We Have a Winner!

staycation3Congratulations to KarenW, the winner of our first ever Davenport Library Info Cafe blog contest! Karen’s excellent comment recommended not one but several wonderful places to visit, all arranged in a handy driving tour and includes great places to stop for a meal along the way. Her tour will appeal to many interests including families, and really showcases the beauty and history of eastern Iowa. Be sure to check out her comment!

Need some more ideas for your next Staycation? Here are some thoughts from a couple of our blogging librarians:

Lynn: I, for one, can’t wait to get on the road and try out Karen’s ideas. (it’s very useful to know how to gauge your coffee consumption when you’re in (relatively) unknown territory).

One of my favorite staycations follows the river on the Illinois side. It starts with an early morning  hike at Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna (fortified by a thermos full of good strong coffee). Trails along the cliffs and ravines provide just enough challenge to make ice cream, popcorn and/or an elegant Italian meal in Galena seem totally justifed.  To me, it’s a great combination of natural beauty, physical exercise and (sort of) sophisticated indulgence.

Ann: Don’t pass up a visit to the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Grinnell (about a 2 hour drive west of the Quad Cities, just off Interstate 80) where you can experience Iowa the way it was when the pioneers arrived. Less than one tenth of one percent of the tall grass prairie that once covered Iowa remains; at Neil Smith they are hard at work preserving and restoring authentic prairie. They have an excellent visitor’s center with educational displays and a introductory film, walking paths of various lengths (some are perfect for children) and a driving tour where you will have a very good chance of spotting the buffalo or elk herds. The Refuge is free but you’ll want to pack a picnic lunch. Don’t miss visiting this rare and beautiful land.

Congratulations again Karen and thanks for the great Staycation ideas! Your IMAX tickets are in the mail!

The Armchair Traveler – Do Travel Writers Have a Sense of Humor? Part II

Great Railway BazaarWhen you think “travel writer,” you usually think of someone like Paul Theroux or  Bruce Chatwin. Not exactly  laugh riots. In fact, they can be pretty grim. The more painful the journey and annoying their companions, the more they like it. The Great Railway Bazaar was Theroux’s first travel book  and became a classic of the genre. He celebrates the hardship and minimizes the joy of travel – increasingly so, the further he goes along the Orient Express.

Theroux does excel in describing the people he meets  in Europe and Asia – London to  Afghanistan to  India to Japan to Siberia. Ghost Train to the Eastern Star was a sequel of sorts, in which Theroux travels by train again to China, Vietnam, the former Soviet Union and sees the incredible changes 30 years have wrought.

Other masters of the travelogue as endurance test are Bruce Chatwin (In Patagonia) and Jonathan Raban. A British writer, Raban writes about the Mississippi River in Old Glory. (He irritated many locally with his depiction of Davenport).

So, if you find yourself in the midst of a very bad vacation, start writing – you may as well get something constructive out of it!

DVDs for August

August 4

Race to Witch Mountain – Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonRace

When Las Vegas cab driver Jack Bruno encounters two teens with supernatural powers, he finds himself in an adventure in the middle of the Nevada desert known for unexplained phenomena and strange sightings – Witch Mountain.

soloistThe Soloist – Robert Downey, Jr.; Jamie Foxx

A Los Angeles newspaper reporter discovers a homeless musical prodigy while looking for a new article for the paper. The two form a unique friendship that will transform both their lives.

August 11

1717 Again – Zac Efron, Michelle Trachenberg, Matthew Perry

What would you do if you got a second shot at life? Mike’s glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage has fallen apart, he’s been passed over for a promotion, and his kids think he’s a loser. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17. Unfortunately, Mike may look 17 again, but his thirtysomething outlook is totally uncool in the class of 2009.

i love youI Love you, Man – Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Jason Segel

After Peter gets engaged to the woman of his dreams, he realizes he has not one friend to serve as his best man. To rectify the situation, he goes on a series of man-dates before he meets Sydney Fife, with whom he instantly bonds. While Peter and Sydney become closer, his relationship with his fiancee begins to suffer, forcing him to choose between her or his new B.F.F.

August 18

Hannah Montana the Movie – Miley Cyrus, Brian Bostwickhannah

When stardom threatens to take over Miley’s life as pop sensation Hannah Montana, her father takes the entire family back home to the country, where Miley finds herself in the middle of fun adventures and even a little romance!

August 25

dupDuplicity – Julia Roberts, Clive Owens

Two sexy spies turned corporate operatives attempt to pull off one of the biggest heists ever. As the stakes rise in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, they’ll put everything on the line to remain one double-cross ahead of the rest.

Sunshine Cleaning – Amy Adams, Emily Bluntsunshine

Trying to better her financial situation, a single mother starts a crime scene cleaning business and asks her unreliable sister to join her. Together they clean up the deadly messes left by others, and deal with the messes in their own lives as well.

DVDs for March

australia2March 3

Australia – Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman

An English aristocrat inherits a large ranch in the untamed wilderness of Australia. When English cattle barons plot to take her land she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover to save her ranch. Together they experience a cattle drive, a love affair and the bombing of their town by the Japanese at the beginning of World War II.milk1

March 10

Milk – Josh Brolin, Sean Penn

Based on the true story of the first openly gay man elected to a major public office,  Harvey Milk’s powerful journey inspired hope for equal rights for all. Sean Penn won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance.

rachael1Rachel Getting Married – Anne Hathaway

After being in and out of rehab for ten years, Kym returns to the family home to attend her sister’s wedding. Though friends and relatives have gathered for a joyful weekend of celebration, Kym’s passion for drama creates tension in the family.

Also coming out March 10Cadillac Records and Transporter 3

twilight1March 21

Twilight – Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson

Bella Swan moves to a small town in Washington where she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen, a boy who’s hiding a dark secret – he’s a vampire. Edward must battle the bloodlust raging inside himself as well as the undead that would make Bella their prey.

March 24bolt1

Bolt – voices of Miley Cyrus, John Travolta

Super-dog Bolt, the star of a hit TV show, is accidently shipped to New York City. His cross-country journey through the real world to get back to his owner and co-star becomes his biggest adventure yet where Bolt discovers that he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero.

solace1Quantum of Solace – Daniel Craig

Betrayed by Vesper,  the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission peronsal. Bond and M interrogate Mr White who reeals that the organization that blackmailed Vesper and is far more complex and dangerous than anyone imagined.

March 31

marley1Marley and Me – Jennifer Anniston, Owen Wilson

A memoir of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan’s life with his yellow Labrador this is the heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life.

Also coming out March 31Seven Pounds