Grandpa Frank is just a grandpa and he doesn’t seem to like anything (except pickled onions), so how could his grandson possibly talk for a whole minute about him in front of his entire class?
In The Frank Show by David Mackintosh, Frank’s grandson is nervous about presenting about his curmudgeon grandfather during show and tell. Especially since his friends have exciting people to introduce, like Fay’s cousin who “tells you if your bag is too heavy at the airport” and Hugo’s stepbrother who’s sports car has an eight-ball gearshift knob.
The Frank Show is the perfect example of a picture book that seems to have been written more for adults than for kids. I see the jokes flying right over younger kid’s heads, and not many children are going to spot Edgar Allen Poe and his raven in the illustrations. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t recommend this book — because it is fantastic. Mackintosh’s illustrations are funny and child-like, filled with subtle references and jokes. This story is as much about the generational divide as it is about taking people for granted — both topics rarely explored in picture books. Grandpa Frank’s exaggerated stories and cranky advise are entertaining, and his grandson’s fears are completely understandable. Seriously, pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed, unless you’re Frank. I’m sure he’d say that they don’t make them like they used to or something as equally crotchety.
Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen’s Genius tells the story of Ted Max, a genius weighed down by expectations and overwhelmed in his interpersonal relationships. Once a promising quantum physicist, his life seems to have come to a halt. He cannot think of any new ideas at work and is facing losing his job at a think tank. His wife has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and he doesn’t know how to interact with his budding genius daughter and future frat boy son. And to make matters worse, his crotchety father-in-law won’t tell Ted the secret that Albert Einstein entrusted him with when he was “Bert’s” bodyguard. With no relief in sight, Ted begins to see himself unravel.
There has been a biographical graphic novel trend in publishing the last few years, but despite Albert Einstein’s strong presence in this graphic novel, this is not a biography. Seagle uses Einstein as a memory or an absence in Ted’s life. Kristiansen’s absorbing, lush pastel watercolor illustrations pair well with Seagle’s sparce and straightforward text, and make Einstein’s presence known throughout the novel. There is a sense when you read the book that you’re able to see some of the beautiful inner thoughts of a quantum physicist who has a difficult time voicing his feelings. I was much more touched by this book than I expected, and really felt Ted’s frustration with trying to live in the present when the future beckons and the past haunts. Ted many not be an everyman, but I think that most of us struggle with similar worries and heartbreaks.
I read a lot about The Bone Season before I started reading the book, which means that I read a lot about the book’s author, Samantha Shannon. A twenty-one year old recent graduate from Oxford University, Shannon has been marketed as a literary wunderkind. Every interview and review mentions her age or her status as a “young writer”. As a first-time published author, that is to be expected (here I am doing the same), and I would be lying if I didn’t say that influenced my decision to pick it up.
But this novel stands on its own (well, at least until the next six books in the series are released.) Shannon has created a fascinating near-future paranormal fantasy novel that includes elements of revisionist history and dystopian science fiction. Set in Scion controlled London in 2059, this fast-paced novel introduces readers to Paige Mahoney, a member of the clairvoyant criminal underworld. Scion was formed to find and eliminate clairvoyants like Paige, so being a member of Jaxon Hall’s Seven Dials based gang keeps her a protected and fed member of a family. But when Paige commits a crime that leads to her arrest and capture, she finds herself in Sheol I, a penal colony for voyants run by Rephaim, a race of non-human clairvoyants. While in Sheol I, Paige is assigned to the Warden for training and care and she has to decide if she can trust him, as she tries to find a way to save herself and the other humans imprisoned for life in Sheol I.
Shannon has been called the next J.K. Rowling (pressure anyone?) and The Bone Season has been compared to the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games series. I understand why, and I would recommend that fans of both series check out The Bone Season. But I think that while there are elements of each in this book (magical powers, dystopian future, strong female protagonist), Shannon has created something different. She has said that she was influenced by Margaret Atwood, and this is apparent in her intelligent, literary take on urban fantasy. This might be my favorite read this year (but there are two more months to go, so don’t hold me to that.)
With the purchase of his newest CD, B.O.A.T.S II, #metime, southern rapper 2 Chainz is releasing a digital Instagram cookbook with some of his favorite recipes called #mealtime. While 2 Chainz is not the first celebrity to offer up a cookbook, he might very well be the first to include a digital cookbook with a CD (I’m going to bet that he is.) You may not be able to borrow #mealtime from the library, but we would love it if you checked out one of these celebrity cookbooks:
The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by
Cher Horowitz Alicia Silverstone
Silverstone is best known for playing Cher Horowitz in Clueless, but also made a name for herself in recent years for demonstrating mouth-to-mouth feeding of children to many for the first time. This book helps vegetarians and vegans ensure that they’re getting all of the nutrition needed, while still making tasty food.
The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci
Tucci has been in a number of fantastic films, including The Devil Wears Prada, Julie and Julia, Easy A, and of course, The Hunger Games. As the grandson of Italian immigrants, Tucci has spent his life around food. In this cookbook he shares a mixture of family recipes and stories.
If it Makes You Healthy by Sheryl Crow
Crow’s cookbook is comprised of healthy recipes created by her personal chef, Chuck White. As breast cancer survivor, Crow is more concerned with the health benefits of certain foods and focusing on local and organic than with calorie counts. The title is a pun on Crow’s hit, “If it Makes You Happy” off of her 1996 eponymous album.
Cookin’ With Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price by Coolio
So, apparently Coolio had a “Cookin’ with Coolio” webseries (that no one told me about!) and as a result, he had a cookbook published. The “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage” rapper (and “Rollin’ with My Homies” featured in the aforementioned Clueless) mixes tongue-in-cheek humor, slang, vulgarity, and a plethora of drug references with simple recipes in this R-rated cookbook.
You can also find cookbooks from Gwyneth Paltrow, Trisha Yearwood, Padma Lakshmi, and Eva Longoria at the library!
Here at the Davenport Public Library, we are celebrating our freedom to read during Banned Books Week by reading frequently challenged and banned books. From September 22nd until the 28th, we encourage you to stop by one of the DPL locations and pick up one of the books that have been banned or challenged at libraries across the country. We will have many of the books on display, and as always, stop by the reference desk and we’ll help you find the book you need. You might be surprised to find one of your favorites on the list.
The 10 most frequently challenged books of 2012:
Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Scary Stories Series by Alvin Schwartz, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, Beloved by Toni Morrison
In Nappily Ever After, the first book in Trisha Thomas’ Nappily series, introduces readers to Venus Johnson. Venus seems to have it all — a beautiful house, a great job, a loving doctor boyfriend, and “good” straight, shiny hair — but she feels like something is missing. When her boyfriend, Clint, once again brushes off her desire to get married, Venus decides that she needs to start making changes in her life.
The first change she makes is cutting off all of her hair. After spending most of her life in the solon having her hair chemically relaxed, she is sick of what she now sees as a painful, expensive waste. This symbolic move of independence is important for Venus, who has always worked hard to reach the goals set by society. She now has to fight against other’s expectations and make her own way.
Featuring love triangles, misunderstandings, and sabotage, Venus’ life is a ever changing soap opera. Fans of Kimberla Lawson Roby and Benilde Little will want to pick up book.
In 2008, comedian Mike Birbiglia wrote a one-man off-broadway play about his experiences with rapid eye movement behavior disorder, which causes him to act out his dreams and sleepwalk. His symptoms are exacerbated the longer he goes without expressing himself and dealing with his stress, resulting in him performing increasingly dangerous acts in his sleep. Including a time when he ran out of a second-story window of a Walla Walla, Washington hotel room, resulting in 33 stitches in his leg.
Birbiglia’s one man show Sleepwalk with Me, has become the defining story of his career and has been translated to a segment on the NPR show This American Life, a book, a stand-up cd, and a movie staring Birbiglia as himself and Lauren Ambrose as his girlfriend. Birbiglia isn’t a big personality and could best be described as a sad sack, but his wit and honesty make this absurd story feel relatable. The film, book, and stand-up cd all have similar content and are all available at the Davenport Public Library. I would recommend any of the three, but the film is especially fantastic. Any fans of comedians Patton Oslwalt and Marc Maron and the show This American Life that somehow haven’t heard Birbiglia’s story need to check it out asap.
If you’re anything like me, you spend an exorbitant amount of time on Pinterest pinning projects that you’ll never finish (who am I kidding, never even start). Of course you have all the best intentions to create that mason jar vase or handmade soaps, but last time you created something it should have ended up on Pinterest Fail. And while many of my own Pinterest mishaps are purely the result of my impatience or inability to follow directions correctly, some are simply because I’m following the directions of another novice that lacks an editor.
Austin-based fabric designer, Laurie Wisbrun‘s book Embellish Me removes that amateur obstacle. A professional fabric designer, Wisbrun brings expertise to the world of DIY. As a visual person, I found Wisbrun’s step-by-step photography easy to follow and the directions complete. The instructions make clear the tools and materials that will be needed for each project, and the interviews with other professional fabric artists were interesting and it was a treat to see their lovely works.
With a mix of instruction, ideas, and artist introductions — this is a book for crafting rookies and experts alike.
In 1958, the pacifist organization Fellowship of Reconciliation released a comic book to help promote the bus boycott and recruit new activists called Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. The comic book introduced potential protesters to the Montgomery Method, a method of resistance that was adapted from the peaceful protest methods of Mahatma Gandhi and focused on taking the moral and spiritual high ground in every encounter.
With this important comic book as inspiration, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, along with congressional aide Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell (The Silence of Our Friends), has produced a stunning and important introduction to the civil rights movement and the Montgomery method. March Book One is the first book in a three part series that highlights the remarkable life of a man that was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington.
Powell’s black and white pen illustrations are fluid, easy to follow, and highlight the importance in the text. Powell has a real talent in using light and shadow to convey mood, and his style feels modern while still hinting at the classic comic book style in Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. The comic book format lends itself to Lewis’ talent for oral storytelling, and would make a great introduction to a civil rights movement icon for young people and adults.
Did you travel somewhere exciting this summer? Did you take photographs that you want to share, but your family has watched your slideshow enough? Then maybe you should submit your photos to the German American Heritage Center’s Travel Photography Contest! You have until September 22nd to submit your potentially winning photograph, and selected photographs will be on exhibit from October 6th until January 5th.
In the meantime, you should check out some of the library’s photography resources for inspiration or instruction.
The shutterfly guide to great digital photos by Jeffery Housenbold
The complete guide to night & lowlight digital photography by Michael Freeman
Platinum anniversary collection : 70 years of extraordinary photography
Capture the light : a guide for beginning digital photographers by Steve Meltzer
Lonely Planet’s Guide to travel photography by Richard l’Anson
Digital photography through the year by Tom Ang
Ultimate field guide to travel photography by Scott Stuckey
Ansel Adams in the national parks : photographs from America’s wild places by Ansel Adams