by Melody Dworak on February 5th, 2016
The 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!
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on February 4th, 2016
The Christmas frenzy is over and now it’s time to sit back and relax for one of my favorite personal holidays: Super Bowl Sunday. This year marks the 50th game and, of course, we have the books to commemorate this momentous occasion.
The Super Bowl: the First Fifty Years of America’s Greatest Game (2015) by David Fischer talks about most of the games and also includes insets such as “The Best Who Never Won”. Some highlights are lots of pictures and interesting statistics in the back. It can be a bit confusing since there is no index and it’s not written chronologically.
For that, I recommend The Ultimate Super Bowl Book by Bob McGinn. Since it was written in 2009, it only goes up to Super Bowl XLIII but in a lot more detail. Statistics, player and coach rosters, even the weather conditions are all listed. I especially enjoyed reliving one of my favorites: the Packers and the Patriots in XXXI.
Super Bowl: the Game of Their Lives (1997) by Danny Peary is also consecutive. Each game is recounted by one of the actual players. For example, the final chapter in the book is Super Bowl XXXI from the MVP Desmond Howard’s perspective. Since I’ve missed my chance to be a professional athlete 😉 it’s fantastic to play vicariously through these superstars’ eyes.
If you want to learn about how it all began, there’s When It was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl (2015) by Harvey Frommer. After a brief overview of the beginning of professional football, it moves quickly into how this annual tradition came to pass. Instead of footnotes, quotes from people who were there are interspersed within the usual text.
Lastly, The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book: Where Greatness Lives (2012) by Joe Horrigan and John Thorn spotlights many outstanding players including those who may not have made it to the Big Game. This is a coffee table book with a myriad of pictures and quotes. The reproductions of printed materials is especially fascinating. Each chapter is a decade so it’s easy to see the changes over the years.
The football season may be over but these books celebrate fandom all year long!
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 4th, 2016
One of my favorite books is Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik. I picked it up because the title made me laugh, but the story of five women who come together for three decades of book club meetings (and everything in between) is why it’s high on my recommendation list.
I love books about book clubs. In a way, they are two books in one. First there’s the story, then there’s reading about the books the characters read. More often than not, those titles end up on my future reading list.
I’ll admit, sometimes writing down the title and author is as close as I’ll ever get to reading the book, but there have been times I’ve seen it through. For instance, I read Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster after the characters in Heather Vogel Fredrickson’s Mother-Daughter Book Club series read it in Dear Pen Pal.
Luckily, I spent a semester studying Jane Austen in college, so when The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler was published, I didn’t have to worry about falling down the rabbit hole of new book titles.
Like actors who aren’t doctors in real life but play one on TV, I do not belong to a book club; I only read about them. However, if starting a book club is something that interests you, ICPL has you covered. Our Book Club Kits contain 10 copies of books and discussion questions, all packaged in one canvas bag. Located on the first floor near the Help Desk, each kit can be checked out for six weeks.
by Brian Visser on February 1st, 2016
Have you ever been in a book funk? You know, where nothing grabs your attention. For three months, I’d read the first chapter or two of a book then never return to it. Nothing stuck. I buy the Young Adult books, and, in doing so, read a lot of reviews. Sometimes I’ll read a review and get really excited about a book only to be let down. I had a good feeling about Thanks for the Trouble when I read the review for it, then I gave a quick, silent prayer to the book gods that maybe, just maybe, this would bring an end to the funk.
It did. It totally did! I looooooooved this book! Read it. Just go read it. No? You need some convincing? OK, here we go…
Parker Santé has been mute ever since his father died in a car accident five years ago. Now he communicates via his journals and sign language. He skips school a lot, and one of his favorite pastimes is hanging out at hotels so he can steal from unsuspecting rich folks. One such victim is silver (not platinum) haired Zelda. Parker spots Zelda looking perfectly sad, but also notices her fat wad of cash. After swiping the dough, Parker thinks better of it and returns the money. Zelda matter-of-factly states that she plans to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge after she spends all of her money on a charity case. She agrees to spend the money on Parker as long as he agrees to go to college. This kick-starts a weekend that will change Parker completely. Also, did I mention that Zelda looks like she’s seventeen, but claims to be 250 years old?
I absolutely loved Parker’s voice. He’s witty without being obnoxious, and he’s an excellent writer. He grew up reading faerie tales–the real ones, not the sanitized Disney versions he says–and we’re treated to faerie tales that he has written himself. Most are bleak, but he can’t help being a bit romantic. Parker grows, and Zelda shows him that it’s better to live your life than to hide yourself from everyone else.
Do I have issues with the ending? I do, but it didn’t take the shine off the rest of the book. I highly recommend this to John Green fans and readers of Andrew Smith.
by Susan Craig on January 29th, 2016
Lila by Marilynne Robinson is the 2016 All Iowa Reads book and I want to encourage everyone to read it. Robinson is a brilliant author, her last four novels have been: a finalist for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, awarded the 2005 Pulitzer, awarded the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction, and awarded the 2014 National Book Critics Fiction Prize. Lila, the fourth in this list and the third book revolving around the small Iowa town of Gilead is a remarkable story of how a child grows into a woman dealing with abandonment and deprivation, struggling to understand her past and envision a more hopeful future. Sounds grim, doesn’t it? And, yet, somehow it is an inspiring tale of a fierce, obstinate woman I wish I could talk to.
This is the first time the All Iowa Reads committee has selected a second book by the same author (Gilead was an earlier selection), but this story and how it is told deserves a broad audience. I find Lila a much easier read than Gilead. I like Lila more than I did Reverend Ames. I find her story compelling and the narrative– although it jumps from present to past and is not sequential– easier to follow. Several people I know tried to read Gilead and put it down before they were finished, I urged them to give Lila a try, and one who did said it was an excellent book they enjoyed very much.
The Library has many copies of the book — in regular print, large print, e-book, audio on compact disc and downloadable, plus a book club kit. I highly recommend the book to all readers and it is a great discussion book for reading groups as well.
by Katherine Habley on January 27th, 2016
Two weeks ago for my in-house Wednesday preschool storytime and all my outreach storytimes that week, I read books about moose. I borrowed the Storytime Kit #16, “Moose on the Loose,” for inspiration and to use the cute puppet included, but I also pulled some other moose picture books to share. One that I really like is Elusive Moose by Joan Gannij with artwork by Clare Beaton. The text is short–just one sentence for each two-page spread, but it is perfect for preschoolers. I also think the rhyming words make it a great read-aloud story. The narrator sees horses, beavers, geese, a brown bear, badgers, frogs, an eagle, Arctic foxes, hares, and squirrels, but wishes that he (she) could see a moose. What children looking at the pictures will delight in, is that there are moose hiding on nearly every page that the narrator is oblivious to. So the audience is in on the conceit and the successful picture book demands further readings. But the highlight of Illusive Moose is the creative picture-making. Beaton has once again used felt, beads, sequins, and colorful fabrics to cut and sew marvelous scenes and then they are captured as pictures for audiences to enjoy. Her crafty images so meticulously done are great to share because of their different format compared to the usual techniques used in picture book illustrations. Also, the author has included additional information in the back of the book about the “Animals of the Northern Lands” that would be fun to show to kids. A page on “Animal Tracks” in the snow and “Meet the Moose!” provide further facts about this largest member of the deer family. I’m partial to this animal after seeing a real moose up close in the wild with my grandson while vacationing in the Rockie Mountains last summer. Check out all the books with Clare Beaton’s fabric artwork in the picture book section of the Children’s Room.
by Jennifer Eilers on January 26th, 2016
It’s a librarian’s job to know about the best books for the library’s collection; and I’m lucky enough that a bunch of my co-workers bought me their favorite children’s books to help me welcome my second child. Having had the time to read through the books now several times with both of my children, I’ve picked my top five favorites to share with you. To find them in the library’s collection click on the title!
- The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc
I had never read a book by Dubuc until I received it as a gift, and I am so thankful I got this one. The book is about the relationship between a lion who finds and cares for an injured bird. The two become friends but eventually the bird must fly away for the winter leaving the lion behind. Like the lion you feel the heartbreak of missing a dear friend through Dubuc’s prose and illustrations. The illustrations are lush and vibrant but somehow understated. Paired with the story, it weaves a magic that is more than the sum of its parts.
2. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Sometimes before bedtime you need a laugh and Beaton’s book delivers. Like any kid, Princess Pinecone has some definite expectations for herself as a warrior and for the pony she hopes to receive as a birthday present. Beaton’s story challenges kids and adults to consider stereotypes and stereotyping in a humorous way – it’s chock-full of sweater-wearing warriors and princesses who can and do hold their own. Plus, who can resist a fat pony that farts?
3. Hide and Seek by Taro Gomi
This clever little board book has bright illustrations that my baby can appreciate while my preschooler plays along with the hide and seek game. On each page there is a group of animals where one animal is cleverly hiding an object, for example, a raccoon hides a striped sock on its tail. Just like in any good hide and seek game, you may need to look twice to find what you’re looking for!
4. Orange Triangle Fox by Sarah Jones
Every baby needs a book that teaches them shapes, colors, and animals. Jones combines each of these things to create cute and colorful illustrations. While some shapes seem readily built for the colors and shapes Jones chooses for them, others are unexpected. This combination makes this book delightful in its simplicity.
5. Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
Full disclosure – sheep are a BIG deal in my family. My preschooler has a flock of sheep with names as expected as Lambie and nonsensical as Dr. Higgin Flower Busters. In this book, sheep are limitless. They break away from being black and white and do more than bleat on a farm. These sheep are red. These sheep take baths. These sheep are clowns. So as the book begs the question, “Where is the Green Sheep?” you can challenge your little one to think outside of the box.
by Heidi Kuchta on January 20th, 2016
In No Sweat, Michelle Segar offers new ways to approach fitness for people who have a bad attitude (or, as I like to say, a badittude) about working out. In fact, one of the things that Segar promotes is removing the phrases “working out,” “fitness,” and “getting in shape” from our internal dialogue. It’s called “movement,” and we need it to feel good mentally and physically. Her research is based on what motivates people to move and take better care of themselves. (Evidently, while the pressure to “be fit” is everywhere, it is often not a very motivating message.) This book offers Segar’s findings about motivation and also acts as a type of workbook for changing the way you think about exercise. No Sweat is a practical book about how to prioritize self-care and feeling good instead of stressing out about pounds, inches, and health.
by Brian Visser on January 13th, 2016
Earlier this week, the winner of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award was announced. The award honors the best book in young adult literature each year as decided by the Printz Committee. They also name honor books, which are also really good books for teens (and adults!). Here are this year’s books:
By Laura Ruby
Told from alternating viewpoints, Bone Gap perfectly melds elements of fairy tales, myths, gothic romance, and magic realism into the story of Finn, who lives in a town with gaps in the very fabric of time and place.
2016 Honor Books
The Ghosts of Heaven
By Marcus Sedgwick
Sedgwick connects four seemingly disparate stories, each of which feature a character haunted by the ever-present shape of a spiral. Spanning time, space, and genre, each story raises powerful questions about human nature.
Out of Darkness
By Ashley Hope Pérez
In 1937 East Texas, Mexican American Naomi and African American Wash begin a bittersweet romance. Perez’s beautifully crafted novel is a moving portrayal of both powerful love and a period marked by oppressive, destructive racism.
by Beth Fisher on January 12th, 2016
From January 4 through February 29th people of all ages can join in the fun of ICPL’s first Winter Reading Program!
You don’t even need to register – just stop by any of the desks in the Library and pick up a Bingo game card. There are four game cards available: Babies, Kids, Teens and Adults. Instructions for playing are on the back of each card. To fill in a square all you need to do is read, attend a program, or explore the Library. Everyone who finishes the game before March 1st is invited to the Pizza and Popcorn Party to celebrate. Your completed Bingo card is your ticket to the party.
Here are some of the squares on the Adult game card (and some possible answers):
Read a book from the NEW shelf.
Read a book that became a movie.
Re-read one of your favorite books.
Read a book you should have read in High School. (Something all your friends were reading, or a popular book of the time. You don’t have to read a classic that was assigned in school. Unless you want to.)
Read a book from the New York Times Bestseller List.