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And the winners are …

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 8th, 2014

Expelliarmus!march book

Harry Potter was able to disarm Mo Willem’s pigeon, taking the top spot in the 2014 ICPL Book Madness Children’s Bracket. It was a close race between The Chosen One and the mischievous bird, but the final round of voting had a clear winner.

We will give the pigeon a cookie, with nuts, as a consolation prize.

In the Teens and Adults bracket, Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, defeated Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Several weeks ago, we asked our Facebook friends to name a book they had to read in school and ended up loving, and most responses listed To Kill a Mockingbird. Take heart, English teachers. Your students still love that book.

Thank you so much for participating in our first ever Book Madness! We can’t wait to do it again next year!

The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese

by Beth Fisher on April 6th, 2014
The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese Cover Image

Rarely do I read a nonfiction book and wish the author would write more.  Not necessarily more about the topic, just MORE because they are such an entertaining writer.  This book is definitely one of them.

Detroit News Finance Editor, and creator of the Funny Money blog, Brian O’Connor uses wit and self-deprecating humor to turn a book about personal finance into a fun read.  And not just basic personal finance, but “how to survive when times get really tough” budgeting.

“The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese”  started as a proposal from O’Connor to the editors at the Detroit News.  In 2009, as the economy in Michigan was tanking, O’Connor proposed a series of weekly articles on how to save $100 a week, and he offered to use his own family budget as the source for the story.

Budgeting is not a new concept, but O’Connor approached it with humor and honesty. He started where every budget program does,  by taking a serious look at how his family actually spent money. I’m not sure he was really shocked at where their money was going, but to lay it out for all of the world to see had to be a bit nerve-wracking.   He broke their budget for the former year down into categories and focused on the 10 that cost them the most each month, intent on saving $100 in each category.  He took on a new category each week, and at the end of the week wrote about his successes or failures in his newspaper column, which he turned into this book.

In the book he also approaches each category on three levels  – based on the three types of people he thought might need or want a book on budgeting: 1) “People who need to free up cash” so that they can increase their savings in case something bad happens,  2) “People who are having a hard time making ends meet” from pay check to pay check and  3) People who are “pinching pennies so hard that Lincoln is getting a headache.”

Seeing how O’Connor tackled each category in his own family’s budget, especially the challenges he encountered, turned what could have been a painfully dry subjects into a pretty fun read full of good information.


And then there were two

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 5th, 2014


Well, technically, there are four book titles (and two brackets), but let’s not get in a debate about semantics and just announce ICPL’s 2014 Book Madness Championship Game titles.

Children’s Bracket

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series vs. Pigeon books by Mo Willems

Teens & Adults Bracket

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams vs. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Voting in final round ends Monday, with the winners announced Tuesday morning. Make sure to cast your ballot before then, either by visiting the Library or leaving your choice in the comments.

Ermahgerd kittens!

by Candice Smith on April 4th, 2014
Ermahgerd kittens! Cover Image

There’s really not a whole lot to say about this little book, it speaks for itself. It’s a tiny morsel of complete happiness, wrapped up in a flurry of pictures of ridiculously cute kittens doing kittenish things. Kittens sleeping, kittens learning to walk, kittens eating, kittens playing. Several different breeds are showcased, including Russian Blues, Toygers, Persians and Munchkins (Munchkins?? I know, I didn’t even know there was such thing as a Munchkin cat, but now I need three or four).

Personally, I’m not one of those people who sees cute little kids and feels the pangs of motherhood, but this book made my ovaries ache. If you’re a total cat mama or papa, you’ll want this book. If you’ve got kids that love cats, they’ll enjoy this book. If you’re thinking about taking that plunge into cat-ownership and want to be pushed right off that cliff into the deep end, you should take a look at this book.

You’re not going to learn a whole lot from this book, but you’ll have a few moments of pure bliss and appreciation of the amazingly cute things that can exist in this world, and that is more than worth the ten minutes it would take you to leaf through its pages.

The secret behind the Horsehair Stopper

by Brent Palmer on March 31st, 2014
The secret behind the Horsehair Stopper Cover Image

I’m always looking for good bedtime reading to share with my son. You know, something that we both can enjoy. Something that doesn’t involve bvd-clad superheroes farting their nemesis into submission or snide protagonists complaining about their lame teachers(yes, Big Nate, I’m lookin’ at you). Well you all know Roald Dahl has several good books that have been perennial favorites. But one that had escaped my notice until recently is Danny the Champion of the World. This one is a bit more realistic. No flying peaches or rivers of chocolate, but it is a very sweet story (BFG does make a cameo by the way).

Danny lives with his widower dad in a run-down camper. He has always idolized his dad who is an ace car mechanic, but discovers that he is sneaking off at night and for what is obviously illegal activity. Danny eventually gets drawn into the scheme and realizes that his Dad is in some very real danger. Danny is put to the test and is terrified that he might lose him.

Fundamentally, it’s a story about emerging from child-like innocence and beginning to see the world differently. For Danny, the transition is scary and difficult and it turns out that his dad is not who he thought he was. He has to adjust to this new person, but in the end he loves him all the more for it. And his father must take a leap and let Danny in on his deep dark secret. This story really can be enjoyed from both perspectives. It’s also one of those stories where the condescending rich guy gets what’s coming to him. Spectacularly. Who wouldn’t love that? And even if you don’t have a little one to read it to, it’s good enough to read to yourself. Check it out to learn the secret of the horsehair stopper and how Danny becomes Champion of the World.

ICPL Book Madness Final Four

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 31st, 2014

The ballots have been counted and we have our ICPL Book Madness 2014 Final Four!



Children’s Bracket

Harry Potter vs. Shel Silverstein poems

Pigeon books by Mo Willems vs. Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish

Teens & Adults Bracket

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins vs. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris vs. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Voting in this round continues through Saturday so stop by and vote for your favorite(s). If you can’t make it to the Library this week, feel free to leave your vote in the comments.

Eight titles advance in ICPL’s Book Madness

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 29th, 2014

I don’t know how your March Madness bracket looks at this point, but if it’s anything like some of the comments we’ve received in our Book Madness voting, things have not gone the way you madness 8

It isn’t easy pitting books against each other. One father told me Nancy Drew was doomed, as our bracket had her competing against The Chosen One (Harry Potter) in the first round.

You don’t have to be a girl detective to know that wasn’t going to end well for Nancy.

Still, our patrons pushed on, casting votes for their favorite children, teen and adult titles, allowing us to narrow our brackets from 64 titles to eight.

That’s right — we have our Elite Eight.


Children’s Bracket

Harry Potter versus the Magic Tree House series

Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margaret Rey versus Pigeon books by Mo Willems

Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish versus Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo

Shel Silverstein poems versus Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Teens & Adults Bracket

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins versus The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris versus Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened … by Allie Brosh

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee versus The Shining by Stephen King

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson versus The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Elite Eight voting continues through Sunday, so be sure to show support for your favorite(s). If you can’t make it to the Library this weekend, feel free to leave your vote in the comments.

We’ll post an update naming the 2014 ICPL Book Madness Final Four on Monday.


Stone Cold by C.J. Box

by Kara Logsden on March 24th, 2014
Stone Cold by C.J. Box Cover Image

Stone Cold is a bone-chilling page turner in C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series.  Game Warden Joe Pickett is sent to northeastern Wyoming, deep in the Black Hills, on assignment from Governor Rulon and the FBI to investigate a wealthy rancher who may be involved in businesses beyond ranching and cattle. Joe unexpectedly meets up with his friend Nate Romanowski and questions remain about which side of the law Nate operates on.

In typical C.J. Box style, Stone Cold has a strong sense of place and the plot moves quickly.  There are questions of legal justice vs. moral justice intertwined with memorable characters and a lot of snow.

I think one sign of a great book is the reader doesn’t want it to end.  Once again, C.J. Box provided many hours of enjoyment and I was sorry when the book ended.  The good news is Stone Cold introduced many new plot lines and I’m anxious to know where C.J. Box takes takes us next. ~Enjoy~


Let the Madness Begin!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 19th, 2014
You can find the 2014 Book Madness brackets on the Library's first floor. Voting begins Thursday, March 20!

You can find the 2014 Book Madness brackets on the Library’s first floor. Voting begins Thursday, March 20!

When it comes to filling out my March Madness bracket, I embrace the “Not a sports fan” cliché and choose teams randomly. The way I see it, the less knowledge equals a better bracket, as evidenced by the number of times I’ve won competing against sports writers.

The first year I filled out a bracket, I sat next to a colleague who had folders of statistics. He’d review records and injury reports before making his decision. I chose Gonzaga because it sounds like Gonzo and I like The Muppets.

I won. He refused to let me play the following year.

When the Library decided to design a Book Madness bracket, I was thrilled. I know books! I could totally win this thing! But as the nominations started coming in, I got worried.

How could I choose between Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars?

Is it really fair to pit any series against Harry Potter?

I love Beloved! I love Atonement! I know too much! I can’t choose!

Sadly, though, we must. That’s the game.

Beginning Thursday, March 20, you can vote for your favorite title in our Book Madness brackets – there’s one for children’s books, and another for teens and adults. To start, we have 64 titles in four categories. Submit a vote for your favorite(s) – if you want to vote for just one book, you can, or you can choose 16 titles to move forward in the first two rounds; it’s up to you! – and watch as the titles progress.

Here are the dates to remember:

  • First and Second Round: March 20 through March 23
  • Sweet 16: March 27 and 28
  • Elite 8: March 29 and 30
  • Final 4: April 5
  • Championship Game: April 7

(Given the large number of books, all votes must be made at the display in the Library. Once we reach Elite Eight status, we will allow for voting on our Facebook page.)

I visited with a Library patron, Rachel, as she studied the boards this morning. We don’t have printouts of the brackets, which do make excellent reading lists, so I promised to post all the nominations to 123 South Linn so she’d have access to them.

Did any of your favorites make the list?

What title do you think should win?



  • Clifford by Norma Bridwell
  • Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margaret Rey
  • Olivia by Ian Falconer
  • Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child
  • Max and Ruby by Rosemary Wells
  • Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Pete the Cat by James Dean
  • Llama Llama by Anna Dewdney
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Maisy books by Lucy Cousins
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Mother Goose
  • Otis by Loren Long
  • Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
  • Five Little Monkeys stories by Eileen Christelow
  • Pigeon books by Mo Willems


  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
  • Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
  • Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
  • Rainbow Magic Fairies series by Daily Meadows
  • Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  • Judy Moody and Stink books by Megan McDonald
  • Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
  • EllRay Jakes series by Sally Warner
  • American Girls Collection
  • Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis


  • Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
  • Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish
  • Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor
  • Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo
  • Biscuit books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler
  • Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold
  • Rotten Ralph books by Jack Gantos
  • Little Bear books by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak
  • Minnie and Moo books by Denys Cazet
  • Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa books by Erica Silverman
  • Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel
  • Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant
  • Dick and Jane series


  • Lego/Ninjago
  • Star Wars
  • Garfield by Jim Davis
  • Bone books by Jeff Smith
  • Babymouse series by Jennifer Holm
  • Pokemon
  • Shel Silverstein poems
  • Disney Princess stories
  • Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
  • Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce
  • Squish series by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  • Ologies series
  • Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons
  • Eyewitness books
  • Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka



  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
  • Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
  • Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Every Day by David Levithan
  • Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day (or some other Sedaris) by David Sedaris
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
  • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened … by Allie Brosh
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
  • The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure
  • The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow


  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Ender Wiggins Quartet by Orson Scott Card
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson
  • No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
  • Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin

Video Staff Picks with Terri

by Bond Drager on March 17th, 2014

On this episode of Staff Picks, Terri tells us about some great documentaries in the ICPL collection, some CDs, and coffee table books.