September 1

stateState of Play– Russell Crowe, Ben Affeck, Helen Mirren

When D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey is assigned to investigate the murder of an assistant to an up-and-coming politician, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the nation’s power structures. In a town of spin doctors and wealthy power brokers, he will discover one truth: when fortunes are at stake, no one’s integrity, love, or life is safe.

sugarSugar – Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino

After seeing the movie Field of Dreams, Dominican baseball star Miguel ‘Sugar’ Santos hopes to break into the big leagues in the United States to earn money to support his impoverished family. His dreams may become a reality when he is recruited to play for a minor league team in the United States. There is local interest in this movie as it was filmed in Davenport at Modern Woodman Park

“This is a wonderful film. “ — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

September 15

wolverineX Men Origins – Wolverine – Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds

Tells the story of Wolverine’s epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed, and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe whose appearances in the film series have long been anticipated.

September 22

ghostsGhosts of Girlfriends Past – Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner

A committed bachelor who thinks nothing of breaking up with several women on a conference call is visited by the ghosts of his former jilted girlfriends, who take him on a hilarious adventure through his failed relationships – past, present, and future.

September 29

awayAway We Go – John Krasinski, Maya Rudolf, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal

This heartfelt film explores the comedic twists and turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America. Anticipating the birth of their first child, longtime couple Burt and Verona embark on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family in order to find their perfect home.

You may have noticed that many librarians have a love affair with Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (case in point, Lynn just blogged about it and here I am blogging about it again). This is mostly due to the book’s bookiness–it is swelling with libraries, librarians, book artists and historical typefaces. Lucky for us, Ms. Niffenegger seems to have a love affair with Libraries, and thus continued her theme of bookiness in a graphic story titled The Night Bookmobile published in The Guardian last Autumn. The story revolves around a young woman who stumbles onto a bookmobile that holds every bibliofile’s deepest desire and a very personal collection of books:


You can find out what magic this bookmobile holds by reading it online via The Guardian or keeping your fingers crossed that a book version will be published in the US next fall!

P.S. Audrey Niffenegger’s newest novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, comes out at the end of September so better hurry and get your reserve on it!

my cousin rachelEvery once in a while I get a hankering for the classics.  Okay, I’ll confess — it’s usually in the wee hours of the morning and the only books on my shelf that I haven’t read are the classics.  So it was with My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier.

I’d loved the author’s Rebecca which I’d read many years ago, but somehow this one had escaped me. For those of you not already familiar with the book, it relates the story of Philip Ashley, whose privileged life on his ancestral Cornwall estate is turned upside-down by a sophisticated and mysterious older woman.  Orphaned at a young age, Philip was raised by his bachelor uncle Ambrose, who falls in love and marries while traveling in Florence.  When Ambrose dies under suspicious circumstances, Philip is determined to hate “his cousin” Rachel forever — that is until she shows up at the estate and Philip, too, falls under her spell.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and a little romance with your mystery, then this is a good fit for your late-night or rainy-day reading.

home paper scissorsIf your idea of paper crafts stops at safety scissors and Elmer’s glue, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Whimsical, sophisticated, playful and beautiful describe the paper crafts found in Home, Paper, Scissors by Patricia Zapata and will open your eyes to the many possibilities of papercraft.

Take those bright-colored bowls on the cover of the book – they’re quick and easy (and fun!) to create, using colored paper from your paper shredder, a solution of glue and water and a bowl for a mold. You’ll find a variety of projects from a fanciful, fluttery mobile, to placemats to tealight covers. There are also several innovative and attractive boxes to hold everything from favors to stationary to gifts. Decorative and useful, from craft to art, you’ll never look at paper quite the same again.

staycation3Congratulations to KarenW, the winner of our first ever Davenport Library Info Cafe blog contest! Karen’s excellent comment recommended not one but several wonderful places to visit, all arranged in a handy driving tour and includes great places to stop for a meal along the way. Her tour will appeal to many interests including families, and really showcases the beauty and history of eastern Iowa. Be sure to check out her comment!

Need some more ideas for your next Staycation? Here are some thoughts from a couple of our blogging librarians:

Lynn: I, for one, can’t wait to get on the road and try out Karen’s ideas. (it’s very useful to know how to gauge your coffee consumption when you’re in (relatively) unknown territory).

One of my favorite staycations follows the river on the Illinois side. It starts with an early morning  hike at Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna (fortified by a thermos full of good strong coffee). Trails along the cliffs and ravines provide just enough challenge to make ice cream, popcorn and/or an elegant Italian meal in Galena seem totally justifed.  To me, it’s a great combination of natural beauty, physical exercise and (sort of) sophisticated indulgence.

Ann: Don’t pass up a visit to the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Grinnell (about a 2 hour drive west of the Quad Cities, just off Interstate 80) where you can experience Iowa the way it was when the pioneers arrived. Less than one tenth of one percent of the tall grass prairie that once covered Iowa remains; at Neil Smith they are hard at work preserving and restoring authentic prairie. They have an excellent visitor’s center with educational displays and a introductory film, walking paths of various lengths (some are perfect for children) and a driving tour where you will have a very good chance of spotting the buffalo or elk herds. The Refuge is free but you’ll want to pack a picnic lunch. Don’t miss visiting this rare and beautiful land.

Congratulations again Karen and thanks for the great Staycation ideas! Your IMAX tickets are in the mail!

School of essential ingredientsIn today’s fast food world full of instant puddings and potatoes, it is refreshing to read a book featuring real food. But The School of Essential Ingredients also features real people.  Each chapter focuses on a different student in Lillian’s cooking class, revealing not only their own particular foibles and dilemmas, but also how they each contribute something satisfying and indelible to the mix. There’s Claire, a mother struggling with the demands of her young children; Tom, a young widower still grieving over the loss of his wife to breast cancer, and Isabelle, an elderly woman tentatively dealing with the confusion of memory loss, to name but a few.

The book is satisfying on many levels. First, it just made me want to bake something — at times it seemed I could almost smell what they were cooking, even though my kitchen was very vacant.  Then, I got nostalgic, remembering favorite dishes from my childhood, and relishing how food often brought family together.  Finally, in a very subtle way, I witnessed the characters forming lasting relationships with each other and realized what a difference one person can make in another’s life.

In this first novel (but third book) by Erica Bauermeister, it’s obvious that she has a “love of slow food and slow life instilled by her two years living in northern Italy.” She’s whipped up a delightful, delicious dessert of a book.

Hey Blog Readers! Don’t forget to comment on last Friday’s blog for a chance to win two free tickets to the Putnam Museum and IMAX Theater movie, Kilamanjaro: to the Roof of Africa. This breathtakingly beautiful movie will transport you to the exotic world of Africa as it follows a group of seven people who are climbing the largest free-standing mountain in the world. All that beauty and adventure can be yours – and you won’t even have to pack a bag or buy an airplane ticket!

To enter, simply tell us about your favorite local vacation spot – anyplace within a day’s drive (round trip) of the Quad Cities that is a favorite with you and your family. Maybe a mountain climbing excursion on a far continent isn’t in your budget, but a day’s getaway at a less exotic – but still fun – location could be just the ticket. (Also, less chance of getting eaten by a lion)

Be sure to leave your comment by midnight tonight. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, August 25.

Good luck!

indexCA3TZVXSIowa.  Midwestern values.  Bridges of Madison County, Postville, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

Salt of the earth people in an idyllic pastoral setting.

Juxtapose this with the harrowing, gory details of the crystal meth epidemic and you have Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town.

It’s a problem we somewhat comprehend due to the occasional headline-evoking mental images of skinny wound-up kids.  Enter Oelwein, IA near Waterloo.  Although, with the population of roughly 6000, and a tiny barbershop/greasy spoon Main Street, on the surface it could just as easily be called Eldridge, LeClaire, Wilton, or Maquoketa.  For a time, Iowa was a national power in this citizen stopgap solution to high unemployment and corporate agribusiness.

Methland functions as a primer featuring real people of this cottage industry that operates out of backwoods trailers and gravel-road labs, letting the reader become intimately acquainted with the toothless, burned-up shells of former townspeople and the futile management efforts of local powers.

If you’d like a local nonfiction version of your favorite gruesome primetime CSI fare, here it is.

Coco ChanelToday is the birth anniversary of Coco Chanel, one of the most important and influential designers of the 20th century. The very epitome of effortless French style, Chanel revolutionized the fashion world when she introduced men’s clothing (slacks) for women’s wear. Her signature looks – comfortable and simple yet elegant – included the dramatic use of costume jewelry (notably ropes of pearls), sportswear, collarless jackets paired with simple skirts and the “little black dress”. She was the first designer to put her name on a signature perfume; Chanel No. 5 was created in 1921 and continues to be one of the most popular perfumes on the market.

Chanel’s life story is the stuff of Hollywood – born into poverty, orphaned at age 12, raised by nuns, she rose to wealth and status through talent and hard work. Find out more about this fascinating, controversial (both the Nazi’s and the Allies accused her of being a spy during World War II) woman through these great books:

Chanel: Her Style and Her Life by Janet Wallach

Chanel : the Couturiere at Work by Amy DeLaHaye

Chanel : a Woman of Her Own by Axel Madsen

Coco Chanel : her Life, her Secrets by Marcel Haedrich


Reminder to our Readers! Don’t forget to leave a comment on last Friday’s blog post about your favorite QC area Staycation destination! Someone’s going to win two tickets to the Putnum Museum and IMAX movie Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa – might as well be you!

I always feel a little like Marty McFly when I listen to old-time radio shows on my iPod or computer. Here are several websites that give free downloads and/or streaming of a variety of programs:

WizzardRadioWizzard Radio hosts about 85 different podcasts relating to old Radio Broadcasts including:

Radio Lovers allows listeners to revisit the listening experience of hundreds of vintage radio programs such as western hero Hopalong Cassidy and comedy classic Amos & Andy.

Agatha Christie Radio MysteriesMy favorites are the Agatha Christie Radio Mysteries. Unfortunately, the site no longer produces new feeds, but you can still download old episodes from the website.