It’s the end of the year and that means taking a look back at some of our favorite books. Here are some favorites from our blogging librarians.

Allison nominated a series of Marvel titles as her favorites:

hawkeye“This year, I have really enjoyed the Marvel NOW!/All-New Marvel NOW!/Avengers NOW! relaunch that started in 2012, and sadly ended this year with the launch of Secret Wars. My favorite titles from the run are “Black Widow” by Edmonson and Noto, “Deadpool” by Posehn and Duggan, “Ms. Marvel” by Wilson and Alphona, “Thor” by Aaron and Dauterman and my very favorite, “Hawkeye” by Matt Fraction and David Aja. All feature witty, crackling dialog, plots explore each character while never slowing the action down, and fantastic art (especially “Black Widow”). You certainly don’t have to be a comic book nerd to enjoy these titles!”

 

 

Lynn’s favorite book would make a great summer read or anytime read!

august“Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen was my favorite book this year. It will always bring back memories of how I read it on the back deck on sunny afternoons this last summer. Views of Iowa’s muddy creeks may not be as sought after as those  of the Atlantic, but the two converged when I read this book. It’s about three women  whose lives and relationships came together in a guest house on an island off the coast of Massachussetts. It’s fun to read this before or after viewing Enchanted April.

happy holidaysThe Davenport Public Library will be closed on December 24 and 25 in observation of the Christmas holiday. All three buildings will re-open on Saturday December 26, from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday!

boys in the boatIt’s hard to imagine now, in the relative comfort of our modern age, the devastation and poverty brought about by the Great Depression. The combination of a crashing economy and violent weather destroyed lives and businesses. People lost their livelihoods, their homes, their families – it was not unusual for parents to abandon or leave one or more children to other family members or orphanages. To live through this time would inevitably shape and influence a person for the rest of their lives. The Boys in the Boat brings this era and the people who lived it vividly to life.

The Boys in the Boat focuses primarily on Joe Rantz, one of the boys who will become part of the team that goes to the Olympics. Dirt poor, abandoned by his family when he was a teen, he was representative of the make-up of this group of rowers. Scrapping for everything they had, they were unafraid of hard work and impossible challenges. Being part of the rowing team allowed Joe to attend the University of Washington but it also gave him a family – teammates, coaches, supporters – of like-minded, honest people and it opened up the world to him.

The rowing team comes together and coalesces over the four years leading up to the Olympics. They raise the previously dismissed Washington rowing team to a contender, beating their rivals at the University of California Berkeley and then the East Coast giants of the Ivy League to earn the right to represent the United States at the Olympics. Most of these boys had never been out of the state of Washington – some not outside of Seattle – before they began going to rowing competitions with the team and now they were headed to Europe. It was almost unimaginable.

When I read this book I was surprised by how much of a page turner it was – I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The gritty details of living through the Great Depression made the story come alive and the story of the Berlin Olympics – so carefully planned (and rigged) by Hitler and the Nazis was eyeopening, an early warning sign (if it hadn’t been carefully hidden by the Nazis) of the horror to come.

Filled with amazing stories both humorous and heartbreaking, peopled with vivid, unforgettable characters and set against the backdrop of great historical events all seen through the lens of the sublimely beautiful sport of rowing, The Boys in the Boat is a must read. Highly recommended.

 

thanksgiving wreathThe Davenport Public Library will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27 in observance of Thanksgiving. All of our locations will reopen on Saturday November 28 their regular business hours, 9am to 5:30pm.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

FlagThe Davenport Library will be closed on Wednesday November 11 in observance of Veteran’s Day. All of our locations will reopen on Thursday November 12 their regular business hours: Main and Eastern, 9am to 5:30pm and Fairmount noon to 8pm.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

soul food loveA mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.

In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Black Women and Fat,” chronicling her quest to be “the last fat black woman” in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help. Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful – yet still indulgent – dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie.

Soul Food Love relates the authors’ fascinating family history (which mirrors that of much of black America in the twentieth century), explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and forges a powerful new way forward that honors their cultural and culinary heritage. This is what the strong black kitchen looks like in the twenty-first century. (description from publisher)

homemakersThe rules of homemaking have radically changed. Today’s generation is digitally connected 24/7 and often more focused on climbing the career ladder at the office than the stepladder at home. But the home “maker” evolution has just begun.

Thanks to advances in technology, tomorrow’s men and women will find themselves using new gadgets and apps to cook, clean, decorate, and even manufacture everything from decor to clothing, from right inside their homes. In Homemakers, Brit Morin, founder of the wildly popular lifestyle brand, app, and website Brit + Co, reimagines homemaking for the twenty-first century, making it as simple as possible to go from amateur to pro with easy charts, tips, recipes, DIY projects, and tech shortcuts.

Simple, beautiful, and stylish, Homemakers offers the digital generation a wealth of innovative ideas and how-tos for a more creative life. (description from publisher)

perfect eggEggs are one of the world’s superstar foods: inexpensive, protein-rich, versatile, and easily renewable. Every food culture has its own take on eggs – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and the dazzling variety of dishes in The Perfect Egg is not to be missed.

The ladies behind the popular blog Spoon Fork Bacon challenge us to set aside our usual over-easy assumptions and reimagine eggs: from Beet Fettuccine Carbonara to Spicy Korean Bibimbap, and from Baked Egg Boats to Tea Eggs. Along the way, they unscramble the history of egg cultivation and consumption, and crack open the story on egg anatomy, egg types, and what the grading system really means. Additionally, they cover the do’s and don’ts of important techniques from boiling to aerating to pickling eggs.

The Perfect Egg is a fresh, unique, and singularly modern take on the most humble of foods. (description from publisher)

materially craftedDesign enthusiasts are bombarded with beautiful inspiration at every turn, but many lack the foundation necessary to re-create their dream projects. Materially Crafted is a must-have guide for design mavens seeking to develop their DIY chops, even if they’re embracing their crafty side for the first time.

Victoria Hudgins, creator of the popular design blog A Subtle Revelry , uncovers the best and least intimidating ways to work with the most popular crafting materials–from spray paint and concrete to thread, wax, and paper–and presents more than 30 easy projects to get everyone started. Peppered with Hudgins’s tips for “merrymaking the everyday” (using simple DIY ideas to live life more joyfully) plus inspirational photos of projects created by other prominent bloggers, Materially Crafted is an indispensable guide for a new generation of design enthusiasts looking to DIY their own distinctive style. (description from publisher)

road trip usaNow in its seventh edition, Jamie Jensen’s best-selling Road Trip USA is better than ever.

Inside, you’ll find cross-country routes and road-tested advice for adventurers who want to see the parts of America that the interstates have left behind. Jensen also includes mile-by-mile highlights celebrating major cities, obscure towns, popular attractions, roadside curiosities (if you’re looking for the world’s largest jackalope, you’re in luck), local lore, and oddball trivia. With full coverage of more than 35,000 miles of classic blacktop, Road Trip USA will take you off the beaten path and into the heart of America.

Features include: A flexible network of route combinations, extensively cross-referenced to allow for hundreds of possible itineraries; essential tips for the road; survival guides for two dozen cities; call letters of the liveliest radio stations; details on where to eat and sleep; full-color interior with more than 140 meticulously detailed maps. (description from publisher)