guest post from Georgann

Libraries and fairy-tale magic! What a combination! A sort of a cross between The Librarian movies and mish-mash of fairy tales, The Grimm Legacy has a flavor all of its own which left me hoping for more!

Elizabeth, our reminiscent-of-Cinderella heroine, is lonely at her new school. She does a kind deed for a stranger and is noticed by her social studies teacher. He recommends her for a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository. What is the New York Circulating Material Library, you may ask? Elizabeth had to ask too. This particular library checks out all sorts of unusual objects, from clarinets to coronets, from chess sets to tea sets, and from doublets to fondue pots. And, the New York Circulating Material Library has some very special collections, including the Grimm Collection, which, believe it or not, contains actual magical items featured in a wide variety of tales! And the magic really works!

As it turns out, Elizabeth’s new job is full of adventure and unusual experiences. Plus, she makes new friends and finds a place for herself. I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The characters were likable. The fantasy was fun and intriguing. There were some exciting moments and some mystery.

I wonder just what all might be available in our Special Collections. Hmmm……

Anna is happy in Atlanta where she lives with her mother and little brother – looking forward to her senior year of high school,  hanging out with her best friend and working at the local movie theater with her could-be boyfriend. All that changes when her father decides that she should spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris and no amount of pleading will change his mind.

Paris, of course, turns out to be not such a bad idea – she soon makes friends, starts exploring the city and works on her dream of becoming a film critic. And she meets Etienne St Clair, he of the beautiful hair and charming personality. But wait – he has a girlfriend and what about her crush back home in Atlanta? Will they just be friends, or something more?

Anna and the French Kiss follows Anna through the year, from her first nervous days to her blossoming confidence and growing circle of friends. At first, it’s a little hard to sympathize with Anna – forced to live in Paris! I should have such problems! But her initial loneliness and homesickness are universal emotions and her courage to overcome them soon have you rooting for her. She’s smart and funny and determined – exactly the kind of person you’d like to have as a friend.

While Anna and the French Kiss is light and funny, it’s also well-written and sharp, with a diverse cast of characters and realistic emotions. The opening chapters, when Anna is still learning about her new city, are actually a good introduction to Paris and Parisian culture; the visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetery is especially funny and educational. It’s the perfect combination – great city, great characters, great fun.


Did you or your kids get a Wii, XBox 360, or PlayStation 3 for Christmas?  Instead of spending tons of money to buy new games for your system, check them out from the library for free!  Here are some of the latest additions to our video game collection:

Batman: Arkham City

Super Paper Mario

Just Dance 3

Lego Star Wars III

Portal 2

Hasbro Family Game Night 3

Plants Vs. Zombies 

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions


Uncharted 3

Bakugan: Defenders of the Core 

Mario Strikers Charged

NBA 2K11

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II 


Tomb Raider Trilogy

Epic Mickey

Super Mario Galaxy

We have lots of older games for all three systems as well, so feel free to search our catalog or stop by any of our three locations to see what we’ve got!

With the winter 2011 release of the penultimate fourth film, this franchise is enjoying yet another surge in popularity. Whatever your reason for bypassing this phenomenally popular quartet of books, these suggestions will point you in the right direction!

If you loved Meyer’s style (quick-reading prose for young adults with paranormal elements and pervasive-yet-tame romance) and want to read something similar, you should try

  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. In this tale, Sam is a werewolf who must return to his lupine life when the temperature drops (rather than when the moon waxes). Grace, his human lover and best friend, must find a way to deal with this intrusion of the supernatural on her typical teen life. Like Twilight, this is the first in a series.
  • Josephine Angelini’s debut novel Starcrossed spins a similarly romantic, exciting tale full of unusual and fantastic elements; in this novel, shy Helen Hamilton discovers that she has an extraordinary part to play in the modern continuation of the Greek myth of Helen of Troy. (first in a planned trilogy)
  • Marked by P.C. Cast, the first entry of a vampire series for teens that takes place in a world where vampires have always existed and train together at an elite school known as the House of Night. Zoey Redbird, a 16 year old fledgeling vampire, negotiates her new life at the school in this multi-volume series.

If you adore vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal oddities but were left cold by Meyer’s teen-focused love story, try these titles for a steamier scare:

If your interest in vampires and supernatural forces hasn’t abated but you crave a more challenging text with a literary feel, try…

posted by Liza

Recently, the Eastern Avenue Branch book club, Between the Lines, read Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. The Bridge tells the story of the deaths of a group of people who were standing on a legendary rope bridge when it collapsed. The rich characters include two young twins divided by a woman, a famous actress known worldwide and her descent into madness, and a monk who tries to make sense of the disaster. The novel tells the story as it happened, before it happened, and after it happened.

I was pleasantly surprised by Wilder’s winning novel. I remember reading Our Town in high school and thinking it was overly sentimental and sappy. What shocked me in doing research about The Bridge was that many people in Wilder’s day thought The Bridge was too optimistic and not literary enough. Now, I know times are different from the 1920s when Wilder crafted this tale, but I found it hard to think a book in which half a dozen people die in the first paragraph is too optimistic. Perhaps in the age of prohibition and flappers it was.

Wilder based the Peruvian tale on an actual bridge in South America, and his ability to capture a sense of place is remarkable. While Wilder did travel to Peru, he did so many years after writing The Bridge. Yet, it’s not hard to imagine the llamas, see the mountains, and fully feel the emotions of the characters, many of whom were based on real historical figures. I’m not adding The Bridge to my list of most favorite novels, but I have to say that this novel held my attention and interest much longer than Our Town.

Maybe it was the llamas.

Don’t kill the messenger.

I find myself in the dubious position of informing the tax paying populace that without action on your part, you will not be receiving a paper Iowa tax form. No matter what boxes you checked last year, you need to weigh your options if you choose to do it on paper and PLEASE do not wait until April 17th.

The Iowa Department of Revenue wants you to efile, and they’re not being cryptic about it. Iowa is tightening belts to eliminate postage and printing costs of essentially sending every citizen a magazine.

You may choose to:
-Call forms order line at 1-800-532-1531 (EASIEST and FREE.)  Limit of one.
-Print forms yourself from The online form is fillable.
-Request a form by e-mail at
-Make photocopies of the long or short form from the ones we’ve laminated at every building

Federal forms are trickling in as of this moment. There are currently no federal instruction booklets. They are projected as arriving in early February,,id=104740,00.html

And, as the faithful paper filers know, public libraries like DPL are pretty much the only place to find tax forms.  Some public libraries are even dropping out of this service.

The HMS Terror and HMS Erebus left port in England in 1845, crewed by sailors and explorers fully expecting to find the fabled Northwest Passage. They sailed west, making stops in Greenland and Baffin Bay, until they reached northern Canada. Then, somewhere around Devon Island, all trace of them was lost. The ships vanished into the pack ice; no one has ever known the truth of what became of them. In The Terror, Dan Simmons retells the factual voyage and surmises the terrifying last leg of the journey. The explorers had an experienced commander, two strong ships, the hopes of their countrymen on their shoulders, and fabulously promising food stores made possible by the recent invention of canning.

But everything went wrong almost immediately. Captain Franklin meets a grisly end early on. The ships quickly become useless when pack ice surrounds them and threatens to crush them into splinters. The grip of scurvy, starvation, and madness sink into almost all the crew. As if these natural terrors weren’t enough, a faceless, hungry, menacing terror is stalking them as they flee south across the ice.

This is a beefy book but definitely worth the effort. Simmons does a fantastic job of weaving truth with fiction; he makes the historical facts of the trip exciting and the conjecture completely compelling and believable. The science fiction-y elements of this book are subtle and scary, but the real terror comes from the natural world: an Arctic winter so frigid and unforgiving that it makes a Midwestern winter look tropical by comparison! This thrilling book is an excellent choice for anyone who likes adventure or historical fiction.

Camilla was 29 when she published her first novel, The Ice Princess, in 2003. Three years later, her prize-winning books were topping the Swedish bestseller lists. She based her books in her own hometown of Fjallacka Sweden. The Main characters are Patrik and Erica. Patrik is a policeman and Erica is a writer. Her books are a wonderful blend of suspense, mystery and romance. She has become the top selling writer in Sweden. She has written 7 books in her mystery series, but only 2 have been published in the U.S.

Ice Princesss ( 2009) After she returns to her hometown to learn that her friend, Alex, was found in an ice-cold bath with her wrists slashed, biographer Erica Falck researches her friend’s past in hopes of writing a book and joins forces with Detective Patrik Hedstrom, who has his own suspicions about the case.

Preacher (2011) The discovery of two murder victims who were killed twenty years earlier is complicated by the body of a third, recent victim at the same location, a case that compels detective Patrik Hedstrom to investigate a feuding clan of misfits, religious fanatics, and criminals.

One of the most difficult things an artist can face is finding an audience that is interested in her/his work.  Saatchi Gallery in London, UK is attempting to remedy this millenium-long problem.  Using the internet, Saatchi Gallery created Saatchi Online, providing both artists and art lovers with access to people around the globe.  Artists can register with Saatchi Online to display their work, and curators working for Saatchi Gallery create online galleries by topic, medium, and more.

These curated online galleries highlight the value of diverse art chosen well with the added benefit of mass access.  Viewers can purchase original works or prints of works, or simply troll the beautiful, shocking, unusual, and fantastical galleries that are free for visitors.  Once you click on a piece of art, thumbnails of other works by the same artist appear on the side of your screen, giving you the option of viewing even more.  Visitors can also create their own online galleries by selecting their favorite works.  To participate further, viewers can vote in the Saatchi Online Showdown.  Works by submitted artists are randomly paired, and viewers vote in the first round.  Winners in the second and third rounds are decided by a jury and judge respectively.  Lovers of all types of art will find something to appreciate in Saatchi Online, and a visit to this British internet creation can be an excellent way to kill an afternoon.

How often do you actually gasp with surprise anymore? Towards the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love, the many plot strands of this movie come together and there is a “reveal” that is truly unexpected.

 I applaud director Glenn Ficarra for adeptly weaving together so many relationships and wonderful performances, especially by Emma Stone. She and Ryan Gosling have a chemistry, rivaled only by that between Gosling and Steve Carell. When the last two have a falling-out, it’s almost more upsetting than the breakup of Carell and Julianne Moore. Gosling, as the epitomy of cool confidence, is a pleasure to watch. (There is a scene that will have you running to the library catalog to see if Dirty Dancing is on the shelf)

Go now, and have the time of your life-