Discover the Cosmos

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey has enjoyed high ratings since its March premiere and much of that credit goes to its charismatic presenter, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson, a renowned astrophysicist and director of the Harden Planetarium in New York, has been a major player in the astronomy and physics fields for years. He has written books that are described as witty and insightful, and concepts are explained in layman’s terms, no advanced knowledge of science required! If you’re one of the many people who are watching Cosmos and want to know more about our universe, check out some of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s books at the Davenport Public Library:

Space Chronicles

Space Chronicles: An exciting book about space travel and the potential benefits of space exploration. Tyson discusses NASA’s space program and the countries competing in the continuing “space race” to pioneer the future of space travel. As always, Tyson advocates for science literacy in the classroom and makes sure to thoroughly explain his subjects.

 Death by Black Hole

Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries: more than 20of Tyson’s essays fromhis”Universe” column in Natural History magazine, each exploring a different cosmic topic. These topics are what he considers “the Best of the Universe” and range from the colors of the universe to why Hollywood can’t seem to get their space movies accurate (see his Twitter critique of the movie Gravity here).


Pluto Files

The Pluto Files: As director of the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson made the decision not to include Pluto on the planet exhibits, and when the planetarium opened to the public in 2000 the missing planet caused an uproar. The decision sparked outrage among schoolchildren (many of whom sent written hate mail to Tyson) and started an international debate among the International Astronomical Union who, after years of deliberating, voted to officially demote Pluto in August of 2006. In this book Tyson describes the history of the planet from its discovery to its demotion.


Origins: This book details the origins of the universe from the first 3 seconds after the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, planets and stars. He explains the current theory on the beginning of life and describes the search for life in other solar systems. Though this book delves deeper in to the physics of the universe, Tyson, as usual, does a great job of explaining these concepts to non-scientists.

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.


Let the library help plan your wedding!

Spring is almost here, and with it comes that fifth season of the year: wedding season! Brides everywhere are elbow deep in flower arrangements, cake tastings, and dress fittings. If you’ve got a wedding coming up this year, or maybe just got a ring for Valentine’s Day, let the Davenport Public Library help you plan your dream wedding!


The Knot Wedding Planner

For a great all-around planner, try The Knot Wedding Planner and Organizer. It’s full of checklists and timelines to make your wedding planning as stress-free as possible.




Wedding Cakes



Need the perfect cake? Check out Wedding Cakes. London cake designer Mich Turner includes simple as well as elaborate designs and recipes for every wedding style.

Wedding Flowers


Need decorating inspiration? Knack Wedding Flowers has great ideas for floral arrangements, centerpieces and bouquets for every season and budget as well as DIY tips if you want to skip the florist and create these looks yourself.


The Bridesmaid's Manual



Did you know that for every bride there is an average of four bridesmaids? If you’re one of the thousands of bridesmaids this season, pick up The Bridesmaid’s Manual. In it you’ll find valuable advice for everything from party planning to etiquette.



Whether you’re planning a fantasy wedding or you’re a bride on a budget looking for diy ideas, the library has you covered. So stop by today and check out our great collection of wedding books!

The Oxford Project

oxfordprojectIn 1984 photographer and University of Iowa art professor Peter Feldstein set out to photograph all 676 residents in his town of Oxford, Iowa. Over the course of the summer he succeeded in photographing 670 individuals “as they were”: in street clothes, some lugging shopping bags or carrying pets or children. Peter returned in 2005 to re-photograph as many of the original residents as he could, this time bringing along University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom to interview residents. The Oxford Project compiles the photos and interviews to provide a case study of small town life in America.

The biographies are concisely written and give you a glimpse into the lives of the residents: their personal triumphs and tragedies, their accomplishments and regrets. This book highlights the differences 20 years brings but also the striking similarities in dress, posture, and overall demeanor that people tend to maintain throughout their lives. Like any good book, The Oxford Project encourages the reader to reflect on their own life. In 20 years, what will you look back with satisfaction or regret the chances you didn’t take?