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Instant book reviews on Instagram

by on July 1st, 2015

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. We’re looking for less than that.I

We launched #ICPLinstareview on the Library’s Instagram account today and need your reviews to make it awesome. Here’s how it works:

  • Take a picture of a book you finished reading.
  • Post it to your Instagram account with the #ICPLinstareview hashtag.
  • Write a short review of the book.

We’ll re-gram our favorite images. Then, at the end of July and August, we’ll choose one review from each month and that person will receive a $25 Downtown Iowa City gift card!

Start reading, reviewing and discover new great reads!

Digital Johnson County Expands eBook Options for Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty Libraries

by on June 30th, 2015

Beginning July 1, the Coralville Public Library, Iowa City Public Library, and North Liberty Community Library will offer combined eBook and digital audiobook collections through OverDrive to area residents.digital_banner

OverDrive is a digital service that allows library users to borrow and enjoy eBooks and audiobooks from their library’s digital collection, anytime and anywhere. By combining digital collections, Coralville, Iowa City, and North Liberty library users will have access to more than 9,000 eBooks and 5,000 audiobook titles.

“Given the layout of our communities, many Johnson County library users have multiple library cards,” says Anne Mangano, coordinator of collections for the Iowa City Public Library. “In order to better meet their needs, and increase the number of digital items available to them, we decided to share our resources, forming Digital Johnson County. It doesn’t matter if you live in Coralville, Iowa City, or North Liberty, you have access to the same collection.”

OverDrive is a free library service, but patrons must live in Coralville, Hills, Iowa City, Lone Tree, North Liberty, University Heights, or rural Johnson County and have a library card from your home library in order to use it. Library users can read or listen to OverDrive books using a web browser. No special software or downloads required. Users can also download the OverDrive app, which is available for Windows, Android, Apple, Kindle, and Nook.

Persons interested in learning more about eBooks and audiobooks should attend the Iowa City Public Library’s Tech Help from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays and noon to 4 p.m. every Tuesday. North Liberty patrons can stop by or call the library to make an appointment with Technology Librarian Janet Lubben for help with e-content. Help is also available at the Coralville Public Library Reference Desk.

For more information about Digital Johnson County, call the Coralville Public Library at (319) 248-1850, the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200, or the North Liberty Community Library at (319) 626-5701.

Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt

by on June 30th, 2015
Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt Cover Image

Eleven-year-old Tate P. Ellerbee needs to write to a pen pal for the school year and her teacher wants her class to choose a child from a school in Japan so they will get to know someone from a different country.  Some kids hesitate because this story is set in 1949 and World War II is still fresh in the minds of all.  Glimpses of the prejudice and anti-communist feelings are obvious.  Tate decides she wants to write to Hank Williams, an up-and-coming country and Western singer she’s heard on a Saturday night radio program each week with her family.  Although the story is told entirely via letters Tate writes to Mr. Williams (and his only response is sending autographed photographs), she is not deterred because he never writes back.  Once you get past the idea that Tate never gets any letters in return from the singer (I would have found a different pen pal who wanted to correspond with me!), the reader will enjoy the narrative. Her letters are almost journal entries as she tells about her day-to-day life practicing her singing for a talent show, laughing with uncle Jolly’s girlfriend, and cuddling with her dog.  Tate’s parents are absent and she lives with Aunt Patty Cake and her Uncle Jolly.  We later learn that her actress mother is serving time in prison because of a bad choice she made and her father is off supposedly taking photographs all over the world for his job. Tate has not been dealt a fair hand in life but she is still a positive and upbeat character who loves her caring aunt, funny uncle, and especially her dog, Lovie.  Her annoying brother, Frog, adds an important element to the story, especially in the surprise ending to the book.  As Tate continues writing to a complete stranger, her personality and outlook on life unfold revealing a very real character with spunk, humor, and hope for the future.  I love historical fiction and have enjoyed other books by Kimberly Willis Holt so this story was a great choice for me to read and be able to recommend to 4th-6th grade readers this summer.  A tender, and at times heartbreaking story, this book will surely take the reader on a memorable ride in a by-gone time.

My post-vacation reading list

by on June 29th, 2015

A week ago at this time, I was … I’m not quite sure where I was. I know was somewhere on the East Coast, but after two weeks on the road, the days and states start to blend together.schulz

Vermont played the biggest role in my summer vacation. My family and I spent six days in White River Junction so our two teens could attend a week-long Create Comics summer workshop at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

(It was strange to wave goodbye to the kids as they left the hotel for class every morning while my husband and I got to explore. We tried to make up for it by bringing them back trinkets from our day trips, but our daughter has yet to forgive us going on the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour without her.)

We used travel guides when planning our trip, but the quest for knowledge doesn’t end simply because the suitcases are unpacked. Now I’m browsing the Library’s collection for books to supplement the vacation experience, beginning with our graphic novel collection.

schulz2The Center for Cartoon Studies is home to the Schulz Library. Named after Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, the library is home to more than 9,000 zines, graphic novels, cartoon collections, etc. My kids visited the library to make lists of graphic novels they want to read, many of which can be found at ICPL. We also have several books in our collection by CCS alums, including Adventures in Cartooning by James Strum, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost; Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert; and French Milk by Lucy Knisley.

The tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury left me with new-found appreciation for the company that started with a home study ice cream course. Ben & Jerry’s Double-Dip: Lead with Your Values and Make Money, Too by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield is now on my reading list. As you might expect, we bought a lot of maple syrup, so The Maple Syrup Book by Janet Eagleson and Rosemary Hasner will come in handy, too.

What books have you picked up after traveling?

Finish Summer Reading Program with Short Audiobooks

by on June 29th, 2015

I find I can get a lot more reading done by using audiobooks. I may not have time to sit down and read a book every day, but I can listen to them during my commute and while doing other things. It’s the halfway point in our Summer Reading Program, so here are a few short reads (4 hours or less) to help you finish your list strong.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (2 hours, 46 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
Alice is wondering what to do one day, when a talking rabbit steals her attention. She is so intrigued that she follows him into his hole, and tumbles down into Wonderland. Alice soon discovers that reality and logic, as she knows them, do not apply here. In an attempt get out of the hole and into, “the loveliest garden you ever saw”, she eats a cake to grow large enough to reach the key to the garden.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (3 hours, 11 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
George Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution has become an intimate part of our contemporary culture, with its treatment of democratic, fascist, and socialist ideals through an animal fable. The animals of Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm are overworked, mistreated, and desperately seeking a reprieve. In their quest to create an idyllic society where justice and equality reign, the animals of Manor Farm revolt against their human rulers, establishing the democratic Animal Farm under the credo, “All Animals Are Created Equal.” Out of their cleverness, the pigs—Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball—emerge as leaders of the new community. In a development of insidious familiarity, the pigs begin to assume ever greater amounts of power, while other animals, especially the faithful horse Boxer, assume more of the work. The climax of the story is the brutal betrayal of Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: “But Some Animals Are More Equal than Others.”

This astonishing allegory, one of the most scathing satires in literary history, remains as fresh and relevant as the day it was published.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (2 hours, 52 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to her at Tiffany’s. Her poignancy, wit, and naivete continue to charm.

The Breathing Method by Stephen King (2 hours, 50 minutes) (Available on Overdrive)
The Breathing Method, from Stephen King’s bestselling collection Different Seasons, takes place in an exclusive gentleman’s club in New York, where no one pays any dues. Membership is based upon a telling of tales, and one nightmarish tale about a disgraced woman determined to give birth—no matter the consequences—pays for them all.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (3 hours, 20 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (2 hrs., 45 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
As an unusual illness plagues Russian public official Ivan Ilyich, his life is forever changed as he deals with doctors who cannot diagnose or treat him, as well as a certain death sentence.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (3 hours, 10 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offill’s heroine, referred to in these pages as simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband, postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes–a colicky baby, bedbugs, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions–the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it, as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation can be read in a single sitting, but there are enough bracing emotional insights in these pages to fill a much longer novel.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (3 hr., 42 min.) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk (2 hours, 27 minutes) (Available on Overdrive)
Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal television shows. This book, his first, is a spleen-bruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (“Martin Luther King Jr.’s Worst Speech Ever”) to intentionally bad theater (“Hitler Dinner Party: A Play”), from avant-garde fiction (“Obit for the Creator of Madlibs”) to free-verse poetry that’s funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined.

Odenkirk’s debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that’s exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in “The Second Meeting of Jesus and Lazarus,” it is a book “to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.”

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (2 hrs., 45 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
The story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

by on June 25th, 2015
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler Cover Image

Consummate storyteller Anne Tyler has written her 20th novel to great reviews. This is the story of four generations of Whitshanks who lived in a house in Baltimore beginning in the 1920′s.  Recounting her romance with Red that began on a glorious “yellow-and-green afternoon” in July of 1959, the matriarch, Abby, relates all their complicated lives full of love, jealousy, and secrecy.  The author touches on her insights into assumptions about class, gender, race and age and the story is told with humor and great dialogue.  Her family is now trying to figure out how best to care for Abby and Red in their old age and some wish to sell the old homestead.  The novel switches back and forth in time as it unfolds the family’s history and this may be a bit confusing for some readers.  The conversations, the stream of consciousness, the wisdom and wit all make for a great choice for Book Group discussion.  The three-dimensional characters are memorable such as Linnie Mae, Junior’s wife; Stem, Red and Abby’s adopted son who still feels like he plays second fiddle; Denny, who can’t be counted on and comes in and out of everyone’s lives bringing his young daughter into the mix; and sharp-tongued Amanda.  A Spool of Blue Thread is a story about family–the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Tyler’s prose is as touching and truthful as ever when dealing with a family in all its complexity–something most of us can surely relate to in our own families, especially those of use in the sandwich generation. Bravo, Anne Tyler, you’ve done it again.

Video Staff Picks: Children’s and Young Adult Summer Reading Recommendations

by on June 25th, 2015

Don’t let your kids lose steam in their summer reading! Here are some picks from library staff for kids of all ages.

When Good is So Very, Very Good!

by on June 23rd, 2015

It’s officially summer and that means lovely weather and longer days!  Such conditions are favorable for reading these enthralling books.  “Just one more page” actually translates into missing my bus stop and an unexpected hike home.

Ready Player One cover.phpThe first culprit was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in the summer of 2011.  To escape his awful Real Life, Wade Watts spends a lot of his time immersed in an online world called OASIS.  His goal is to locate an Easter Egg, an object much like Charlie’s Golden Ticket, that upon redemption will make him the heir to the eccentric founder’s estate.  After discovering the first key he must battle enemies, real and virtual, to claim the prize.  Although this novel is written by a self-proclaimed gamer geek, the pop culture references and intense action appeals to a diverse readership.

Scarlet cover.phpEach book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer feature a well-known fairy tale character with a science fiction twist.  For example, Cinder (2012) is a 16-year-old girl with an evil stepmother and a life of drudgery. . . and part cyborg.  She lives in New Beijing where she meets Prince Kai when he patronizes her mechanical repairs stall.  The second book introduces Scarlet (2013) who lives on the other side of the world.  How do their stories intertwine?  When will they meet?  How do I get to my house from here?  Needless to say, the third installment Cress (2014) was read safely at home.

Loop cover.phpLastly, Loop (2014) by Karen Akins is not a run-of-the-mill time travel book.  In the 23rd century, the ability to move through time is biological and regulated.  Bree Bennis is a clumsy 16-year-old Shifter who, during an ordinary mid-term exam, accidentally takes a 14-year-old boy hostage.  When she goes back to try to fix the blunder, she doesn’t go far enough.  Finn is now 17 and “totally hot”.  To compound the situation, he then follows her back into the future.  Naturally, this messes up the time-space continuum and they must work together to save their worlds.

I suggest reading these addicting novels featuring debut authors and imaginative stories tucked away in a cozy place; if not, the friendly bus drivers give excellent girl directions!

Why I love Wednesdays in the Summer

by on June 23rd, 2015
Why I love Wednesdays in the Summer Cover Image

I love Wednesdays in the summer because I know that when I get off work I can walk a little more than one block to the Farmers Market and find the garden of earthly eating delights.  I will not have to make dinner, not that I make dinner much anyway, (though I must confess that I love to read cookbooks and I do very much enjoy when others use cookbooks and share their delicious dishes with me, I just cannot get enthused about cooking).  Early in the market season I rely on the vendors who make food ready for me to consume on the spot.  Nothing requires a plate and can I pair my handheld tasty meal with a beverage made fresh at the market too.  There is always music playing, with chairs set up or a table if one might have purchased several items for dinner.

As the season progresses more and more vegetable are available.  And with vegetables like tomatoes and cumbers and basil I can make a pretty mean sandwich.  In fact, I think I excel at sandwich making.  But not everyone does, and if you are looking for help in the sandwich making area, the library is here for you.  In fact we have 25 books on how to make sandwiches. In The big summer cookbook : 300 fresh, flavorful recipes for those lazy, hazy days by Jeff Cox devotes a chapter to farmers market picks.  I would be willing, however, to offer a free tutorial.  And once you have your sandwich, (chock full of veggies so you don’t need a salad) and a beverage and maybe a dessert or two – you are ready to do one of my other favorite summer activities – picnic.  And guess what?  Yep, the library has books on how to picnic too.  saul

 

Express Scanner

by on June 22nd, 2015

New Express Scanner

We have a new express scanning service at ICPL. You don’t have to have a library card, get a guest pass, log in to a computer or learn how to use software. Simply step up and get started. You can scan a document and send it to yourself (or someone else) via email, save it to a flash drive or upload it to dropbox. It is quick and painless. The flatbed scanner handles up to 11×17 sized pages and makes scanning pages from books easy. There is a also a fast document scanner if you need to scan a stack of papers for some reason. The express scanner is on the second floor. We hope you get a chance to try it out.





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