sketchbook challengeHave you ever bought a new sketchbook, opened to the first page, and thought, “Now what do I do?” Sue Bleiweiss and the talented minds behind The Sketchbook Challenge are here to help. Imagine a supportive community of artists sharing the innermost pages of their sketchbooks and offering you tips and techniques for overcoming creative blocks. That’s what The Sketchbook Challenge is all about, and the popular blog of the same name has already inspired thousands.

Inside this book, you’ll find: · Themes that will motivate you to start your sketchbook–and, more important, keep at it · Tutorials spotlighting such mixed-media techniques as thread sketching, painted papers for collage, digital printing, and much more · Strategies to get off the sketchbook page and start creating inspired art–whether you’re into painting, collage, fiber art, or beyond. · In-depth profiles of artists who have taken the Sketchbook Challenge and used it as a launching pad for their own meaningful artwork. (description from publisher)

Building_Stories_coverA flurry of positive buzz at the end of 2012 made Building Stories by Chris Ware one of the most talked about books of the year (at least, on the geeky book review blogs we librarians read). Certainly the most ambitious and successful graphic novel I’ve ever read, Building Stories is very much a novel: a story told in a visual medium that takes several hours of cooperation between your brain and your eyes to interpret. There are words – lots of them – in addition to the illustrations, and one could not survive without the other. There are two main characters: an unnamed woman living in Chicago and the three-story building she lives in. Each of the particles of this novel (it’s printed on a collection of 14 different paper products, ranging from hardcover book to cardboard broadsheet to flimsy pamphlet) zooms in on a short period in her life or the lives of the other people in the building, which provides a delicate but firm link between all the characters. There’s no defined order (which is intentional), so you sift through the vignettes of her life in much the same way you sift through your own memories: not sequentially, or always with a logical connection from point A to B, but arbitrarily and unpredictably.

At any moment in your reading, you can see the woman in various states of dissatisfaction, from the crushing loneliness of single life to the dispirited letdown of motherhood in the suburbs. It’s not a happy book, but there are moments of levity – you’ll be charmed by the short interlude of Branford, the Best Bee in the World, whose brief bee life is indeed connected with the human characters. Watch out for the scene where the woman finds a copy of Building Stories itself: a moment of humorous, metafictional, mildly unsettling genius that (like the book entire) asks some very real questions about the physical and emotional nature of books.

When Philip Hensher realized that he didn’t know what a close friend’s handwriting looked like ( “bold or crabbed, sloping or upright, italic or rounded, elegant or slapdash” ), he felt that something essential was missing from their friendship. It dawned on him that having abandoned pen and paper for keyboards, we have lost one of the ways by which we come to recognize and know another person. People have written by hand for thousands of years – how, Hensher wondered, have they learned this skill, and what part has it played in their lives? The Missing Ink tells the story of this endangered art.

Hensher introduces us to the nineteenth-century handwriting evangelists who traveled across America to convert the masses to the moral worth of copperplate script; he examines the role handwriting plays in the novels of Charles Dickens; he investigates the claims made by the practitioners of graphology that penmanship can reveal personality. But this is also a celebration of the physical act of writing: the treasured fountain pens, chewable ballpoints, and personal embellishments that we stand to lose. Hensher pays tribute to the warmth and personality of the handwritten love note, postcards sent home, and daily diary entries. With the teaching of handwriting now required in only five states and many expert typists barely able to hold a pen, the future of handwriting is in jeopardy. Or is it?

Hugely entertaining, witty, and thought-provoking, The Missing Ink will inspire readers to pick up a pen and write. (description from publisher)


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

red dragon rising

mrs lincolns dressmakeralpine xanaduhusband listnews from heaven




Larry Bond – Red Dragon Rising: Blood of War

Jennifer Chiaverini – Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

Mary Daheim – The Alpine Xanadu

Janet Evanovich – The Husband List

Jennifer Haigh – News from Heaven

Marcia Muller – The Bughouse Affair

daddy love

political suicidestanding in another mans graveuntil the end of timeproof of guilt




Joyce Carol Oates – Daddy Love

Michael Palmer – Political Suicide

Tracie Peterson – To Honor and Trust

Ian Rankin – Standing in Another Man’s Grave

Danielle Steel – Until the End of Time

Charles Todd – Proof of Guilt

Fay Weldon – Habits of the House

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


The hilarious, beloved cohost of TLC’s What Not to Wear examines the universal obstacles all women–including herself–put in their way With her unique talent for seeing past disastrous wardrobes to the core emotional issues that caused these sartorial crises, style savant Stacy London has transformed not only the looks but also the lives of hundreds of guests who have appeared on What Not to Wear. Now for the first time in print, London turns that expert X-ray insight on herself.

Like the women she’s transformed, London has plenty of emotional baggage. At eleven, she suffered from severe psoriasis that left her with permanent physical and mental scars. During college, she became anorexic on a misguided quest for perfection. By the time she joined the staff at Vogue , London’s weight had doubled from binge eating. Although self-esteem and self-consciousness nearly sabotaged a promising career, London learned the hard way that we wear our insecurities every day. It wasn’t until she found the self-confidence to develop a strong personal style that she finally became comfortable in her skin.

In The Truth About Style , London shares her own often painful history and her philosophy of the healing power of personal style–illustrating it with a series of detailed ‘start-overs’ with eight real women, demonstrating how personal style helps them overcome the emotional obstacles we all face. For anyone who has ever despaired of finding the right clothes, or even taking an objective assessment in a full-length mirror, The Truth About Style will be an inspiring, liberating, and often very funny guide to finding the expression of your truest self. (description from publisher)


January 8

frankenweenieFrankenweenie – Winona Ryder, Martin Short

Young Victor conducts a science experiment that will bring his dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous consequences. Rated PG

houseattheendofthestreetHouse at the End of the Street – Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue

Newly divorced Sarah and her teenage daughter Elissa have just moved to the suburbs for a fresh start. But their hopes quickly shatter as they learn that, years earlier, a grisly murder took place next door when a deranged girl killed her parents and disappeared. The girl’s older brother Ryan still occupies the house, and when he befriends Elissa, his secretive past could become her worst nightmare. Rated PG

January 15

possessionThe Possession – Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgewick

Clyde and Stephanie Brenek see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. Rated PG-13

to rome with loveTo Rome With Love – Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Alex Baldwin

Clyde and Stephanie Brenek see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. Rated R

taken 2Taken 2 – Liam Neeson, Famka Janssen, Maggie Grace

Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA operative who finds himself taken hostage along with his wife. To survive, Bryan must enlist the help of an unlikely ally and use his brutally efficient skills to take out his kidnappers. Rated PG-13

January 29

cold light of dayCold Light of Day – Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis

Will Shaw arrives in Spain for a weeklong sailing vacation with his family. The situation takes an unexpected turn when his family is kidnapped and Will gets tangled in an intergovernmental web of lies and secrets, with a briefcase in the center of the mystery. Will finds himself on the run and realizes that he must recover the briefcase and take down secret agents in order to get his family back alive. Rated PG-13

hotel transylvaniaHotel Transylvania – Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Molly Shannon

The Hotel Transylvania, run by Dracula, is a unique, high-end resort catering only to the finest monsters and their families. Dracula is preparing for an extra special weekend – his daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday – when trouble arises: a human has stumbled upon the resort for the first time ever! Even worse: the human has taken a liking to Mavis! Rated PG

2013Let DPL help you realize your reading goals in 2013! Whether you need books, recommendations, or just a quiet spot to devour the newest Stephanie Plum/Alex Cross novel, we can help.

Numeric resolutions: I will read X books in 2013.

  • Do you have 45 minutes a day? Count up your free time: lunch hour, breaks, waiting at the curb for your kids to get out of school, before bed, while your spouse does the dishes, while you’re on the treadmill. If you do, you could read 52 books in 2013. One book* per week = 39 pages (about 45 minutes) per day.
  • Only 15 minutes per day? Maths out to about 17 books for 2013. Not too shabby!
  • 20 minute drive to and from work? Not even counting all the other trips you make, you can listen to 21 books* this year (bonus: no more annoying radio ads).
  • Children’s books, audiobooks, graphic novels, comics, short stories, magazines, newspapers, and internet articles ABSOLUTELY. COUNT. You are more of a reader than you think; don’t sell yourself short!
Content resolutions: I will read more (insert genre) books in 2013.
  • Branching out into new content areas can be frustrating, but the librarians at DPL are here to help! We’ll cook up a list of books for you based on any criteria, and we offer 100% forgiveness for those who abandon books without finishing. Life is too precious to waste on finishing a book you don’t like.
  • Broadening your genre horizons is rewarding; more often than not, a single title will blend influences from many genres. I love fantasy, but some of my favorite fantasy titles are shelved in regular fiction or romance. If it sounds confusing, we’ll happily help you navigate.

Making your resolutions real

  • If you use a social reading log website (Good Reads, Librarything, and Shelfari, for example), you and your friends can share progress on whatever resolution you make. Nifty!
  • Use your library account online to keep track of saved title lists, saved searches, and even maintain a list of ALL the books you’ve ever checked out! (Note: for privacy and security purposes, only you can elect to maintain a reading list. It does not happen automatically and library staff cannot create the list for you.)
  • For old-fashioned paper lovers, get yourself a reading notebook: write down the titles you read and a little note about what you thought of the book. That way you won’t lose track of what you’ve read.
  • Resolve to share your love of books: Promise that you’ll read out loud to your kids or grandkids, bring a friend with you to the library, give copies of your favorite titles as gifts, or donate your pre-loved books to the Friends of DPL or another book charity. Books are best when they’re shared!

*For math purposes, a “book” is 275 pages or 8 hours of audio recording. Bonus points for reading something longer!