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My Reading History @ Your Library

by Kara Logsden on November 24th, 2014
My Reading History @ Your Library Cover Image

There’s an awesome user feature in our online Catalog called “My Reading History.” “My Reading History” will keep track of every physical item you have checked out from the Library. It will also eMail the list to you. This feature is available to everyone but you must turn the feature on before it will begin tracking items checked out.

To activate “My Reading History,” login to your online account at catalog.icpl.org and click on “Reading History.”  If you don’t have a password, or don’t remember your password, please give us a call during Library hours or stop by the Help Desk and we’ll set one up for you.2014 11 my reading hist

Once you’ve logged in to the Catalog and selected “My Reading History,” there is a toggle button to Opt In or Opt Out. The default is for accounts to be set-up to “Opt Out” so you must choose “Opt In” for the system to begin tracking your checkouts.

I enjoy browsing through “My Reading History” because it’s a walk down memory lane. Some titles bring back memories of learning to draw with my children (Ed Emberley books are great for this) and favorite books while others remind me about planning a vacation, craft projects and driving in blizzards. I’ve used this feature for nearly 10 years so I have quite a long memory lane cataloged there.

We often get questions about “My Reading History” so here’s the fine print if you have questions or concerns:

Library Staff may not access these lists so they are completely private.  It is up to you to activate this feature IF you want the catalog to keep track of the physical items you check out.

If you checked out something you don’t want to keep track of, you can delete the item from your list.

You can choose to Opt Out any time and opt back in later if you choose to.

My Reading History does not track any eMaterials checked out on other webpages like OverDrive and Zinio.

If an item is withdrawn from our collection, it no longer appears in My Reading History.

Some patrons come in hopeful that we track their circulation over time – this usually happens when they can’t remember a book they checked out. We don’t track specific items checked out because of privacy issues. IF the patron turned on My Reading History, the record will be there once they login to their Library Account. In most cases, though, they have not turned this feature on and so the information is not available.

If you wish to Opt In to “My Reading History” and need help, please stop by or give us a call. It’s a nice feature for those who are interested in keeping track of materials checked out over time.

Vacationers by Emma Straub

by Kara Logsden on November 21st, 2014
Vacationers by Emma Straub Cover Image

Straub’s Vacationers is a vicarious trip out of the cold Iowa winter. Frannie and Jim decide to vacation in Majorca, Spain with their grown-up children and Frannie’s best friend, Charles, and his husband. For each character Majorca represents a turning point of either falling back into the ruts of life or moving forward and finding new potential.

Emma Straub’s writing is clean and crisp. The books is funny, warm and realistic. Straub creates characters who are real and struggle with insecurities and secrets while ultimately triumphing over what life throws at them. I listened to the book and Kristen Sieh’s narration is perfect.

As I look out my window I see it is snowing again. If you need a vicarious escape to Spain check out Emma Straub’s Vacationers.

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!




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