Copy of happy new yearThe Davenport Public Library will be closed on Tuesday December 31 and Wednesday January 1 in observance of the New Years holiday. All locations will reopen their regular scheduled time on Thursday January 2 – Main and Eastern Avenue at 9am and Fairmount Street at noon.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

More favorite books from our bloggers!

small viewLynn votes for The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman. “I love Lipman’s writing style, her characters and the world they inhabit. This time it’s a penthouse in Manhattan, where Gwen and her sister Margot live in genteel poverty. In order to make ends meet, the tenants begin to multiply and become involved in each other’s lives and romances”.

small relishAmanda chooses a non-fiction title. “I have an obsession with cookbooks and graphic novels, and Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley combines the two in an entertaining and informative way. While the novelty of a graphic cookbook is what appealed to me at first, it was Knisley’s hilarious voice and effective story telling that won me over. I’m crossing my fingers that another book is on it’s way”.

small longbournAnn goes with a classic re-imagined. “Longbourn by Jo Baker was my favorite this year. It’s a sly, witty and compassionate interpretation of Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, seen through the eyes of the servants. Usually faceless and unnamed, here they inhabit real lives with complications and joys and heartbreak just as interesting (if not more so) than the homeowners they serve”.

There you have it – an eclectic collection of best books. What about you – what was your favorite book in 2013?

 

Favorite books read in 2013 by our Info Cafe bloggers continues.

small bonesRita is a big fan of audio books and choose one author as her favorite to listen to. “I have read and listened to Kathy Reich’s Temperence Brennan from the beginning, 15 titles and counting. It is a wonderful series about Temperence being a forensic anthropologist holding two positions, one in North Carolina and one in Quebec, Ontario. Her cases are based on real cases in Kathy Reich’s experience as a forensic anthropologist. Temeperence has adventures and misadventures most people wouldn’t live through. What I like best about her writing is that her writing has stayed the finest quality through all 15 books. Some series I read, you can tell when it has become a chore for the writer to continue the series. Her newest book, Bones of the Lost, continues with that quality”.

small hatBill’s favorite (and most read) title is the children’s classic The Hat by Jan Brett. With beautiful illustrations reminiscent of Nordic folk art, Brett weaves a fun and charming story about animals discovering warm winter headgear. This book is especially great when you do different voices for each animal, much to the delight of the littlest reader.

There’s still more to come! Stop back on Monday for our final installment of 2013 favorites!

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 2013, but were read and enjoyed in 2013. Enjoy!

small eleanorLexie gets us started with a YA title that several of us liked, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. “This is a beautiful story of two misfit teens who against all odds find each other and find happiness. their friendship begins over a shared love of comic books and music, and over time is grows very naturally into first love. I’ve read a lot of YA love stories, and I can easily say that this is one of the most realistic I’ve read. It is genuine, moving, and very charming, and I would recommend it to just about anyone”.

small cuckoosAmber’s up next. “Although I may have felt slightly lonely in my praise of J.K. Rowling’s first post-Potter-publication, The Casual Vacancy (compare Maggie’s full review of ithere to my quick end-of-year review here), there is almost universal adoration for Rowling’s second offering, The Cuckoo’ Calling, about a rough detective named Cormoran Strike who tries to prove the suicide of a London It-Girl was really a premeditated murder (Once again, you can see Maggie’s full, eloquent review here). Ms Rowling released The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and much to her dismay (and my delight) it only took several months for her secret to leak into the press. I have long been a fan of mysteries, but usually of the cozier or historical sort, and I probably would have bypassed The Cuckoo’s Calling due to the gritty, contemporary setting and missed out on Rowling’s amazing storytelling and beautifully crafted characters. According to Robert Galbraith’s website, we can expect another Cormoran Strike mystery in 2014 – Hurrah”!

Check back tomorrow for more of our picks for 2013!

 

Copy of happy holidaysThe Davenport Public Library will be closed Tuesday December 24th and Wednesday December 25th in observance of the Christmas holiday. All locations will reopen on Thursday December 26th at their regularly scheduled time – Main and Eastern Avenue at 9am and Fairmount Street at noon.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

beating the lunch boxIf you’re anything like me, packing a healthy, flavorful lunch day after day is a surprisingly difficult task.  So I was pretty excited when I found Beating the Lunch Box Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go! by J.M. Hirsch.  Utilizing a combination of leftovers and fresh ingredients, Beating the Lunch Box Blues was created not only to provide recipes, but to give inspiration.

This book gives very simple, practical advice. As I perused the pages, I had a lot of a-ha moments. Why had I never thought that I should cook a little extra couscous to save for lunch that week?  Why did I bring leftovers exactly as they had been cooked the night before?  Why couldn’t I bring the leftover chicken from dinner as part of a salad for lunch? (I’m clearly not a creative lunch maker.)  And why do I never plan lunches, but just toss them together as I’m running out the door?

Hirsch’s recipes focus on creating variety in your meals and planning ahead.  This will save time in the end and might prevent you from buying that bag of chips from the vending machine. If you’re looking for additional ideas check out Hirsch’s blog: www.lunchboxblues.com or these other lunch box cookbooks from DPL: Best Lunch Box Ever by Kate Sullivan Morford and Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann.

beatrix potterThere aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. More than 150 million copies of her books have sold worldwide and interest in her work and life remains high. And her characters – Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest – exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens.

Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that bring her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today. Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales. (description from publisher)

There are a lot of great things about holiday parties: cookies, presents, drinks, friends & family, drinks, decorations, food, and did I mention, drinks?  If you’re considering shaking things up and trying a new drink, we have a wide range of books to wet your whistle.

Here are a few of my favorites  (visit the reference desk for additional suggestions!):

cocktails for a crowdCocktails for a crowd : more than 40 recipes 
for making popular drinks in 
party-pleasing batches by Kara Newman is a great go-to for people with a long guest list.  From punches to drinks served with an umbrella, this book covers its bases well.  Featuring beautiful photography, easy to follow directions, tips from bartenders, and a modern aesthetic, this is a great resource all year long.

tequila mockingbirdTequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle is a pun heavy book of drink recipes.  While the drinks may not be revolutionary, the names breathe new life into old standards.  Who could pass up a “Are You There God?  It’s me, Margarita.” or a “Brave New Swirled”?  Federle includes some bar tip staples, a few non-alcholoic drinks featuring familiar names from children’s literature (“Charlie and the Chocolate Fake-tini”), and bar bites like “The Develed Egg Wears Prada”.

drunken botanist


The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks
by Amy Stewart has been on a number of best non-fiction book lists this year.  Part history, part science, and part cookbook, The Drunken Botanist is an examination of how humans created the drinks that we consume today.  With over fifty recipes and growing tips for libation minded gardeners, this is a great choice if you want to share some trivia along side your cocktail.

wintersweetWho says the winter months have to be bleak and barren? Author Tammy Donroe sees this season as an opportunity to stay inside, fire up the oven, and produce decadent desserts from the bounty of wholesome winter ingredients.

Wintersweet encourages readers to make use of fresh, local ingredients for warming seasonal desserts. While summer farmers’ markets are always overflowing with ripe produce, there’s plenty to be had from November to March: squashes and pumpkins, parsnips and carrots, apples, pears, citrus of all types, and feel-good ingredients like nuts, cheese, and chocolate. The fresh and rustic recipes in Wintersweet push the envelope of traditional winter desserts like pumpkin or apple pies with such delicacies as Pear Cranberry Clafouti, Spicy Prune Cake with Penuche Frosting, Tangelo Sorbet, and Goat Cheese Cake with Dried Cherry Compote. Each chapter is devoted to different ingredients, ranging from Persimmons, Pomegranates, and Cranberries to Citrus, Cheese, and Dried Fruits, allowing readers to experiment with new and exciting ingredients for complex and delicious flavors. They taste even better when they can be found near your own backyard; Donroe provides resources for finding the best local farmers’ markets and agricultural centers near you.

Perfect for holiday gatherings or to warm the belly on a cold night, Wintersweet is the perfect dessert companion to make the year’s coldest season a bit more festive. (description from publisher)

made by dadThe Snail Soup Can Decoy to keep the candy stash safe. The Customizable ‘Keep Out’ sign to deter meddlesome siblings and parents. A Bunk Bed Communicator made from cardboard tubes (“Psst! Can you keep the snoring down”) You’ll find these projects and lots more in Made by Dad by Scott Bedford.

Clever, whimsical, and kind of genius, here are 67 unique projects that will turn any dad with DIY leanings into a mad scientist hero that his kid(s) will adore. No screens, no hi-tech gadgetry. Made by Dad combines the rough-edged, handmade ethos of a Boy Scout manual or The Dangerous Book for Boys with a sly sense of humor that kids love. Scott Bedford, a creative director by day and Webby Award winning blogger by nights and weekends, wields an X-ACTO knife, magic marker, and prodigious imagination to create endlessly delightful projects for his two sons. He knows that kids like contraptions and gadgets, things that are surprising – chair that appears to be balanced on eggshells. Things that are complex – multilevel city, with buildings, tunnels, and roads, built from old boxes around the legs of a table. And especially things with humor – the Snappy Toast Rack, made to resemble a crocodile’s gaping mouth. The projects are shown in full-color photographs, and the instructions are illustrated in detailed line drawings that exude personality. Some are quick and simple enough to be done in a coffee shop; others are more of an afternoon project – yielding hours and hours of rich, imaginative playtime. (description from publisher)