The Davenport Library will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, December 31 and January 1 in observance of the New Year holidays. Both buildings will open again on Friday January 2 at 9:30am

Have a safe and happy New Year!

The end of the year always brings an avalanche lists and awards – winners for being the “best” in various fields and lists of the “Top 10” of just about everything. In that spirit, the Davenport Library is joining in with our own end-of-year list. Here are the favorite books that our Blogging Librarians read in 2008.

Lynn’s favorite was The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett about the Queen of England taking up reading. It had great insight into the life of the Queen and the (sometime subversive) value of reading. Read her description of it here.

Bill liked Red White and Brew : an American Brew Odyssey by Brian Yaegaer. Follow Yaeger cross-country as he explores the brew pubs and small breweries of America.

Rita recommends following the Harlan Coben mystery series on CD. With great characters and interesting puzzles to solve, you’ll want to read/listen to them all.

Rebecca loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, about a boy who runs away with the circus. Rebecca says this was one of those rare books that is life-changing, making you stop and see the world from an entirely new perspective. She blogged about it here.

Tana’s favorite was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Tana wrote about it before Oprah picked it for her bookclub, predicting that this was a book that would take the country by storm. Read her blog post here.

My choice is So Young Brave and Handsome by Leif Enger, a poignant coming-of-age story set at the end of the Wild West era. Full of adventure and emotion, I wrote more about it here.

Those are our picks – what about you? What was your favorite book that you read in 2008?

January 6

pineapplePineapple Express – Ed Begley Jr, Nora Dunn, Seth Rogan

Dale (Seth Rogan) is a constantly stoned court clerk that finds himself on the run with his dealer, after Dale witnesses the murder of a drug lord and leaves a rare form of marijuana at the scene that can be traced back to him and his dealer.

January 13 apploosa

Appaloosa – Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen

Based on the 2005 Western novel by Robert B. Parker, ” Appaloosa” is centered around lawman Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his deputy Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), two friends who are hired to defend a lawless 1880s town from a murderous rancher (Jeremy Irons). Their efforts are disrupted and their friendship tested by the arrival of a woman (Renée Zellweger).

swing

Swing Vote – Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper

Bud, an apathetic, beer-slinging, lovable loser, is coasting through a life that has passed him by when his 12-year-old daughter accidentally sets off a chain of events which culminates in the presidential election coming down to one vote…her dad’s.

January 27

vicky1

Vicky Christina Barcelona – Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johannson

Two American women, one engaged to be married and the other sexually flirtatious, both become romantically involved with a painter while on vacation in Barcelona, only to find they have competition in the form of the painter’s ex-wife.

Celebrating the simple beauty of food, A Platter of Figs by David Tanis will tempt you with beautiful, unpretentious recipes, gorgeous photos and a simple philosophy – cooking should be a joy, eating should be a pleasurable experience and both should preferably be shared with friends.

The recipes are arranged seasonally, spring through winter, rather than by course, the idea being you should celebrate what each season offers. This fits in nicely with the current trend toward eating locally and sustainably, but it also has everything to do with flavor – fresh picked, in-season food is undeniably the best tasting.

Recipes range from the simple – Warm Asparagus Vinaigrette – to the more complex – Chicken Tagine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas – but all are clearly explained. Stories of Tanis’s life and travels (which are reflected in his recipes) are scattered throughout the book, adding a warm and friendly atmosphere to the cookbook. A beautiful book about beautiful food.

The Davenport Library will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, December 24 and 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday. Both buildings will open again on Friday, December 26 at 9:30am.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Welcome to our first installment of the Frugal Librarian. It is an empirically proven fact that denizens of this profession possess an uncanny sense of value. In turn, they pass that savings on to you, the consumer.

However, while some folks pinch pennies, this guy has actually been known to cut off the circulation to their extremities. This is his story.

frugallibrarianSomeone was saying something the other day about reducing one’s carbon footprint. I went to my happy place spiritually where I pretend I’m paying attention. When I came out of this trance, they were gone, as was their message about conservation. Shame.

While I am a responsible consumer, I am even more motivated by the massive amount of financial green (huh, see witty the play on words??) I can save with the MidAmerican Energy Audit. Here’s what happened. I called MidAmerican and they made an appointment to dispatch a representative to my house. At no cost, this man went from room to room taking measurements. Next words out of his mouth were, “Want some light bulbs?” “Yes sir. Yes sir, I do.” “How about a new shower head?” “Sounds nifty to me.” Make all the jokes you want about how thick one has to be to not be able to screw in a light bulb. Sometimes they don’t UN-screw safely. Does that punitively affect one’s cognitive credit score?

He also calculated that if I spend roughly another 900 dollars to put more blow-in insulation in my attic, MidAmerican will cut me a check for $600. The savings on the heat bill would pay for my portion of that within one year, he calculated, citing that 85% of a building’s heat loss comes from the top.

In under 40 minutes, with a twitch of his nose, off this jolly magic man went into the chill night. “On reasonably-priced economy sedan!” he bellowed. “Merry savings to all, and to all a warm night!”

Love Christmas movies but can’t seem to find the right ones on television? Try one of these classic titles, old and new, from the library. Fix a cup of hot chocolate, sit back and relax.

Christmas Carolvarious versions

Classic Dickens story about a bitter old man who’s given a chance for redemption when three ghosts come to visit him on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas StoryPeter Billingsley, Darren McGavin

Ralphie Parker, a 1940s nine-year-old, pulls out all the stops to obtain the ultimate Christmas present- a Red Rider BB gun- in this delightfully funny holiday movie.

Elf Will Farrell, Bob Newhart

A young orphan child mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag and is transported back to the North Pole to be raised as an elf. Years later, Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York to find his true identity.

Fred ClausVince Vaughn, Elizabeth Banks

Fred Claus has lived in his little brother’s shadow for most of his life. Fred is in jail and Nicholas has to bail him out on the condition he come to the North Pole and repay his debt.

Miracle on 34th StreetNatalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara

The real Santa is hired by Macy’s to play Santa in the Thanksgiving Day parade, but he has to prove in court that he is who he says he is.

Holiday InnFred Astaire, Bing Crosby

Two song and dance men join together and start a hotel that’s open only on holidays.

It’s a Wonderful LifeJimmy Stewart, Donna Reed

George is saved from a suicide attempt by an angel and is then shown how important he is to the people who love him. A Christmas classic.

White ChristmasBing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney

The classic musical about two guys that become a popular song-and-dance team and play at a resort for charity.

Just paging through Merry and Bright will put you in the holiday spirit. Full of ideas on how to brighten your holiday, there’s something for everyone from crafts to recipes to decking the halls.

As you would expect from Country Living, the emphasis here is on the simple and homey. Most of the projects can be accomplished with things you have on hand already – buttons, ribbons, paper – and encourages you to dip into your collection of ornaments and holiday decorations and use them in new ways.

Beautifully photographed, most of the ideas are quick to finish and yield big results. Antiques, collectibles, nature and tradition mix with the new ideas for an old-fashioned Christmas with a fresh, bright look.

Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated in December. The traditional Jewish Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, is held this year from December 21-29. We have several books on the subject, many of which would prove helpful in explaining the subject to children.

I Have a Little Dreidel by Maxie Baum is a colorful example. Not only does it tell you how to play the dreidel game, it also has the sheet music to the simple song repeated throughout the story. Plus, there’s an easy recipe for potato latkes as well- yum!

Tastes of Jewish Tradition: Recipes, Activities & Stories for the Whole Family by Jody Hirsh (and several other authors) is a compendium of crafts, games, stories and menus for many Jewish celebrations, including Hanukkah. It is handily organized in an appealing spiral notebook, which also makes it easy to use.

If you’re more interested in the culinary aspect, I would recommend Jacques Pepin’s Chanukah Celebration, a dvd with many traditional favorites prepared with a sophisticated French flair. It’s always fun to try a new recipe!

Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated in December. The traditional Jewish Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, is held this year from December 21-29. We have several books on the subject, many of which would prove helpful in explaining the subject to children.

I Have a Little Dreidel by Maxie Baum is a colorful example. Not only does it tell you how to play the dreidel game, it also has the sheet music to the simple song repeated throughout the story. Plus, there’s an easy recipe for potato latkes as well- yum!

Tastes of Jewish Tradition: Recipes, Activities & Stories for the Whole Family by Jody Hirsh (and several other authors) is a compendium of crafts, games, stories and menus for many Jewish celebrations, including Hanukkah. It is handily organized in an appealing spiral notebook, which also makes it easy to use.

If you’re more interested in the culinary aspect, I would recommend Jacques Pepin’s Chanukah Celebration, a dvd with many traditional favorites prepared with a sophisticated French flair. It’s always fun to try a new recipe!