The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

the girls in the spiders webThe Girl in the Spider’s Web is the fourth and latest installment in the Swedish Millennium series. Fans assumed that the series was finished as the series’ author, Stieg Larsson, had passed away with only writing the three books. But alas, the series has been revived by Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz. Let us rejoice!

Langercrantz does a fantastic job on many levels. He keeps the focus on Salander and her past, but develops the story into a plausible continuation for the series. Salander shines, finally living up to her full potential. She is a true heroine. More characters, unique in their own right, are introduced, and a slew of old ones are weaved in. Blomkvist is constantly on his game and devoted more than ever to helping Lisbeth. The story is fast paced and contains plenty of suspense, intrigue, computer hacking, and mathematical equations that only a handful of people in the world can understand. The best part is that it is clear that Langercrantz will not stop here. The door has been left wide open for the next Lisbeth Salander adventure.

If you are looking to start a new series, give this one a try. I have found it is more enjoyable and easier to follow the Swedish names and genius jargon when I listen to the audio books. Simon Vance is the reader of this series and really brings the story life. The first book in the series is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This book exploded and was even made into a movie in the United States in 2011 starring Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomvkist. Sweden has made the first three books into movies and those are all available on Netflix.

Back in Time

back in timeThis year was a big year for fans of the Back to the Future movie trilogy as we finally catch up with the future timeline in the films. Buzz has been all over the internet with folks comparing the movie’s predictions of life in 2015 with what has really happened. For the full list of movie comparisons versus reality, click here.

What seemed to get the most attention was predictions the movie made about the 2015 baseball season. According to Back to the Future II, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in a sweep over Miami on October 21, 2015. Fast forward to the real 2015. With the start of the baseball pre-season, fans of both the movie and team began posting on Facebook that the Cubs were going to win the World Series this year. Considering the Cubs have not played in the World Series since 1945, let alone won since 1908, this seemed like more than a long shot. But…what if?  As the season went forward and the Cubs were looking better and better, more and more started to believe. When they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, even I started to believe (just for a tiny second). In the end, they couldn’t quite do it, but there was definitely some kind of magic in the city of Chicago during the 2015 season.

The Back to the Future franchise was ready for what they knew would be a great year to revive the 80’s trilogy. A  Back to the Future Anniversary Trilogy DVD set was released earlier this year and the entire Back to the Future cartoon series. Let me just say, I loved that show! Also out is a Back to the Future PS4 video game.

Hollywood has followed up on this hype by releasing a brand new documentary about the making of the movie trilogy. Cast, crew and fans are featured in this 30th anniversary tribute. Back in Time stars Steven Spielberg, Micheal J. Fox, and Lea Thompson. For those of you that love the franchise, this is a must see. Back in Time along with the other anniversary items are available at the library.

 

Holiday Shopping Ideas

Even if you haven’t actually started your holiday shopping yet, it is bound to be on your mind. Shopping for the holidays can be very stressful, especially when you are shopping for someone that has everything. If you have teenagers, maybe you aren’t sure what’s really “in” right now. Budgets are always a factor too. If you have a lot of people on your list, you may be looking for great gifts that don’t break the bank. There are many resources available to help shoppers find great gift ideas. The best part is, you don’t have to leave home to find them.

Let’s talk about a database called Zinio. Zinio is a magazine internet database that is free for Davenport library card holders. All you need is your library card number and you can create a free account. Once your account is created, you can check out magazines and read them online in your browser.  This database is a no limit, permanent check out. Which means you can check out as many as you like and keep them for as long as you like.

More and more libraries are subscribing to this database. If you are a patron of a different library, check with your library to see if they subscribe. Below are some of the magazines available right now through this database. Not only are there tons of gift ideas inside, but it is a one stop holiday destination. To get started browsing magazines, click here.

If you are just looking for some quick ideas, check out the links below.

For Him... Top 25 Gifts for Him    Gifts for Boyfriend    Top 32 Gifts for Men this 2015 Holiday Season

For HerBest Christmas Gifts for Her in 2015    100 Best Christmas Gifts for Women 2015    Gifts for Her

For TeensGifts for Teens    Best Christmas Gifts for Tweens

Gift Guides for EveryonePopsugar Gift Guide    2015 Holiday Gift Guide    Zumiez Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts that won’t break the bank…Unique Gifts Under $25    Cool Gifts Under $10

The Origin of Black Friday

black-fridayAs Thanksgiving and the inevitable Black Friday shopping day nears, I found myself wondering how this shopping frenzy all began. I scoured the internet for as many sources as I could find that would tell me not only when Americans started shopping in masses the day after Thanksgiving, but why. Most importantly, how did that day get the name Black Friday? The answers to these questions are not so cut and dry as one might think.

We begin our journey during the Civil War on October 3rd, 1863. President Abraham Lincoln announces that the United States will officially celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday, and that this holiday will be held on the 4th Thursday of November each year. The first Thanksgiving was thus celebrated on November 26, 1863. As Thanksgiving falls on November 26th this year, we will be celebrating 152 years of tradition to the day.

By the early 1920’s, several retailers sponsored parades to celebrate this national holiday. In 1924 Macy’s held their first Thanksgiving Day Parade. At the end of each parade came Santa Claus and officially marked the beginning of the holiday season. It became wide practice that retailers would not advertise Christmas sales until after the conclusion of Thanksgiving. With such a hard fast unwritten rule in place, the day after Thanksgiving quickly became the day to shop for the holidays and be the first to see all the specials.

As time went on, shopping on the day after Thanksgiving increased in popularity. Many businesses treated the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday in itself. Even school was not held on this day. However there were some groups of workers that were forced into working the day after Thanksgiving each year. In as early as 1951, business owners were using the term ‘Black Friday’ to refer to the number of employees to call in sick the day after Thanksgiving.

Philadelphia is more widely credited with boosting the popularity of the phrase during the 1960’s. Things were particularly troublesome the day after Thanksgiving as police were forced into working twelve hour shifts and crowds filled the streets. According to snopes.com, “the term ‘Black Friday’ came out of the old Philadelphia Police Department’s traffic squad. The cops used it to describe the worst traffic jams which annually occurred in Center City on the Friday after Thanksgiving.” During the 1980’s, retailers began using the phrase in association with the big shopping day to signify when their red (negative or loss) accounting book entries turned to black (positive or profits). By the 90’s retailers were using the term in advertising for holiday specials and sales taking place the day after Thanksgiving.

In the early 2000’s retailers began opening their doors earlier and earlier. In 2011, several major retailers announced they would open doors at midnight. The next year, Walmart opened their doors at 8:00 PM Thanksgiving Day. Today stores are opening as early as 5 PM on Thanksgiving Day. With this new trend, I can’t help but wonder how long we will continue to call it Black Friday?

Will you be out shopping on Black Friday or clicking on computer keys enjoying cyber deals from the comfort of your own home? Perhaps you will be boycotting the holiday by remaining firmly on your couch digesting those delicious holiday foods. If you are one of the hard working Americans that will be taking up a post directing traffic or ringing up items, I thank you and wish you a happy day after the day after Thanksgiving.

The Devil in the White City – Chicago at the Turn of the 19th Century

devil in the white cityA couple of months ago I heard on the radio that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio were going to collaborate yet again on what will most definitely be another blockbuster hit. The two have previously collaborated on The Aviator, Shutter Island, Gangs of New York, The Departedand The Wolf of Wall StreetEach film was nominated by the Academy of Motion Pictures for Arts and Sciences (aka the best award in film you can attain) for Best Film and Directing with DiCaprio getting the Best Actor nomination for 3 out of the 5 films. Scorsese won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Film of the Year for The Departed. When these two get together, everyone turns out to see what they have created, especially me! This film is 2 years away from its release, and I am already gearing up for it.

This time they are bringing you a film based on the 2003 book The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Erik Larson’s work is the story of the true events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He tells this story in interweaving fashion, focusing on Architect Daniel Burnham and serial killer H.H. Holmes during the years leading up  to the World’s Fair. Both men shaped Chicago’s history in very different ways.

When I first heard about this novel, I wasn’t too excited to pick it up. My fear was that it would be too much about gruesome murders for me to enjoy. But it wasn’t. The book is about paramount history that happened just a few hours away from where we live. In fact, one of Holmes’ lovers and later victim was from Davenport, IA.

While there are a few murderous details, Holmes’ part of the book is more about how he was able to carry on his killings undetected for so long. Multiple accounts describe Holmes as an ideal individual that exuded charm and warmth. While I am eager to finish and read about Holmes’ inevitable demise, I have truly adored page after page of historical firsts. The World’s Fair was such a monumental occassion that everyone wanted to be part of it. Great inventions were first unveiled, historical figures rubbed elbows, heroes we have only read about preformed, and so..much..more.

I have no doubt that Scorsese will capture the essence of this time period and the innumerable historical particles sprinkled throughout the book. As for my all time favorite actor, Leonardo Dicaprio, I know he will deliver. It was a bit disheartening to learn that DiCaprio would encompass H. H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, but then I realized one cannot always play the hero. And in fact, many actors do their best work when playing the villain. I wouldn’t be surprised if DiCaprio gives his best performance ever with this new film.

Photos from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

More about the World’s Columbian Exposition.

World Diabetes Day

logoWorld Diabetes Day is recognized on November 14th each year. While there are many events that take place throughout the year in various parts of the world, more than 100 countries organize events to campaign diabetes awareness on this day. The International Diabetes Federation works year round to advocate this cause. Approximately 387 million people world wide have diabetes, 29 million are Americans. According to the CDC, 1 out of 4 people with diabetes doesn’t know that they have it. Information on diabetes symptoms can be found at The American Diabetes Association.

Chances are good, you or a loved one have diabetes. Included in this blog are internet, library, and local resources available to you. Please use your own discretion at which sources work best for you.

Internet Resources:

For Parents and Kids is a webpage sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. A variety of topics can be found on this page including safe at school, everyday life and family communication.

Kids Health: Meal Plans, What Kids with Diabetes Need to Know Kids Health provides information for both children, teens, and adults with an option to listen to the article. This article focuses different types of meal plans, reading food labels, and writing down what you eat.

Parenting Diabetic Kids is a webpage for families that have children with diabetes to help and support each other. You will find many stories, menus, news and resources on this page. There is also a blog and an opportunity to ask questions of other parents.

Adults with Type 1 Diabetes A very detailed article about the different types of diabetes, focusing on adults that are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Included in the article is medical care, social changes, and connecting with others.

Type 2 Diabetes By far the most common type of diabetes found in adults. This website discusses facts about type 2 diabetes, treatment and complications.

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention: Mayo Clinic 5 tips for preventing type 2 diabetes.

Baby Center:  Gestational Diabetes Gestational diabetes affects a small percentage of pregnant women. This webpage describes the diagnosis, how to know if you have it, and how to treat it.

 

Library Resources:

       

Cookbooks Available at the Library:

Local Resources:

Quad Cities Adult Type 1 Diabetes Group This is a local group led by Richard Nagle and Tavia Vital for adults with type 1 diabetes. Many of its members were diagnosed as children. The group keeps each other up to date on research, local events, and additional opportunities for support communities.

What’s Cooking in November?

If you can make it, then I bet there is a day reserved on the calendar to celebrate it. Every once in a while I like to peek at the holidays and special recognitions assigned to the current month. Many of the days are filled with celebrations of a particular food. What better way to surprise your friends, family, or coworkers than to treat them to a platter of goodies to celebrate the unique holiday?

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Egg Day: November 2 – My taste buds do not understand the satisfaction and joy that is invoked by this tiny smelly yellow thing, but I must admit this side dish shows up at nearly every function I attend that includes food. Therefore, I must be in the minority. Even my children have succumbed to the powers of this egg, mustard, and mayonnaise thing. For the egg lovers out there check out D’lish Deviled Eggs by Kathy Casey. I might even find a twist on this that I enjoy. For a few quick ideas, check out Huffpost Taste by the Huffington Post.

 

sandwich recipes Sandwich Day: November 3 – We all have our favorite sandwiches. Asking someone their Hungry Hobo number is a fun way to get to know someone. Try it with a friend or family member, you might be completely surprised by the answer. Eventually you will meet your sandwich twin! But I tend to get bored eating the same sandwich; I need to change it up. Chef Tom Colicchio’s book wichcraft includes sandwich recipes from the New York restaurant chain of the same name. These sandwiches are very unique and full of flavor. Cooking Light has 102 Super Sandwiches you can sink your teeth into right now!

 

bold recipesCook Something Bold Day: November 8 – Sure, why not? The idea behind this holiday is to create a dish that will fill your home with amazing flavors. It works well this time of year as many parts of the country are locking up windows for the winter to keep the heat in. Asian Grill by Corinne Trang has over 80 recipes for dressings, breads, desserts, vegetables, and meats bursting with bold Asian flavors. For more tips, recipes and Asian flavor, click Cooking By Feel.

 

 bread cookbookHomemade Bread Day: November 17 – Nothing beats bread fresh out of the oven, so how about you make it fresh out of your own oven! Thanks to authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois making bread is quick and easy. The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is fully revised and updated from the 2007 edition. New additions include 30 additional recipes and a gluten free chapter! For more gluten free bread ideas, visit Allrecipes. 

 

 

Banned Books Week: September 27 – October 3

Banned Books Week

 

What are Banned Books? Books that have been removed from schools or libraries.

Why are books banned? The top three reasons for banned books are as follows:

1. The material was considered to be “sexually explicit.”

2. The material contained “offensive language.”

3. The material was “unsuited for any age group.”

Why do we have Banned Books Week? Founded in 1982 and celebrated annually during the last week in September, it is an awareness campaign for the Freedom to Read.

How can you participate in Banned Books Week?

Many local libraries will be participating in Banned Books Week by either holding programs or creating displays. The Bettendorf Public Library will be hosting Banned Song Fest on Monday, September 28 at 6:30 pm. Local musicians will preform banned songs and music styles in honor of Banned Books Week. At the Rock Island Public Library local librarians and writers will read from banned books on Tuesday, September 29 at 6:00 pm. The Davenport Public Library will have displays at each location where you can learn about and check out a variety of banned books.

Banned Books

The top ten challenged books of 2014

The 100 most banned/challenged books from 2000-2009

 

the absolutely true diary The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is currently ranked number 1 for the most challenged books of 2014 according to The American Library Association. While this book is considered YA fiction, it is based on the real life events of Native American Author Sherman Alexie. I read this book while attending graduate school as part of a multicultural literature course.  The book is about Arnold, an incredibly smart Native American boy living on a reservation. He is given the opportunity to attend an all white school outside of the reservation. This book highlights not only some of the struggles of Native Americans living on reservations, but dives deep into what it took for this character to break away from his life on the reservation. When I finished reading the book I immediately researched the author. It was shocking to read that this work is semi-autobiographical, but still all the more important that this book remain on shelves. Anyone should have the opportunity to read this book. Why is the book challenged/banned? The book contains themes and elements of alcohol abuse, sex, violence, bullying, and racial issues.
go ask aliceGo Ask Alice was published in 1971 and for many years was thought to be the anonymous diary of a troubled teenager that became addicted to drugs. It was later revealed to have been written by Beatrice Sparks, a psychologist, only partially based on one of her patient’s diaries. Since this revelation, the book is considered a work of fiction. I read this books several years ago as I was making my way through a list of top 100 books that everyone should read. While the book does tend to be over the top in certain circumstances, it does include so much of the feelings and thoughts experienced by young women. Why is this book challenged/banned? Despite being published over 40 years ago, the book has never been out of print and still remains high up in the list of challenged/banned books. The book contains drug use, sex, and offensive language.

 

 

67th Emmy Award Nominations…Who Will the Winners Be?

emmy2

The annual 67th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 20 on Fox network. This is an award show that honors evening television programs. In total there were 567 nominations, with the HBO network nabbing 126 of them! The rest of the 441 nominations were split between 47 other networks. Game of Thrones leads the pack of individual programs with a whopping 24 nominations. Other noteworthy leading programs include American Horror Story:Freak Show19, Olive Kitteridge 13, Bessie – 12, and House of Cards, Mad Menand Transparent (Amazon Prime exclusive series-library does not carry) with 11 each.

Most fans are interested in the big awards like Outstanding Drama or Outstanding Actress/Actor. This blog is going to get down to the meat and potatoes of it all. Below is the list of nominees for some of the big Emmy categories, a few fun facts, and my Emmy predictions. The library carries nearly all these titles, just click the title to go to the catalog. The rest are not on DVD yet, but keep checking our catalog for the rest of these titles to appear.

Outstanding Drama Series: Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men, and Orange is the New Black. Traditionally, this category has been a love fest between Breaking Bad and Mad Men, with Homeland squeezing in the win in 2012. Does that mean that the new AMC series Better Call Saul will pick up where Breaking Bad left off? Better Cal Saul is a spin off prequel to Breaking Bad. Well I say let the new kid on the block pay some dues and make way for some of the other fantastic story lines in TV land.  Mad Men hasn’t won an Emmy in years and apparently no one can decide if Orange is the New Black is a comedy or drama so I think those two are out. That leaves four solid competitors. Game of Thrones is hands down the best thing on television. It should get the win. The other three shows are great and have consistently been highly entertaining, but they just aren’t Game of Thrones.

Outstanding Comedy Series: Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and VeepModern Family has won this award every year since 2010. We get it! You’re the best, now can we please let someone else have a turn? At this point, it doesn’t matter to me who wins as long as it is not Modern FamilyI’d like to see Transparent take the win even though they are a new show. Rarely do I root for the new guy, but this show is unique. It is tackling a tough topic while being streamed through to a very limited audience via Amazon Prime. A win will mean big things for Amazon and hopefully more great shows like this to come.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Kyle Chandler in Bloodline, Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom, John Hamm in Mad Men, Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, Liev Schreiber in Ray Donovan, and Kevin Spacey in House of Cards. Let it be Kevin Spacey, let it be Kevin Spacey, let it be Kevin Spacey. This is a great category full of amazing talent, its any man’s game. Kevin Spacey has won many awards in his career because he simply is fantastic. But he was, as they say, born to play Frank Underwood in the Netflix series House of Cards, and he has yet to win the Emmy. My fingers are triple crossed for you sir.

Outstanding lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Daines in Homeland, Viola Davis in How to Get Away With Murder, Taraji P. Henson in Empire, Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men, and Robin Wright in House of Cards. Viola Davis has been the Belle of the ball this award season for her outstanding work on the new show How to Get Away With MurderSorry ladies, I think she has this one wrapped up.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson in Black-ish, Louise C.K. in Louie, Don Cheadle in House of Lies, Will Forte in Last Man on Earth, Matt LeBlanc in Episodes, William H. Macy in Shameless, and Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent. Even if it doesn’t take home the win for Outstanding Comedy, I’m pretty sure Transparent will take home this award. Jeffrey Tambor is amazing in this role and has already won a Golden Globe for it. Tambor plays a 68 year old man with three grown children, who is finally living openly as a woman. As I watch this show, I believe every second of what I see. Tambor is so real in this role, which makes the acting all the more marvelous.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Edie Flaco in Nurse JackieLisa Kudrow in The Comeback, Julia Louise-Dreyfus in VeepAmy Poehler in Parks and RecreationAmy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer, and Lily Tomline in Grace and Frankie. I feel like I’m taking a shot in the dark here. Julia Louise-Dreyfus has won this award for the past three years, so I just can’t pick her. It would be interesting to see Amy Schumer or Lilly Tomline to pull out the win with their first nominations for these roles. However I am going to go out on a limb and give it to Lisa Kudrow although she was my least favorite “friend”. Her show The Comeback had it’s first season in 2005 and  then went on a 9 year hiatus before returning to HBO in 2014. She’s out of the gate with an Emmy nomination, maybe even a win.

Outstanding Miniseries: American Crime, American Horror Story: Freak Show, The Honorable Woman, Olive Kitteridge, and Wolf HallWhat a great category. I highly recommend watching them all. I’ve narrowed this down to The Honorable Woman or Olive Kitteridge. It is a coin toss, but I’m going with The Honorable WomenI think Maggie Gyllenahl can be very powerful on screen and she hit her sweet spot with this.

Outstanding Television Movie: Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last CaseBessie, Grace of Monaco, Hello Ladies: The Movie, Killing Jesus, and NightingaleHBO and Queen Latifah can do no wrong. HBO’s Bessie will be the big winner here. This made for TV movie based on the life of blues singer Bessie Smith has been all the rage.

For a complete list of nominees visit 2015 complete list of Emmy nominations.

For more fun facts visit 2015 Emmy facts and figures.

For more 2015 Emmy predictions visit any of the sites listed below. I promise I didn’t look!

Indiwire

GoldDerby

AwardsCircuit

NY Times

New Drama Series

how to get away with murderHow to Get Away with Murder  is a legal thriller starring Viola Davis as a criminal defense attorney and law professor. She chooses five students to intern with her at her lawn firm. This season is shown alternating between past and present as two murders involving the professor and interns are explored. Viola Davis has won both the SAG award and Critic’s choice award for best performance in a TV drama series. Season 2 airs on Thursday September 24 on ABC.

 

The the affairAffair is a psychological drama set in a resort town in Long Island. Ruth Wilson plays a young waitress who begins an extramarital affair after the death of her child. Dominic West plays opposite Ruth. He is school teacher from New York working to write his second novel. While he is happily married with children, he resents his dependence on his father-in-law. The story is told as memories from both of their perspectives. The Affair won Golden Globes for Best TV Drama and Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series in 2015. Season 2 premieres October 4th on Showtime.

 

Gotham

Gotham is a crime drama set in the fictional city of the widely known character Batman. Ben McKenzie is the lead actor starring as a young James Gordon. The show begins with the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Gordon is put on the case to investigate and meets the young Bruce Wayne. Gotham is a prequel of events we already know are coming. We get an inside look on the child that will someday become Batman. We also learn about the origins of well known Batman villains like Penguin and Riddler. Gotham won People’s Choice Award for Most Exciting Series. The second season starts September 21 on Fox.