ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2017: Best of the Best

by on December 31st, 2017

It’s here: the Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2017!

Staff members nominated nearly 100 books released in 2017 as their favorite reads of the year. Those that made this list were nominated by more than one person, which truly makes them the Best of the Best.

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
  • The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (published in Britain in 2016; released in the U.S. in May of 2017)
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey
  • Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Our Best Book Overall for 2017 is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

This debut novel was nominated by more staff members than any other book this year, which makes sense given all the other Best of 2017 lists it has appeared on this month. If you haven’t read it, be sire to check out a copy before the movie is released!

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Graphic Novels

by on December 30th, 2017

 

When you think of graphic novels, the mind often pictures superheroes. While individuals with extraordinary powers certainly are a familiar feature in these colorful tomes, graphic novels introduce us to real life heroes. They are inspirational, yet have the power to challenge how we think. The graphic novels released this year include bigger-than-life stories and illustrated versions of ordinary happenings that speak to everyone.

Our nominations for the Best Graphic Novels of the year include both children and adult titles. Children titles can be found in the Children’s Room.

ICPL’s BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2017

  • Pigs Might Fly by Nick Abadzis
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris
  • One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale
  • I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
  • Paper Girls, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn

Mock Caldecott Review: Wolf in the Snow

by on December 29th, 2017

Given the current conditions in Iowa City, our next Mock Caldecott review is fitting. It has been almost a year since the publication of Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow and somehow it remains as fresh and vibrant as it was when I first saw it last January. It was also just given a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Though stylistically reminiscent of Cordell’s other works, Dream and Bob, Not Bob!  specifically, the juxtaposition of realistic pen and ink wolves with cartoonesque watercolor characters is something entirely new. Cordell takes risks here and they all pay off, turning narrative and artistic tropes we see in many picture books and fairy tales on their heads. Be sure to look out for his consistent use of shape and color as well as the incredible expressiveness he manages to show with our protagonist’s very limited facial space. There’s also a special surprise under the dust jacket you won’t want to miss. If you love this book be sure to vote for it as our 2018 Mock Caldecott winner by January 31st.

 

New offbeat travel memoirs

by on December 29th, 2017

Are you going anywhere next year?  Start dreaming of your next trip with travel books from the library.  You probably already know about our collection of travel guides for the U.S. and the world (and that we can get other esoteric locations for you on interlibrary loan!), but also look upstairs for niche guidebooks, gorgeous coffee table books, and new memoirs like these.

My favorite way to spend time in a new city is a long, blister-inducing bout of wandering around.  When I first learned the word flâneur (one who strolls around town observing modern life), I immediately knew it described my desire to feel part of the current of a city.  How surprising, then, to come across this book written to disprove an old idea that there are no female flâneurs?  In Flâneuse: women walk the city in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, Lauren Elkin shares her experiences alongside those of famous flâneuses from history such as George Sand and Virginia Woolf.  If this book doesn’t get your feet itching for a long walk, nothing will. Read the rest of this entry »

Best of the Best 2017: Non-Fiction

by on December 29th, 2017

ICPL BEST NON-FICTION BOOKS OF 2017

 

Our favorite non-fiction books this year are very eclectic! Whether you’re interested in American politics, understanding your mind better, feminism, or world history, we’ve got you covered. A lot of these books deal with overcoming extreme adversity, and would make great winter reads!

  • Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen
  • Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
  • Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat
  • We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
  • Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
  • Women and the Land by Barbara Hall
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves by Kate T. Parker
  • Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 by Helen Rappaport
  • The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

Hey series readers, Libby has a new feature just for you

by on December 28th, 2017

A new feature in Libby has made finding the next book in that series you’re reading even easier. The biggest improvement is this little icon added to the bottom right of the book cover, making it plain and easy to see which book number that title is. I am notoriously bad at knowing which Harry Potter book is which number, and with this trick, I never have to. Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Autobiography/Biography/Memoir

by on December 28th, 2017

Perhaps you’ve seen this phrase on a T-shirt or coffee mug: Careful or You’ll End Up in My Novel. When it comes to writers of autobiographies, biographies and memoirs, that’s 100 percent true!

Here’s a list of people’s stories we had trouble putting down in 2017:

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones
  • The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
  • Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
  • Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Are there any titles we missed? Let us know!

Mock Newbery Nominee: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

by on December 27th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk Cover Image

Week five of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews is the last of 2017, but I’ll be back in 2018 with another five before the final votes are tallied. I present Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk for your consideration. I hope I can convince you to give it a read, as this historical adventure story about belonging and family is one of my favorites of the year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Make those resolutions stick

by on December 27th, 2017

Every year at this time, media stories begin to surface about the top New Year’s Resolutions based on some survey. But as we all know, making the resolution is easy. Figuring out how to make it sustainable is the tricky part. Maybe ICPL can help.

Bon Appetit Dec 2017

one of many magazine titles available online


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New fireworks rules in Iowa City

by on December 27th, 2017

Families with babies and owners of dogs rejoice!  It is now illegal to use of fireworks inside the city limits of Iowa City.  Some fun folks like to ring in the New Year with a Roman candle or two.  If someone does, call the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-6800.  Please be ready to provide an address or vehicle description.  It is a minimum $250 fine for anyone caught using fireworks inside city limits.