New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Druker

New England Soup Factory CookbookJust in case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve been having a dozy of a winter with rain, freezing rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures all making headlines. And, I hate to be the one to tell you this but warmer temperatures are still a few weeks away for the Midwest.

What better time for the warmth and comfort of homemade soup? The New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Druker will provide you with dozens of ideas. Soups as varied as “Wild Mushroom and Barley” and “Curried Crab and Coconut” as well as familiar favorites such as “New England Clam Chowder” will inspire you. Luscious photos may tempt you to chew on the pages (please don’t) and the stories of the restaurant (a long-time favorite located in Boston) will keep you entertained.

It just might be enough to get you through those last few weeks of cold and snow.

The President’s Table by Barry Landau

The President’s Table by Barry LandauHappy President’s Day! Every third Monday in February has been set aside to observe the birth anniversaries of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22), although it is now generally used to honor all former US presidents.

Ever wonder what goes on at those lavish Presidential State Dinners? The beautifully illustrated The President’s Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy by Barry Landau gives us a unique picture of the world and work of the Presidents. Showing us history from a social rather than strictly factual viewpoint, Landau makes history fascinating and personal. Included are photographs of menus and invitations, descriptions of meals served, and details of trends in entertaining which reflect the birth, growth and dominance of the United States.

First day of spring

Spring trainingThat’s the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on the ball. – Bill Veeck, 1976

Every baseball fan knows that spring starts this week – pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training. Just knowing that somewhere there is warm sunshine and blue skies and green grass and that the boys of summer are working out the kinks makes the promise of spring seem closer. If you’re lucky enough to be able to escape the Midwestern winter and visit one of the leagues (the Cactus League is in Arizona and the Grapefruit League is in Florida) check out out Spring Training Online for in-depth information about the teams, the parks they play in during spring training, how to get tickets and directions on how to get there as well as spring training game schedules. Spring Training Tips offers lots of valuable information from people who have gone to spring training including information on how to rent a house for your visit, where to go to squeeze in a round of golf and what kind of weather to expect. Major League Baseball has a wealth of information including the most sacred to baseball fans: statistics. Check out all the news about your favorite team and what players to watch this season.

And for the rest us, hang in there – the Cubs home opener is March 31 and the newly renamed Quad Cities River Bandits open April 3!

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

Madonnas of LeningradThe past is still vivid to Marina, even though the present fades in a fog of age and approaching Alzheimer’s. Now elderly and living in America, as a young woman she had been a docent at the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad. When Leningrad comes under siege during World War II, Marina and the other museum workers carefully hide the priceless artworks, leaving the frames behind as a promise of their eventual return. Marina painstakingly memorizes each painting and sculpture, memories she can escape to as the winter and continuing siege worsen, memories that now seem more real than her current life. Interspersed with vivid descriptions of the artwork and the suffering of the Russian civilians, this is a beautiful book about the power of memory.

Love Notes edited by Jan Stephenson

Love NotesOne charming tradition of Valentine’s Day is to make a card for your intended; somehow the fact that you took the effort to make something by hand suggests just how important that person is to you. Love Notes, edited by Jan Stephenson, shows you how creative and beautiful a handmade card can be. Full of exquisite detail and fresh ideas from a variety of artists, the techniques used are generally easily mastered by anyone. So grab the scissors and glue gun and put your imagination to work!

The Commoner by John Schwartz

The Commoner by John SchwartzOffering a peek into the largely closed and secret world of the Japanese royal family, The Commoner by John Schwartz is the story of Haruko, the first commoner to marry into the oldest monarchy in the world. Set in the years immediately after World War II when Japan was undergoing great change, Haruko goes from the relative freedom of a well-educated college graduate to a tightly the controlled world of a princess whose only duty was to produce a male heir. Spare and beautiful, it is a culture very foreign to us, but the thoughts and feelings of its characters are universal. While the storyline is somewhat similar to recent real-life events in Japan, this is a novelization, beautifully imagined.

Welcome to the new Reference Blog!

Welcome to the Davenport Public Library’s reference blog. The focus of this blog will be two-fold:

-reference services – websites, databases, current information you can use

-and reader’s advisory – books worth reading (as well as movies to watch and music to listen to), staff picks, what to read next.

We will be drawing on the various interests and talents of our reference staff to bring you a lively and interesting site. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the department and the diverse personalities that make it up. Comments and discussion are encouraged. Be sure to check back frequently (or subscribe to our feed) – there’s always something new happening at the library!