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Posts Tagged ‘summer reading program’


The Summer Before the War

by Heidi Lauritzen on June 14th, 2016
The Summer Before the War Cover Image

Helen Simonson’s new novel is a great summer read, and not just because it has “summer” in the title.  The Summer Before the War takes a number of interesting turns with enough suspense to keep you reading when you really should be doing something else.  There are many likeable characters–and a few not-so–and the historical detail, never heavy-handed, illuminates the impact of social class, the looming Great War, and the limited role in society for a young woman.

This is the story of Beatrice Nash, who has been hired to teach Latin to the village children of Rye, England.  She is in her early 20s and grieving the loss of her beloved father who broadened her mind through education and travel.  Teaching is her route to financial independence and the ability to write; probable spinsterhood is embraced as a fair trade-off for a life of her choosing, of reading and writing.

World War I changes everything and everyone, beginning with the village’s acceptance of Belgian refugees and the calls to young men to serve their country.  But even patriotism and military service are subject to societal pressures and questionable ethics, and no family completely escapes heartbreak and loss.

Which characters become Beatrice’s friends and allies, and who emerges to thwart her plans moves the story at a brisk pace.  And as the characters develop there are satisfying transformations from nemesis to friend, and disappointments as those she admires show their true colors.  One of the things I liked best is that no character is perfect; each fails at some point to live up to their own standards and beliefs, or to love generously when it is difficult to do so.

I hated to finish the book, because I had grown quite attached to Beatrice, Hugh, Aunt Agatha, and others in the story.  (I felt the same way about  some of the characters in Simonson’s first novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.)  The Summer Before the War was a wonderful first entry on my summer reading program log, and I hope it makes it onto yours.

The Story of My Teeth

by Heidi Kuchta on June 14th, 2016

story of my teethLooking for a quick addition to your summer reading list? I loved this little book by Valeria Luiselli set in Mexico City because it is quite funny and bursting with originality. If you find yourself gravitating to heavy, serious books and want a pick-me-up or a palette cleanser, this will do the trick. Also, if you like quirky books as a general rule, check this one out! I fell in love with the aesthetics – there are beautiful full page bookplates dividing the different ‘books’ or chapters within the book. Also of note is that Valeria Luiselli wrote this book in collaboration with employees from Mexico City’s Jumex juice factory. During the book, auctioneer Gustavo “Highway” Sánchez Sánchez tells us about his travels and his beloved tooth collection of the “notorious infamous” (he later admits that the Marilyn Monroe ones are fakes.) There are literary quotes and fortune-cookie fortunes sprinkled throughout like a breadcrumb trail. This book is fun and adventurous, giving one the sense of being on a bizarre yet intriguing mission. I also loved how the final ‘book’ or chapter is a timeline of Gustavo Highway’s adventures in context of other important happenings in Mexican history. There are also photographs to further provide a sense of place. The writing’s mood can be contemplative, irreverent, hilarious, or confounding. I can’t wait to read more by this author!

Summer Reading Program check-in!

by Candice Smith on June 10th, 2016
Summer Reading Program check-in! Cover Image

I’m just a week into the 2016 Summer Reading Program, but I am happy (actually, quite pleased with myself!) to say that I’ve got four activities in the works. Doing so many at once might not be the norm, but I’m confident I’ll finish all of them soon. Here’s what I’m reading:

  1. Revival by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. The story spans several days in Wausau, Wisconsin, where some of the town’s deceased residents come back to life. It has a dark, somewhat gothic feel to it, and it’s beautifully illustrated. This book meets activity ‘V,’ read a graphic novel or comic book
  2. The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth. Recounts a series of ghastly murders in Austin, Texas, during the 1880s. Lots of great detail, about the history of Austin, the people there, and of course, the murders. Similar to Devil in the White City. This book meets activity ‘X,’ read a book from the New Nonfiction shelves.
  3. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. Bone Gap is a dull, small, midwestern town with some very mysterious places, if you know where and how to look. Finn and Sean are two brothers living on their own there, Finn a 17-year-old somewhat awkward kid with a couple good friends, Sean is his older brother who tries to hold down the home. When their friend Roza disappears one day, all of their worlds are turned upside-down in a multitude of ways. There’s an element of magical realism that gives a bit of a fantasy feel, but it’s a pretty serious YA book, with some violence and mature themes. This meets activity ‘T,’ read a young adult book.
  4. True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner. I first heard of Maura Murray from the Missing Maura Murray podcast: a student at UMass who has a car accident on a dark road, tells someone she doesn’t need help because AAA is on the way, and within minutes is gone, never to be seen again. James Renner comes upon the story while looking for something to focus on after losing his job at a newspaper, and gets sucked into the mysteries that surround the case. This book meets activity ‘Z,’ read a book only during your lunch hour.

Where are you in your summer reading?? If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time…stop by the Library and get ready to read!

ICPL Announces Totally Tweens Summer Lineup

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 18th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library’s Totally Tweens program has an exciting lineup of activities and programs for students in third through sixth grades as part of the On Your Mark, Get Set … Read! Summer Reading Program.

Totally Tweens will meet at 2 p.m. every Tuesday in June and July, beginning June 7, in the Storytime Room, unless otherwise noted.

June 7: Amazing Race
Start off your summer cracking clues and completing challenges. Bring a friend to make a team of two, or come alone to be paired up with a new friend.

June 14: Popcorn Olympics
Pop into the library for a tasty competition. Test your aim with the Popcorn Toss, show off your coordination in the Popcorn Cup Catch, plus other corny contests. Enjoy the taste of victory (and popcorn) at the end.

June 21: From IC to NFL with Nate Kaeding
Former NFL kicker Nate Kaeding will talk about his football career and answer questions about life in the NFL.

June 28: Yoga with Karen
Interested in yoga? Join Children’s Librarian, Karen Gordon to learn the basics. Starting with the 4 B’s –Brain, Body, Breath, and Balance. Yoga helps build self-confidence and self-esteem, flexibility and strength.

July 5: LEGOs and LittleBits
Get creative with engineering and electricity by designing and constructing a part of a city.

July 12: Insect Zoo Bug Olympics
Join our special guests from the ISU Insect Zoo for these Olympic Events: Cockroach Pulls, Roach Races, and Cricket Jumps. Then get up close and personal with the other awesome multi-legged creatures at the Bug Olympics Display.

July 19: Pizza Workshop
Find out how pizza is made in a restaurant, then make and eat your own mini pizza. Please contact us ahead of time with any food allergies. We may not be able to accommodate all allergies.

July 26: Life Size Games
Do you love board games but always wished they were bigger? The library has the solution. Come in today to play some games as big as you are.

Don’t forget our special finale, a Glow-in-the-Dark Lock-In from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5.

Celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Program by staying late at the Library. We’ll have glow-in-the-dark games, temporary hair colors, snacks, and more. Please note that parents and/or caregivers must fill out a permission slip at the Children’s Desk prior to the event. Tweens will be dropped off in Meeting Room A and picked up by the after-hours book drop at 9:30 p.m.

The Iowa City Public Library Summer Reading Program will be held May 31 through July 31; registration begins May 31. Patrons can either register in-person at the Library or online at srp.icpl.org.

For more information about Totally Tweens, call the Library at 319-356-5200.

ICPL’S Summer Reading Program Begins May 31

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 17th, 2016

Bike rides, movies, special presentations and, of course, books are part of this year’s Summer Reading Program lineup. Be part of a winning team. Join us for On Your Mark, Get Set … Read!

The 2016 Summer Reading Program will be held May 31 through July 31, with registration beginning May 31. Registration can be completed in-person at the Library, online at srp.icpl.org or during Children’s Day on Saturday, June 4. Children’s Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Summer of the Arts Festival.

Participation is free and available for all ages, babies through adults. All registrants will receive a game card to track their progress in meeting summer reading goals. The game cards also include the information for all Summer Reading Program activities, programs and events.

The game card for babies and toddlers promotes early childhood literacy skills, with prizes awarded at two levels: a mini beach ball at the first level, and a free book and entry into the grand prize drawing – either a $50 gift card to Prairie Lights or subscription to National Geographic Little Kids magazine — at the second level.

The pre-school through sixth-grade game card also has two levels of prizes. The first is an ICPL book bag filled with food and activity coupons from McDonald’s, Aspen Leaf Free Frozen Yogurt, the Iowa Children’s Museum, Blank Park Zoo, and Westdale Bowling Center. The second is a free book and an entry into the grand prize drawing. This year’s grand prizes include two new bikes from World of Bikes, two annual City Pool swim passes, two subscriptions to National Geographic Little Kids magazine, and a family pack of four tickets to the to the Union Cycliste Internationale Cyclo-Cross World Cup Sept. 24 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds

Teen Summer Reading Program participants who complete the first level of the program will receive a free book, and a food coupon from either Aspen Leaf Free Frozen Yogurt or Z’mariks Noodle Café. Teens who complete the second level are entered into the grand prize drawing of either a $50 Prairie Lights gift certificate; a Gamer’s Pack which includes a $30 GameStop gift card; a $50 iTunes gift card; a $50 Marcus Theaters gift card; or a $50 Pancheros gift card.

Adults can get in on the action, too. Anyone who completes three activities on the adult game card will receive a free book. Complete five activities to be entered into a drawing for one of five grand prizes:

  • A individual membership to FilmScene
  • A $50 Downtown Iowa City gift certificate
  • A Fit Bit Charge HR
  • A pair of Paddle Passes at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area
  • A family pack of four tickets to the to the Union Cycliste Internationale Cyclo-Cross World Cup Sept. 24 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds

Anyone who completes their game card early and wants to keep going can pick up a second game card, which can be turned in for a second entry into the grand prize drawing at their program level once it’s completed.

For more information about On Your Mark, Get Set … Read!, visit srp.icpl.org or call the Library at 319-356-5200.

Top 10 Reads

by Beth Fisher on August 27th, 2015
Top 10 Reads Cover Image

You told us what you read as part of the 2015 Summer Reading Program, and we kept track.

Click on the title to place a copy on hold.

The most popular book in this year’s Adult Summer Reading Program is also one of the most popular books of the year:  The Girl on the Train  by Paula Hawkins.   Three unreliable narrators set the tone for this Hitchcockian thriller. You’ll be drawn into the story not knowing who to believe or trust, just like the characters themselves. Rachel takes the train into London every day, watching the same scenery pass day after day, the same houses, the same strangers.  But are they really strangers? Is Rachel really just watching the story unfold?  Or is she hiding from something. Full of twists, turns and lies, The Girl on The Train will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

all the light we cannot seeWinner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr begins with the stories of a young blind French girl, Marie-Laure and a gadget-obsessed German boy, Werner, and how their lives evolve as World War 11 takes hold in Europe.  When their lives collide during the occupation of France, their stories intertwine for a time, and we see how the War led them down separate but converging paths.

 

paper towns Paper Towns, written by John Green (author of The Fault In Our Stars). This young adult novel was one of the top Teen Reads for this summer too.   Quentin “Q” grew up next door to  Margo Roth Spiegelman, but the older they got the more distant their lives became.  Shortly before high school graduation, Margo talks Quentin into being her partner-in-crime for one night of practical jokes and hijinks.  Three days later Margo disappears.   Quentin and two of his friends hit the road in search of Margo, following the clues she has left for them to find.  This road trip mystery rescue adventure became a motion picture starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne.

 

husbands secret The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.   “For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick.  To be opened only in the event of my death.”  says the 15 year old letter Cecilia found mixed in with her old tax documents.  She opens and reads it, expecting a sentimental message from her husband as it is dated just after the birth of their first child.  Little did she expect its contents to blow her world – and the worlds of two others – apart at the seams.

 

 

gone girlGone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.  This psychological thriller is the story of the marriage of Nick and Amy Dune. Both newly unemployed writers, Nick and Amy leave New York City and return to Nick’s home town in Missouri to care for Nick’s dying mother.  On their 5th anniversary, Amy disappears and soon people begin to suspect Nick in her disappearance.   The deeper into the story the reader gets the more we come to realize that both Amy and Nick aren’t who or what they appear to be.

 

 

tidying upThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Japanese cleaning and organizing consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.  Following her simple idea of only keeping things that bring you joy.

 

 

longest rideThe Longest Ride, by Nicholas Sparks.   Two love stories – one a new love, and one that lasted more than 5 decades – intertwine in unexpected ways. 90 year old Ira Levinson is stranded in his car after an accident. His late wife Ruth appears to him and helps him stay conscious by recounting the stories of their 50 years together as Ira waits to be rescued.  Luke and Sophia meet at a rodeo, and the connection is instant. After four months together they realize their lives might be heading in opposite directions.  Returning from a long weekend together,  Luke and Sophia discover Ira and the accident, and stay with him until the ambulance arrives.  Talking to Ira about his 50 year romance with Ruth, Luke and Sophia look at their lives differently.

 

the martianThe Martian, by Andy Weir.   Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.  Now everyone thinks he was the first person to have died there.  But he’s not dead.  After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

 

 

HP sorcerer's stonePublished in 1997, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling is the first in the series of 7 children’s/young adult novels chronicling the adventures of a young wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  H.P & The Sorcerer’s Stone covers 11- year old Harry’s discovery of his wizardly gifts and his first year at Hogwarts.

 

 

unbrokenUnbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand, is a biography of WWII hero Louis Zamperini, a former American Olympic track star who spent 47 days drifting at sea after a plane crash in the South Pacific, and then survived more than 2 years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

ICPL announces Summer Reading Program prize winners

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 20th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library ended the 2015 Summer Reading Program with strong participation numbers among all age levels – babies, kids, teens, and adults.srpwinnerscomiccollage

In all, 4,721 patrons registered for the 2015 Summer Reading Program, with 2,246 participants turning in completed game cards by Aug. 9.

The kids program had the highest number of registrants – 2,878 people – and the highest completion rate – 1,455 people.

More than 1,000 adults signed up for the program, with 434 turning in completed game cards.

The teen program had 399 registrations and 148 returned completed game cards, while the babies program had 420 registrations and 209 game cards returned to the Children’s Room.

All completed game cards were entered in a drawing for the Summer Reading Program Grand Prize, which varied depending on the program level. The winners were chosen by a random drawing and contacted by Library staff.

Congratulations to everyone who received a Summer Reading Program prize and thank you to all who participated!

Babies Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A $50 gift card to Prairie Lights

  • Winner: Maggi Kaalberg

Kids Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A $150 VISA gift card

  • Winner: Yousef Ismail

Participants in the teen and adult Summer Reading Programs were eligible for one of multiple prizes.

The prize winners in the teen program are:

  •  $50 Marcus Theaters gift card: Maria Brown
  •  $50 Prairie Lights gift card: Emalyn Foster
  •  $50 Game Stop gift card: John Bounds
  •  $50 Pancheros gift card: Daniel Kelly

The prize winners in the adult program are:

  • Two one-year memberships to FilmScene: Amanda Bellis and Heather Steward-Tharp
  •  $50 Downtown Iowa City gift certificate: Kayla Feil
  •  $50 gift certificate to A & A Pagliai’s Pizza: Wendy Berry
  • Pair of 2-hour Paddle Passes at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area: Vernona Myers

Second prize winners in the teen and adult Summer Reading Programs received a $5 gift certificate to spend at Taste of Iowa City. The winners of this prize are: Mya Kahle; Alyssa Skala; Sadie Widmer; Adrian Dale; Daniel Bodin; Chuck Henderson; Sommer Gilbert; Jennie Fischer; Eric Bodin; and Bev Amoroso.

Explore the Importance of Seeds at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 22nd, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will explore the shift of seeds from a local resource to a corporately-owned property with a screening of Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds tonight (Wednesday, July 22).open-sesame

This 2015 environmental documentary by M. Sean Kaminsky looks at the challenges facing one of the world’s most precious resources: seeds. In the past, seeds were saved season-to-season and shared gardener-to-gardener. Today, more than half of the seed stock is controlled by three major corporations. Open Sesame details the history of seeds and presents the challenges organic and small growers, seed savers and seed freedom advocates face today.

The film will be shown in Room A at 7 p.m. Popcorn will be provided.

Our exploration and understanding of seeds continues on Wednesday, July 29, with a presentation by Seed Savers Exchange from Decorah.

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation and utilization of heirloom varieties since 1975, working with farmers and gardeners to ensure that these unique varieties are not lost forever.

This event begins at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A. It is co-sponsored by New Pioneer Food Co-op and will be broadcast LIVE on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

Both events are part of the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

ICPL hosts What It Takes to Become a World Champion with Dan Gable and Tom Brands

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 7th, 2015

Spend the evening with Olympic Gold Medalists, and former and current Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling coaches Dan Gable and Tom Brands, on Monday, July 13, at the Iowa City Public Library as they share what it takes to be a champion.

Gable was a two-time NCAA champion and three times was an All-American, Big Eight champion and Iowa High School state champion. He claimed the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, without surrendering a single point.

Gable joined the University of Iowa wrestling coaching staff in 1972 and took over the program in 1976. Under his leadership, Iowa won 15 NCAA titles and 21 Big Ten team titles. Gable was named the NCAA Coach of the Year three times. He was head coach of the United States Olympic team in freestyle wrestling in 1980, 1984, and 2000, and coached 12 Iowa Hawkeye Olympians.

Brands was a four-time All-American, three-time NCAA champion, and three-time Big Ten Conference champion before winning gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He served 12 years as an assistant wrestling coach at Iowa before taking the head coach position at Virginia Tech. He returned to Iowa as head wrestling coach in the spring of 2006 and led the Hawkeyes to national titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Gable and Brands will be in Meeting Room A at the Library at 7 p.m. as part of the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. This event is free and open to the public. It will be broadcast LIVE on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

ICPL to screen Unsung Heroes July 8

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 2nd, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will screen Unsung Heroes: The Story of America’s Female Patriots at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, in Meeting Room A.unsung heroes

This 2014 documentary gives a first-hand look at the women who answered the call to serve and defend their country, sharing their experiences through rare photographs, archival materials, personal memorabilia and on-camera interviews. Called an inspiring story of perseverance and triumph, the film commemorates their courage and strength.

This event is part of the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. It is free to the public and popcorn will be provided.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.




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