Game Party

game party wiiAre you getting a little tired of the cold weather and looking for some new entertainment? Sometimes bundling up to go outside when it’s cold is just too much. I’d much rather stay home where it’s warm and have fun. Video games are my boredom/winter weather answer!

One of my new favorites is Game Party. Game Party is a collection of classic skill games ranging from trivia, shuffle board, table hockey, and darts to skii ball, ping cup, and hoop shoot. Because Game Party was released through the Wii platform, the Wii’s unique controls allow you to play those seven games just like you would in real life: flick your wrists to shoot a dart, extend your arms to shot a basketball, and practice your bowling motion to play skii ball. If competition is what you enjoy, never fear! Game Party allows you to participate in multi-player games, either by yourself or on a team, and even keep track of your progress on the leaderboard. Design your own player or pick from the ones Game Party offers.

Break out Game Party and enjoy playing these seven classic games in their own natural settings from arcades, gymnasiums, traditional English pubs, and more. Game Party will allow you, your family, and friends the ability to compete and play without having to leave your house!

National Read Across America Day!

Read Across America: An NEA projectHappy National Read Across America Day! Read Across America is a program put together by the National Education Association that encourages children and teens to read by partnering with various community organizations, doing events across the country, and by providing reading resources. One of their more publicized events throughout the year is National Read Across America Day, which is March 2nd AND is also Dr. Seuss’ birthday. As a tribute to Dr. Seuss this year, the National Education Association has chosen Oh, The Places You’ll Go as the book to be read across the country.

If you’re looking for ways to set up your own Read Across America event, the NEA has you covered! Check out their Plan a Reading Event page to find materials, certificates, banners, and more! Still need more event ideas or are you curious if there are already any Read Across America Day events planned in your local community? Visit their events page to check out the events happening across the country(and the world!) and also take the Read Across America pledge.

Come to the library and check out what other wonderful Dr. Seuss materials are available! If Dr. Seuss isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry! Our librarians can help you find other materials to help you enjoy Read Across America Day!

Wipeout: The Game

wipeoutHave you ever watched a television show and wished you could be on it? I have many times! Whether it’s a game show or talent competition or agility race, I have always wanted to at least try. But alas, I know I’m not coordinated enough and that I do not have a dancing bone anywhere in my body. Lucky for me, videogames let me try my hand at reality television without the possibility of failure on a national public level. It’s a win!

Wipeout: The Game is one such game that I recently discovered. Wipeout is a game show on ABC that features contestants competing against each other in what the show calls “the world’s biggest obstacle course”. I believe it. Contestants flip through the air, flop into puddles of mud and water, and generally get beat-up as they compete to win the game. Wipeout: The Game lets you experience all the elements of the television show with no danger of injuring yourself. Don’t worry, the competition is still there as you try to hit the button at the end of the course as quick as you can. Play with up to four of your friends as you battle over 50 crazy obstacles, including the most famous and recognizable ones from the television show: The Sweeper, Sucker Punch, Big Balls, and even more. As you’re racing, listen to the commentators give you advice and generally cringe for your well-being as you bounce from obstacle to obstacle. This game has slow motion replays just like the television show that highlight all the bone-jarring wipeouts that happen. If you still manage to be losing to your friends, don’t worry! You can throw objects at the other competitors when it’s not your turn.

Pick up this game and live out your dream to compete in a game show with no worries of actually injuring yourself!

How to Be a Heroine, or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much

how to be a heroineHow to Be a Heroine, or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much is a mix between memoir and literary criticism as author Samantha Ellis realizes that maybe the heroines she modeled herself after when she was younger were not the best choices.

As a young child raised in an Iraqi-Jewish family in London, Ellis describes herself as someone who devoured books as a way to judge the characters in them for characteristics and actions she wanted to emulate. Reading this book, I found myself identifying with Ellis as I, too, looked to books as a way to test out new identities without having to fully behave the same way. Ellis realized that she had perhaps chosen the wrong heroine to try to become, so she decided to look at the female characters and writers that she had loved since childhood. What followed became this book.

As she examines these characters, who range from books such as The Little Mermaid, Anne of Green Gables, The Valley of the Dolls, as well as characters Franny Glass, Scarlett O’Hara, Lizzie Bennett, and the authors Austen, Woolf, Forster, Plath, and the Bronte sisters, Ellis realizes just how they all influenced her life and how some still do. Many other characters, authors, and books are also examined. Throughout this journey, Ellis dissects each heroine in an intriguing format that that pulls readers into both her life as a child and her life now. As she reevaluates these heroines, Ellis interjects stories from her childhood and eventually figures out just who she feels she should have looked up to back then and who she looks up to know.

Heroines, Ellis realizes, have shaped all of our lives, whether positively or negatively, and it is important to remember that growing and finding new heroines to model ourselves after is perfectly okay.

Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up

grace's guideGrace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up is a guide for anyone and everyone who needs help in any situation (broad description, but hang on, I promise it will make sense). The author of this book is Grace Helbig, the host of it’sGrace, a YouTube vlog(video+blog) where Grace enthralls viewers with everything from quirky food recipes, teaching people how to fall down in public, to even taking a good hard look at how the President chooses to dress himself. She might also be familiar to you as a guest star on Hannah Hart’s vlog, My Drunk Kitchen (check out Hannah’s book, My Drunk Kitchen).

In Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up, Grace talks her readers through the little tips that she wished someone would have told her when she was in college, dealing with anxiety, trying to be a good party guest, making adult friends, and dealing with all the aspects of friend and significant-other relationships. Some of her advice ranges from the quirky (don’t get stuck with the pet at the party), the painful (make peace with the idea of failing when asking someone out – realize it might happen, then get over it!), and the helpful (get out of the house and be around other humans after a break-up). This book is broken up into multiple sections about a variety of different scenarios that people who are trying to be grown-ups will face on a daily basis. In addition to her advice, Grace imparts “Mom’s Words of Wisdom,” handy acronyms for you to remember the advice she just gave you, and even little worksheets for you to fill out.

Grace tackles difficult topics that need to be talked about in such a fun and entertaining manner that readers don’t even realize that she’s actually helping.

Gran Turismo 5

gran turismo 5Are you looking to play a new game, but one that doesn’t center around violence or involve dancing/losing weight? Try looking towards car racing games. If you’re like me and want to play videogames, but don’t necessarily like first person shooter games or getting sweaty and working out, then car racing games are the way to go. These games still allow you to get competitive and sometimes even team up with others to win.

A new car racing game that hit my radar recently is Gran Turismo 5. Gran Turismo 5 is a real driving simulator game for PlayStation 3 that allows players a large variety of personalization options. This game is initially 1-2 players, but gives the option to join the PlayStation Network and play against up to 16 people. New visual effects have been introduced ranging from skid marks, under braking, overturning, ability to flash headlights, and a damage model. The damage model lets players see the realistic damage that happen to their cars when they are in accidents. GT5 lets you pick from a total of 1,083 cars, both “standard” and “premium”. Drivers can pick from up to 31 different scenery locations and 81 different track layouts. If none of those courses work for you, there is also an option to design your own course with the Course Maker. You can also challenge yourself by changing the weather options.

Swerve outside the normal war/first person shooter games and pick up a racing game that you can play with the whole family: Gran Turismo 5.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

food a love storyI, for one, love to eat and my friends know it. Our discussions usually go: “What are you eating?” “Where did you get that? I want one…” “You went WHERE to eat without me?!” The typical food-fest. Imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Food: A Love Story by comedian Jim Gaffigan. I had listened to Gaffigan’s standup before and discovered that he LOVES to eat, comes from a very large family, and was raised in the Midwest. I knew I must read it and was not disappointed.

In this book, Gaffigan draws upon his family history, his deep love of ALMOST anything food, and how sometimes you just have to hide your food from others to completely enjoy it and that there is nothing wrong with doing so. Pictures of Gaffigan, his family, and HIS food break up discussions about vegetarians, how he mistakenly overanalyzed and did not realize the worthiness of steak growing up, “adult” junk food, how he decided to eat healthy, and his description of the perceived differences between hot dogs and sausages(and how you must know the correct way to order them in different cities). Make sure to have food nearby as you devour this book and discover the importance difference between many cheeses and it’s okay not to like seafood or fruit.

If you are looking for more Gaffigan, you’re in luck! Food: A Love Story is a follow-up to Gaffigan’s other book, Dad is Fat, which is also available through the Davenport Public Library.

Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble: Some Things about Women & Notes on the Media

crazy salad and scribble scribbleCrazy Salad & Scribble Scribble: Some Things about Women & Notes on the Media is a combination of two essay collections by Nora Ephron: Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble.

Throughout her career, Ephron was known by many different titles: producer, director, and writer. She worked on such iconic movies as “Julie & Julia”, “Silkwood,”Heartburn” (both movie and book), “You’ve Got Mail”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, and “When Harry Met Sally”. Before she shot to fame, Ephron began writing a column about women for Esquire magazine in 1972. Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble is a selected compilation of her essays all about women and the media that she wrote throughout her tenure at the magazine.

Ephron delights readers with her musings on how she got her first bra and her mom’s rather brash opinion on what she felt her daughter needed. Add in other opinionated, yet funny and witty, descriptions of issues that all women have faced, but not blatantly talked about, from what’s happening with our bodies, dealing with other people’s opinions about how women should live, and of course, the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Ephron ends this essay collection with Scribble Scribble, her various thoughts on multiple different people in the media and the platforms that they choose to show themselves.

Read these essays to gain better insight into just what made Nora Ephron, Nora Ephron.

Zumba Fitness: Core

zumba fitness coreLet’s talk about the ugly winter truth. Sometimes we’re just too lazy to work out. Putting on workout clothes, bundling up to trudge through the blowing snow and the frigid air, going to the gym to get sweaty with a bunch of people who already have fabulous bodies is just a reminder that I should not have eaten that last plate of holiday cookies.

What if there was a way to avoid having to work out in front of people? Let me introduce you to the wonder of videogames. You can workout in the privacy of your own home without having to worry if you look uncoordinated or comparing your body to anyone else’s. Zumba Fitness: Core is a perfect way to get a workout without actually knowing you are working out. Zumba is an aerobic fitness program that has exploded in popularity recently with dancers doing moves inspired by Latin America to rich Latin American music . This videogame lets you master different classes, dance in different locations within the game, create your own Core class, and set different intensity routines for a wide range of skill levels(and even follow a tutorial if you’re just not sure what’s going on). While dancing around to more than forty different upbeat songs and over thirty different dance styles, you will be sure to get a full and total body workout that, as the tagline says, will “party your abs off”.

Have a different videogame system or platform? No worries. Just search the library catalog with the word you are looking for and follow it with the platform, ie. “workout xbox360” or “workout wii”. Still can’t find the right one? Give us a call at the library and we’ll help you find the one you want.

The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that built America’s First Subway

the race undergroundThe Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that built America’s First Subway tells the story of the people who had a hand in designing, funding, trying to stop, and building the first successful subway system in America. Tales of previous subway disasters, elevated train tracks freezing, cable cars derailing, horses dying in the streets, and explosions litter the story of people from all over the world working to make travel safer and faster.

Two of the biggest influencers of the subway system were two brothers: Henry Melville Whitney from Boston and William Collins Whitney from New York. Both Henry and William were very competitive and wealthy industrialists who each had a vested interest in wanting their separate cities to come out on top of this development-heavy race. The author, Doug Most, describes the tension between the brothers, the many immigrants who worked underground for days on end, the political kingpins with a desire to control the money coming from this new endeavor, and the competition between the inventors who wanted their names attached to this historic achievement.

Join Most as he discovers how the rapid influx of immigrants into Boston and New York, combined with the perils of steam railways and economic upheaval, paved the way for contractors to blast their way through busy downtown thoroughfares both above and below ground at all times day and night.