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.
by Mary Estle-Smith on January 5th, 2016
In today’s stress filled world many people are looking for a quick and easy method of winding down when they need to. One method that has been around for a very long time is meditation.
Meditation has waxed and waned in popularity over the years and seems to currently be experiencing a resurgence of interest. It has been scientifically and medically proven that meditation can help people to relieve anxiety, quit smoking, lose weight, and achieve other life and behavior modifications that new year’s resolutions are all about, so what better time to check it out?
Here are a few example of titles in our collection that may inspire you to get you started:
This last one so my horse and I (and perhaps you and yours) will become one zen-like entity in the new year.
Can’t hurt to give it a try!
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2015
It’s here! Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2015!
Staff members nominated more than 100 books released in 2015 as their favorite reads of the year. Those that made this list were nominated by more than one person, which truly makes them the Best of the Best.
- The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (fiction)
- Descent by Tim Johnston (fiction)
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (young adult)
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (young adult)
- Simon’s New Bed by Christian Trimmer (children’s)
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin (children’s)
- The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton (children’s)
- Waiting by Kevin Henkes (children’s)
- The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville (children’s)
- Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (children’s)
- Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (children’s)
- Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (mystery)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (science fiction/fantasy)
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (autobiography/biography/memoir)
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (autobiography/biography/memoir)
- Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon (autobiography/biography/memoir)
- On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks (autobiography/biography/memoir)
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction)
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (nonfiction)
- Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (nonfiction)
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel)
- Sunny Side Up by Jennifer and Matthew Holm (graphic novel)
For the second year in a row, two books share the honor of being ICPL’s Most Recommended Book of 2015 — Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.
Allplegate’s Crenshaw tells the story of Jackson, a young boy whose family has fallen on hard times. With no money for rent and very little for food, Jackson, his parents, his little sister and their dog may have to live in their minivan — again. Jackson’s imaginary friend, a large cat named Crenshaw, wants to help, but is he enough to save a family from losing everything?
Publishers Weekly calls the book “accessible” and “moving” and “… demonstrates how the creative resilience of a child’s mind can soften difficult situations, while exploring the intersection of imagination and truth.” Children’s Librarian Morgan Reeves says Crenshaw is the book she has recommended the most to readers of all ages since its release in September of 2015.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania tells the story of a historical event many people think they know, but don’t: the sinking of the Lusitania during WWI.
The luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York en route to Liverpool in 1915, just as WWI was entering its tenth month. Though Germany has declared the seas around Britain a war zone, Captain William Thomas Turner had faith in “the gentlemanly structures of warfare” that had kept civilian ships safe in the past. What follows is one of the greatest tragedies of maritime history. “It’s the other Titanic, the story of a mighty ship sunk not by the grandeur of nature but by the grimness of man,” Hampton Sides writes in his review for The New York Times.
Did your favorite read of 2015 make our list?
If you are looking for more great reads, here are the links to our Best of the Best lists for 2014, 2013 and 2012.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 30th, 2015
According to Publishers Weekly, graphic novels are one of the fastest-growing genres in public libraries. The reasons for this vary from academic (studies have shown the positive impact graphic novels have on reluctant readers and English-learning students) to entertainment, as some of the today’s biggest TV shows and movies are based on graphic novels.
ICPL’s graphic novel collection has followed this trend, with more titles added to our shelves every year. As such, we decided to add a graphic novel category to our end-of-the-year staff picks list. This list includes titles found in the children’s room and the Library’s second floor.
ICPL’s BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2015
- Intro to Alien Invasion by Owen King and Mark Jude Poirier and Nancy Ahn
- Hawkeye Volume 4: Rio Bravo by Matt Fraction and Francesco Francavilla
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
- Sunny Side Up by Jennifer and Matt Holm
- The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
- Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
- Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
- Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca
- Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
- Step Aside Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton
- A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima*
* This title was originally released in 2013. It wasn’t published in English until 2015, which is why it’s included on our list.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 29th, 2015
From exploring romance through Tinder to sharing the stories of everyday people on the streets of New York City, this year’s crop of nonfiction titles run the gamut from humorous to thought-provoking, inspiring to contemplative.
Nonfiction is always a popular category among ICPL staff (We work at a Library; of course we love learning!), so we apologize now if our picks for the best nonfiction titles of 2015 add to your never-ending reading list.
ICPL’s BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF 2015
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
- Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers by Nick Offerman
- Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on Their Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum
- Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
- Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
- Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenthood by Emily Flake
- The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck
- The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
- The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self by Anil Anandaughtersthaswamy
- Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura
- The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks
- The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare’s First Folio by Andrea betweeMays
- Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
- So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
by Beth Fisher on December 28th, 2015
Today’s weather word of the day in Iowa City is Graupel.
Graupel is a winter phenomenon often mistaken for hail or sleet, but it’s actually quite different. Graupel is the result of super-cooled droplets of water freezing to the surface of a snowflake. Unlike a hailstone, they are not truly round in shape, they’re more like little globs of lumpy ice and are usually only 2-5 mm in size. The easy way to tell graupel from hail is to try and pick it up. Hailstones are hard while graupel pellets are soft and mushy. This is a handful of graupel.
How is graupel different from hail or sleet? Read on.
Hail is a sphere of ice that falls from the clouds during a thunderstorm in the warmer seasons. Hail is usually 5mm to 15 cm in size (about 1/4 inch to 6 inches), and is formed inside thunderstorms with significant updrafts. Hailstones are made of many hard uniform layers of ice that rise and fall inside the clouds until they weigh to much for the updrafts to keep aloft. Hail rarely forms in the winter.
Sleet, which resembles hail, forms during winter storms when a snowflake passes through a small warmer layer of air after forming. The flake partially melts, then refreezes into a droplet shape before it reaches the ground. Sleet often falls in conjunction with very cold rain.
Freezing rain or Glaze Ice is super-cooled rain that freezes on contact with a surface that is at or below 32 degrees.
Here’s one last fun weather word: Rime. Rime is what is created when the water droplets in fog freeze when they come in contact with something very cold – like a car windshield. Rime comes in two types – Hard Rime which forms on the windward side of objects during moderate to high winds or Soft Rime which forms on all sides of an object when there is little or no wind.
For more information about snow or weather check out the following:
The Snowflake: Winter’s Frozen Artistry by Kenneth Libbrecht
Thunder & Lightening: weather past, present, future by Lauren Redniss.
Restless skies: the ultimate weather book by Paul Douglas
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 28th, 2015
Quiz time! What’s the different between an autobiography, biography and memoir?
An autobiography is a story an author writes about his or her life. Usually all-encompassing, most autobiographies start with the author’s childhood and move chronologically highlighting important events, ending at the present time.
A biography also follows a chronological structure over a long period of time, but it is written by someone other than the subject of the book.
Memoirs are sometimes confused with autobiographies, which is completely understandable. Like an autobiography, a memoir is a narrative written by the author about their life. But while autobiographies cover the author’s life up to the point of publication, a memoir focuses on one aspect or theme of the author’s life. Memoirs tend to be less formal, and focus more on memories, feelings, and emotions instead of facts.
No matter which genre you prefer, autobiographies, biographies and memoirs introduce readers to fascinating people, reveal the stories of well-known individuals, and provide inspiration, insight and greater understanding of others.
ICPL’s BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS OF 2015
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day
- Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
- Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film by Patton Oswalt
- Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
- Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
- Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
- I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
- Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin
- The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
- On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks
- Live Like Line, Love Like Ellyn: One Community’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph by Bill Hoeft
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 27th, 2015
In past years, we combined our picks for the best mystery books of the year with our best science fiction books. This year, however, we’re following the Library’s catalog system, which groups science fiction and fantasy books together.
We have no idea why this didn’t occur to us sooner. We’d say it was a mystery, but we already shared one groan-worthy mystery joke yesterday. It would be wrong to go for two.
ICPL’s BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF 2015
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
- Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
- Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons) by Marie Brennan
- Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 26th, 2015
How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.
When you are finished giggling (or groaning) over that joke, check out the books Library staff chose as the best mysteries of 2015!
ICPL’s BEST MYSTERIES OF 2015
- City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- Badlands by C.J. Box
- Endangered by C.J. Box
- Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
- Brush Back by Sara Paretsky
- A Fine Summer’s Day by Charles Todd
- A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
- The Language of the Dead: A World War II Mystery by Stephen Kelly
- The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
- A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2015
This category encompasses everything you’d find on the shelves in the Ellen Buchanan Children’s Room — board books and picture books to chapter books and children’s non-fiction. That might be why our list of Best Children’s Books of 2015 is longer than any other category. Or it could be because there were so many great children’s books released this year!
ICPL’s BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2015
- Simon’s New Bed by Christian Trimmer
- Black Day: The Monster Rock Band by Marcus Sikora with Mardra Sikora
- All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
- Painting for Peace in Ferguson by Carol Swartout Klein
- When You Were Born by Emma Dodd
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
- Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess
- Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby by Lee Bennett Hopkins
- P. Zonka Lays An Egg by Julie Paschkis
- Snoozefest by Samantha Berger
- The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
- Waiting by Kevin Henkes
- Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
- Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
- The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville
- Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
- Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
- The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
- Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
- Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
- Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
- Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
- Beyond the Western Deep by Alex Kain
- The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko
- Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story by Emily Arnold McCully
- The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams
- The Only Child by Guojing
- Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
- The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
- I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems
- The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
- Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
- The School for Good and Evil #3: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
- Wings of Fire Book Seven: Winter Turning by Tui T. Sutherland
- Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine