the book of awesomeIs winter getting you down? Do you find yourself curling into blankets and wanting to hide from the outside world? I admit winter is not my favorite time of year, so when I stumbled upon The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things, I knew I had found my much needed winter pick-me-up. Pasricha, the author of, developed this book as a way for him to find the good things that surrounded his boring 9-to-5 job. Follow along as he describes those simple pleasures and little moments that have just enough power to make us happy : sleeping in new sheets, fixing electronics by smacking them, pushing the elevator button and discovering it’s already there, the smell and sounds of a campfire, popping bubblewrap, the day you first realize you can drive, etc. Each good thing brings out warm and funny observations from the author describing just why those pleasures or unexpected moments are AWESOME! Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to relate to Pasricha’s moment of joy when a cashier opens up a new checkout line at the grocery store, when all your socks match up from the dryer perfectly, and when someone offers to throw your dirty laundry in a load with their own, thus saving you from having to leave the couch! Join Pasricha as he finds all the good in the little moments that surround him.

If you are interested in this book or even want to know more, you’re in luck! Pasricha has also published The Book of (Even More) Awesome and The Book of (Holiday) Awesome.

wintersweetWho says the winter months have to be bleak and barren? Author Tammy Donroe sees this season as an opportunity to stay inside, fire up the oven, and produce decadent desserts from the bounty of wholesome winter ingredients.

Wintersweet encourages readers to make use of fresh, local ingredients for warming seasonal desserts. While summer farmers’ markets are always overflowing with ripe produce, there’s plenty to be had from November to March: squashes and pumpkins, parsnips and carrots, apples, pears, citrus of all types, and feel-good ingredients like nuts, cheese, and chocolate. The fresh and rustic recipes in Wintersweet push the envelope of traditional winter desserts like pumpkin or apple pies with such delicacies as Pear Cranberry Clafouti, Spicy Prune Cake with Penuche Frosting, Tangelo Sorbet, and Goat Cheese Cake with Dried Cherry Compote. Each chapter is devoted to different ingredients, ranging from Persimmons, Pomegranates, and Cranberries to Citrus, Cheese, and Dried Fruits, allowing readers to experiment with new and exciting ingredients for complex and delicious flavors. They taste even better when they can be found near your own backyard; Donroe provides resources for finding the best local farmers’ markets and agricultural centers near you.

Perfect for holiday gatherings or to warm the belly on a cold night, Wintersweet is the perfect dessert companion to make the year’s coldest season a bit more festive. (description from publisher)

beautiful winterWhy not celebrate winter and bring a touch of nature indoors by creating a charming bark wreath bursting with red roses or a twig globe entwined with delicate amaryllis?

 In Beautiful Winter, author and florist Edle Catharina Norman shows how to use seasonal materials and flowers to put together 53 entrancing — and easy to assemble — home projects. From festive garlands to fun table decorations (including candlesticks made of apples), you’ll find an array of unique ideas to inspire you. Illustrated with more than 55 full-color photographs, this book presents glorious decorations that will warm your heart on even the coldest winter day. (description from publisher)

This month is all about pumpkin lattes, Halloween costumes, and vibrant fall leaves, but it’s also when crafty people start looking ahead to the winter holidays. If you’re planning to create or make gifts by hand this year, now is the time to get cracking! Additionally, the Christmas and winter themed books that will be in short supply after Thanksgiving are abundant in October, so you are much more likely to find something inspiring when you stop by DPL.

The Art of Gift Wrapping: No matter what’s inside the package, thoughtful gift wrapping always makes it much more special. Instead of last-resort gift bags and tissue paper, check out this book for ideas and detailed instructions on innovative and lovely gift wrapping techniques.

Classic Crafts and Recipes for the Holidays: For timeless and sophisticated (and decidedly not “beginner”) DIY decorating, Martha Stewart’s books are the way to go. This particular one includes directions for some stunning outdoor-only ice decorations as well as decadent holiday recipes and some very creative uses for velvet.

Knitted Gifts and Holiday Knits each include the instructions for quite a few lovely knitting projects that are sure to please anyone on your gift list, from Christmas stockings to baby booties, cable-knit hats and mittens and decorative ornaments. All projects include photos and patterns. Easy for experienced knitters, but not out of reach for beginners either.

Winter Solstice is a perfect book for a sweltering summer day.  Rosamund Pilcher does an amazing job of describing the quiet beauty of snow and the cold winter light. This is in contrast to the heartwarming style Pilcher is known for. Sometimes referred to as literary comfort food,the characters and the domestic settings are appealing  – people you’d like to know and places you’d like to live.

This is an unusual romance; a group of relative strangers who are all suffering in their own ways  end up together in an old house in Scotland. As they prepare to celebrate Christmas, they begin to heal and to care about each other.

On any hot, humid August day, what better way to cool down than by reading about cold? Real, icy 40-below cold.  Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places may send shivers down your spine as it easily entertains and educates about all aspects of this little four-letter word.  Author Bill Streever uses a loosely organized style — almost blog-like — to share all sorts of trivia, including stories from doomed Arctic expeditions as well as amusing anecdotes and easily understandable scientific explanations. Whether you’re curious about seals or snowflakes, igloos or icebergs, hibernation or helium, you’ll likely discover some new tibdit of information with which you can regale your friends. 

To give just one example of these rather obscure tidbits, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was written in 1816, in what was known as the “Year Without Summer.”  She and other guests were staying at Lord Byron’s Geneva retreat, but the weather was so bad, the guests were forced to stay indoors, so Lord Byron challenged them all to come up with ghost stories.  Her novel, published two years later, actually starts with letters from an Arctic explorer and ends with the creature drifting away on an Arctic ice floe. 

Each chapter in Cold is a different month of the year, each with its own location and corresponding temperature.  July is the opening chapter, with a temperature of 51 degrees, as he describes his five-minute experience in the 35-degree water of Prudhoe Bay, located 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle.  September finds him climbing Scotland’s highest peak, and January finds him back in Anchorage, where he lives and serves as the chair of the North Slope Science Initiative’s Science Technical Advisory Panel.  For people like me, who most likely will never get to the Arctic Circle, this book provides an insight — and yes, even an appreciation of — all things cold.

Inspired by the great performances of the Olympic athletes? Interested in trying one of those winter sports? The library has lots of books to inspire and instruct!

Hockey for Everybody by Cam Neely

Cross-Country Skiing : a Complete Guide by Brian Cazeneuve

Learn Downhill Skiing in a Weekend by Konrad Bartelski

Figure Skating for Dummies by Kristi Yamaguchi

Winter Adventure : Complete Guide to Winter Sports by Peter Stark

Snowboarding Skills by Cindy Kleh

And don’t forget about the great local resources available in our area from the Quad Cities Sports Center to the pond at VanderVeer Park.

You’re on your own for aerial ski jumping and luge!

They’re back! The Winter Olympics return with the Opening Ceremonies tonight. Taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, they’ll serve as a showcase for obscure (to most Americans!) winter sports and the beautiful country of  Canada. Join the blogging librarians over the next two weeks as we discuss all things Olympics, winter sports and Canadian!

I’ll start things off with a look at one of the iconic moments in sports history – the defeat of the mighty Soviet hockey team by the little regarded United States team at the Lake Placid Olympics in 1980 – an event that can still send chills down your spine.

The Cold War was still at its height and relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were tense at best. The Soviet team was stocked with seasoned professionals that had played together for years; the American team was made up entirely of college players, thrown together just a few months earlier. The US had never been considered a hockey powerhouse on the international stage, yet Coach Herb Brooks was able to mold this ragtag group of players into a team that challenged – and beat – the best in the world.

You can relive these events through the movie Miracle, starring Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson. From the recruitment of the players to the rigorous training and team building to the tense game situations (this team did not win every game that they played!) you never loose sight of the fact that these are ordinary people thrown into an extraordinary situation, achieving more than they – or anyone – dreamed possible. In the words of Al Michaels, “Do you believe in miracles? YES!”

blizzardSome ideas to occupy the long winter days and nights in your cabin:

Lasting Moments is a new scrapbooking magazine. Leaf through pages on making bracelet party favors, ideas for Valentine’s Day and how to organize your photos and tools.

Other scrapbooking and craft magazines are Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, Crafts ‘n Things, Quilter’s Newsletter, Bead Style and more.

(you don’t have to do anything; you can just look at the pictures!)

As autumn fades and winter arrives, we look forward to the holidays of the season to brighten the cold and gray days ahead – from Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday and beyond, there are all kinds of reasons and excuses to get together with friends and family. And to eat, of course!

It’s easy to eat seasonally and locally in the summer when it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the abundance, but Anne Bramley’s Eat Feed Autumn Winter shows you that not only is it possible, it’s easy and delicious to eat well in the colder months too. Recipes are arranged by festive menus, with the emphasis on non-traditional celebrations: Guy Fawkes Day, Greek Harvest, Afternoon Tea, Election Night Get Together, Spring Eve. As well as the usual information on how to stock your pantry and cooking tips, Eat Feed Autumn Winter is liberally sprinkled with the facts and stories behind the events of the cold season from around the world.

Don’t forget, the Davenport Farmer’s Market continues all winter in the Freight House on West River Drive!

Don’t let winter get you down – instead, celebrate it with good food and good friends.