Jenna Bush Hager October Pick – ‘Leave the World Behind’

Jenna Bush Hager has selected Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam as the October pick for her #ReadWithJenna book club.

Curious what Leave the World Behind is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?

Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis.

Want to make sure that Jenna’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

A Fire Story by Brian Fies

How do you cope with trauma? How are you dealing with the news? I tend to search out books as a way to help cope. Since August 2020, the news has been broadcasting stories about fires all over the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, among others. It’s hard for me to grasp the severity of a situation over the news, so I always seek out other sources of knowledge: informational studies, interviews, books, magazine articles, etc. In an effort to learn more, I went searching in the library for information about California wildfires.

Wanting to read a firsthand account, I found A Fire Story by Brian Fies, an author and illustrator whose home was destroyed by a wildfire in 2017.

This graphic novel began as a webcomic right after Brian, his wife, and their two pets evacuated their California home in the early morning on October 9, 2017 due to a massive wildfire. These wildfires burned through Northern California, eventually resulting in 44 fatalities and the complete destruction of 8,900 structures, including 6,200 homes. When Brian and his family evacuated, they didn’t think they would be gone for long, so they only grabbed a few items. In the days that followed their evacuation, Brian bought what art supplies he could find and started to draw an online comic that would become viral and turn into the full-length graphic novel, A Fire Story

In addition to focusing on what happened to Brian and his family, this graphic novel also talks about environmental factors that played into the fire, as well as helping readers gain a better understanding of how this disaster occurred. Brian also portrays the stories of others that were affected by this disaster.

While this story by no means gave me a full and complete understanding of wildfires, it helped me discover terminology and location information that has helped me learn more about the current wildfires happening on the West Coast. This graphic novel has provided me with a starting point to learn more, as well as a look at a firsthand account of the devastation these fires had on residents.

Homework Help With Tutor.com

 

It’s back to school time!

Have a homework question?  Look no further for assistance.  The library is please to announce the availability of Tutor.com.

The live tutoring service is available from 1:00 – 9:00 p.m. daily.  (Some holidays excluded.)    Tutor.com’s mission is to help all learners realize their full potential through personalized, one-to-one instruction and guidance.  They have 3,000+ qualified tutors who help students learn the material, not just provide the answer.

The SkillsCenter Resource Library is available 24/7.  Students can watch videos on specific subjects.  Just select your Topic, Subject, and Subtopic.  For example, Math / Middle Grades / Fractions.

Students can also submit papers for review before turning them in to their teacher for grades.  Response time is guaranteed to be within 12 hours.

Ninety-five percent (95%) of their survey respondents report that Tutor.com helps them improve their grades, complete their homework assignments, and raise their confidence!

¿Hablas español?  After entering the Tutor.com site students can switch the platform’s language to Spanish by a selection on the landing page.  This allows access to Spanish language content and ensures that you’ll be connected with a Spanish speaking tutor.

A service of The Princeton Review, Tutor.com provides study resources and practice tests for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT college entrance examinations.

Tutor.com is available to Davenport Public Library and Scott Community College cardholders.  Students just need to enter their library card number to gain access to the wealth of homework resources.

www.tutor.com/davenportpl

 

 

 

PlantFinder

I want to tell you about an app that could be useful to you as you spend more time outdoors. This free app is called PlantFinder and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I have it downloaded on my Android phone from the Google Play store but according to a search I did today on the Apple app store, it is also available for Apple products. Since it is free it does have ads, but you can pay a small subscription fee to avoid the ads if you prefer. The ads pop up after you take a photo of a plant and before it loads the results that display the plant’s name and identifying information. I try to remember to turn my phone’s volume down, otherwise it can be quite intrusive during a quiet nature walk.

I have used PlantFinder to successfully identify plants I see while walking trails. Sadly, many of them were invasive species. Examples from a recent outing include honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), and creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea). The results aren’t always as specific as I would like. For instance, I was hoping to refresh my memory on what variety of apple tree is growing in my back yard, but PlantFinder could only tell me that it is an “Apple tree,” rather than confirm if it was Honeycrisp or Zestar. I suppose that is only fair, as the fruit hasn’t even appeared yet. I have a Japanese dappled willow (Salix integra) in my front yard and when I snapped a photo of it to test it out on the app, it came back with the result, “Grey willow,” (Salix atrocinerea). Those are not exactly the same things, but it at least got the genus right. Sometimes, though rarely, PlantFinder can get it wrong. For instance, it thought my rose bush was a buckthorn. Perhaps when it blooms I’ll take another photo and get better results. Overall, however, I have been very pleased. It keeps a record of the photos, dates, plant names and details of what you have previously looked up. Access it by tapping “My Plants.” It also offers a “Plant Care” section that will help you keep track of watering & fertilizing frequency for the plants you cultivate at home.

In my opinion, the real test of usefulness is if it it can successfully identify poison ivy, which it did when I sought out and (fortunately? unfortunately?) found a rarer variety called Western Poison Ivy. I wondered if it would show a bright word of caution on the results page for plants like poison ivy that can cause rashes or allergic reactions, but it did not. So although it can successfully identify poison ivy, you still have to be reasonably savvy when you’re out there and take care not to touch any of the wild plants as you are taking photographs.

I would love to hear your comments if you decide to try this app after reading this, or if you are already familiar with it share your experiences. Have fun out there and stay safe!

Give Your Doctor A Check-Up

Turn the tables on your doctors and give them an examination!  We are pleased to announce that within our ReferenceUSA product you’ll now find a new sub-database called U. S. Healthcare, which allows you to obtain information about your doctor’s vital statistics.

Search by the doctor’s name to learn primary specialty, medical school, year of graduation, hospital affiliations, and whether they are Board Certified.  Or if you are searching for a new doctor, you may enter geographic criteria and choose from a list of primary specialties.

This product provides information on over 675,00 doctors and 180,000 dentists, potentially providing their group’s name, office manager’s name, and what health plans they accept.

Take the pulse of your medical providers today.

Ask a Librarian

Do you miss going into the library and talking to the librarians? Well, we miss talking to you! Join Stephanie, one of our Information Services Librarians, every Thursday at 2pm on Facebook where you can ask a librarian anything. Need book recommendations? Curious what a librarian does? Want to learn how to use different resources? Ask her anything!

If you have questions for your librarians, you can also call us at 563-326-7832, email us, or message us on social media. We are answering our phones Monday through Friday from 9 to 5pm. Leave a voicemail, send an email, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Let Us Entertain You

Have some spare time on your hands?  Looking for new diversions?  Look no further than your local library!

We are pleased to announce the addition of two RBdigital entertainment products to our fleet of online resources, IndieFlix and Qello Concerts.

IndieFlix provides access to over 7,000 high-quality shorts, features, documentaries, classic TV shows and Web series from 85 countries.  It includes independent films from major festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, and more.

Qello Concerts allows music lovers to view full-length performances, concert films, and music documentaries.  For example, shows by Queen, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, Lady Gaga, Metallica, Eric Clapton, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Bob Marley, Mumford & Sons, etc.

To get started with either product you first create an RBdigital account.  Enter your Davenport library card number, then fill out a form to provide your library, name, email, and create a password.  It’s that simple.

Your account provides you a 7-day license to stream unlimited content.  The next week, login again to check out another license.

Fair warning:  These products are addicting!

April Fool’s Day During the COVID-19 Crisis

Hello!

In the past I’ve written an April Fool’s post on the first of April, something silly and fun (the library rearranging  books by color, offering passes to skip-the-line for the I-74 bridge, adding a third floor to the Main library, etc) This year though, it feels like we’re already in the midst of a cosmic (and not at all funny) April Fool’s prank. So, instead of trying to fool you, I’m going to list some of the hopeful, heartwarming, fun things I’ve run across while we all work to get through this pandemic alone but together. Enjoy!

Jennifer Ehle, who starred in probably the best television adaptation of any Jane Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth) is reading Pride and Prejudice from home, one chapter a day on YouTube.

Missing sports? British sportscaster Andrew Cotter calls a race between his dogs eating supper – who will be victorious? Mabel or Olive? Extremely hilarious.

Sad to be missing out on lots of spring blooms? (I certainly am) Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin is one of the premier public gardens in the United States (And it’s free!) Each day a staff member features the latest spring blooms on the garden’s Instagram stories (@olbrichgardens) Other public gardens with seasonal pictures include Chanticleer Gardens in Pennsylvania (@chanticleergarden) and the world famous Keukenhof Gardens near Amsterdam (@visitkeukenhof). It’s almost – not quite, but almost – as good as being there.

Yo-Yo Ma is sharing #songsofcomfort on Instagram and Twitter. He started out by playing Dvorak’s “Going Home”, a gorgeous piece of music beautifully suited to the cello. Others, both professional and amateur have also been contributing – check out the hashtag for lots of great music.

And don’t forget – the Davenport Library offers a huge range of online entertainment from ebooks and eaudiobooks (Libby), to British television favorites (Acorn) to digital magazines (rbDigital). And it’s all free! Check out our home page for links and more information.

What about you – what have you found to keep yourself entertained and inspired?

Cannabis : The Illegalization of Weed in America by Box Brown

I recently saw a local news story in which Illinois state senator Toi Hutchinson said that the legalization of cannabis in her state came as a result of the differing sides “hashing it out” to come to agreement. I don’t know whether or not the pun was intended, but as a librarian interested in languages, I appreciated it.

Soon after, I spotted the graphic novel Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America on display at the library and figured it would be a good way to better educate myself on the topic right at our doorstep. I was not disappointed. This graphic novel has four pages of sources cited at the end! It is equal parts interesting and informative.

It starts with what is known about early humans’ use of cannabis sativa from biology and mythology. It outlines how the plant has been cultivated for its various uses across the world (think: textiles & oils too). It traces the etymology of the many different words we use for it: hash, Mary Jane, reefer, weed, to name just a few. I learned that the word marijuana is believed to be derived from slang usage in Mexico near Catholic missionaries, where the priests condemned its use. Locals would tell the priest they were just spending time with Maria Juana!

The graphic novel delves into the “Reefer Madness” era during which commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics Harry Anslinger worked to criminalize its use by making false, racist claims about its use and users. It discusses how cannabis has been regulated through legislation and how its reputation has been manipulated. The graphic novel concludes with present-day uses and a bibliography listing sixty sources readers can seek out for further learning on the subject.

I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading Box Brown’s other titles, including Is This Guy for Real? The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman and Tetris: The Games People Play.

You can also learn more on this topic from Illinois Policy, an independent organization that seeks to educate and engage Illinois citizens.

 

The Minimalist Home : a Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker

With the New Year, it seems like everyone is making a resolution.  One popular resolution is to get rid of the many possessions that you no longer use, which many believe will lead you to fill your home and life with items that are meaningful to you.  Popular blogger Joshua Becker’s new book, The Minimalist Home, is a guide to only filling your home with things that create a simpler life.  The author guides you from room to room within your home, helping you to decide what to keep and what to discard.  He addresses not only the easy stuff – the chair that is being used as storage in the corner – but even the most difficult things to part with   – the items that have sentimental value.  He speaks as to why so many Americans have so much stuff and how accumulating items begins in the first place.  His advice is practical, straightforward and helps with the tough questions that are bound to arise when discarding possessions.

One of the beneficial parts of the book is how the author came to be a minimalist by sharing his story.    Before Becker discovered minimalism, he was very similar to many others before their journey of owning less.   A casual conversation with a neighbor led him to question why he owned so many items when it was distracting him from what really mattered in life.  In his case, this was spending quality time with his wife and son and enjoying their time together.  After converting to minimalism, he boasts that he and his family were able to be more generous with their time and live a simpler life, surrounding themselves with things they use and truly enjoy.

The author’s main takeaway is that the reader can create their own journey of minimalism, making it unique to them.  Becker’s book supplies the framework to help readers make the journey.   Even if you do not decide to get rid of nearly everything you own, The Minimalist Home will make you think more about how you view the objects you possess in your home.