my berlin kitchenIt takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.

Luisa Weiss will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog The Wednesday Chef, will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it. (description from publisher)

simple solderingMetalworking is generally regarded as a skill that takes years of dedication, requires a large studio space, and costs a lot of money. Fortunately, Simple Soldering proves that does not need to be the case.

This handy how-to guide is complete in its exploration of the craft of creating soldered metal jewelry, including tools, techniques, and 20 beautiful projects that beginners and enthusiasts can make at home. Author and teacher Kate Richbourg demystifies basic soldering for any home crafter, showing how to create sophisticated, polished, and professional-looking jewelry pieces through simple soldering techniques. She instructs how to set up a jewelry workspace that fits the confines of your budget and living space and provides detailed step-by-step instructions to walk you through the basic tools and materials you need, plus how to use them. A host of introductory exercises teach solid skills, allowing you to test techniques on a small scale. And you’ll discover 20 finished projects that include earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets, and clasps that may also include bead or wire embellishment.

With Simple Soldering, the art of metal working one-of-a-kind jewelry is now at your fingertips. (description from publisher)

homelandShowtime’s critically acclaimed series Homeland stars Claire Danes as CIA counterterrorism agent Carrie Mathison, who has just received startling information from one of her contacts: an American POW has been turned.  Months later, US Marine Nicholas Brody (played expertly by Damian Lewis) is found alive in Afghanistan after being presumed dead for eight years.  Though his return is heralded as a great victory and he is touted as a war hero, Carrie is certain that he is working for al-Qaeda.  She goes behind the back of her superiors, setting up illegal surveillance equipment in Brody’s house and monitoring him at all times, doggedly pursuing the truth at any cost.

I could give you a list a mile long of adjectives describing how great this show is (compelling, thrilling, captivating, mind-blowing, etc.), but nothing I can think of really does it justice.  The acting, particularly Danes in her portrayal of a very zealous woman suffering from bipolar disorder, is absolutely superb.  The story will grab ahold of you and not let you go, with twists and turns that constantly keep you guessing where Brody’s allegiance lies.  I finished the entire first season of this show in about two days because I couldn’t stand to not be watching it.  I highly recommend picking up a copy of this series, but make sure you plot out several hours of free time to watch it.  Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

guest post by Georgann

invisible threadWow. This book was so good. It captivated me from beginning to happy ending. The Invisible Thread is just an amazing true story about a well-to-do career woman and a street kid she meets. He asks her for money and she, like many other New Yorkers, walks on by without actually seeing the boy. Suddenly, in the middle of the street, nearly getting hit by a car, she stops. She turns around, goes back to the boy, asks him if he’s hungry, and takes him to McDonald’s. They spend the afternoon together, just hanging out, and an unlikely friendship is born that spans until today, almost 30 years later.

The story of Laura and Maurice is so powerful! Laura chooses to invest her time, money and family in this young street kid. As you can imagine, everyone tries to tell her what an awful idea this is, but she persists. She sees something in him, something special, and her instinct proves correct. She gives him experiences that he had seen on TV but never imagined would actually be for him.

He comes from a home life that is foreign and unimaginable to most of us. Laura comes from a very rough background, as well; perhaps that is the basis of her compassion.  He says she was his lifeline. She says she has learned much more from him than her learned from her. I say all of us will benefit greatly from reading their story!

From a private collection of nearly 800 courtship letters, the daughter of two remarkable physicians has crafted a timeless valentine to long-lasting love and the healing profession.

Senior medical students from New Orleans and Omaha meet in 1937 and begin a two-year correspondence across 1,100 miles. They set their sights on a return to Mayo Clinic, the medical mecca where they found each other and danced to the haunting Harbor Lights. Grave illness and career setbacks shake their confidence, but the two decide to face an uncertain future together, trusting in each other and the relationship they built letter by letter.

The Courtship of Two Doctors recreates the medical era before antibiotics, when health workers were at risk of serious infection, and vividly illustrates the 1930s social barriers challenging two-career marriages. It is also an inspirational and charming love story. (description from publisher)

 

beautiful winterWhy not celebrate winter and bring a touch of nature indoors by creating a charming bark wreath bursting with red roses or a twig globe entwined with delicate amaryllis?

 In Beautiful Winter, author and florist Edle Catharina Norman shows how to use seasonal materials and flowers to put together 53 entrancing — and easy to assemble — home projects. From festive garlands to fun table decorations (including candlesticks made of apples), you’ll find an array of unique ideas to inspire you. Illustrated with more than 55 full-color photographs, this book presents glorious decorations that will warm your heart on even the coldest winter day. (description from publisher)

mlkdayThe Davenport Public Library will be closed on Monday, January 21 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. All of our buildings will reopen their regular hours on Tuesday – the Main Library and Eastern Avenue Branch from 9:30am to 5:30pm and the Fairmount Street Branch from noon to 8pm.

Have a safe holiday!

the-rookAs soon as I saw this book described as “The Bourne Identity meets The X-Men”, I knew I had to read it.  In The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up on a rainy street in London, having clearly been beaten to a pulp.  The bigger problem?  She has no idea who she is.  Luckily her past self was prepared for this to happen, because in her jacket pocket Myfanwy finds a letter that directs her to a bank, where she will have two choices: safe deposit box #1 contains lots of money and everything she needs for a new identity, and safe deposit box #2 contains information about who she is and what happened to her.  After being attacked for a second time, Myfanwy opts to learn the secrets of safe deposit box #2: she is part of a secret government organization called The Chequy, comprised of British citizens with supernatural abilities, working together to protect the country from its more unusual threats.  Moreover, past-Myfanwy is certain that a fellow member of The Chequy is the one who ordered the attack on her.  With nothing but a big stack of letters from her past self, Myfanwy must protect the country from imminent danger all while trying to protect herself from a threat close to home.

This was a really fun concept for a book, and I liked the main character a lot.  She’s really snarky and funny, particularly when she’s re-learning about her powers or trying to cover up the fact that she’s lost her memory (and doing a poor job at it).  However, I almost didn’t finish this book because it’s a LOT longer than it needs to be.  Much of the first half moves pretty slowly with at least one subplot that could have easily been disposed of.  Luckily things picked up at the halfway point, and I couldn’t help but tear through it all the way to the exciting end.

code name verityThe less said about the plot of Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, the better. “Careless talk costs lives,” say our heroines, and in a tightly plotted and breathlessly suspenseful book like this, you won’t doubt it. Verity is a prisoner of the Gestapo in occupied France, writing out her confession. Maddie, a young woman pilot, is a part of that confession. As Verity writes, she confronts and examines her beliefs and her fears.

And that’s about all I can tell you.

I am not (usually) a lover of war stories or YA novels, but this one is just too good to miss. The characters are vivid, the plotting is superb, and the immersion in wartime Europe is complete. I loved reading about women in war – active, brave, brilliant women – instead of men. It’s more than a story of torture and war and espionage: it’s about life-changing friendship, love, incredible bravery, and the difficult choices we face (whether our lives are ordinary or extraordinary). Everything about this book was refreshing, surprising, exhilarating, and beautiful (even when it was terrifying). I wanted to reread it as soon as I turned the last page!

argoAwards season is in full swing!  On Sunday, January 13th, the Golden Globes were handed out for films and television series.  Here are some of the winners that you can find at our three locations!

Movies

Argo for Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director (Ben Affleck)

Brave for Best Animated Feature Film

 

Television

homelandHomeland for Best Drama, Best Actress in a Drama (Claire Danes), and Best Actor in a Drama (Damian Lewis)

Girls for Best Comedy and Best Actress in a Comedy (Lena Dunham)

House of Lies for Best Actor in a Comedy (Don Cheadle)

Downton Abbey for Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Smith)

 

downtonGame Change for Best Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie, Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie (Julianne Moore), and Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris)

Hatfields & McCoys for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie (Kevin Costner)