. About what you leave behind when you go and what good it will do to return. About the impressions a person leaves, and about figuring out who we really are. Teenage Superman has a lot to figure out. He gives something up when he decides to be Superman, and it’s hard for him. Even though he is Superman, he has to live with his choices, and they are the kinds of choices we can all relate to.

Other superheroes may have more shadowy appeals, and I like that. But in Superman For All Seasons we realize that just because Superman is from another planet and possesses what for earthlings are super powers, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t struggle like the rest of us, and it doesn’t mean he isn’t human after all.

The Last Policeman Series

by Brent Palmer on October 31st, 2014
The Last Policeman Series Cover Image

If you enjoy both sci-fi and mysteries, investigate the Last Policemen Series.  The first two books in the three-part series by Ben H. Winters bagged an Edgar and a PKD award respectively.  The third has just come out.  The books follow the movements of Hank Palace, a new young detective in a small New Hampshire police force.  He made detective early not so much because he is a rising star on the force, but because there is an asteroid careening toward Earth and many of the police and detectives are running off to satisfy their bucket lists.  Nonetheless, he takes cases seriously even though the world is coming to an end and his colleagues shake their heads and snicker.  The cases themselves are interesting enough: a missing person’s case, a suspicious death and the disappearance of his sister.  But this is also a pre-apocolyptic look at society slowly becoming unraveled and it is interesting to see Winters vision of it.  Fortunately, it’s not so bleak or terrifying as The Road, partly because our protagonist is so dependable and his pursuit of the truth sustains us as the end nears.  These are quick and enjoyable reads. We have all three.

New digital magazines available

by Melody Dworak on October 31st, 2014
You can now check out the New Yorker from ICPL to read on your tablet. Instagram courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes (ari).

You can now check out the New Yorker from ICPL to read on your tablet. Instagram courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes (ari).

The Iowa City Public Library has added more than 30 new digital magazines this month. I am particularly excited that we were able to add great magazines by well-established publishers like Conde Naste and the Meredith Corporation, whose own headquarters are in Des Moines, Iowa.

Never used our digital magazines before? Get started with these instructions on how to use ICPL’s Zinio collection.

Read the rest of this entry »

Patrons’ Reading Suggestions: Children’s Books

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 29th, 2014

Are you looking for a new book to read? Let out patrons guide you!read next

The Library has several plastic suggestion boxes for patrons to deposit a slip of paper with the title of a book (or movie, CD or video game) they loved. We recently emptied the suggestion box in the Children’s Room and here are the books they think you should add to your reading list:

  • Korgi, Book 1: Sprouting Wings by Christian Slade
  • The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau
  • Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall
  • The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen
  • The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
  • More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
  • Young Cam Jensen series by David A. Adler

We keep a running list of all patron suggestions on our goodreads.com account (www.goodreads.com). We also have reviews written by staff members on this site. Take a look and maybe you’ll find your next book to check out!

Books I Want to Read Again

by Kara Logsden on October 24th, 2014

This week I had an opportunity to work with two patrons who needed recommendations for great books on disc for a long car 2014 10 road tripride.  One person is facing 14 hours in the car each way.  The other patron decided to ask a Librarian after depending on the New York Times bestseller list last year and not getting the book he was expecting (funny story … he pulled over, called his wife and said, “Have you heard about a book … 50 Shades of Something?).  When in doubt, it’s always good to ask Library staff for recommendations.

Below are a list of some of my favorites that I’d love to read again.  Some are new and some are older.  Many I have have listened to while others (A Paris Apartment) were so good I wasn’t patient enough to listen to them so I either downloaded the eBook or checked out the print book.  You can’t go wrong with any of these titles.

Happy reading and listening!

Blum, Jenna 

Those Who Save Us

What would you do to survive during a war? What if what you did elicits a legacy of shame?   Jenna Blum explores these themes through the stories of Anna Schlemmer, a German woman who survived WWII in Germany and her daughter, who is now a professor of German history in the United States. The story is a mother/daughter drama about love, passion, survival, and choices. 

 

Bodensteiner, Carol 

Go Away Home & Growing Up Country

Carol Bodensteiner is an Iowa author from Des Moines. Her first book (Growing Up Country) is a memoir of growing up on an Iowa dairy farm. From milking cows to giving a 4-H presentation, it captures rural farm life from a bygone era. It is also a wonderful book for our Iowa City Hospice reading partnership where volunteers present programs planned to help residents of care centers focus on memories. Go Away Home is Historical Fiction and also has a rural setting and captures the hopes and dreams in a coming-of-age story about a young woman from Iowa. 

 

Dallas, Sandra 

Prayers for Sale & The Bride’s House

Sandra Dallas is a versatile author. Although all her books can be characterized as Historical Fiction, they are all different. Stories include Pioneer life in Colorado (Diary of Mattie Spenser), Gilded Age life in Denver (Fallen Women), and the lives of Mormons starting out in Iowa City and traveling to Salt Lake City (True Sisters). All books are recommended but Prayers for Sale, set in the mountains near Breckenridge, CO and The Bride’s House, set in Georgetown, CO, are my favorites. 

 

Doerr, Anthony 

All the Light We Cannot See

Set in World War II, it is the story of Marie-Laure, a young French girl who lost her eyesight when she was six and must escape from Paris with her father during WWII. It is also the story of Werner, a young German boy who has a special talent for building and fixing radios. As the war rages, Marie-Laure and Werner cross paths. Doerr received a National Book Award nomination for this book. 

 

Gable, Michelle 

A Paris Apartment

The stories of two women in Paris. One is a modern-day Sotheby’s furniture specialist (April Vogt) and the other is renowned courtesan during the Belle Époque period in Paris just before World War I (Marthe de Florian). April is summoned to Paris and jumps at a chance to escape her crumbling life in the United States. In Paris she discovers an apartment that has been shuttered for more than 70 years and full of priceless furniture and paintings collected by Marthe but abandoned by her family. 

 

Glass, Julia 

Three Junes & And the Dark, Sacred Night

All of Julia Glass’ books are recommended but these two are my favorite. I first read Three Junes while I was in Positano, Italy looking out over the Mediterranean. I was swept away by the compelling story, lyrical writing, and strong characters. I was happily surprised when her newest book was a sequel to the story that started in Three Junes. Julia Glass’ novels feature strong characters and compelling plots that make the reader want more books from this author! 

 

Hillenbrand, Laura 

Unbroken

The true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini.   He enlisted in the US Army Air Forces in 1941. When the plane he was assigned to crashes into the South Pacific, Louis survives the crash and 47 days at sea in a plastic life raft. He was captured by the Japanese and sent to a labor camp. I refer to this books as the, “I will never complain about anything ever again book.” An older title but highly recommended. 

 

Horan, Nancy 

Loving Frank & Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Readers fell in love with Horan’s Loving Frank, a fictionalized story that captures the life of Frank Lloyd Wright and his second wife. Under the Wide and Starry Sky is the fictionalized story of Robert Lewis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. The story takes readers around the globe and, like Loving Frank, centers on the love story between the main characters. 

 

McLain, Paula 

The Paris Wife

The fictional story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. After a whirlwind courtship the couple marries and moves to Paris so Ernest can pursue his writing career. The Hemingways are drawn into Parisian life and meet many other writers and artists. There is a constant friction, though, between Ernest the writer and Ernest the husband. 

 

Orringer, Julie 

The Invisible Bridge

Sometimes books come along and leave a lasting impression, forcing the reader to ruminate about events and characters long after the book is done. This is one of those books. Andras and Tibor Levy are Jewish brothers who grew up in a small village in Hungary. It is the 1930′s and both aspire to do great things. The book focuses on Andras, his adventures and studies in Paris, and the relationship he establishes with the mysterious Klara Morgenstern, a Hungarian ballet instructor. 

 

Rosnay, Tatiana de 

Sarah’s Key & The House I Loved

Tatiana de Rosnay’s writing features solid characters, a strong sense of place, and a time of significant historical events.   Sarah’s Key is unforgettable and haunting. It begins with the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup of Jews in German-occupied Paris in 1942 and contrasts that story with a modern-day American journalist living in Paris. The House I Loved is a fictionalized story of Rose Bazelet and her opposition to the destruction of her family home during Haussman’s renovation of Paris, 1853-1870. Haussman’s radical plan was criticized for the large-scale destruction it caused; however, in recent times he has been credited with establishing Paris as a modern city. 

 

Rutherfurd, Edward 

Paris

Rutherfurd presents a multigenerational story that moves between time, character, and story. With Paris as the background, this approach brings characters to life, presents an understanding of historical events, and makes this reader really want to visit Paris and explore the geographical areas of the story.   I also want to read Rutherfurd’s other stories including London and New York

 

See, Lisa 

Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy & China Dolls

Lisa See’s books are full of details, family, love and complications. The characters are well developed, there’s a strong sense of place, and the reader cares about the characters and their journey. Shanghai Girls, and its sequel, Dreams of Joy, take readers on a journey from China to California and back again. China Dolls focuses on the 1930’s and 1940’s Chop-Suey Circuit in the entertainment world and focuses on three girls from diverse backgrounds who form a strong bond. 

 

Vreeland, Susan 

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Because of this book, I went to New York City to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other places to see Tiffany Glass.   Fictionalized story of Clara Driscoll who worked with Louis Comfort Tiffany at his New York studio and possibly the person who conceived the idea for the iconic Tiffany stained glass lamps. Set with the turn-of-the-century New York City backdrop with issues such as the rise of labor unions, women in the workplace, and advances in technology. 

 

Zevin, Gabrielle 

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

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 these faults, he has a passion for books and 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. 

 

Zoning in on Zinio

by Shawna Fredrickson on October 22nd, 2014

Last week I heard about an interesting article in the newest Rolling Stone magazine. (An interview with the creator of Adventure Time? Yes, please!) I wanted to read the article but didn’t have time to come to the library specifically to sit and read a magazine. (Though I usually look for any excuse to spend time in our atrium – Look how cozy and beautiful it is!)

Atrium

I had vaguely heard about ICPL’s digital magazine stand in the past; I decided now was the time to finally learn to use it. I was afraid it would be complicated, slow, and an all-around hassle. I happily learned, though, that this was not the case at all. From this page on our website, I learned how to access our Digital Magazine Stand, Zinio, on computers as well as personal devices. The service allows you to set up your own personal Zinio account where you can download magazines and sync your devices. During my 15 minute work break I learned about Zinio, created my own account using a computer, downloaded the most recent Rolling Stone to that account, downloaded the Zinio app on my tablet, logged in, and began reading about the creator of one of my favorite TV shows! Now, before I fall asleep at night, I am able to read my favorite magazines on my tablet in the comfort of my own bed. My only disappointment: Realizing I could have been enjoying free magazine downloads for months!

Zinio Page

I was astounded by the amount and the variety of magazines available through the Library’s Zinio service. Whether you’re looking to keep up on your entertainment news or you’re interested in the latest literary publications, ICPL’s Zinio selection has something for you.

  • Searching for new fall recipes to try? Check out the cooking magazines – More recipes can be found in the Home section.
  • There are several Health and Fitness magazines available to download for those who are looking to keep fit even as the weather grows colder.

If you’re like me, you’ll find TOO many magazines on Zinio!




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