by Casey Maynard on April 27th, 2015
Since I was small I have loved fairytales. It began with the original Grimm’s tales my mother read. I remember the illustrations more clearly than anything: the image of Rapunzel’s prince stumbling and blinded after being thrown from the tower is one I can conjure readily. Since that time, I have read as many fairytales and retellings as I could get my hands on. It is only as an adult that I recognize the why of this love for, even obsession with fairytales that began as a child. These traditional stories encompass something innately human that has the capacity to be retold in multifarious ways, thus remaining fresh, somehow unencumbered by its own redundancy.
Recently this passion for all things fabled has led me to the work of Emily Carroll. With many of her graphic short stories debuting online, it was not until July of last year that Carroll’s first book came into print. Through the Woods is a collection of five short stories all of which find their center in the forest. Definitely not your childhood bedtime stories, each is reminiscent of the archetype while simultaneously obliterating the gap between traditional fairytale and horror.
Where Grimm’s fairy tales hinted at the horror that awaited villains–red-hot iron shoes come to mind–Carroll’s tales thrust the reader into truly terrifying confrontations with evil. Evil that not only surrounds each of us but has the capacity to be found within us as well. It is in this way that Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods, leaves the reader unsettled, searching for a happy ending when we know that the journey will begin all over again tomorrow.
Accompanied by beautiful full color illustrations that bleed into text, Carroll’s graphic novel debut is stunning. She leaves the reader the space to interpret what is left in the darkness of each page, unsaid and just out of reach.
For more of her stories and for a sneak peek of Through the Woods be sure to check out “His Face All Red” and the rest of her website,
Emily Carroll’s Website
by Melody Dworak on April 27th, 2015
tl;dr If you’ve never tried out our digital magazines, sign up at Zinio Magazine Collection web page and download the Zinio for Libraries app for Android and Apple!
The Long Version
In the fall of 2012, the Iowa City Public Library began offering digital magazines through a service called Zinio. Two and a half years later, we have grown to offering more than 150 digital magazine titles. We also now offer a more streamlined experience for signing up as a new user.
The Zinio for Libraries app is a new app that allows you to fill out one simple form after clicking “Create New Account” on our Zinio Magazine Collection web page. Once you fill out this form, you are ready to start browsing and reading on your computer.
For those who are new to Zinio, you can download the Zinio for Libraries app for Apple and Android devices. This new app has fewer distractions than the previous app we were required to use. The Zinio for Libraries app will open straightaway to the magazines you have checked out. It will not show you any content that you have to buy in order to read.
New users, please note: When you go to download the app, be sure to choose the Zinio for Libraries app with the white background and dark colored Z. If you see the regular Zinio app with the dark square and Zinio name in white, that is the app that has all that extra commercial content. Your login information will *not* work on the commercial app.
Already Use Zinio? Read the rest of this entry »
by Todd Brown on April 24th, 2015
At least I haven’t read them in the way that most people read books. I mostly read nonfiction, usually how to do or make something instead of just facts. I rarely read books cover to cover. I skim them and find the parts that either have the information I am looking for or a part that grabs my attention. That makes writing about books a little more difficult for me. While searching through my Reading History to find something to write about I noticed a few recurring themes.
I have always been fascinated by patterns. One small thing repeated over and over can create something big and beautiful. This has been a repeating pattern in my reading history. I would check them out, head to the craft store for supplies and see what I could make. Below are a few of many I have checked out and have not read.
The complete book of decorative knots
My parents were a little confused when I asked for a book about Turk’s head knots for Christmas a few years ago. But it came with a little, adjustable tool and hundreds of knot patterns to make. The Library doesn’t own that book, but we do have several about knots. The complete book of decorative knots is one I have checked out several times. It is well illustrated and covers Turk’s heads as well as globe knots, mats and a variety of other knots which look pretty cool when done.
Chain maille jewelry workshop
For a little while I was slightly obsessed with chain mail, as well as Viking knitting. The Library has several books which cover the basics of making chain mail. I think all of them have projects that they work through step by step. Most also have gallery sections to show what various artists have created with chain mail to help you find some inspiration.
I liked this so much that I bought my own copy. This involves a LOT of paper folding to make grids and then making patterns by folding the grid in different ways. These look great and if you put a light behind it you get a totally different pattern. Twofer! I adapted one of these patterns to make a lamp shade for a lamp I built.
Unit polyhedron origami
This is another one that I bought. Also another one that I used for two lamp shades. Basically this is folding a piece of paper into a interlocking shape and then doing that over and over until you have enough of these shapes to assemble them into a variety of larger geometric shapes.
Arm and finger knitting
Before the Library owned this book I made a great infinity scarf for my significant other. I was kind of excited to find out we had purchased this book. Personally I didn’t care much for most of the projects in it but it does still show how to arm knit in general. Once you know that you can go out and find or make your own patterns to knit.
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by Melody Dworak on April 22nd, 2015
Last month I wrote about my efforts to cook in big batches to make weeknight dinner decisions easier. Turns out, you can make breakfast for a week, too. This is not what I had set out to do when I picked up the Biscoff cookie and spread Cookbook, but it was a delightful fringe benefit.
What is Biscoff spread, you ask? In short: creamed cookies. The spread is as decadent as it sounds. In normal cookies, you have regular things like *air* taking up space, wasting precious room where sugar and fat could go. Biscoff spread wastes not a molecule, packing in sweetness at a 90 calories per tablespoon. Some people know the cookies as the ones they give out on airline flights. For me, the red, white, and tan jar of creamed goodness stared at me from the gifty section at the Bread Garden, and I had to try it.
The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook includes photos of desserts that look mouthwatering. You can see a few recipes on the Biscoff website, but these photos are nowhere near as scrumptious looking as the ones in the book.
Biscoff coffee cake
The recipe I baked was the Biscoff coffee cake. The crumble topping itself contains two sticks of butter and lots of sugar. The cake part under the crumble held enough moisture that it did feel like it melted in my mouth.
I’m looking forward to future Biscoff baking Sundays!
by Kara Logsden on April 21st, 2015
I love listening to recorded books. I often listen in my car and the stories sweep me away. Too often I arrive at my destination and don’t remember the drive there because I’m so wrapped up in listening to a great story. It reminds me of my childhood and my love of being read to.
Currently I’m listening to what I’d typically characterize as a “page turner” – although I don’t think I can call it that when I’m listening. C.J. Box’s new book, Endangered, is set in Wyoming and centers on a crime committed against Joe Pickett’s adopted daughter, April. I’m finding myself talking back to my car’s disc player (“JOE – That’s a clue. Pay attention!”) or sitting in my driveway not wanting to turn the car off without knowing what happens next. The narrator of the story, David Chandler, is perfect and his performance enhances the story.
As you plan your summer road trip vacations, remember to include a trip in to the Library to find a great book for your family to listen to. Library staff are happy to recommend good stories for road trips. And if you see me sitting in my driveway or talking to my car’s disc player, just smile and wave … and remember to ask me which book I was listening to.
by Beth Fisher on April 13th, 2015
According to Wikipedia, Art Quilts are an art form that uses both modern and traditional quilting techniques to create art objects.
Local author, magazine writer, blogger, and quilter Linzee Kull McCray’s new book “Art Quilts of the Midwest” showcases the work of 20 artists whose works were inspired by life in the Midwest.
Tuesday evening, April 13th, Linzee will be here at ICPL to discuss the research and creation of her book. Astrid Hilger Bennet, who wrote the forward, will talk about art quilts and the fabrics used in them. Erick Wolfmeyer, the only Iowa artists included in the book, will show a 10 minute film about his work. Both Astrid and Erick will have quilts on display at the event. This event begins at 7:00 pm in Meeting Room A and is cosponsored by ICPL and Prairie Lights Books.
by Ella Von Holtum on April 9th, 2015
The 15th anniversary has come and gone, and I myself haven’t read a word of Harry Potter since I finished The Deathly Hallows in 2007. The teens in Iowa City’s Home School Assistance Program have a monthly book club in the library, and we’ve been discussing Harry Potter books every other month. A lot of small things have accreted to plant the seed. Last weekend I got a cold and I decided it was finally time to reread Harry Potter.
We have all the books (and Ebooks!) here at ICPL, so after work on Friday I grabbed the first two. I’m on book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s great how little time it’s taken me to get this far – the books are an effortless read, and hours zip by as chapters unfold. Admittedly, the books are about to get long, so I’m savoring these fast reads while I can.
Part of what makes them an easy read for me is the ways they are so familiar.I came to Harry Potter a little late, starting in 2003, and was too old to have grown up with them. I was an adult living in Scotland, and after some P.G. Wodehouse and Stephen Fry it felt like a logical leap. Winter in Glasgow was really the perfect moment for the story to take root in me, but it’s been awhile since I started and finished the series. So I was less surprised at how many details and plot points I’ve forgotten. Things as major as who opened the Chamber of Secrets or as small as the name of the Weasleys’ perpetually exhausted owl were all new to me this time through. I can’t wait to see what surprises await me as I continue reading!
It’s funny, too, how many conversations I’ve had in the last week about my re-read, entirely with people in their 20′s, who grew up with the books. One friend is rereading them for the first time too, and loving it. Another friend had been pondering a reread and posed an interesting question: “how do you think HP’s gonna age?” Not the character, but the series. How will it weather in the cannon?Will it be for kids in the next few generations and beyond like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia were for me? Will children get excited when they are finally tall enough to reach the shelf where the books live on their parents’ shelves? Will people read them to their young ones as they fall asleep, maybe skipping over the real nightmare material? Or will they fade away, another momentous but momentary cultural phenomenon, something that people who were kids at a certain time remember so well, and everyone else just doesn’t get -what’s all this fuss about Quidditch and Wingardium Leviosa?
I gave my copies away the last time I moved – they were just so much book to haul around from apartment to apartment – so I won’t be loaning them off my shelves. And I wonder too how appealing the series would be to a hesitant young reader when they can clearly see just how long the last four books really are. Maybe only the most dedicated will undertake the quest. On the other hand, they are still so ubiquitous, and so much has been made of Harry Potter’s role in introducing reading to so many kids of a certain generation. And the series still circulates in all the libraries I’ve visited. These marks are indelible for now, and I do wonder, how indeed will HP age?
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!