The Davenport Public Library will be closed December 30 and 31 and January 1 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

All buildings will reopen on Wednesday, January 2 for their regular business hours – Main and Fairmount Street will be open 9:30am to 5:30pm and Eastern Avenue will be open noon to 8pm.

Have a safe and festive Holiday!

As you might have guessed, the librarians that blog for the Info Cafe blog are a diverse lot and as a result, we read and like a diverse range of books. Unusually this year, four of us (out of seven) picked the same book. To avoid a knock-down, drag-out fist fight over who got the honor of picking it, we all choose a runner-up and we’ve bestowed this title as our Best Book of the Year (surely an honor that will rank right along with the Pulitzers and National Book Awards)

fault in our starsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. (description from publisher)

“You would think that a book about two teens with cancer would be nothing but tears from beginning to end, but there are many laughs and happy moments in this story (and yes, plenty of tears too). Hazel and Augustus don’t feel like stereotypical kids with cancer who you might find in other novels; they are complex and compelling, and their struggles feel real. This novel is beautiful and moving, easily my favorite of John Green’s books and certainly my favorite of the year”. – Lexie

Far and away my 2012 favorite – nothing else I read even comes close. The most genuine modern love story I’ve ever read, The Fault in Our Stars manages to lift your spirits and break your heart at the same time. On top of that, it’s quotable, witty and even laugh-out-loud funny.” – Maggie

“There is no romanticized stereotype of the “brave cancer patient.” The people here are real – funny and sad and inquisitive and so angry, struggling with the Big Questions but also not waiting around for death. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been touched by cancer or other serious illness and you’ll recognize these emotions as real and honest. This book takes on the fear and the unknown, acknowledges them and then does battle with them. It’s a battle well worth joining.” – Ann who also blogged about it here.

There you have it – our favorites of 2012! What about you? What did you read this year that was especially memorable? Let us know in the comments.

Wishing you a Great Year of Reading in 2013!

Here are more Best Books of 2012 as chosen by our blogging librarians. Be sure to look check yesterdays blog post for other winners!

cold cold groundHere’s Lynn’s pick: “In The Cold, Cold Ground, Detective Sean Duffy is a Catholic cop in a a heavily Protestant town near Belfast during the height of The Troubles. Duffy is an appealingly sarcastic, yet idealistic narrator. Irish author Adrian McKinty grew up in that time and place, and the small details of everyday life during that turbulent time are fascinating and authentic”.


twenties girl



Maggie choose the audiobook of Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, read by Rosalyn Landor. “A near-perfect audiobook! Compelling and snappy, so you stay interested on your commute, but not so dense that hearing it in short spurts keeps you from enjoying it. Fun characters, saucy dialog and plenty of romance and mystery.” Maggie blogged more about it here.

book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak is Lexie’s winner. “Death himself narrates the story of a young girl growing up in World War II era Germany with her foster parents, who are hiding a Jewish man in their basement. Zusak’s descriptive writing makes the story come alive; I don’t think I’ve highlighted so many beautifully written passages in one book in a very long time. It feels very fitting that the novel is all about the power of words, because Zusak’s writing had me completely captivated from beginning to end”.

There’s one more book in our list of Best Books of 2012 – read all about it tomorrow!

It’s that time again – the end-of-the-year recap time! Here at Info Cafe we’re going to take a look back at our favorite books of the past year. Not all of these books were published in 2012, but were read and enjoyed in 2012. Enjoy!

casual vacancyAmber starts us off with a controversial pick: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. “Although several of my fellow staff members may disagree with me, I found J.K. Rowling’s newest novel to be absolutely compelling and I can think of no other book that I have read this year that has affected me as much. Although the novel has mostly been discussed for its depiction of politics and social issues set against a backdrop of the idyllic English country village, I found the interactions between teens, technology and their community to be the most explosive”. Maggie had a different view of this book which she blogs about here. Which side of the debate do you fall on?

Beautiful MysteryMichelle’s favorite book was Louise Penny’s latest Chief Inspector Gamache book, The Beautiful Mystery. “Entirely set in the closed walls of a monastery, Gamache methodically interrogates each of the 23 monks trying to determine who murdered Frere Matthieu (the monaastery’s choirmaster) and what would drive a monk to murder.” Michelle tells us more about it here.

state of wonder2State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was Ann’s pick. “Patchett is one of my favorite authors and she did not disappoint, creating interesting, complex characters and placing them in unusual situations and regions (in this case, remote Amazon River) and making them relate-able and memorable. I was surprised at how tense and action packed this title was, yet manages to be thoughtful and heartbreaking too. It’s the kind of book you think about again and again, long after finishing it”. Michelle liked this book too and blogged about it here.

Check back tomorrow for more favorites from our blogging librarians!

The Davenport Public Library will be closed December 23, 24 and 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

All buildings will reopen on Wednesday December 26 for their regular business hours – Main and Fairmount Street will be open 9:30am to 5:30pm and Eastern Avenue will be open noon to 8pm.

Have a safe and festive Holiday!

With my interest in country music and the classic groups, I found this book fascinating. It is the fictionalized story of the Browns, two sisters and their brother, who sound was called Nashville Chrome. At the height of their fame, this singing trio was second only to Elvis, and even the Beatles shared a few jam sessions with their idols. Have you ever heard of the Browns? I hadn’t.

The focus of Nashville Chrome is Maxine, the eldest sibling, and the novel goes back and forth in time sweeping over her childhood in Poplar Creek, the tough years on the road singing and recording, to a decrepit old age living on social security when a trip to Piggly Wiggly represents a major expedition. Maxine is the driving force behind the trio–the one who takes their singing career so much more seriously, but perhaps that’s because for her, the stakes are so much higher.

Bass’s style underscores the mythic qualities of the tale, for while the Browns’ story is true, at times it almost seems too fantastic to be anything less than fiction. Fate repeatedly seems to intervene in lives marked by the highs and lows of incredibly bad luck and amazing strokes of good fortune.

Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s co-authored epistolary novel has a very long title: Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: being the correspondence of two young ladies of quality regarding various magical scandals in London and the country. Please don’t judge it by this wordy title or by its tragically hideous cover. It’s great!

It’s Regency England, magic is real, and cousins Cecelia (Cecy) and Kate correspond over the course of a summer, unraveling alone and together the mystery surrounding the titular enchanted chocolate pot and the “Mysterious Marquis.” The action is very exciting, the letters brisk and forthcoming, the characters sympathetic, the romance delightful, the magic subtle and delectably menacing. It’s a delight – the only complaint I can offer to temper my enthusiasm is that Cecy and Kate are virtually indistinguishable. I cannot recall a single difference between them, whether in temperament, opinion, age, physical appearance, or letter-writing style. The only difference between them is that Kate is in London and Cecy in the country; or did I switch that around? I’ll have to look back at the letters to check.

By sheer good luck, my reading of this novel overlapped with my listening to the also epistolary, also long-titled, also co-authored, and also excellent The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This was an enormous hit with book clubs a couple of years ago, but if you missed out on it then, treat your ears to this audiobook right away! It has become my standard audio fiction recommendation, even surpassing At Home and Twenties Girl. Juliet Ashton corresponds with and befriends the people of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel which was occupied for 5 years by the Germans during World War II. Each character’s letters are read by a different voice actor, and the result is entirely winning. It’s a lovely book read by lovely people, and it’s about resilience and friendship and bravery and the love of books. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher explores how a lone man’s epic obsession led to one of America’s greatest cultural treasures: prizewinning writer Timothy Egan tells the riveting, cinematic story behind the most famous photographs in Native American history — and the driven, brilliant man who made them.

Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. He was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared. An Indiana Jones with a camera, Curtis spent the next three decades traveling from the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Acoma on a high mesa in New Mexico to the Salish in the rugged Northwest rain forest, documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate.

Eventually Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian. His most powerful backer was Theodore Roosevelt, and his patron was J. P. Morgan. Despite the friends in high places, he was always broke and often disparaged as an upstart in pursuit of an impossible dream. He completed his masterwork in 1930, when he published the last of the twenty volumes. A nation in the grips of the Depression ignored it. Today rare Curtis photogravures bring high prices at auction, and he is hailed as a visionary. In the end he fulfilled his promise: He made the Indians live forever. (description from publisher)


Deb Perelman is one of my favorite nonfiction writers. Her blog,, is one of the most beautiful and well-cultivated on the web. She writes with good grammar, common sense, and maturity: all too rare in the world of blogging. Her photos are sumptuous; her voice is authentic and charming; her advice is encouraging but never preachy. Her recipes range from moderate ease (mixed bean salad) to incredible ambition (Moules à la Marinière) . Most importantly, her lifestyle (which is what any blogger on any topic is ultimately selling) seems attainable, realistic, homey, and good. Now, she has “arrived,” so to speak, by getting herself published in “real life,” aka, a glossy hardcover book published by Knopf.

And what a hardcover it is! I have it checked out now, but I know I’ll be returning to it too often not to make a home on my own bookshelf for it. Most of the recipes are new, which is to say they have never appeared on the website. The design is crisp, the photos delectable, the writing full of warmth. I have no reservations whatsoever about recommending this book to anyone who has a kitchen!

More than 30 projects inspired by classic literature Literary Knits features 30 knitting patterns inspired by beloved characters from classic books; from Pride and Prejudice to Moby Dick, The Catcher in the Rye to The Chronicles of Narnia – and many more in between.

Inspired by some of the most beloved characters from favorite books, including an elegant Daisy Cloche inspired by The Great Gatsby and a late ′50s-inspired Holly Golightly Dress imagined from Breakfast at Tiffany′s, the more than 30 knitting projects in this unique collection will inspire knitters and book lovers alike. Each knitting pattern includes precise instruction and robust information on yarn selection and substitution. Beautiful photography throughout offers ideas and inspiration for all ages and skill levels, including supporting photos for tricky or less commonly-known techniques, while diagrams, assembly instructions, and schematic illustrations ease completion of each project with a generous mix of knitting patterns for women, men, and kids.

If you′re a book lover who knits, or a knitter with an appreciation for vintage patterns, Literary Knits is a timeless collection of one-of-a-kind knitting projects. (description from publisher)