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Deep Down Dark : The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar

by on January 12th, 2015

deep down dark

Just in time for those with the common New Year’s resolution to “Read More Books,” NPR’s Morning Edition has started their own book club. The premise of the club is simple:

A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We’ll all read it. Then, you’ll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we’ll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

This month’s choice, selected by author Ann Patchett, is “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free” by Hector Tobar. Morning Edition is taking questions for Hector Tobar on their Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram under the hashtag #morningreads. On January 20th the show will select questions and have a conversation with the author.

I heard the description of the book on NPR and while it’s not a book I think I normally would have picked up, I’m glad I did. My main concern during the first chapter or two was whether I would be able to keep straight the many different characters. With 33 miners, all men with sometimes similar names, I started to wonder how I would remember who was who. I needn’t have worried: the author does a terrific job using callbacks and reminders to help the reader along. The story was gripping and well told.

Patchett described the author’s writing thusly: “He’s taking on all of the big issues of life,” she says. “What is life worth? What is the value of one human life? What is faith? Who do we become in our darkest hour?”

Though I remembered how the story ended because of the massive news coverage at the time, I had not realized the details of what was truly a miraculous and surprising rescue. It was fascinating reading about how the miners dealt with such a grim situation only to be faced with a media storm as soon as contact was made – though they remained trapped for many more weeks.

This was a terrific read; it’s a page turner that I would recommend to a broad audience.

Find the book in our catalog record here:

http://alec.icpl.org/record=b1442811

Listen to NPR’s interview with Hector Tobar here:

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/20/377462181/book-club-hector-tobar-answers-your-questions-about-deep-down-dark

 

 

Teens interested in theater, read on!

by on January 12th, 2015
juneteenth
The Juneteenth Committee and The Dreamwell Theatre are co-sponsoring a Theatrical Experience in Movement for Teens. We are looking for high school and junior high youth of all ethnicities and backgrounds to come and join a community theatre class taught by real actors and directors in our community. Youth are asked to come dressed in comfortable clothing. This is for youth who are interested in theatre and getting more involved in activities. We will also be extending an invitation to 5 youth who perform well at this class for a lead in a community play this summer.
Please join us on January 24, 2015 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on the second floor in the social hall from 12 to 2pm. Please bring a parent as we will need a permission slip for you to attend the class. If you need the permission slip in advance , please contact LaTasha DeLoach at lmassey@co.johnson.ia.us or call 319.356.6090.

Stuck in a crafty rut? How about exploring something new?

by on January 9th, 2015
Stuck in a crafty rut?  How about exploring something new? Cover Image

Most crafters know the feeling.  You have a favorite craft or hobby, but when you do too much of it for too long you start feeling burned out.  You’re stuck in a crafters rut.  There is a simple way out though.  Spend a day or a week or two experimenting with something new to get your creative juices flowing again.

ICPL has a great collection of craft books.  Just wandering through the New Books on the second floor in the 600′s and 700′s you’ll find all sorts of new things to try:

Big Little Felt Fun: 60+ projects that jump, swim, roll, sprout, and roar by Jeanette Lim.  Are you looking for a craft that doesn’t require a sewing machine?   A bit of fun hand sewing?  Jeanette Lim has put over 70 of her “feltie” patterns in this sequel to Big Little Felt Universe. Divided into 10 fun and unique sets – from cupcakes and dinosaurs, to pets and bowling pins, there is bound to be something here that entertains you.  Everything is hand sewn so really all you need is some felt, scissors, a needle and thread to get started.

sheepishCrochet with One Sheepish Girl by Meredith Crawford.  The 25 cute and colorful crochet projects in this book are divided into three sections:  Living, Giving and Wearing.  The book starts with a 26 page introduction covering the materials and tools needed, well photographed introductions to each of the three basic crochet stitches, as well as other things needed to complete the projects in the book.  Unfortunately, while introduction is full of photographs, each of the projects themselves has only one photograph of the finished product.  The step by step written instruction seem clear, and might be enough for an experienced crochetist, however.

designer cross stitchDesigner Cross Stitch Projects from the editors of CrossStitcher   Sometimes I wonder who chooses the cover art for books.   The feathery image on the cover of this book does not even hint at the collection of fun zany patterns inside.   From mustaches, and scrabble tiles, to Volkswagen buses and instamatic cameras, this is a collection of really great ideas.  Each project contains a materials and treds list, as well as a pattern that contains not only symbols but colors, making them very easy to follow.

cross22cross21

Book lists for teens – the best of 2014

by on January 9th, 2015

glory

I’m not really one for resolutions, but one thing I find myself doing in January is bringing with me the best stuff from the previous year. I clean an reorganize my kitchen, my computer, and my notebooks. I look over the things that accumulated in the previous year and try to give away, throw away, or file away everything I don’t need anymore; everything that’s a keeper goes to the top of the pile.

 

So one thing I love is when bloggers and librarians put together their “best of” lists. More than anything, these lists remind me what books I’ve missed, and what to keep an eye out for now that it’s off the New Shelf and running around the regular collection. ICPL has some great Staff Recommendations I’ve been looking over, but I’m also excited about this list of teen books from the New York Public Library. There is a ton of variety in this list of the best 25 books for teens in 2014, and you’ll find almost all of them at the Iowa City Public Library!

The Secret Place – Tana French

by on January 7th, 2015
The Secret Place – Tana French Cover Image

Teenager Holly Mackey (daughter of a Detective featured in French’s previous detective novels) is living and studying at an all-girls boarding school outside of Dublin, Ireland. The administrator of the school posted a notice board where students can anonymously leave notes called, “the secret place”.  The novel opens with her having discovered a note saying, “I know who killed him.” She understands it refers to the unsolved murder of a student from the nearby all-boys school whose body was found on the grounds the previous year. She takes the note to the only cop she trusts, cold case Detective Stephen Moran. He wants a promotion to the murder squad and is savvy enough to know he can approach the newly partner-less, gruff Detective Antoinette Conway and hope to impress.

The story is told mostly from the Detective’s point of view with chapters interspersed following the back-story of Holly and her friends’ experiences at the school the prior year. The solve happens over the course of a day of intensive interviewing at the school; the Detectives’ frustration and desperation for a collar ends up creating a locked-room mystery vibe that can feel quite suffocating. Since most of the book is devoted to the testimony of independent teenagers (e.g. puberty, rebellion, in-fighting, and inherent distrust of adults) you soon find yourself suspecting everyone and wondering if these cops should just give up.

French’s books are always extremely detailed and, since you’ve the Detective’s point of view, you get the feeling that you’re meant to be taking good notes in order to solve this. There’s generally a foreboding feel, sometimes hinted as supernatural but often manifested as unease about every character’s motives. Her stories are dark and meticulously plotted, they lean towards police procedural rather than the more typical bestseller suspense.

Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs!

by on January 6th, 2015

I’m a dog person, so naturally if I see a new dog picture book on the shelf I grab it. All of us in the Children’s Room will agree that a dog storytime is always a hit!

In 2014, there were lots of picture books about dogs published and so many of them are funny, clever and of course, cute!

Maggi and Milo by Juli Brenning

Maggi and MiloMaggi is an adventurer and a pretty good songwriter. Her border collie, Milo, is her best friend. Maggi gets a package from her grandma with all the necessities for a frog hunt, boots, and a book about frogs. Why frogs? A quick look at her bedroom reveals a fascination with frogs, including frog drawings, slippers, etc.
“I’m a frog hunter and he is Milo!” she announces, and together they wander off to the pond. After waiting a “million minutes” for something to happen, she’s bored! Milo wanders off. A panicked search for Milo in the muck reveals Milo has found a frog! Milo finds even more frogs and at the end of the day,”Side by side, they sat on the edge of the world, just listening to the frogs say good night.”

Here are a few more doggie books to enjoy:

This book just ate my dog!This Book Just Ate My Dog! By Richard Byrne
“When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right.”

If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson.If you were a dog
Easy-to-read text invites the reader to imagine life as a dog, a cat, a fish, a bird, and even a dinosaur.

 

Gaston words by Kelly DiPucchio; pictures by Christian RobinGastonson
A proper bulldog raised in a poodle family and a tough poodle raised in a bulldog family meet one day in the park.

Time for bed fred

 

 

 

 

Time for Bed, Fred by Yassmeen Ismail.
A child has a very difficult time getting Fred, the dog, to bed.

 

Eddie and the Dog by Alison Brown  Eddie and Dog
Eddie longs for a friend who likes adventure and finds the perfect match in Dog.

Winter Weather Driving Help

by on January 5th, 2015

Well, it finally happened – winIowa DOT snowplowter has arrived and with it snow and bone-chilling cold.  We are asked about where to find out about road conditions and the best source for state and interstate highways is the Iowa Department of Transportation, (Iowa DOT).  The Iowa DOT has a number of resources to make your trip as safe as possible.  If  you link to the Winter Weather Driving Help page you can find out how to connect to the 511 road conditions site.  The Iowa 511 site gives updates on current road conditions including a Track a Plow feature.  Track a Plow shows the deployment and locations of snowplows and what type of snow or ice retardant, liquid or solid, the plow is using, as well as the road conditions including any closures.

There is also an Iowa 511 On the Go option that lets users download a smartphone app for either the iPhone or Android devices.  The  Iowa 511 app provides statewide real-time traffic information for interstates, U.S. routes and state highways in Iowa. It does not include information for county roads or city streets. Other available information includes:
• A zoom-enabled map with traffic event icons that can be selected.
• Real-time updates on winter road conditions, traffic incidents, road work, construction, and road closures.
• Current traffic speeds and closed-circuit television (CCTV) traffic camera images in select cities (Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City, Quad Cities, Sioux City, and Waterloo) and across the state.
• Electronic roadway sign messages.
• Highway rest area locations.

If you don’t have Internet access or a smartphone, you can still find out road condition information from the Iowa DOT by calling 511 or 800-288-1047.

ICPL Announces Second Sunday Garden Forum Lineup

by on January 5th, 2015

For more than 20 years, the Iowa City Public Library and Project GREEN have partnered to host the Second Sunday Garden Forum series. This winter’s forums will be held on January 11, February 8, and March 8.

John Clemens of the Eastern Iowa Bonsai Association kicks off the series January 11 with “The Art of Bonsai.” His presentation will focus on the shape, harmony and proportion of bonsai to express art in the form of these beautiful long-lived trees. Bonsai literally means a tree in a small pot that has been pruned and trained. Bonsai is the “new” interest to gardeners everywhere, despite the fact that the horticultural art form dates back thousands of years in Asian history.

David Morton, the head gardener at Brucemore, will give a tour of gardens of Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site on Feb. 8. Brucemore, a 26-acre, park-like estate encompasses a Queen Anne-style mansion and multiple gardens. Many of the plants seen today were seeded by Irene Douglas, a knowledgeable gardener who enjoyed experimenting with new plant varieties as well as traditional. Today, Brucemore’s gardeners continue her work by preserving examples of historic plant varieties while adjusting to meet the needs of the changing natural and urban environment.

Think you know everything there is to know about perennials? Thinks again. All perennials require care during the year, some varieties more than others. Low maintenance perennials are the ideal plants for individuals who want an attractive garden, but have limited time to spend working in the garden. Richard Jauron, a horticulturist with Iowa State University and Extension and Outreach, will present “Low Maintenance Perennials” on March 8.

All Second Sunday Garden Forum programs will be held on the second Sunday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. After each presentation, there will be a refreshment break followed by a question and answer session. All programs will be shown live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

For more information, contact Beth Fisher at Beth-Fisher@icpl.org or (319) 887-6024.

ICPL will host extended Drop-In Tech Help

by on January 5th, 2015

Do you need some help with that new gadget you received over the holidays? The Iowa City Public Library has you covered!

Bring your questions and the gadget that has you flustered to our special Saturday editions of ICPL Drop-In Tech Help from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 10 and Jan. 17 in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor. Staff members will be happy to help you solve your tech woes.

Don’t forget, the Library has regularly scheduled tech help from 10 a.m. to noon every Monday and Wednesday, and noon to 4 p.m. every Tuesday. Senior Tech Zone happens every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Iowa City Public Library’s January Teen Events Announced

by on January 5th, 2015

Animation, Minecraft and extended School’s Out tech times are just a few of the activities the Iowa City Public Library has planned for teens in January.

Do you play Minecraft? All teenage Minecraft fans are invited to the Library’s Minecraft Meetup from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Jan. 8 and Jan. 22 in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor.

Do you like to draw? Would you like to learn more about computer animation programs? Join us for “Let’s Learn Animation!” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 15. We’ll learn how to use Pencil Animation, a program that lets you create hand-drawn animation on a computer. We will meet in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor.

TAG, the Library’s Teen Activity Group, is looking for new members. TAG members help plan teen programs and give teenage students a voice in the Library. Members also eat a lot of snacks. Anyone wanting to make a difference in the Library, and earn volunteer hours at the same time, should give TAG a try. The January TAG meeting will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, in the Koza Family Teen Center.

Finally, school will be out on Jan. 19, but the Teen Center will be open with extended Tech Time hours from 1 to 8 p.m. Check out an iPad, play video games on the big screen or simply hang out.

All teen programs are open to students in grades 7through 12.

For more information about any of these programs, contact Brian Visser, Teen Services Librarian, at (319) 356-5200.





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