Posts Tagged ‘book recommendations’


Video Staff Picks with Terri: October 2017

by Bond Drager on October 18th, 2017

Terri’s back with more great picks from Iowa City Public Library’s nonfiction collection.

Items mentioned include

Tower
directed by Keith Maitland

Newtown
directed by Kim A. Snyder

Gimme Danger
directed by Jim Jarmusch

Eat that Question: Frank
Zappa in his Own Words
directed by Thorsten Schütte

The New Bloody Mary
by Vincenzo Marianella and James O. Fraioli

In Julia’s Kitchen
by Pamela Heyne and Jim Scherer

Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family
by Kathy McKeon

Twenty-Six Seconds: a Personal History of the Zapruder Film
by Alexandra Zapruder

JFK: a Vision for America in Words and Pictures
edited by Stephen Kennedy Smith and
Douglas Brinkley

Last Man Standing: Mort Sahl and the Birth
of Modern Comedy
by James Curtis

Modern Reads for Women’s History Month

by Bond Drager on March 6th, 2017

I recently wondered how March came to be National Women’s History Month. Luckily National Women’s History Project had some great information.

If you’re like me and you like to celebrate holidays by nerding out on information overload, here’s a great list of book titles to pick up from ICPL. For this list, I’m choosing to focus on more recent choices that highlight great feminist literature and nonfiction.

My Real Children by Jo Walton

I won’t go into too much detail about this book because I don’t want to give this wonderful book away. If you’re a fan of realistic fiction like John Green and Rainbow Rowell, but you’re willing to read something written for and about adults, you’d like this book. This is a story about what it means to have choices in life, and ultimately how women function and age within society.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book has won a zillion awards for its powerful story of race and identity. Bonus: North Liberty Community Library has selected it for its Bring Your Own Book Club on March 31 at Beer Burger – you’ve still got time to participate.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

There’s a reason the City of Literature recently awarded Roxane Gay with the 2016 Paul Engle prize. She’s a tremendous writer doing important work across media and genre. This book of essays is a great introduction to her writing, and it’s also really fun to read.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

So much of the story of 90s music in the pacific northwest comes from the perspective by and about men, that it’s particularly interesting to read this story of a young woman finding her calling as part of that scene.

Not only is this story riveting, but Brownstein is a just a fantastic writer and I often recommend this as one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. She not only chronicles her turbulent journey but is impressively self-aware, finding deeper meaning as she looks at her story in hindsight.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This debut novel from Angie Thomas just came out in February and is already proving very popular. It’s a YA book that everyone should read. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books describes it as follows: “Ultimately the book emphasizes the need to speak up about injustice. That’s a message that will resonate with all young people concerned with fairness, and Starr’s experience will speak to readers who know Starr’s life like their own and provide perspective for others.”

Remember your Boy Band obsession?

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 25th, 2017
Remember your Boy Band obsession? Cover Image

Mine was New Kids on the Block. Theirs were the first concert I attended (Hilton Colosseum in 1988) and, if I’m being honest, the last one, too. (My friends and I attended one of their reunion shows in Minneapolis in 2015. Nelly and TLC were the opening acts. It was the 90s all over again and it was awesome!)

My point is, you never forget your first boy band obsession. Or, if you’re Stella Samuel in Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers, you never stop mocking your sister for her boy band obsession, also called The Heartbreakers. Stella is more indie music, not the pseudo-punk her sister loves, yet she’s on a mission to secure autographs of the hottest band around for her sister’s birthday present.

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ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2016: Best of the Best

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 31st, 2016

It’s here! Iowa City Public Library’s Top Picks for 2016!

Staff members nominated more than 100 books released in 2016 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.

Adulthood Is a Myth book cover
American Cake book cover
The Dream Lover book cover
Eligible book cover
A Few of the Girls book cover
The Fireman book cover
Girl Who Drank the Moon book cover
Greetings From Utopia Park book cover
Heartless book cover
Hidden Figures book cover
Morning Star book cover
The Night Gardener book cover
book cover
Raymie Nightingale book cover
Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend book cover
Scrappy Little Nobody book cover
Underground Railroad book cover
When Breath Becomes Air book cover

Two graphic novels tied for the title of Most Recommended Book in 2016:

Snow White book cover
Ghosts book cover


Forget everything you know about Snow White, as Matt Phelan’s illustrated take on this classic tale takes place in New Your City in the 1920s. Samantha White is back after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of Follies. Her father, the King of Wall Street, survived the stock market crash only to die from a strange and sudden death. However, that’s not the only mystery Samantha and her “protectors” — seven street urchins — face in what critics have called “a stunning, genre-bending graphic novel.”

In Raina Telgemeier’s Ghost, Catrina and her family have moved to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends, but as she and Maya explore their new home,  a neighbor shares a secret: there are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Called a  “can’t miss addition to middle school graphic novel shelves,” Telgemeier’s latest has been praised for “bold colors, superior visual storytelling” by Kirkus Reviews.

Did your favorite read of 2016 make our list?

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2016: Graphic Novels

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 30th, 2016

It’s believed the term “graphic novel” was coined by Richard Kyle in an 1964 essay, though it didn’t gain popularity until the late 1970s with the publication of Will Eisner’s A Contract with God.

While some in the comics community object to the term, calling it unnecessary, few can argue against the genre’s popularity. Our graphics novel collection has grown so much, we moved it out of the nonfiction stacks and into its own shelving area on the Library’s second floor.

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 2016graphic-novels

  • Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
  • Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus by Chester Brown
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini
  • Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News that Matters to Cats by Georgia Dunn
  • Compass South by Hope Larson
  • March: Book Three by John Lewis
  • Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan
  • Lumberjanes: Volume 3 Terrible Plan by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen
  • Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  • Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chang

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2016: Nonfiction

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 29th, 2016

Nonfiction books run the gamut from history and science to cooking and travel. The titles nominated for our Best of the Best list are certainly eclectic, as is our staff!

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ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2016: Biography and Memoir

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 28th, 2016

Did you know memoir comes from the Latin work memoria, which means making memory or reminiscence?

A memoir is a sub-genre of the autobiography and tends to encompass one time period of an author’s life while a biography and/or autobiography is a detailed description of a person’s entire life.

Here are the lives (or parts of lives) we enjoyed reading about in 2016.

ICPL’s BEST BIOGRAPHIES, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS OF 2016

  • Lust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughsmemoir
  • It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
  • Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman
  • Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
  • Greetings From Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood by Claire Hoffman
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
  • Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley
  • The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
  • I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
  • Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2016: Science Fiction/Fantasy

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 27th, 2016

Science fiction and fantasy novels are known for transporting readers to fantastic locations, taking them on amazing adventures, but they can also serve as a reminder or warning of what could happen. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading.”

Fight the power! Read a book! Here are some titles to get you started.

ICPL’s BEST SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY BOOKS OF 2016scifi-fantasy

  • Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee
  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu
  • A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab
  • Join by Steve Toutonghi
  • Smoke by Dan Vyleta
  • Invasive by Scott Wendig
  • The Guns of Empire by Django Wexler

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2016: Mystery

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 26th, 2016

What books will make our list of Best Books of 2016? It’s a mystery, as are these stories.

ICPL’s BEST MYSTERY BOOKS OF 2016mystery

  • The Trespasser by Tana French
  • The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories by P.D. James
  • A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
  • The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
  • Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
  • No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2016: Children’s

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2016

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” — Frank Serafini

If your child is searching for their favorite book, or looking for a new title to add to a growing list of beloved stories, check out our favorite children’s books of 2016.

ICPL’s BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2016childrens-room

  • Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • Have You Seen Elephant by David Barrow
  • Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
  • Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  • The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton
  • Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  • Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio
  • Together by Emma Dodd
  • The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan
  • Bear & Hare — Where’s Bear? By Emily Gravett
  • The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield
  • Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
  • Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
  • We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
  • The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
  • Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
  • Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer
  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  • They All Saw a Cat by Brenden Wenzel
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  • Little Red by Bethan Woollvin