by Kara Logsden on April 8th, 2015
Patrick Taylor’s newest installment in the Irish Country Doctor series provides background information about many of the beloved characters in the stories. An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War moves between Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly’s service on the HMS Warspite battleship during WWII and two decades later in the iconic Irish village of Ballybucklebo.
I enjoy the Patrick Taylor books on many levels. The very basic level involves storytelling. I listen to these audiobooks and the narrator, John Keating, is awesome. His Irish brogue adds an element to the story that makes it come alive. There are many layers to the stories and Patrick Taylor weaves plots, details, and resolutions through chapters and decades.
The stories also have a strong sense of place and great character development. In my mind I know what Ballybucklebo looks like and, if I could visit, I would expect to find the publican, the town counselor, and the other assorted characters just as they are described in the books. Although the village is a bit iconic, it adds to the enjoyment of the story.
And finally, I like these stories for the pure enjoyment of the experience. I listen, I laugh, and I think about traveling to Ireland someday. I affectionately tell my son he’s a “buck eejit” and he smiles because he’s listened to the stories and also enjoys them.
by Beth Fisher on April 8th, 2015
April is National Poetry Month
ICPL is hosting a variety of programs to celebrate:
Poems of James Hearst, Sung.
Wednesday, April 8th 7:00 p.m.
Meeting Room A
Dr. Scott Cawelti explores the life and poetry of Iowa farmer-poet James Hearst. Dr Cawelti puts the poetry of James Hearst to music, accompanying himself on accoustic steel-string guitar. *This event is sponsored in party by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Totally Tweens: Poetry Workshop
Saturday, April 11th 2:00 p.m.
Meeting Room A
Tweens are invited to write their own peoms and learn about various poetic forms from haiku, concrete poems, acrostic poems, limericks, etc. Participants may share their poems aloud with the group if they wish. All mateirals will be provided. Refreshemnts will be served. A poetry slam will take place the last 15 minutes of the workshop, with parents invited. Registration is required, click here or call the library at 319-356-5200 to register.
Poetry Month Open Mic Night
Monday, April 13th 7:00 p.m.
Meeting Room A
Read your favorite poem. It can be your own work or the work of another poet you admire. Limit of 5 minutes per reader.
Where in the World: Places in Poetry
Tuesday, April 28th, Noon
Meeting Room A
Members of the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center group “Reading Aloud” will be reading poems about places. * This event is cosponsored by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.
Stop by and check out the Library’s Poetry Month displays on the first and second floors, or express yourself with our giant magnetic poetry game on the 2nd floor.
by Katherine Habley on April 1st, 2015
The Main Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers is a 2015 new poetry book for children that I checked-out in preparation for the library’s annual Poetry Workshop for Kids coming up Saturday, April 11th, from 2:00–4:00 p.m. I enjoy facilitating this program for tweens each April in honor of National Poetry Month and am always amazed at the creative poems kids write. We talk about haiku, originally a poetic form from Japan describing a moment in nature in 17 syllables (5-7-5) written in three lines. Nowadays we take lots of poetic license in the writing of haiku as illustrated in this new collection of poems by Rosen who gave us The Cuckoo’s Haiku in 2009. Each of the twenty haiku are about a particular kind of cat. For example, in the haiku entitled “Burmese,” it goes like this: “Only the blazing/forsythia blooms rival/the Burmese cat’s gaze.” Another poem I enjoy is “Maine Coon” written in three simple lines of verse: “Crouched before the couch,/suddenly, cat has all night/for just one sound–mouse.” Haiku is a great form of poetry to teach because it’s short and understandable for young readers and writers. Children can use their imagination to think of a scene in nature that for one brief moment is worthy of notice and describe it in a haiku. It is personal, reflective, and quiet poetry that relies on eliciting feelings, emotions, and wonder. The illustrations in this book are by Lee White and are done digitally in muted colors. A bonus in The Maine Coon’s Haiku is the thumbnail description and image from the book of the breed. Don’t forget to register your 3rd-6th grader for the Poetry Workshop and we’ll talk more about haiku and write some of our own. In the meantime, check out this book on the New Book Shelves and celebrate National Poetry Month!
by Candice Smith on April 1st, 2015
Our most recent BYOBook event, on March 24 at Brix, focused on Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test: a Journey Through the Madness Industry. The book is a reporter’s journey of investigation that touches upon a few specific characters and events, filled out with some science and theory. It is by no means an overwhelmingly serious, complete look at psychopathy; Ronson places himself at the center of inquiry, and readers follow along as he interviews the people he found to be most interesting or illustrative. I found it to be highly entertaining and informative, and was happy to accept it for what it was. Other readers were left a little frustrated at the lack of depth on the topic or parts of it, at Ronson’s somewhat meandering storytelling and discussion, and at the sort of lack of conclusion (or maybe definitive opinion on his part? a real yes or no answer?) in many of the questions presented. Is Tony a psychopath or not? Is the DSM real and useful, or is it a harmful tool created by a bunch of people who feel the need to label everything? What IS the whole point of the Being and Nothingness book deal??
There were several people who mentioned that they’d been hoping for a more thorough, science-based look at psychopaths and the study of them, as well as other mental disorders. Here are a few recent books that might be of interest:
Confessions of a Psychopath: a life spent hiding in plain sight by M.E. Thomas
Dangerous Personalities: an FBI profiler shows how to identify and protect yourself from harmful people by Joe Navarro
Murderous Minds: exploring the criminal psychopathic brain… by Dean Haycock
Shrinks: the untold story of psychiatry by Jeffrey Lieberman
Up next for B.Y.O.Book is Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, on April 21 from 7-8 p.m. at Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar.
by Katherine Habley on April 1st, 2015
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold written by Joyce Sidman is a lovely new picture book of poems suitable for grade K to grade 4. Although there are only a dozen poems included, they are very descriptive of animals surviving in the cold long winter. The author sometimes uses unfamiliar words in her poems but there is a brief glossary of 22 definitions in the back of the book that defines words children might not know. Some poems rhyme but most do not. Two of the poems are in a particular poetic form–a pantoun and a triolet–adding to the reader’s knowledge of the poetic structure used. Sidman has certainly done her research on each animal of the frozen North she writes about. She lives in Minnesota and has observed these creatures first hand; but the addition of a paragraph of information about each hardy animal living in the winter is something that will appeal to animal lovers, parents, and teachers who choose to share this book in the classroom. Some of the animals included are the tundra swan, a big brown moose, winter bees, a vole, and wolves. The aspect of this new volume of poetry that I particularly love are the beautiful illustrations by Rick Allen, another Minnesota native. He is a printmaker and has employed his considerable skills in printing from linoleum blocks and then adding color by hand. The prints were then digitally scanned, composed, and layered to create the artwork for the poems. Winter Bees is a book for those who love the natural world. And even though the poems depict winter scenes, the book ends with the coming of Spring. Hallelujah!
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on March 31st, 2015
Image courtesy of Amazon.com
Since this is my very first blog ever, I’d like to recommend my most favorite book of all time: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This epic novel is not in our Book Madness bracket, most likely because I forgot to submit it. Because it was originally serialized, each chapter is full of action and the book reads more like modern-day authors David Baldacci and Brad Thor.
Before he became The Count, Edmond Dantes was a naive merchant sailor with a life full of happiness. That changes when he is sent to the foreboding Chateau d’If for reasons unknown to him. After his “release”, he methodically wreaks vengeance on those he deems responsible, but also helps others he believes are worthy.
If you don’t have the time for 117 chapters or are just a bit daunted, we have a 4-part TV mini-series (starring Gerard Depardieu; 1998) and the 2002 theatrical version (starring Jim Caviezel). There are also many revamped versions including:
Since I am a fervent fan, I’ve also read The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss. This is a biography of Alexandre Dumas’s father who served as an inspiration for the novel.
Edmond Dantes is a complex character and the plot is quite intricate – with every re-reading I discover something new. The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic because its themes still resonate today.
by Melody Dworak on March 31st, 2015
If it takes 90 days to create a new habit, then by-golly I may have just succeeded at one of my New Year’s Resolutions. This resolution was inspired by that 5 o’clock HANGRY feeling.
You get off work, drained from the day, and you have no energy or patience to deal with making cooking decisions. Eating–a core function of sustaining your existence–takes the backseat to meal prep, or arguing about meal prep, or whining about why you can’t ever eat the salad greens before they turn to slime.
The solution? Big batch cooking on the weekend, or whatever days off you might have. I’m happy to say this has worked for me for 13 weeks in a row. I use recipes from library cookbooks to shake up the flavors, only repeating my favorites. And I’ve started collecting these recipes by scanning the pages with Evernote’s Scannable app (Apple) and saving them to the Evernote Food app (Andoid, Apple).
Here are a few of the books and recipes that have allowed me to conquer the 5 o’clock HANGRY. Read the rest of this entry »
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on March 30th, 2015
New in the Children’s Room—Sensory Storytime Kits! These kits are now available to check out and are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection. Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, these kits include books, props, music cd’s, puppets, flannelboards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes. Though created with a specific audience in mind, all children will enjoy the interactive components of these kits. Choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day, brushing giant teeth, matching clothes to the weather, voting on which pet to get, playing with puppets, and more. If you’d like to share stories with high audience participation, you’ll want to check out the Sensory Storytime Kits. Many thanks to the Pilot Club of Iowa City, which provided grant funding for this project.
by Bond Drager on March 30th, 2015