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Another round of B.Y.O.Book!

by on August 7th, 2014

BYOB 2014

We’re getting ready for our next B.Y.O.Book meet-up, and this time we’re taking a wild ride through the digestive system–top to bottom, so to speak!

Join us August 26 at Trumpet Blossom to discuss Mary Roach’s Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and indulge in some great drinks, eats, and atmosphere. I’ve already gotten a good start on this book, and it’s incredibly smart, entertaining, and just the right amount of ewww/ick factor that one might expect.

If you need a copy of the book, they are now available at the Info Desk on the second floor of the Library–stop by and sign one out! You can also go here to register for the event.

 

Mason Jar Salads and more

by on August 6th, 2014
Mason Jar Salads and more Cover Image

Is there a difference between a recipe book and a cookbook?  If there is, than  Mason Jar Salads and more – 50 Layered Lunches to Grab & Go is more of a recipe book.  There’s little, if any actual cooking here.  Author  Julia Mirabella has come up with an ingenious method of preassembling salads, breakfasts and snacks ahead of time for quick meals on the go.   It reminds me of the Make-a-mix fad from the 1970′s.

Mirabella has developed a simple layering technique that lets you combine all your ingredients in a Mason jar so that they stay fresh for up to a week while stored in the refrigerator.

The concept is pretty simple.  The most problematic ingredient in making any salad ahead of time is the dressing.  If you dress your salad greens in advance, they end up wilted and soggy.  Using her layering technique, the dressing goes into the jar first.  The next layer should be something that is impervious to the dressing – carrots, radishes, peas or the like that acts as a buffer between the dressing and the greens. Continue with your layers, placing the greens at the top.  Seal the jar tightly and pop it in the fridge and you have a salad to go.  And the same thing applies to the snacks and breakfast ideas too.mason jar salad

More than 60 different recipes are included for salads, breakfasts, smothies, soups, and simple pasta dishes, along with 4 pages of salad dressing recipes.

The one thing missing from this book is nutritional information for each of her recipes.  Salads in general are nutritious, but dressings, fruits, nuts and cheeses can be sources of sugar, fats or sneaky calories, so use some common sense when creating your masterpieces.  This would be a great addition to any kitchen – especially for someone tired of fast food lunches.

The Bloomsbury Group in Food and Flowers

by on August 5th, 2014
The Bloomsbury Group in Food and Flowers Cover Image

I recently enjoyed two new books on England’s Bloomsbury Group.  So much has been written by and about this group of writers, painters, and thinkers, it seems a bit surprising that a new angle could be found.  But these two books are a delight, and if you enjoy gardening, cooking, or English history, check them out.

Virginia Woolf’s Garden:  The Story of the Garden at Monk’s House is written by Caroline Zoob; she and her husband lived as tenants in this National Trust property for more than ten years, nurturing the gardens and taking care of the house.  The photographs are by Caroline Arber, and they beautifully present the gardens, paths, and orchard on the property, as well as some interior shots of the house where the Woolfs lived for many years.  (I lingered especially over the the pictures of Leonard’s and Virginia’s writing tables.)  Mixed in with these current photos are archival pictures of the Woolfs and their guests in the gardens.  The text describes the extensive work that the Woolfs (primarily Leonard) did to create garden rooms, develop the orchard, and grow food for their table–which was often shared with guests.

The Bloomsbury Cookbook:  Recipes for Life, Love and Art by Jans Ondaatje Rolls is a little more story and a little less recipes, but that’s ok.  The book nicely summarizes the chronology and personalities of the Bloomsbury Group through anecdotes and the recipes of its members (and their cooks).  You will find the Woolfs here, and Vanessa and Clive Bell, and Lydia Lopokova Keynes, Dora Carrington, and Lytton Strachey, to name just a few.  Some of the recipes are more atmospheric than utilitarian (where would I find a calf’s brain?) but some of the vague measurements have been updated and there is a chart at the back that provides temperature conversions from centigrade to Fahrenheit, and imperial measurements to metric.  The many illustrations, most of which are paintings by members of the Group, are another highlight of the book.

Iowa City Public Library’s August Teen Events Announced

by on August 5th, 2014

TAG, the Library’s Teen Activity Group, is looking for new members.Teen Center photo June 2014 5

TAG is designed to energize teen programming and services as well as allow teens a greater voice at the Library. TAG members meet monthly to discuss books, plan upcoming events, and talk about what’s going at the Library – while eating snacks.

If you are interested in joining TAG, please drop by from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, in the Koza Family Teen Center to see what we’re all about.

The August meeting of the Teen Anime & Manga Club will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, in the Koza Family Teen Center. Attendees will watch anime, talk about favorite manga, draw, and trade tips on cosplay. Also, you can let the Brian, ICPL’s Teen Services Librarian, know what anime and manga the Library should have in its collection.

Do you play Minecraft and want to meet other Minecraft players? Then join us for our monthly Minecraft Meetup from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Aug. 30, in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor.

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

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

B.Y.O.Book Begins Aug. 26 at Trumpet Blossom Cafe

by on August 5th, 2014

BYOB 2014

B.Y.O.Book, the Iowa City Public Library’s first-ever Books in Bars Book Club meetup, is back for a second round.

Join librarians Jason Paulios and Candice Smith as they discuss three books at three local drinking establishments in Iowa City on Aug. 26, Sept. 16, and Oct. 28.

B.Y.O.Book will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Trumpet Blossom Café, 310 E. Prentiss St., to discuss “Gulp : Adventures on the Alimentary Canal” by Mary Roach. Called “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, Roach’s investigation of the alimentary canal – also known as the digestive tract – is both informative and entertaining.

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, B.Y.O.Book will meet at The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 7 p.m. to talk about Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel, “A Visit from the Goon Squad.” Called “A new classic of American fiction” by Time magazine, “A Visit from the Goon Squad” is a collection of intertwined stories centered around a small group of people with ties to the music industry and/or each other.”

The final B.Y.O.Book meeting of 2014 will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Basta Pizzeria Ristorante, 121 Iowa Ave. This meeting will feature Tom Rachman’s debut novel “The Imperfectionists,” which follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters and editors of an English-language newspaper in Rome.

Limited copies of all Books in Bars Book Club books are available for check out from Information Desk staff on the Library’s second floor.

Due to space limitations, registration is encouraged. To register, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Preservation

by on August 5th, 2014

 

The word preserve has several meanings:  “To keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction…to keep alive, intact, or free from decay… to keep or save from decomposition..to can, pickle or similarly prepare for future use …

The Library has all of these meanings covered! We are offering a program on Wednesday, August 6, that will teach you the latest about canning and food preservation techniques. http://calendar.icpl.org/view.php?did=30856  If you can’t make the program we have many books that share a wide variety of recipes and instructions for preserving food.  You fill find these materials on the second floor, ask if you need help.

As to non-food preservation we are protecting and sharing photographs and documents about Johnson County history through our Digital History Project.  One of the newest additions to the Project is a small cookbook collection, one of which is The Iowa City Cook Book, 1898: A collection of well tested recipes contributed by the Ladies of Iowa City and Vicinity.   http://history.icpl.org/items/browse?collection=9

The cook book is a fascinating look at culture and food in 1898 Iowa City.  Among the chapters you will find Pickles and Fruits & Jellies.  It might be fun to preserve something from your garden or the farmers’ market that people in Iowa City were standing over steaming kettles on wood burning (gas?) stoves preserving over 100 years ago.  Chow-Chow anyone?

I enjoyed reading the recipes in the cook book, but I also enjoyed reading the advertisements (there is an alphabetical list of advertisers in the back).  One reads:  MESSNER BROS: Dealers in Fresh and Salt Meat, Fish, Game, and Poultry. Cor Iowa Avenue and Dubuque Street. Phone 124, another J.J. CERNY:  Dealer in Harness, Saddles, Collars, Robes, Whips, Nets, etc. Repairing on short notice and on reasonable terms, 27 Washington Street.  You can also check out The Wide Awake Department Store or the Iowa City Roller Mills adds.

Preserving food or preserving history –the Iowa City Public Library has it covered!

Stop ! Wait a Moment !

D. L. Houser wishes to show you

through his extensive coal yards and

sheds. These are filled with Anthracite,

Virginia Splint, Hocking, Illinois,

and Iowa coals . A new wood yard just

started there should also receive your

attention.The purchase of corn will be

continued as in the past, at the coal

,

office of D. L. HOUSER,

Corner Washington and Van Buren Streets,

IOWA CITY, IOWA.

 

 

Video Staff Picks: Book Club Recommendations and Epistolary Novels

by on August 4th, 2014

Meredith talks about one of her favorite epistolary novels (stories made up of letters or correspondence) and Katherine shares a novel that was a hit at her local book club.

Just for Book Babies

by on August 4th, 2014

Summer Reading Program is over, but we still have fun programs at the library in Baby ReadingAugust. Take advantage of these special Book Babies programs on Aug. 8 and Aug. 22.

Sing, Play, Grow! 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 8

Come sample West Music’s own early childhood music and movement program, Sing & Play & Learn Today!

This is a fun, engaging program that explores instrument playing, singing, moving and so much more!

To learn more about West Music’s Education program, visit their website.

Chinese Storytime 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 22

Book Babies will host Emily Jia. Emily will introduce families to Chinese language.

Come have fun learning Chinese songs, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, Chinese Classics, and instrument play. (Older siblings are welcome, too!)

Mid-summer reading recap, or, what I haven’t been reading

by on August 2nd, 2014
Mid-summer reading recap, or, what I haven’t been reading Cover Image

Summer is usually a time where I go through many books, at a fairly quick pace, because I’m doing other things that go well with reading…lying on a beach, relaxing in the air conditioning, sitting on a bench downtown having a cold drink–you get the idea. It’s the time of year where I can be reading several books at once; a book I read on my lunch break, a book by my bedside, one in the beachbag, one in my purse. This summer is no different, except that I didn’t finish most of the books I started. I have no good excuse. I promise that I WILL go back and finish them.

The one book I did read in its entirety is Laura McHugh’s The Weight of Blood. This book has two mysteries confronting main character Lucy–the disappearance of her mother when Lucy was just a baby, and the very recent murder and dismembering of her friend. The book is richly atmospheric, with a slightly dark and menacing flavor to it; it’s set in small town Missouri, an area that is only hours away from us geographically, but manages to seem worlds away in how life is lived there. Small town, long memories, big secrets. The characters are unique and in some cases a bit odd, and are well-drawn and feel somewhat familiar to anyone who’s lived in a small or close-knit community. Without giving away too much, the book also has at its center a very modern and urban-feeling crime, in marked to contrast to its setting, which makes seem even more sinister by way of encroachment.

In full disclosure, the books I didn’t finish (yet):
A Dark and Twisted Tide by S.J. Bolton (I came so close to finishing this!)
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (beachbook–waiting to go back to the beach)
Love You More by Lisa Gardner (about halfway done)
A Song For the Dying by Stuart MacBride (didn’t even crack it open)

Playing is Learning!

by on July 31st, 2014

playingIsLearning

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

The wisdom of this age-old proverb becomes new in the recent research on the correlation of play and learning. Although playing is an important way children learn, it’s often overlooked. Professor Laurel Bongiorno says that playing and learning are intertwined, like a science lecture and a lab. “Play is the child’s lab,” she explains in her article 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play.

The Delta Center, an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Iowa, has been studying the importance of play with a project called Playing is Learning. They’ve identified eight skills that playing builds—creativity, self-regulation, spatial awareness, language, healthy bodies, number knowledge, social skills, and conceptual thinking. They’ve partnered with the Iowa Children’s Museum, connecting exhibits with research, focusing on the power of play. It’s all pulled together in the Game of Games, a deck of cards full of creative ways for parents and their children to play together.

We are excited to announce that the Delta Center is bringing a new edition of Playing is Learning to the Iowa City Public Library! They have studied how kids play at the Library and will link that to their research, creating activities that correspond. We expect a debut this fall. For more information on Playing Is Learning, visit www.playingislearning.org.

In the meantime, even as our children head back to school soon, let’s make sure they have time to play each day!