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Fresh Picks: Election Edition

by Morgan Reeves on October 19th, 2016
Fresh Picks: Election Edition Cover Image

It may seem like this election season may never end, but soon enough it will be Election Day (November 8th this year) and we will have a new president. While kids may not be able to have an official say just yet, they can check out some of our newest presidential reads from the jNonfiction section. Read the rest of this entry »

Video Staff Picks: New nonfiction for fall 2016 with Terri

by Bond Drager on October 18th, 2016

American Cake by Anne Byrn

by Anne Mangano on October 17th, 2016
American Cake by Anne Byrn Cover Image

I love history. And I love cake. So Anne Byrn’s new baking book, American Cake spoke to me. Byrn provides a timeline of American history through recipes, from gingerbread and sugar cakes of colonial times to more recent favorites like tres leches or beet velvet cake. Each recipe includes the cake’s significance, whether a change in cooking techniques and ingredients to major societal and technological shifts, as well as an updated recipe.

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Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon

by Heidi Kuchta on October 12th, 2016

Pitbull book

Pit Bull advocate Bronwen Dickey’s summer 2016 book release Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon was sometimes very difficult to read. I even put off writing this blog post because I was too emotional after I first read the book to write a proper review! I have been a Pit Bull mama for almost a decade. Saysha is a 12-year-old female Staffordshire Terrier and Mowgli is a 3-year-old male American Bulldog mix. “Pit Bull” is not an exact breed – instead it has become a catch-all term for bulldogs of various kinds, or just mutts that look like Pits. Defining characteristics are blocky heads, thick muscular bodies, and big smiles. Saysha and Mowgli have very distinct personalities and looks. Mowgli weighs over 110 pounds; Saysha weighs only around 50 pounds. Mowgli loves eating fruit and veggies; Saysha will turn her nose up at a carrot or apple slice and instead beg for a biscuit. Saysha is very friendly with a princess streak, she naps a lot in her old age; Mowgli is playful and active yet more challenging, prone to becoming territorial about the house and barking out the front window. (Nothing a couple miles around the neighborhood can’t ease.) I can’t imagine my life without them. One of my long-term plans is to own some land so I can start my own bulldog rescue here in Iowa. SayshMowgli

(Above: Saysha and Mowgli in 2014. Mowgli is the white and grey dog.)

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Get your craft on to support ICPL.

by Beth Fisher on October 11th, 2016
Get your craft on to support ICPL. Cover Image

Attention all crafters!   Donations are now being accepted for the 5th Annual ICPL Friends Foundation fundraising bazaar.  The bazaar is on Saturday, December 3rd, so you still have time to get your craft on to support ICPL.  Donation forms area available online or in the Library.

If you’re looking for ideas to get your crafting juices flowing, on the 2nd floor near the Information Desk we’ve put together a display of a few of the many, many craft books from our collection.  Some of the books on the display include:

Christmas Crafting in No Time by Clare Youngs  Contains 50 fun holiday projects in a variety of different crafts, including paper crafting, sewing, clay modelling, papiermache, printing, candle making.  Each project has easy to follow step by step instructions,  and project rage from quick and simple to time consuming and more advanced.  A guide to embroidery stitches in included at the end of the book.

big bookThe Big Book of Holiday Paper Crafts, by the editors of Paper Crafts magazine contains more than 500 ideas for all sorts of holidays.  Focused mainly on cards, here are also ideas bookmarks, gift bags, and holiday ornaments as well. Read the rest of this entry »

New Janet Evanovich Series

by Kara Logsden on October 11th, 2016
New Janet Evanovich Series Cover Image

Confession time: When I heard there was a new Janet Evanovich series starting I might have groaned a bit. I enjoy the Stephanie Plum series and thought the Barnaby series was laugh-out-loud funny, but I haven’t really enjoyed the Fox and O’Hare series Evanovich has been writing with Lee Goldberg. I’m happy to report I think the new series, Knight and Moon, written with Phoef Sutton, has a lot of potential. Phoef Sutton was a co-writer on Evanovich’s Wicked Charms, part of the entertaining series featuring the character Diesel. Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh Picks: Graphic Novels

by Morgan Reeves on October 9th, 2016
Fresh Picks: Graphic Novels Cover Image

Formerly derided as lazy reading, these days graphic novels have come into their own and offer some of the most complex and interesting stories around. Classic comics themes of adventure and humor are still the most prevalent in the format, but nonfiction and historical fiction are gaining in popularity. Some of the newest additions to our jGraphic Novels collection showcase the format’s growing diversity. Let’s start with the sixth volume in the American history series “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” Alamo All-Stars. This book covers the convoluted early history of Texas and its ties to Mexico. The historical facts are kept flowing through the funny narration of Nathan Hale and questions from his executioners. Tangential stories from the lives of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Vicente Guerrero help keep the story personal.

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It Could be Worse : Dystopian Fiction

by Susan Craig on October 6th, 2016
It Could be Worse :  Dystopian Fiction Cover Image

The days are getting shorter, the political sniping is at an all- time high (or is that low?) and won’t end for  weeks (or is it perpetual?), up north they just had a serious flood and down south they are evacuating for a hurricane.  It’s time to read some dystopian fiction to give you some perspective.

Wikipedia says, “A dystopia …is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening.  It is translated as “not-good place”, an antonym of utopia, …Dystopian societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories set in the future. Some of the most famous examples are 1984 and Brave New World. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society..”

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of dystopian fiction written for young adults (think of the Hunger Games and Divergent series), but I’ve recently read several novels aimed at adults that fall into this genre.  After hearing a radio interview with the author,  I wanted to read Underground Airline by Ben H. Winters.  All our copies were checked out so I had to put a hold on it, and in the meantime I read the author’s Last Policeman series.  These are very engaging books.  The last policeman is Detective Palace.  He is trying to do the right thing as civil society disintegrates around him in the face of earth’s collision with a massive asteroid that will happen in 6 months.  The scenario in Underground Airlines is worse somehow because the fault lies in humans, not some natural outside force.  The story takes place in modern day United States, however, Read the rest of this entry »

New digital magazines!

by Melody Dworak on October 3rd, 2016

As of October 1, Digital Johnson County has added 6 new Zinio digital magazine subscriptions that you can own for FREE with your library card! When you go to check one out, make sure to check the box so you can get an email when the next issue of your favorite magazines are available.

Check out these awesome new subscriptions!

Us Weekly

Us Weekly

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Jackson Pollock’s Mural: The Transitional Moment

by Bond Drager on October 2nd, 2016

JacketIf you’ve ever been curious to learn more about Pollock’s monstrous work that was heroically saved from the flooded art museum building in 2008, we have some great resources. The book “Jackson Pollock’s Mural: the transitional moment” is written by the conservators at the Getty Center who completed restoration of the painting recently.
One of those conservators, Yvonne Szafran, gave a talk here at ICPL in 2012 about exactly what was done to the painting. It’s a fascinating story, and it’s one of my personal favorite programs we have on The Library Channel.

IPTV recently premiered a documentary about the painting’s history and just which of the many tall tales surrounding it have any truth. That video is on their website:

Even if you aren’t a fan of abstract expressionism, this painting has an incredible story behind it, and it is an important piece of culture at University of Iowa. I look forward to seeing it again in all its glory when the new UI Museum of Art opens.