The Most of Nora Ephron

most of nora ephronThe Most of Nora Ephron is a whopping big celebration of the work of the late, great Nora Ephron, America’s funniest – and most acute – writer, famous for her brilliant takes on life as we’ve been living it these last forty years.

Everything you could possibly want from Nora Ephron is here – from her writings on journalism, feminism, and being a woman (the notorious piece on being flat-chested, the clarion call of her commencement address at Wellesley) to her best-selling novel, Heartburn, written in the wake of her devastating divorce from Carl Bernstein; from her hilarious and touching screenplay for the movie When Harry Met Sally . . . (“I’ll have what she’s having”) to her recent play Lucky Guy (published here for the first time); from her ongoing love affair with food, recipes and all, to her extended takes on such controversial women as Lillian Hellman and Helen Gurley Brown; from her pithy blogs on politics to her moving meditations on aging (“I Feel Bad About My Neck”) and dying.

Her superb writing, her unforgettable movies, her honesty and fearlessness, her nonpareil humor have made Nora Ephron an icon for America’s women–and not a few of its men. (description from publisher)


When you read this post, I will have retired from the Davenport Public Library on April 11th.  I worked at the library 46 years and 8 months. I’ve worn myny hats, from student worker to reference supervisor. In between I worked customer service, acquisitions, drove the bookmobile, was library clown and other duties as required. It has been a wonderful career with many adventures. I have met wonderful people and worked with a great staff. Many of the librarians i worked with in my early years at the library taught me to be professional, treat all people with respect and keep my sense of humor. I have seen many changes in the library, from one building and a bookmobile to 3 active libraries, from card catalogs to online library systems, from Recordex machines to self checks. All the changes have helped serve the library user well while still creating a welcoming place.

Thank you all for my grand experience.

Rita Specht

Farewell Friend

RitaWe’re going to take a brief break in our regular blogging to bid Farewell and Thank You to one of our greatest supporters and contributors. Our Rita will be retiring as of today and moving on to new adventures.

Just about anybody who has used the Davenport Library has probably been helped by Rita. She began her career as a page here in 1967, working in various departments while continuing her education, including her Master’s Degree in Library Science. She’s worked in the Reference Department for many years, the last several as Reference Supervisor. Rita’s the librarian that orders DVDs and Books-on-CD for the library, and has blogged about the upcoming DVDs and her favorite books-on-CD since the blog began.  She’s also been active in the Bi-State Literacy Council and is a long-time volunteer for the John Deere Classic.

Everyone who knows Rita – and Rita is the type of person that everyone knows! – has a great story about her. I can pretty much guarantee you that nearly all of those stories highlight her generous spirit, her great sense-of-humor and her loyalty to her friends.

Thanks Rita, for all the good times and all your hard work! Have a great retirement!

Drink More Whiskey by Daniel Yaffe

drink more whiskeyThis smart guide to whiskey introduces a new generation of would-be connoisseurs to the hottest new-again spirit. And with upstart distillers reviving varieties like white dog (moonshine to prohibition-era folks), now is the best time to start learning about it.

Drink More Whiskey is the reference for those want to discover the provenance, styles, differences in quality, and ideal uses of whiskey in a fresh, fun-to-read format. In addition, more than 20 recipes are sprinkled throughout, from classics like the Old Fashioned to thoroughly modern tipples like the Manchester (made from single malt Scotch whisky and fresh herbs), so readers can take their learning from book to glass. (description from publisher)

Favorite Quotes 8

stacks of booksHere’s a beautiful quote, reminding us of the importance of nature. Do you know which book it comes from?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what they had to teach; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” 

Did we stump you? Find the answer here.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens by Nicki Jabbour

groundbreaking food gardensVegetable gardens can be designed for flavor AND fun! Niki Jabbour has collected 73 plans for novel and inspiring food gardens from her favorite superstar gardeners, in Groundbreaking Food Gardens. You’ll find a garden that provides salad greens 52 weeks a year, another that supplies your favorite cocktail ingredients, one that you plant on a balcony, one that encourages pollinators, one that grows 24 kinds of chile peppers, and dozens more.

Each plan is fully illustrated and includes a profile of the contributor, the story behind the design, and a plant list. (description from publisher)

Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs

ultimate panini pressKathy Strahs’s The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook is the first and last word on making the most of a home panini press or counter-top grill. In over 200 recipes and with 100 color photographs, Kathy shows readers how to use this versatile kitchen appliance to make more than just sandwiches and panini (although there is ample recipe inspiration for both), but also dozens of main-course, easy-to-prepare meals that are great for busy home cooks and families. Kathy includes classics like Croque Monsieur and Reuben panini as well as imaginative creations like a Grilled Asparagus and Prosciutto panini and Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas. There are smaller appetizer panini as well, and a host of breakfast and brunch sandwiches. Beyond the panini, Kathy shows off the creativity of the panini press to make such things as chicken satay, jerk pork tenderloin, and even grilled fish tacos. An inventive chapter on desserts includes an amazing way to make homemade ice-cream cones in a panini machine, along with creative after-dinner options such as Grilled Pears with Honey-Whipped Greek Yogurt and Toasted Almonds. Home cooks looking to get more from their panini press will find inspiration on every page, and with Kathy’s clear recipe instructions, and ample tips and advice included throughout the book, The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook is an essential kitchen companion for making the most of the panini press. (description from publisher)

Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation by Elizabeth Beckwith

raising2If you’re not a fan of traditional parenting books (or even if you are) you might want to check out Elizabeth Beckwith’s Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation. This book is laugh-out-loud funny and with chapters such as “How to Scare the Crap out of Your Child (in a Positive Way)”, and “Mind Control: Why it’s a Good Thing” Elizabeth Beckwith offers a new spin on the traditional parenting books.

Despite the title, Ms. Beckwith has some pretty sound advice to offer. For example, “speak loudly and disparagingly of people who do bad things”. See a guy speed through a parking lot? Make sure you tell your kid what a moron that guy is, and that that’s how people die. As Ms. Beckwith says “it’s always good to sprinkle the fear of death into these lessons whenever possible”.

This method lets you pepper lessons into daily life rather than having sit-down conversations about topics such as drugs or smoking. See a scantily-clad woman on the street? Make sure you mention that she looks like a hooker. This not only shows your daughter that it’s not ok with you to dress this way, but it also sends the message to your son that this is NOT the kind of girl you bring home.

Each lesson is illustrated with colorful stories from the author’s own childhood. So whether you’re looking for parenting advice or just want a great memoir to read Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation is definitely worth checking out, as long as you don’t mind a little colorful language.


Library to Begin Dating Service

redrosesLooking for that special someone? The library can help you with that age-old question! Just go online to your library account and check the “Find Compatible Mate” box, fill out the simple three question survey and click submit. It won’t be long before you are on the path to Happily Ever After.

In addition, the library can help smooth the path of true love for you – romantic poetry is in non-fiction under 821 and you’ll find Shakespeare’s sonnets at 822.33. And did you realize that date night can be even more special when you spend it at the library? Snuggle together in front of the fireplace at Fairmount! (both pairs of feet on the ground at all times, please and thank you); stroll hand-in-hand along the giant windows at Eastern; climb together to the second floor at Main where you can share that special view of 4th and Main.

For more tips on dating and falling in love, check out our special guide!