There is something about the season of Autumn that makes me want to climb into a cave and paint pictures, you know? Maybe I’m feeling some ancient human safety feature that is trying to get me settled in a warm place before winter arrives. Or maybe I just think hermits and bats are cool. Most likely it is because I have seen the magical documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Humanity’s Lost Masterpiece, a Film by Werner Herzog on the fascinating Chauvet Cave paintings.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the perfect mix of history, science and art that leaves the viewer feeling an intense awareness of humanity and our connections through time. The Chauvet Cave paintings were discovered in southern France in 1994 and many are believed to have been created over 30,000 years ago. Due to the conservation problems facing the nearby Lascaux cave paintings, the Chauvet caves have been locked down with authorities only giving very limited access to scientists and art historians. Herzog shot the film with only a 4-person crew who had to use all their equipment while standing single-file on the limited, narrow walkways and with very small allotments of time. Although this prevented any grandiose, unobstructed scenes or any carefully angled close-up shots, the moving shadows and uneven light give the paintings an unnerving movement similar to what we can imagine they would look like when lit by a torch thousands of years ago.

Surprisingly, the ancient paintings are not the only fascinating subjects of Herzog’s documentary. He also features many of the cave scientists and their varied research projects related to Chauvet. For example, by studying the animals portrayed in the cave paintings, a group of scientists now believe that the ancestors to modern lions did not have manes. The scientists themselves range from former circus performers to a perfume designer who actually SNIFFS OUT CAVES! Herzog manages to celebrate the modern technology used in the cave projects without losing the ancient hum surrounding Chauvet.

I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in documentaries about the humanities or those who like films that leave them feeling a little mysterious and a little bit magical afterwards.

The Davenport library will be closed Monday November 12th in observance of Veteran’s Day. All three buildings will reopen their regular hours on Tuesday November 13th – 9:30am to 5:30pm for Main and the Eastern Branch and Noon to 8:00pm for the Fairmount Branch.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Not that they’ve ever really gone out of style, but pies are enjoying a resurgence of popularity these days with several new books extolling their virtues and delights. And what better time to try some new pie recipes than the holidays?

A Year of Pies presents beautifully photographed seasonal recipes that include such delights as a Chocolate & Orange Marmalade Tart in winter, a Strawberry & Rhubarb Ginger Hand Pie in spring, a classic Lattice Top Triple Berry Pie in summer, and Rosemary Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie in autumn. A Basics section offers six piecrust recipes, troubleshooting tips, and advice on selecting seasonal ingredients.

An utterly charming collection of regional heirloom American pies, from long-lost recipes to classic favorites, sweetly illustrated and chock-full of time-tested baking tips and secrets for perfect pies Before cooking shows and celebrity chefs there were church dinners, community bake sales, and county fairs-events for which regular women made and served their prized family recipes. The United States of Pie invites readers on a journey back in time.

From a ‘proper’ quiche Lorraine to an indulgent raspberry cheesecake pie, Tart it Up shows you the secrets for creating great pies and tarts every time. Pies and tarts are the ultimate comfort food. Whether sweet or savory, elegant or hearty, they are great for relaxed entertaining, family get-togethers and even weekday suppers.

(descriptions from publishers)

I love Greek mythology, so after reading some glowing reviews I was excited to read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.  The novel follows young Patroclus, a prince who has been exiled from his homeland for accidentally killing a local boy who was threatening him.  He is sent to Pthia to be fostered by King Peleus, and it is there where he meets Peleus’s son, the boy who is destined to become The Best of the Greeks, Achilles.  While Patroclus is small and weak, Achilles is everything that a prince should be: handsome, strong, and even a half-god.  Despite this, Achilles sees something in Patroclus and takes him under his wing.  The two quickly bond and spend all of their time together, growing close during their studies.  But when Menelaus’s beautiful wife Helen is stolen from him by the Trojan prince Paris, a promise that Patroculs made in his youth comes back to haunt him, and he and Achilles are thrown into a war that neither of them expected.

Even those familiar with The Iliad and Greek mythology, despite knowing how the story will end, won’t be bored reading it.  At its heart is the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles; the characters have been made complex and intriguing by Miller, and it makes their story incredibly moving and heartfelt.  It is a beautiful story of war, love, and loss that you won’t be able to put down.

Here are some of the new releases from popular authors that are coming out in November. Reserve your favorites today!




David Baldacci – The Forgotten

Rita Mae Brown – Fox Tracks

Max Allen Collins – Target Lancer

Michael Connelly – The Black Box

Clive Cussler – Poseidon’s Arrow

Janet Evanovich – Notorious Nineteen

Vince Flynn – The Last Man




Barbara Kingsolver – Flight Behavior

Margaret Maron – The Buzzard Table

Peter Mayle – The Marseille Caper

Colleen McCullough – The Prodigal Son

Ian McEwan – Sweet Tooth

James Paterson – Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

F. Paul Wilson – Cold City

For more new titles, be sure to check out Upcoming Releases on the Davenport Public Library webpage!

Beds, organizers, Adirondack chairs, a play table, and more! It’s easy to build inexpensive, quality furnishings with The Handbuilt Home, an indispensable collection of woodworking projects from Ana White, the popular blogger who has inspired millions of homemakers with her stylish furniture plans and DIY spirit.

As a young mom on a tight budget, Ana learned to make her own well-designed pieces, inspired by the styles in her favorite stores and saving thousands of dollars in the process. Now, in this reference for woodworkers of all skill levels, Ana shares everything she has learned along the way. Inside The Handbuilt Home you’ll find plans for 34 versatile furniture projects for every room in your house from beginner-friendly home accessories to sturdy tables, a media center, kids’ items, and storage solutions and comprehensive information on using off-the-shelf lumber and basic equipment.  Almost every project can be made with a drill, a saw, and some hand tools.

You don’t need to be physically tough or super strong to make your own furniture, and it’s okay if you don’t know that a 2×4 doesn’t actually measure 2 by 4 inches. All you need is the determination to create a better home for yourself or your family and the confidence to say, I can build that. (description from publisher)

Thanksgiving : How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton is a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner – preparing it, surviving it, and pulling it off in style. From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Thanksgiving poses more – and more vexing – problems for the home cook than any other holiday. In this smartly written, beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled book, Sam Sifton delivers a message of great comfort and solace: ‘There is no need for fear. You can cook a great meal on Thanksgiving. You can have a great time.’

With simple, fool-proof recipes for classic Thanksgiving staples, as well as new takes on old standbys, this book will show you that the fourth Thursday of November does not have to be a day of kitchen stress and family drama, of dry stuffing and sad, cratered pies. You can make a better turkey than anyone has ever served you in your life, and you can serve it with gravy that is not lumpy or bland but a salty balm, rich in flavor, that transforms all it touches. Here are recipes for exciting side dishes and robust pies and festive cocktails, instructions for setting the table and setting the mood, as well as cooking techniques and menu ideas that will serve you all year long, whenever you are throwing a big party.

Written for novice and experienced cooks alike, Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well is your guide to making Thanksgiving the best holiday of the year. It is not fantasy. If you prepare, it will happen. And this book will show you how. (description from publisher)