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Review: Superman For All Seasons

by on November 4th, 2014
Review: Superman For All Seasons Cover Image

 

 

 

I never got excited about Superman because I couldn’t relate to him. I have a friend who felt the same way, until he read Superman For All Seasons. He said I should give it a shot. He was right – this book changes everything for me. Well, no, not everything, but Superman For All Seasons casts the man who masquerades as Clark Kent in a whole new light. Suddenly he is complex and relatable, and perhaps more heroic for it.

This book is made up of a four issue series written by Jeph Loeb and with art by Tim Sale. Bjarne Hansen is the colorist, using watercolors that move between bold primary, easter-eggy, and sad purples. The art style is Rockwellian and evokes a simple life – the graphics are all Americana, with gentle subtleties provided by both the coloring and the writing.  Each issue is told from the point of view of a different main character, and with each switch the reader gains a new bit of insight into our hero. I was left with an image in my mind of someone utterly more conflicted and connected and brave than I had thought.

We begin with a farm boy, a dog, a dear mother and father, and a highschool sweetheart. There’s that simplistic Superman I have no patience for. Only, highschool is ending, his powers are growing, and Superman, like many American teenagers, has the scary and exciting task of deciding, “what next?” The decision is more complicated that he wants it to be, and no matter what he must give some things up.

The story unfolds from here with standard comic book elements – heroics, races against time, feats of strength, villains. But in this story too are questions about honesty and making connections. About what you leave behind when you go and what good it will do to return. About the impressions a person leaves, and about figuring out who we really are. Teenage Superman has a lot to figure out. He gives something up when he decides to be Superman, and it’s hard for him. Even though he is Superman, he has to live with his choices, and they are the kinds of choices we can all relate to.

Other superheroes may have more shadowy appeals, and I like that. But in Superman For All Seasons we realize that just because Superman is from another planet and possesses what for earthlings are super powers, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t struggle like the rest of us, and it doesn’t mean he isn’t human after all.

On Air: The ICPL Podcast – Episode 5

by on November 4th, 2014

Get the podcast here or from iTunes or Stitcher

Episode 5: “Favorite Picture Books & The Book Genre Dating Game”
01:15 Brian talks the TV show Arrow
02:26 Jen is watching Inspector Lewis
04:00 Jason is listening to the new Caribou album
06:30 Meredith is watching The Walking Dead and reading This is Where I Leave You
07:52 It’s National Picture Book Month so the staff are recommending both old and new favorites.
Old favorites: Jen shares Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer, Brian likes Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, Jason loves the Berenstein Bears series, and Meredith likes the Eloise series by Kay Thompson.
New favorites: Jason recommends Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Brian likes Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt, Jen shares The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, and Meredith is a fan of The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers.
30:39 It’s the Book Genre Dating Game – Jen will ask the other panelists questions and they will answer as the book genre of their choice. At the end Jen promises to choose one and read a recommended book!

Voting today?

by on November 4th, 2014

If you’re heading out to vote today, you’ll need to go to your polling station.

You can find your polling station with the Johnson County Auditor’s nifty locator!

This is a new version of their locator, and it utilizes their awesome GIS viewer, which is itself a fantastic tool for viewing maps and information about the area. This locator also gives you directions on how to get to your polling place from your street address.

Of course, you can call us at 356-5200, and we’ll look up your polling place for you!

 

Biggest Book in the World

by on November 3rd, 2014

oedRecently I was  asked what is the biggest book in the world, and and do we have it.  The biggest book we own, if  you consider it one book, is the Oxford English  Dictionary with 20 volumes and approximately 21,730 pages.

 According to my research the real Biggest Book in the World is literally  carved in stone.  It resides  at the foot of wbbMandalay Hill  in Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) on  of grounds of the Kuthodaw pagoda (kuthodaw, “royal merit”). It has 730 leaves and 1460 pages; each page stands upright and is 3.51 ft wide,   5.02 ft tall and 5.1 in thick.Each stone tablet has its own roof and precious gem on top in a small cave-like structures which  are arranged around a central golden pagoda.220px-Mandalay_kuthodawIf you are interested in reading the longest and probably most tedious book, it would most likely be the U.S. tax code with some 74,000 pages.

 

The Last Policeman Series

by on October 31st, 2014
The Last Policeman Series Cover Image

If you enjoy both sci-fi and mysteries, investigate the Last Policemen Series.  The first two books in the three-part series by Ben H. Winters bagged an Edgar and a PKD award respectively.  The third has just come out.  The books follow the movements of Hank Palace, a new young detective in a small New Hampshire police force.  He made detective early not so much because he is a rising star on the force, but because there is an asteroid careening toward Earth and many of the police and detectives are running off to satisfy their bucket lists.  Nonetheless, he takes cases seriously even though the world is coming to an end and his colleagues shake their heads and snicker.  The cases themselves are interesting enough: a missing person’s case, a suspicious death and the disappearance of his sister.  But this is also a pre-apocolyptic look at society slowly becoming unraveled and it is interesting to see Winters vision of it.  Fortunately, it’s not so bleak or terrifying as The Road, partly because our protagonist is so dependable and his pursuit of the truth sustains us as the end nears.  These are quick and enjoyable reads. We have all three.

New digital magazines available

by on October 31st, 2014
You can now check out the New Yorker from ICPL to read on your tablet. Instagram courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes (ari).

You can now check out the New Yorker from ICPL to read on your tablet. Instagram courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes (ari).

The Iowa City Public Library has added more than 30 new digital magazines this month. I am particularly excited that we were able to add great magazines by well-established publishers like Conde Naste and the Meredith Corporation, whose own headquarters are in Des Moines, Iowa.

Never used our digital magazines before? Get started with these instructions on how to use ICPL’s Zinio collection.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt

by on October 30th, 2014
Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt Cover Image

Not since first picking up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have I read a book that started off full of so much life and mystery. But this is just how Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt begins. As dramatic as any play, the scene is set when a letter arrives inviting Max Starling’s actor parents to visit the Maharajah of Kashmir. His parents say Max will be coming too, but when the steamship leaves, Max is left behind. Determined to be independent until his parents return, he decides to find a job. But jobs for twelve year old boys don’t pay very well, so Max uses his experience of growing up in the theater to disguise himself and act older. To his surprise, he discovers he has a talent for solving problems for other people. He is not quite a detective and not quite a life coach, but something in between, a Solutioneer, as he calls himself. Cases start rolling in, a lost dog, a lost Baron, even a lost spoon, Max finds the solution to them all. This wonderful beginning of a trilogy weaves tricky problems and spirited characters into the the overarching story of what has happened to his parents.  A story that leaves readers both satisfied with Max’s solutions and eager to find out more about Mister Max, Solutioneer.

http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389591922l/17471117.jpgMister Max: The Book of Secrets is the recently released second title in the trilogy, which follows Max on his most important case yet. The problems are bigger and more complex, but Max is sure he can handle them. Fires have been springing up in small businesses, but no one will talk to the police, and with a visit from the Royal family approaching, the Mayor is desperate stop the fires without a fuss. Enter Mister Max and his ability to get people talking without knowing who they are really talking to. But with the appearance of an old schoolmate, for the first time he must deal with the possibility of being recognized, which could ruin Max’s independent lifestyle. Help is provided in the form of his librarian Grammie; his tutor Ari; and the sometimes irritating, very talkative Pia, who insists she is his assistant. All the while Max continues to receive troubling hints on the whereabouts of his parents. A great follow-up to the first, this story manages to leave some solutions open-ended while setting up the last book and what readers will hope to be Max’s reunion with his parents.

Read to Feed

by on October 30th, 2014

ReadtoFeed-Poster (2)

With November just around the corner, I am starting to think about FOOD! Holiday menus, edible gifts, cookie exchanges, hot chocolate…and Read to Feed!

Read to Feed is a library program that gives your family an opportunity to kick off the season with true holiday spirit—by giving! Join us in the Storytime Room on Wednesday, Nov. 12, anytime between 2-4 pm for stories, songs, activities, and snacks—and a food drive for The Crisis Center of Johnson County, hosted by The Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc. Did you know that one third of the people in households served by the Food Bank are children? Read to Feed gives kids a chance to show they care.

Take advantage of a no-school day (for students in the Iowa City Community School District) for some mid-week entertainment. Rock & Read volunteers will share some of their favorite books, and library staff will lead the group in campfire songs and chants. Throw in some fall snacks, and it’s sure to be a great time!

Drop in anytime and stay as long as you can! The only admission requested is a donation for The Iowa City Crisis Center, such as nonperishable food items or new children’s books. We invite you to join us—partnering together to feed the minds and bodies of Johnson County!

Meeting Rooms @ Your Library

by on October 30th, 2014

2014 meeting roomThe Library offers five meetings rooms for community groups to use.  Library meetings rooms are a busy community resource.  In FY14 the Library hosted 1,508 community meetings in its meeting rooms.  This is in addition to a very busy schedule of Library programs held in the meeting rooms.

According to Library Board Policy, “The purpose of the Library’s meeting rooms is to provide space for library programs and community events, to fulfill the Library’s role as a community center, where the public can attend informational, educational, cultural events and to champion the principle of intellectual freedom by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.”

The Library’s meeting rooms are designed to host small groups as well as large community gatherings.  There are eligibility requirements for using the rooms.  Groups using the rooms must be a non-profit corporation, candidate campaign committee, political committee, governmental subdivision or non-profit citizens group.  Groups who do not meet these guidelines are encouraged to use the Library’s study rooms on the 2nd floor or check out a list of alternative meeting room sites in the community.

We recently updated our webpage with information about Library meeting rooms.  You can see more information here.  Groups are welcome to reserve meeting rooms online or call the Library at 319-356-5200 for staff assistance.

 

Patrons’ Reading Suggestions: Children’s Books

by on October 29th, 2014

Are you looking for a new book to read? Let out patrons guide you!read next

The Library has several plastic suggestion boxes for patrons to deposit a slip of paper with the title of a book (or movie, CD or video game) they loved. We recently emptied the suggestion box in the Children’s Room and here are the books they think you should add to your reading list:

  • Korgi, Book 1: Sprouting Wings by Christian Slade
  • The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau
  • Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall
  • The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen
  • The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
  • More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
  • Young Cam Jensen series by David A. Adler

We keep a running list of all patron suggestions on our goodreads.com account (www.goodreads.com). We also have reviews written by staff members on this site. Take a look and maybe you’ll find your next book to check out!





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