Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream by Jennifer Ackerman

Sex Sleep Eat Drink DreamSex Sleep Eat Drink Dream takes an insightful tour through a day in the life of our bodies. Divided into morning, midday, afternoon, evening, and night, Ackerman explores how we are very much driven by internal clocks that guide our daily rhythms. She does a great job of intertwining biology with plenty of interesting anecdotes. This is not a medical book but rather an informative commentary on the wonderment of the human body. Being one who loves factoids, I found some great ones in this book including:

  • Air released from your lungs when sneezing travels at 500 mph.
  • Coffee’s flavor is 75% smell. In fact all flavors are mostly smell.
  • Thinking about exercise can actually boost strength in the muscles involved. This is the best excuse to avoiding exercise that I’ve heard!
  • Yawning is contagious in only about half the population, and it’s probably the half with the most self-awareness and empathy.
  • The amount of calories we consume in foods may not be a fixed value but rather influenced by the nature of our gut microbes. That doughnut may have 30% more calories for you than your neighbor.

Happy National Library Week!

LibrariesCan’t get enough of libraries? Celebrate National Library Week, April 13-19, by reading a novel or watching a movie about them… And be sure to check out all the events taking place this week at the Davenport Public Library!

Movies on DVD

The Music Man

This is the classic library movie. It’s the story of Marian Paroo, the librarian of River City, Iowa and con artist Harold Hill.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear

In the spirit of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Noah Wyle is a scholar/librarian turned action hero. Finally, someone tells the story of what librarianship is really like.

Books

The Mummy by Max Allan Collins

Muscatine author Collins wrote the novelization of the movie,which features an accident-prone librarian and an adventurous archaeologist. Together they attempt to solve the mystery of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The Librarian by Larry Beinhart

A political thriller about a presidential election and starring, incredibly, a librarian.

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Many of the key scenes take place in London libraries, where two young scholars try to solve a mystery about the romance of two Victorian poets.

Instant Karma by Mark Swartz

One of the stranger novels about libraries, this one features Chicago’s public library and a young man who spends each day there. His obsession with the library and it’s books takes a frightening turn.

The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken

A young librarian champions a patron who suffers from giantism. They are united in their love of books and sense of being outsiders. McCracken also has Iowa ties – she went to the University of Iowa and one of her books, set partially in Iowa, Niagara Falls All Over Again, was an All Iowa Reads selection.

Hardy Succulents by Gwen Kelaidis

Hardy SucculentsWant to try something a little different in your garden? Take a look at plants like cactus, yucca, sedums and echieverias; many of these low maintenance, exotic-seeming plants are surprisingly at home in our Zone 5 weather. It’s very likely that you’re already growing sedums – the ubiquitous “Autumn Joy” is lovely in the perennial garden year-round and the lowly hen-and-chicks make charming ground covers (they also make ideal house-warming presents; in some parts of Europe it was believed that when planted on the roof they would ward off lightening strikes) And you may be surprised to learn that Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is native to Iowa.

Gwen Kelaidis’ Hardy Succulents will open your eyes to the many forms, varieties and colors succulents come in, and will show you how to integrate them in your existing landscape. She also offers tips for how best to grow them, the best varieties for cold regions, and combinations for container gardens. Many gorgeous photos spotlight their graphic shapes which are both modern and timeless. Succulents are showing up more and more in nurseries; be sure to try a few – you may get hooked!

The Armchair Traveler – Oh, to be in England, Now That Spring is Here

EnglandThe land where Chick Lit was born is the next stop for AT.

The Goddess Rules by Clare Naylor

Kate Disney is an artist who lives in a garden shed. She begins to stand up for herself after becoming friends with an outrageous and funny actress/icon who lives in the main house. Kate herself is self-deprecating, but very honest and direct. She alternates, romantically, between scumbag Jake and the perfect Louis.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Through an hilarious series of misunderstandings and mis-communications, attorney Samantha Sweeting tries to pass herself off as a housekeeper for a nouveau riche couple in the country. She is as inept a cook as she was brilliant as a lawyer, but she transforms herself and finds romance with the gardener, who has aspirations of his own.

Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married by Marian Keyes

Singleton Lucy and where mates live it up in London, while looking for Mr. Right. In typical Keyes fashion, their blunt honesty is witty and true, yet she doesn’t shy away from darker issues like alcoholism.

Weekend in Paris by Robyn Sisman

Molly is sympathetically innocent and guileless. Fired from her first job, she takes a planned trip to Paris anyway, and undergoes complete immersion in French culture.

The English American by Alison Larkin

Pippa Dunn, born in the United States, was adopted by an upper class English couple. She never felt that she fit in; she is sloppy, creative and emotional and her aristocratically reserved parents are very different. She finds her birth mother in New York and discovers they are both artistic and similar in many ways. After living in the U.S. and meeting her birth parents and siblings, she comes to know herself, England and her adopted family in new ways.

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz dvdA classical English village becomes the unlikely setting for this hilarious buddy cop movie. Nicholas Angel is too good at his job; he’s making the rest of the London police force look bad. So he’s shuttled off to a quiet country village, far from any action. Or is it? Angel puts his big city training to use and soon discovers that all is not as it seems in this idyllic setting. Hampered by bumbling local cops, a cast of eccentric characters and brick walls at every turn, Angel persists in doing his job.

Loaded with cultural references and poking fun at films of all genres including westerns, action and cop movies (the subtitles on the dvd will clue you in on a lot of them), you don’t need to “get” any of them to enjoy Hot Fuzz which stands on it’s own as fresh, surprising and funny. (Please note that this film has an R rating for language and some violence)

The Davenport library has movies – and television shows – of all kinds available for checkout. Be sure to stop by and browse through our dvd section soon!

One Million Dollars, hoo hoo hoo hah hah hah!

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Say it with fiendish glee like Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers trilogy for maximum comedic effect…

For a cool million bucks, you can have Minneapolis’s automated book-sorting system. Adapted from the travel and postal industries, an employee beeps in the item at the beginning of the belt and the system allows it to travel a prescribed distance before a pneumatic arm pops out and flicks it into one of 40 specific bins. Course, with 25 branches and a cathedral like the downtown building, a nifty doohickey like this comes in handy.

Can you fathom there are library systems larger than Davenport, Iowa’s? I Know! They must have a real savvy HR person at the San Francisco Public library system to keep tabs on their 800 employees. One of the cool things from attending the Public Library Association’s conference last week was the opportunity to see how these mega-systems keep things running smoothly.

Enjoy the additional shots of reflecting downtown skyscrapers, the five-floor Jetsons-esque view from the Minneapolis Public Library entrance, and the world’s most gigantic cherry from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Downtown Minneapolis

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When Librarians Attack

PLA Bowker PeoplePut just under 10,000 librarians in a convention center and you’ve got yourself some highly classified and neatly-arranged pandemonium. That was the case last week in Minneapolis at the Public Library Association convention.

It’s an opportunity to learn techniques from professionals who fight the good fight in larger operations and different states. We attended meetings such as “Working with Difficult Patrons” and (for our upcoming Eastern Avenue branch) “Libraries as Greenbuildings”.

PLA CJ Box

There are hundreds of vendors (like the party people from Bowker above) vying for the library’s attention, specializing in the items we check out to you folks, as well as the technology we use behind the scenes. One of these vendors brought in renowned mystery novelist C.J. Box to talk in their booth (in the picture on the right).

In addition to learning about the awesome reverse discrimination in men’s restroom lines at a library convention, I learned these folks aren’t too shy with the free snacks and tschotkes.

Next time, some cool Minneapolis Public Library hardware and views of the Twin Cities.

 

 

Look Me in the Eye by John Robison

Look Me in the Eye by John RobisonUnable to communicate effectively with other people, John Robison was labeled as a “social deviant” at an early age and struggled to to fit in. With a mentally disturbed mother and alcoholic father, there was no help at home, but by luck he finds a niche working with mechanical gadgets and electronic circuits. Finally, when he was 40, John was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

Look Me in the Eye is an uncompromising, sometimes hilarious account of John’s many struggles of trying to cope with a world that he cannot comprehend and which does not understand him. Unable to recognize social cues such as facial expressions and body language, he has difficulty making and keeping friends. Successful inspite of these barriers, John now helps others who are struggling to live with Asperger’s.

Although this is a memoir and not a diagnostic manual, it does provide a unique, unforgettable glimpse into the world of people with Asperger’s.

Knitalong by Larissa Brown

Knitalong by Larissa BrownMost everyone that knits learned the skill from someone – a grandmother or beloved aunt, a friend or a helpful clerk at the local yarn store. Knitting seems to invite gathering together. Knitalong: celebrating the tradition of knitting together by Larissa Brown shows the many ways that knitters (and crocheters and spinners) connect from meeting at a local coffee shop for an hour to creating lively online communities.

(And by the way, if you’re a knitter (or crocheter or spinner) and you’re not on Ravelry yet, why? Stop whatever you’re doing right now and get your name on the invitation list. It’s an amazing database/community/resource for fiber enthusiasts. If you’re already a member, you understand my enthusiasm)

Some of the wide-ranging examples of community knitting shown in Knitalong include the Knitting Olympics, an online knitting challenge held during the Winter Olympics, knit cafes (cafes that encourage people to bring their knitting), Stitch n’ Pitch, where knitters knit during major league baseball games (the White Sox host knitters on August 6, the Cardinals on May 28), World Wide Knit in Public Day which is just what it sounds like (and is on June 14 this year) and knitting for charities (afghans for Afghans is just one example). Knitalongs also take the form of a group of people knitting the same pattern (called KALs); everyone shares tips and progress reports and cheer you along. The internet has been a boon to this simple craft; besides the phenomenon of Ravelry, there has been an explosion of knitting blogs where people share their craft and develop friendships from around the world.

Interested in joining other knitters for camaraderie and encouragement? Local knitters meet every Tuesday evening at 6:30pm at the Fairmount Street Library, next to the fireplace. Newcomers are always welcome!

On the Wing by Alan Tennant

On the Wing by Alan TennantPart naturalist exploration, part adventure story, On the Wing follows Alan Tennant in his pursuit of the peregrine falcon. One falcon in particular, to be precise, named Amelia. Teaming up with George, a World War II vet and his beat up Cessna, Alan follows Amelia via radio signal from the Texas barrier islands, north to the Arctic and back south again through Mexico, Belize and the Caribbean. Alan and George run into their fair share of trouble and excitement, both moving and funny in a story that will quickly make you part of the experience.

Peregrine falcons can travel faster than any other animal on earth, reaching speeds of up to 200 mph when making steep dives. They are prodigious migrators (the subject of Alan’s research) sometimes traveling thousands of miles, and can be found on every continent on earth except for Antarctica or in deserts, high mountaintops, polar regions and, interestingly, New Zealand.

The most common prey for falcons is small birds such as pigeons and ducks, caught by disabling their victim in mid-flight (that speedy dive aims for a wing of the bird they’re pursuing). Mating for life, they nest on steep cliffs and, fairly commonly now, on skyscrapers. Peregrine falcons nearly disappeared from North America in the 50s and 60s because of pesticide use, but have made a strong recovery with the help of protections provided by the Endangered Species Act.

You can see these incredible birds right here in the Quad Cities; a nesting pair – Scorpio and P/D – are occupying a specially built nesting box located on the Mid American building in downtown Davenport (our own version of a skyscraper) If you’re not lucky enough to spot them in flight, check out WQAD-TV’s Falcon Cam for some live, up-close shots of the happy couple as well as links to more information about peregrine falcons and this pair in particular.

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