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Books I’d Like to Read Again

by Kara on April 22nd, 2012
Books I’d Like to Read Again Cover Image

Last week I had the honor of being the speaker at the lunch program of the Iowa Association of School Librarians 2012 Conference. Traditionally they invite librarians to do booktalks, and this year I had fun picking out my favorite books from the past couple of years to recommend. My topic was “Recent Favorites and Books I’d Like to Read Again.”

Not only did I get to speak to about 175 teacher-librarians, but two of my favorite librarians were in the audience. Mary Jo Langhorne was my teacher-librarian when I was in junior high (Northwest Junior High in Coralville) and Denise Rehmke was my teacher-librarian when I was a student at Iowa City’s West High School. They were role models for me and epitomized the difference caring adults can make in the lives of students. I never told them, but they were influential to me and, when I considered a career in librarianship, their positive influence helped me realize that being a librarian was a career I would enjoy.

Many thanks to Mary Jo and Denise and all the wonderful teacher-librarians who make a difference every day in the lives of our students in Iowa!!

I’ve had a couple people ask if I would share my list, so the books are below.   Each book is highly recommended and, if I had time, I’d read them again.  ~~Enjoy~~

Box, C.J. Force of Nature Pickett Series & Stand-alones 2012 Game Warden Joe Pickett’s friend, Nate Romanowski, knows a secret about a governmental official. That official plans to kill Nate to keep him quiet, and is targeting the entire Pickett family to get to Nate. Will Nate’s actions justify the outcome? Can Nate survive and save his friends? All C.J. Box books recommended including Pickett series and stand-alones. Mystery
Bradley, Alan I am Half-Sick of Shadows Flavia de Luce Series 2011 Step aside Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy, eleven year old Flavia de Luce is on the case! It’s 1950 and Flavia is living in an old English estate with her family. Watch for more Flavia mysteries including The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and A Red Herring Without Mustard. Mystery
Clayton, Meg Waite Wednesday Sisters 2009 A group of women learn about life, love, friendship and loyalty in a “coming of age” novel set against a backdrop of the 1960s, Women’s Movement, and Vietnam War protests. Fiction
Dallas, Sandra The Bride’s House  2011 Sandra Dallas’ new book follows three generations of women who live in The Bride’s House in Georgetown Colorado.  Dallas’ books are known for good character development and strong sense of place.  Fiction
Dean, Debra Madonnas of Leningrad 2007 A story that develops on two levels: A family coming to terms with Alzheimer’s and the story of Marina who creates a “memory palace” to escape the terror of Leningrad in 1941. Historical Fiction
Diffenbaugh, Vanessa Language of Flowers 2011 A beautiful coming of age debut novel weaving the past and present life of Victoria Jones beginning when Victoria is emancipated from foster care. Alternating chapters reveal Victoria’s past and present life. Fiction
Evanovich, Janet Explosive Eighteen 2011 What happened in Hawaii? Stephanie Plum’s dream vacation didn’t turn out as planned. Trouble is waiting for her at home as well. Count on Evanovich for laughs, quirky characters, and exploding cars. Mystery
Fortier, Anne Juliet 2011 Julie is heartbroken when her Aunt dies and crushed when her estate goes to Julie’s twin sister, Janice … except for a key to a mysterious lock box in Sienna, Italy and a cryptic story about family treasures. Fiction
Glass, Julia The Widower’s Tale 2010 Enjoying an active but lonely rural life, seventy-year-old Percy allows a preschool to move into his barn and transform his quiet home into a lively, youthful community.  All Julia Glass books are recommended.  Fiction
Green, Jane Promises to Keep 2010 Green’s books focus on families, friendship, and discovering the life you want to live. Other recommended Jane Green books include Dune Road and The Beach House. Fiction
Hillenbrand, Laura Unbroken 2010 Olympic runner Louis Zamperini enlisted in the US Army Air Forces in 1941. When the plane he was assigned to crashes into the South Pacific. Louis survives the crash and 47 days at sea in a plastic life raft. Nonfiction
Mason, Bobbie Ann The Girl in the Blue Beret 2011 Told in the present and past. A WWII fighter pilot shot down over Belgium is saved by the French Resistance. Fifty years later, after his retirement, he returns to Paris to find the people who cared for him. Historical Fiction
McClain, Paula The Paris Wife 2011 The fictional story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. After a whirlwind courtship the couple marries and moves to Paris so Ernest can pursue his writing career.  Historical Fiction
Orringer, Julie Invisible Bridge 2010 Andras and Tibor Levy are Jewish brothers in Hungary in 1937.  The reader knows history and horror of war, and yet Orringer weaves spirit, friendship, hope, family ties, and love into an unforgettable story. Historical Fiction
Russell, Mary Doria Dreamers of the Day 2008 Midwesterner, schoolteacher, influenza epidemic survivor, and world traveler, Agnes Shanklin, witnesses the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference where world leaders make a plan to divide the Middle East into the countries of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Historical Fiction
See, Lisa Shanghai Girls & Dreams of Joy 2009 & 2011 Wonderful characters and a strong sense of place. Stories are fast-paced and individual stories are woven together so the reader cares about the main characters, their feelings, and what happens.  I listened to both books and the narration is excellent.  Highly recommended! Historical Fiction
Taylor, Patrick Dublin Student DoctorIrish Country Series2011 The fictional Irish town of Ballybucklebo comes alive, starting with An Irish Country Doctor. The main character is a mix of James Herriot and Marcus Welby, MD. All books are recommended.  If you are looking for a vicarious escape, I’d recommend picking up one of the books in the series. Fiction
Tyler, Anne Noah’s Compass 2010 61-year-old Liam Pennywell is forced to retire from his job teaching fifth graders.  On the first day of retirement he wakes up in a hospital after an assault and sets out to rediscover his life. Fiction
Vreeland, Susan Clara and Mr. Tiffany 2011 Fictionalized story of Clara Driscoll who worked with Louis Comfort Tiffany at his New York studio and possibly the person who conceived the idea for the iconic Tiffany stained glass lamps.  Historical Fiction.
Winerip, Michael Adam Canfield: The Last Reporte rAdam Canfield Series 2010 I love family road trips and finding a great book on disc the entire family will enjoy. Adam Canfield has traveled with us on three trips and everyone in the family enjoys these stories. Adam and friends write for the school newspaper, The Slash. In each book it’s good vs. evil, motivated students, and adults who care and want to help the students. jFiction
Winspear, Jacqueline Elegy for Eddie 2012 A solid mystery series that creates a strong sense of place and interesting characters. It’s April 1933 and Maisie’s past and present collide when friends from her past ask her to solve the murder of a friend. Mystery

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

by Kara on March 21st, 2012
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Cover Image

I love Historical Fiction novels but rarely read Nonfiction.  Recently I read a review about Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand that made me decide to take a chance and put a hold on the eBook version.  WOW! What a compelling story! I was immediately hooked on the story and rarely put my Kindle down until I had finished the book.  Although it’s not a new book (published November 2010), I decided to blog about it because I really enjoyed it.

Louis Zamperini grew up in a large Italian family in Torrance, California.  He was a defiant and incorrigible (but lovable) boy who enjoyed pushing limits.  School didn’t interest him and he often channeled his energy into petty crime, fighting and riding the rails. Eventually he discovered running and focused his energy into becoming an Olympic runner with the goal of being the first runner to run a 4-minute mile.  He competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, earning an 8th place finish in the Men’s 5,000 meter race.

Louis Zamperini enlisted in the US Army Air Forces in 1941 and trained as a bombardier on a fighter plane.  He was stationed in the South Pacific and when his crew’s plane, Super Man, was damaged in a war battle, the crew was assigned to a new airplane, The Green Hornet.  Mechanical issues caused The Green Hornet to crash into the South Pacific, killing 8 of the 11 crew members.  Louis Zamperini and two others (Russel Phillips and Francis McNamara) survived the crash and ended up in two plastic life boats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  With little to eat and no fresh water the men told stories to one-another to pass the time and keep their minds off thirst, starvation, and the odds of being rescued.  Francis McNamara died after 33 days at sea.  On the 47th day, Louis Zamperini and Russel Phillips reached the Marshall Islands but were soon captured by the Japanese soldiers stationed there.  Both men were held in prisoner of war camps and were beaten and tortured. Louis Zamperini was never officially registered as a prisoner of war, and the knowledge that his family did not know he was alive weighed on him each day of captivity. Unfortunately Louis Zamperini was the target of extra torture in the POW camps because of his Olympic fame.

I am happy to report the book has a happy ending, although Louis Zamperini struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his return from the War. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it for readers who enjoy Historical Fiction.  By chance, I just discovered Bobbie Ann Mason’s new book, The Girl in the Blue Beret, which is a fictional story about a WWII fighter pilot who is shot down over Occupied Europe. I love the “Advanced Search” option in OverDrive that helps me find Historical Fiction eBooks for my Kindle!!

 

Book Trailers for Newbery & Printz Award Winners

by Andrea on January 23rd, 2012
Book Trailers for Newbery & Printz Award Winners Cover Image

The American Library Association announced the Youth Media Awards today. Here are book trailers for some of the award winners & honor winners.

Newbery Award for Excellence in Young People’s Literature: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature: Where Things Comes Back by John Corey Whaley

Coretta Scott King Award for Outstanding Book by an African American Author: Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson (also received Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor)

The Caldecott winner, A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka, and the Sibert winner, Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet, don’t have book trailers at this time. Check the full list of award winners for other reading treasures.

Summer Reading Program Top Picks

by Kara on July 19th, 2011
Summer Reading Program Top Picks Cover Image

This year has been a great year for the Adult and Teen Summer Reading Programs.  The Library is busy, there are many great new books out, lots of people are reading, and we had great attendance at our programs.

So far 625 adults and 249 teens signed up for the reading program.  We are always very interested in the books people read in the summer and we keep track of the the most popular titles people list on the reading form they turn in for prizes.  For the second year in a row, some of the most popular books read by adults are classified as Young Adult titles.  And once again, Suzanne Collins and Rick Riordan are two of the most popular authors.

Below is a list of the five most read books by Adults and Teens as a part of this year’s Summer Reading Program.  If you are looking for a great book, give us a call, stop by, or check out recommendations by staff. We are always happy to help you find a good book!

Adult Most Popular:

Bossypants Tina Fey
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay Suzanne Collins

 

Teen Most Popular

The Red Pyramid Rick Riordan
The Throne of Fire Rick Riordan
The Lost Hero Rick Riordan
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney
Mockingjay Suzanne Collins

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

by Maeve on July 7th, 2011
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Cover Image

Are you looking for a great book?  A work of nonfiction that reads like a novel?  Well, here it is.  The Immortal Life of  Henrietta Lacks, (TILOHL).  I checked out TILOHL last year and returned it without ever opening it.  Guess I must have been busy because had I started it I would not have been able to put it down.  I devoured TILOHC in two days.   Skloot, an award-winning science writer, has crafted the story of Henrietta Lacks, or more precisely, HeLa, the “immortal” cells taken from Mrs. Lacks without her knowledge, and the Lacks family.

Skloot spent ten years writing TILOHL and deftly weaves the tale – cell lines and their study, the discoveries made possible from HeLa and medical ethics into her story of the heirs of Henrietta Lacks.  Lacks was a black woman, born in Clover, Virginia, in Lacks Town, land that was left to her ancestors by the former slave owners who had fathered them. She married her first cousin, moved to Baltimore and bore five children. She died from cervical cancer in 1951 at the age of 31. Skloot, a well-educated white woman has to build trust with the Lacks, a family suspicious of those who come asking questions of their mother.

TILOHL is intriguing on so many levels; as a race history, a balanced debate on medical ethics and a biographical study of poor black Southern family.  It is a story that continues to reverberate today.  Who owns an individuals cells and when does scientific discovery trump individual rights?  I heartily recommend  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

 

Canadian Children’s Literature

by Andrea on July 1st, 2011
Canadian Children’s Literature Cover Image

While I adore Anne of Green Gables and am pleased that she is widely read outside of Canada, I’d like to take Canada Day to introduce a few other Canadian children’s authors and illustrators. All have won at least one Governor General’s Literary Award, Canada’s most prestigious literary award.

Chapter Books
My favourite Canadian author writing for children and teens today is Kenneth Oppel. Airborn is the first adventure in his fabulous steampunk trilogy. Silverwing and its companion books are animal fantasies that will appeal to the many fans of the Warriors books by Erin Hunter. My Canada Day reading is Half Brother in which, in the name of science, Ben’s parents bring home a chimpanzee, Zan, and expect Ben to treat Zan like a brother.

Farley Mowat was a staple in Canadian schools during my childhood. Owls in the Family is a humorous tale of unusual family pets.

Iain Lawrence writes tense and adventure-filled yarns such as The Smugglers and The Convicts.

Picture Books

Renata Liwska
is a delightful illustrator and author best known for her illustrations of The Quiet Book written by Deborah Underwood.

Experience Canadian winter and the French language in Gilles Tibo‘s Simon et Les Flocons de Neige.

Marie-Louise Gay is a versatile author and illustrator who has written picture books, readers and chapter books, but I’ve placed her in the picture book section because I will always associate her with the delightful red-head Stella.

1 2 3 GO! For Summer Reading

by Kara on June 7th, 2011
1 2 3 GO! For Summer Reading Cover Image

Summer is a great time to kick back, relax, and escape in a good book.  ICPL staff Candice Smith and Kara Logsden created a list that is sure to please whether you are relaxing on a beach or reading in your back yard.

Many of these books are also available as recorded books, eBooks, and eAudiobooks.  Check the ICPL Catalog for more information.  ICPL staff are always happy to recommend a good book – give us a call if we can help. 319-356-5200.

Happy Summer Reading!

Bayard, Louis
The School of Night (2010) 

 

Henry Cavendish’s best friend has committed suicide, shortly after stealing a 400-year-old letter from Bernard Styles. Styles persuades Henry to find the letter and return it to him. Henry must find the letter and its meaning—it seems to reference both Shakespeare and alchemy—before others lose their lives. Mystery
Black, Cara
Murder in Passy (2011)
Aimée Leduc Series
Computer security expert by day, inadvertent private investigator by night, Aimée Leduc has her hands full! A wealthy woman with a murky past has been murdered in the well-to-do Passy area of Paris, and Aimee’s beloved godfather, Inspector Morbier, is the suspect. Can she find the real killer, and their motive, before it’s too late? Mystery
Box, C.J. 

Cold Wind (2011)

Joe Pickett Series

Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett must defend his mother-in-law (Missy) who is accused of killing husband #5 (Earl Alden).  Joe found Earl hanging him from a million-dollar wind turbine and realizes many people think he ended up where he belonged. All C.J. Box books are recommended.  Mystery
Bradley, Alan 

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Flavia de Luce Series

Step aside Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce is on the case! It’s 1950 and Flavia is living in an old English estate with her father and two sisters. Watch for more Flavia mysteries including The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag and A Red Herring Without Mustard. Mystery
Clayton, Meg Waite 

Wednesday Sisters

2009

A group of women learn about life, love, friendship and loyalty in a “coming of age” novel set against a backdrop of the 1960s, Women’s Movement, and Vietnam War protests. Fiction.
Dallas, Sandra 

The Bride’s House

2011

Sandra Dallas’ new book follows three generations of women who live in The Bride’s House in Georgetown Colorado.  Dallas’ books are known for good character development and sense of place.  Fiction
Erickson, Lori
Iowa: Off the Beaten Path (2007)
Get out and explore some different places in Iowa! This travel book focuses on destinations and attractions that are unique and sometimes a little out-of-the-way, but well worth a visit. Highlights many areas and sights near Iowa City. Great for family daytrips or weekends when you have visitors who are new to Iowa! Nonfiction
Fey, Tina 

Bossypants

2011

Fey’s thesis is that you are no one until someone calls you, “bossy.” Fey learned to work effectively in a male-dominated profession, juggles many responsibilities as a working mom, and is able to keep her sense of humor. Nonfiction.
Fortier, Anne 

Juliet

2011

Julie Jacobs is heartbroken when her Aunt Rose dies and more devastated when she learns that Aunt Rose left her estate to Julie’s twin sister, Janice, except for a key to a mysterious lock box in Sienna, Italy and a cryptic story about family treasures. Fiction.
Frommer’s
500… Series (2009 & 2010)
This series of travel guides are great if you’re looking for somewhere to go, but you just don’t have any idea of where that is, or what you want to do once you get there. Different titles in the series cater to foodies, families, adventure travelers, those looking to volunteer while vacationing, and those who live for the beach. Nonfiction
Glass, Julia 

The Widower’s Tale

2010

Enjoying an active but lonely rural life, seventy-year-old Percy allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn and transform his quiet home into a lively, youthful community.  All Julia Glass books are recommended.  Fiction
Green, Jane 

Promises to Keep

2010

Green’s newest book is the story of families, friendship, and discovering the life you want to live. Other recommended Jane Green books include Dune Road and The Beach House. Fiction
Kallos, Stephanie 

Sing Them Home

2011 All Iowa Reads

In the Welsh community of Emlyn Springs, NE everyone knows the Jones family because their matriarch, Hope, was carried away by a tornado never to be seen again.  The story develops around Hope’s family.  Fiction
Leon, Donna
Drawing Conclusions (2011)
Commissario Guido Brunetti Series
Brunetti investigates the death of a 60-year-old woman; the coroner says heart attack, but several clues indicate something unnatural. This is the 20th book in the series, and Brunetti is as interesting as ever; his relationships with his co-workers and family are part of the attraction here. As always, Leon’s books provide commentary on current issues, this time the treatment of women and the elderly. Mystery
Lewis, Chad
The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations (2007)
A delightful little guide if you’re interested in learning about some local lore from different places across the state! Every town has its haunted houses and ghost stories, and Lewis and Fisk not only recorded and collected them, but also visited each place to investigate and review. Great as a local history read or travel guide. Nonfiction
Lowe, Rob
Stories I Only Tell My Friends (2011)
A well-balanced and candid autobiography from 80s actor Lowe, a member of the ‘Brat Pack’ of young, somewhat wild film stars from that time. He recounts his work in several well-known movies and his years of growing up in the industry, as well as his battle with alcohol and problems arising from other bad-boy behavior. Nonfiction
Mankell, Henning
The Troubled Man (2011)
Kurt Wallander Series
Kurt Wallander is aging, increasingly forgetful, and very lonely. This sets the tone for the 10th book in the series that has proven itself to be one of the most thoughtful and well-plotted, but thoroughly somber, of the Scandinavian mystery titles out today. Wallander investigates the disappearance of the parents of his daughter’s partner, and how it is tied to long-buried Cold War happenings. Mystery
McClain, Paula 

The Paris Wife

2011

The Paris Wife is the historical fiction story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. After a whirlwind courtship the couple marries and moves to Paris so Ernest can pursue his writing career.  Historical Fiction.
Price, Catherine
101 Places Not To See Before You Die (2010)
The title says it all! If you want a guide book that’s different than the rest, this is it. All kinds of places, sights, events and experiences get the review here—and the thumbs down—including some you might be familiar with (Mount Rushmore, anyone? Times Square on New Year’s Eve?) and others you might not (how about a body farm? The Tupperware Museum?) Good reviews, good humor, great fun! Nonfiction
Reichs, Kathy
Spider Bones (2010)
Dr. Temperance Brennan Series
Brennan jets off to Hawaii, but it’s no vacation. It begins when Brennan ID’s a corpse in Quebec, but the name that comes up belongs to someone who already died—in Vietnam, in 1968—and has long been buried in North Carolina. Brennan sets off to find the answer, with help from POW/MIA scientists. Reichs is a smart writer, with an intriguing sense of humor as well. The TV show Bones is based on this series. Mystery
Todd, Charles
A Lonely Death (2011)
Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
Rutledge is sent to investigate the deaths of three men who fought in WW I, now brutally murdered and left with military id tags in their mouths. He struggles to find what brought them to such an end, and at the same time battles with his own memories of the war. Todd—actually a mother-son writing team—uses fine detail to create a world of torment and upheaval, but also strength and perseverance. Mystery
Tyler, Anne 

Noah’s Compass, 2010

61-year-old Liam Pennywell is forced to retire from his job teaching fifth graders.  On the first day of retirement he wakes up in a hospital and sets out to rediscover his life. Fiction
Vreeland, Susan 

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

2011

A wonderful fictionalized story of Clara Driscoll and the years she worked with Louis Comfort Tiffany at his New York studio. Clara Driscoll was the head of the Tiffany Women’s Division and possibly the person who conceived the idea for the iconic Tiffany stained glass lamps. Historical Fiction.
Winspear, Jacqueline 

A Lesson in Secrets (2011)

Maisie Dobbs Series

Maisie Dobbs books offer a delightful mix of mystery, war story and romance set in post WWI–era England.  After completing her degree at University Maisie serves as a wartime nurse.  After the war she begins working as a private investigator. Historical Mystery

Where do books take you?

by Kara on March 30th, 2011
Where do books take you? Cover Image

When I was in elementary school my forever-friend, Amy, said she read a book with a funny name and thought I might like it.  The book, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg is one of the first books I remember choosing on my own.  This book led me to one of my all-time favorite books, also by Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  I identified with the main character, Claudia, and from the minute she and her brother Jamie ran away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I wanted to visit there too.

Fast forward to 2011 – I read a book review about an upcoming book by Susan Vreeland called Clara and Mr. Tiffany.  It sounded like a great book and reminded me of some recent historical fiction that I read and really enjoyed.  Based on the review I put a hold on the book on disc.  To say that I was obsessed with this book is probably a bit strong, but I really enjoyed it.  The book brought the process of creating Tiffany glass to light and gave insight into Louis Comfort Tiffany and his relationship with his father and Tiffany and Co.  It also vividly described New York City at the turn of the century and issue related to immigrants, labor unions, and women in the workplace.  After reading this book I yearned to see Tiffany windows and lamps.  After doing some research I learned that there was Tiffany glass on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art …  I wrote a blog post about Clara and Mr. Tiffany and someone from New York City responded, “So, pack those bags, hop on a plane and come on over to the largest most exciting city in the U.S. NEW YORK CITY!!!” Hmmm ….

About this same time, my family watched the movie Serendipity.  It is set in New York City and centers around the Waldorf=Astoria hotel on Park Avenue.  We talked about New York and how fun it would be to visit.  Within a couple days, a friend and former resident of Iowa City who lives on Long Island called and invited us to visit.  Serendipity??  Sounded like a great excuse to get away for Spring Break!!

I consulted my favorite discount travel site, checked out guidebooks from the Library, and suddenly we were going to New York!

Where do books take you?  This is where they took me in March 2011:

Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay:  While visiting Long Island, our friends took us to Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay. While there I realized that Oyster Bay is where Luis Comfort Tiffany built Laurelton Hall, his audacious home that later burned.  Laurelton Hall is discussed in Clara and Mr. Tiffany and the loggia is on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art:  Our visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was fabulous.  Not only did we see the Tiffany stained glass windows and lamps, but also some of the art created for the World Expositions in Chicago and Paris that was mentioned in Clara and Mr. Tiffany.  We also saw the Egyptian art that Claudia and James loved in From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

While in Manhattan we also visited the American Museum of Natural History, Tiffany and Co, ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and the Flatiron Building.  All these places were a part of the books I read and movies we watched.

I don’t know where books will take me in the future, but I love an adventure and look forward to the journey.  Stay tuned ;)

Mission Creek Festival Literary Events

by Jason on March 28th, 2011
Mission Creek Festival Literary Events Cover Image

Iowa City’s amazing downtown music festival Mission Creek begins Monday and this year organizers have expanded to include a larger literary lineup that nicely compliments the indie live music performances.  The lineup is diverse enough that it will satisfy Live From Prairie Lights traditionalists while also catering to a postmodern McSweeney’s/N+1-esque crowd.

Tuesday’s reading at Prairie Lights features Deb Olin Unferth and Katie Crouch.  Deb Olin Unferth has just published a witty and self-deprecating new memoir, Revolution : The Year I Fell In Love And Went To Join The War about her experiences with her boyfriend in 1987  hitching to Central America “to help foment the revolution”.  Katie Crouch has two previous novels Girls In Trucks and Men And Dogs which both focus on Southern women reflecting on past mistakes and trying to pull their life together, there is always plenty of humor in all that drama.

The Iowa City Public Library and the University of Iowa School of Journalism, Department of Communication Studies are cosponsoring a free special edition of the WBEZ radio show Sound Opinions on Wednesday, at 6 p.m. at The Mill.  Sound Opinions covers all aspects of popular music and features news, interviews, music history, insightful album and song reviews, and listener feedback.  The show is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, both have written books about bands and the music industry.  The Iowa City Public Library has Greg Kot’s fascinating account of the digital music revolution, Ripped : How The Wired Generation Revolutionized Music and his definitive band biography of Mission Creek headliner Jeff Tweedy’s band, Wilco : Learning How To Die.  Festival attendees will also be interested in Jim DeRogatis’s account of the strange musical journey of Wayne Coyne and company in Staring At Sound : The True Story Of Oklahoma’s Fabulous Flaming Lips.

If you find your festival schedule revolves around the rawest acts at Gabe’s or White Lightning Wherehouse then I recommend stopping by the Emerging Writers Reading event at Prairie Lights for Tao Lin and Lindsay Hunter.  These authors write difficult, funny, gritty and honest short stories that are often about people just trying to connect to each other (and sometimes dolphins) or finding meaning in a bleak world.  You can check out Lindsay Hunter’s new story collection Daddy’s : 24 Fictions and Tao Lin’s many books (try Eeeee Eee Eeee or Richard Yates) from the Fiction collection on the library’s first floor.

The library also has representative work from authors at the gathering to be held Saturday by Granta Magazine.  Try Ben Percy’s thriller The Wilding that the Oregonion called, “Deliverance meets Sometimes a Great Notion” or the dark comedy of Sam Lipsyte.  I recommend Lipsyte’s novel Home Land as the best cure for impending High School reunion illness. Slate magazine writes that his latest novel The Ask, “will leaven your anger, bake it up, and serve it back to you in the form of impolite metaphors, funny observations, and unheralded moments of non ‘ironic’ emotion.”

The Iowa City Public Library has selections from all these authors and many readalikes as well, so stop by the Fiction Desk in between sets and we’ll talk lit!

Books I’d Like to Read Again

by Kara on January 26th, 2011
Books I’d Like to Read Again Cover Image

Recently I presented a booktalk at Oaknoll for the local chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma international professional honor society for women educators.  We had a great discussion.  After the program a couple people asked if I could share my list so others could use it.  Many of these books have already appeared in my blog posts; however, I thought it would be nice to share them in one place.

When I selected the books, I thought about recently published books that I enjoyed and would like to read again.  This is a list of my favorites as well as back titles from the authors I enjoyed.

What books would you like to read again??

*******************************************************

Box, C.J.

Nowhere to Run

Joe Pickett Series

2010

C.J. Box’s new Joe Pickett mystery is a fast paced story set in the mountains of Southern Wyoming.  Mysterious things are happening – spooked campers, cabin break-ins, and poached elk.  All C.J. Box books are recommended.  Mystery
Bradley, Alan

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Flavia de Luce Series

2010

Step aside Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce is on the case! It’s 1950 and is living in an old English estate with her father and two sisters. Watch for more Flavia mysteries including The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag and A Red Herring Without Mustard. Mystery
Clayton, Meg Waite

Wednesday Sisters

2009

A group of five women learn about life, love, friendship and loyalty in an adult “coming of age” novel set against a backdrop of the late 1960s, Civil Rights, Women’s Movement, and Vietnam War protests. Fiction.

Dallas, Sandra

Whiter Than Snow

2010

Sandra Dallas’ new book returns her readers to the small mining town of Swandyke, Colorado just down the road from the setting of her bestselling book, Prayers for Sale. Fiction
Diamant, Anita

Day After Night

2009

Based on the true story of the 1945 rescue of over 200 Jewish refugees from the Atlit immigration holding camp outside Haifa, the story is told through the stories of four Holocaust survivors. Each has a heartbreaking story; however, they remain optimistic about their future. Fiction
Glass, Julia

The Widower’s Tale

2010

Enjoying an active but lonely rural life, seventy-year-old Percy allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn and transform his quiet home into a lively, youthful community that compels him to reexamine the choices he made after his wife’s death.  All Julia Glass books are recommended.  Fiction
Green, Jane

Promises to Keep

2010

Jane Green’s newest book is the story of families, friendship, and discovering the life you want to live. Other recommended Jane Green include Dune Road and The Beach House. Fiction
Houghteling, Sara

Pictures at an Exhibition

2009

Harvard College graduate Sara Houghteling’s debut novel provides a glimpse into the art world of Paris and the life of a Jewish family both before and after World War II. Max Berenzon wants to take over his father’s famous Paris art gallery; however, his father encourages him to study medicine while training a new assistant to work in the gallery. Fiction

Kallos, Stephanie

Sing Them Home

2009

2011 All Iowa Reads book

In the small Welsh community of Emlyn Springs, Nebraska everyone knows the Jones family because their matriarch, Hope, was carried away by a tornado never to be seen again.  The story surrounds Hope’s family and how they carry on with their lives after Hope’s disappearance.  Fiction
Olsson, Linda

Sonata for Miriam

2009

Astrid and Veronika author Linda Olsson’s new book, translated from Swedish and set in New Zealand, Poland and Sweden, explores the consequences of secrets that are not shared. Astrid and Veronika is also recommended. Fiction
Russell, Mary Doria

Dreamers of the Day

2008

The fictional story of Midwestern schoolteacher, influenza epidemic survivor and world traveler Agnes Shanklin and her experiences at the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference where Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence, and Lady Gertrude Bell meet to decide the fate of the Arab world. Fiction.
Schine, Cathleen

Three Weissmanns of Westport

2010

Three Weissmann women (the mother, Betty and her daughters Miranda, and Annie) are all exiled to Westport from New York City for various reasons.  Each begins a journey to regroup and reassess.  Fiction
Taylor, Patrick

An Irish Country Courtship

Ballybucklebo Series

2010

Patrick Taylor’s books are a combination of James Herriott and Marcus Welby, MD with good character development and a strong sense of place.  Fiction
Tyler, Anne

Noah’s Compass

2010

At age 61 Liam Pennywell is forced to retire from his job teaching fifth graders.  On the first day of retirement he wakes up in a hospital and sets out to rediscover his life. Fiction
Winspear, Jacqueline

Mapping of Love and Death

Maisie Dobbs Series

2010

Maisie Dobbs books offer a delightful mix of mystery, war story and romance set in WWI–era England.  After completing her degree at University Maisie serves as a wartime nurse and ultimately a private investigator. Historical Mystery
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