Freegal Music Celebrates Mother’s Day

It’s the time of year when everyone starts thinking about their parents, as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, National Parents Day (4th Sunday in July), and Non-Binary Parents Day (3rd Sunday in April) help us kick off the spring and summer seasons. This May, Freegal Music, the digital music service we subscribe to as a library, has made a special playlist to help you celebrate the mothers in your life.

A refresher on Freegal: it’s available both on our website (linked under Digital Content) and as a downloadable app for your smartphone. On its website, once you log in with your Davenport library card it’s free to stream any available songs, albums, playlists, or audiobooks, but you can also download five songs per week for offline listening.

The mother’s day 46-song playlist includes a variety of artists, genres, and styles, from pop (Meghan Trainor) and country (Carrie Underwood) to R&B (Alicia Keys) and international music (Bad Bunny). So however you and the mothers you know like to jam, there’s something here to put you in a grateful, celebratory mood.

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring-Blake

How do you make peace with your past? In Delilah Green’s case, the answer is to fall in love with the last person she’d have expected – an experience which gives her a whole new perspective on everything, including her most painful memories. Give love a chance in the Cinderella-like (complete with evil stepmother and second chances) Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring-Blake.

After Delilah’s father died, Delilah was left in the care of her cold stepmother Isobel and her distant stepsister Astrid, who never made her feel welcome or wanted. She’s been living in New York, chasing her dream of being a photographer and having a string of one-night-stands to keep her company. Then Astrid gets engaged, and hires Delilah to photograph the wedding. When she arrives, Delilah is blindsided by her attraction to Astrid’s best friend Claire, now a single mom running a bookstore and struggling to trust her unreliable ex. As the wedding draws closer, so do Delilah and Claire – but the wounds from their pasts are never far away…

This is a very steamy romance, but it’s well-balanced with character development, real emotions, and healing from childhood trauma. Claire in particular is a well-rounded and relatable character, as is her daughter Ruby, in a refreshing portrayal of single motherhood and complex co-parenting. As for Delilah, readers will be just as invested in her fragile relationship with stepsister Astrid as in her sweet romance with Claire.

Recommended for fans of Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, and other queer romance authors who show the depth of emotions and growth that goes into crafting a happily-ever-after.

Online Reading Challenge – May

Hello again Fellow Readers!

Today we launch a new month of the Online Reading Challenge with books that focus on racial injustice, advocacy and civil rights. These aren’t necessarily “fun” reads, but they’re powerful, moving and important reads.

Our main title is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Also available as an e-book and an e-audiobook.

Also in this month’s Book Flight:

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Also available in Large Print, as an e-book and an e-audiobook.

The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson. In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. The national coalition organized to protest the Till lynching became the foundation of the modern civil rights movement. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, the Emmett Till generation, forever marked by the vicious killing of a boy their own age, launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle into a mass movement. But what actually happened to Emmett Till — not the icon of injustice but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, cultural scholar Timothy Tyson draws on a wealth of new evidence, including the only interview ever given by Carolyn Bryant, the white woman in whose name Till was killed.

Also available in Large Print.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father – a crusading local lawyer – risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Be sure to stop by one of the Davenport library locations for displays with these and many more titles!

Online Reading Challenge – April Wrap-Up

Challengers! How was your month? Did you read one of the books from our April Book Flight?

The main title this month was The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.  I loved this book. I read it several years ago shortly after it was published and quickly became completely immersed in the historic setting and the work of these brave women.

This is a book about two wars, of the price paid both by those who died and those who survived, of sisterhood and loyalty and immeasurable bravery.

Before reading this I was unaware of the extent of the spy network whose work was instrumental in fighting World War I, and I had no idea that so many women sacrificed so much working behind enemy lines. There really was an “Alice Network” made up of women who worked in France, gathering information and passing it along to the Allies. This work was incredibly dangerous since they often had to pose as neutral and even supportive of the Germans, usually in close contact, posing as waitresses, store clerks and secretaries and sometimes becoming their lovers, all to gather information.

Although the scenes set during World War I were by far the most riveting, I also enjoyed the post-World War II storyline. The parallels between the wars, especially the brutality and suffering, were eerily similar. And again, it brought to light a true story from the Second Wrold War that I had never heard, that of the lost village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France.

What did you think about the women that worked as spies from any of our Book Flight books? Were you, like me, astonished by their sheer courage, their ability to overcome the fear of torture and death to complete a mission and to stay cool under pressure? What do you think motivated them – was it loyalty to a family member or loved one, or was it patriotism for a country? And what about their enemies, were they simply pure evil, or were they more complex?

Be sure to share your thoughts on this month’s Book Flight in the comments below!

 

The Collective by Alison Gaylin

“None of these monsters are evil. It’s the evil of others that makes them powerful. Beaten down by the world, shunned, robbed of what they love, they don’t curl up and die. They don’t apologize. They fight back. They get bigger, stronger, more terrifying. You are a monster. We all are. Be grateful for THAT.”
― Alison Gaylin, The Collective

Alison Gaylin’s latest mystery novel, The Collective, tells the story of mothers who are angry. Camille Gardener is obsessed. Her daughter died five years ago at the hands of a young man. Fed up with the empty platitudes from the people who surround her and her marriage’s dissolution, Camille is still obsessed with the young man she believes is responsible for her daughter’s death. She has been following him and his family all these years, wanting to keep up with what they have been doing.

Camille’s actions finally cross a line and she ends up in the spotlight of a secretive group of women called the collective. It starts out innocent enough with a Facebook group, but then ends with Camille being drawn into the dark web. She finds a group of mothers sharing their devastating stories of loss and their intense desires for justice. They all feel wronged by the world – how dare no one hold the perpetrators responsible?! They demand justice and retribution for the unimaginable loss they have been put through.

Rage motivates them. Soon Camille discovers that the group is responsible for many seemingly random killings that are actually incredibly precise, plotted, and planned by group members who are instructed to follow different tasks without knowing what the others are doing. All of their individual tasks culminate into the completion of a plan: the murder of someone who had done them wrong.

When Camille first joins the group, she debates whether or not the collective is a game or reality. The more she becomes involved, the more her feelings shift. Are these women monsters or righteous avengers? There are truths that lie beneath the surface that have the power to destroy the small amount of comfort Camille found within the collective. It all depends on what she believes.

Oprah’s Latest Book Club Pick: Finding Me by Viola Davis

Join our Best Sellers Club to have certain celebrity book club picks automatically put on hold for you: Reese Witherspoon, Jenna Bush Hager, and Oprah Winfrey. While Reese and Jenna generally announce a new title each month, Oprah’s selections are more sporadic. She has just announced hew newest selection! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, you can choose to have these titles automatically put on hold for you.

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Oprah Winfrey has selected Finding Me by Viola Davis as her latest pick.

Curious what Finding Me is about? Check out the following description provided by the author.

In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.

This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.

As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.

Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Join our Best Sellers Club to have Oprah’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

The Little Flower Recipe Book by Jill Rizzo

I’ve always been a fan of small bouquets. I have a pretty large flower garden and have the luxury of growing a lot of flowers that become large, dramatic displays – tulips, peonies, dahlias, lilies. But I have a great appreciation and love for tiny bouquets. And now there is a book that shares my love of these small delights – The Little Flower Recipe Book by Jill Rizzo.

Filled with 148 tiny arrangements that range from small to tiny to micro-mini, this book takes you through the seasons with suggestions for combining and creating delightful little bouquets. Half the fun is finding tiny containers – not just traditional vases in miniature, but unexpected things you may have already like a tiny teacup or jar.

So why go to all the trouble of making these tiny bouquets? Lots of reasons! They bring attention to often overlooked flowers that, when brought inside and up-close, reveal to be just as complex and interesting as showier flowers. Subtle color shades, markings and fragrance are easier to see and enjoy.  Also, I can guarantee that you’re not likely to find bouquets of pansies or nasturtiums or any other of these small flowers at the local florist!

More reasons to create small bouquets is that they can fit into small nooks and crannies, on a bedside table or next to the bathroom sink making them an easy way to fill your home with flowers. And well, there’s just something about miniatures that simply delights!

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

“This happens all the time. Anyone who has lost somebody they love has experienced it—the head in the crowd on a busy street, the person at the grocery store who moves just like her. The rush to catch up, so relieved that she is actually still alive . . . Only to be crushed when the imposter turns around and the face is wrong. The eyes. The lips.”
― Barbara O’Neal, When We Believed in Mermaids

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal is the story of a family ripped apart by tragedy and how the ones left behind try to pick up the shattered pieces.

The Bianci women are the only ones left. Josie, the older sister, was killed fifteen years ago during a terrorist attack while on a train overseas. Her younger sister Kit works as an ER doctor in Santa Cruz. She was left to help their mother as the two worked through their grief. Kit’s steady life comes to a crashing halt when she sees Josie on the TV news during a broadcast from New Zealand. Her mother saw Josie too. Doubt comes creeping in. In the background of television news coverage of a club fire in Auckland, the two saw a woman walking through smoke who bears an uncanny resemblance to Josie. It has to be her.

Kit is slammed by a flood of emotions: anger, grief, and loss. How could Josie lie to them for the past fifteen years? How could she abandon them? She let them believe she was dead. Kit has to find Josie and get answers. She has to go to Auckland.

After landing in New Zealand, Kit is unsure where to start. Once she is in the country where she thinks Josie is, she isn’t even sure if she really wants to search for her. As she begins the physical process of looking for Josie, Kit allows herself to fall into past memories. Josie and Kit’s childhood was far from idyllic, but there were some good parts: days (and nights) spent on the beach and a lost teenage boy who showed up one day and then never left. Among the good lie the bad: multiple tragedies and traumas that scarred the girls and left their family in ruins. Each family member carries their own baggage, their own secrets from long ago that they have carried for years.

Seed Library Opening at 11:45am Today!

Tiger’s Eye beans. Swenson Swedish snowpeas. Dragon carrots. Wapsipinicon Peach tomatoes. Grandma Einck’s dill. Grandpa Ott’s morning glorys. French Breakfast radishes. These are all names of heirloom seeds and all of them – and many more! – are now available from the Davenport Library’s Seed Library!

There will be a brief ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 19 at 11:45am to kick off this new library program.

The Seed Library has 107 varieties of vegetables, 42 different flowers and 29 herbs. Currently, all of our seeds are from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa and all of them are heirloom varieties (some seeds were purchased and some are from a grant from Seed Savers). Many of these varieties have interesting stories about how they were handed down through different generations and how they were prized for their delicious flavors and ease of growing.

Sometime after World War II, the US population moved away from a largely agriculture background and to a more urban one. Farming and gardening habits faded away just as Madison Avenue advertising executives decided Americans only wanted to buy perfect, unblemished vegetables and only flowers suitable for bouquets. To meet these imagined desires, plants were bred to produce vegetables and flowers that were uniform in color and size and able to withstand long-distance shipping without damage. This meant that flavor (and in the case of flowers, fragrance) was sacrificed for uniformity and many heirloom seeds were in danger of disappearing altogether. Seed Savers is dedicated to preserving  unique varieties before they are lost. By growing some of these heirloom seeds in your own backyard you too are helping to keep them alive.

To participate in this program, stop by the Davenport Library Main library at 321 Main Street and browse our notebook which has entries for every seed that we carry, plus basic growing tips. Choose up to five varieties of seeds per family per month (we have checklists that you can use to mark your choices) Library staff will pull your seeds for you. Be sure to log your choices in the Seed Log – there will be a drawing for a garden gift basket on May 1 from the names listed in the log! Now the fun begins – growing your seeds! If you post about your seeds on social media, be sure to tag us @davenportlibrary and use #dplseeds.

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Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

At 118 pages, Small Things Like These  by Claire Keegan, is a quick but powerful read. The book jacket and the beginning of the book lull the reader into the expectation that this will be a comforting Christmas story. The fact that it’s set in the eighties – with all the attendant nostalgic, pre-internet, village shops and village life – reinforces that feeling. However, those expectations are upended when Bill Furlong, during his coal deliveries, encounters girls who live at the local convent. These encounters are so unsettling that they cause him to doubt his previously unquestioned faith in the Church.

The second part of the book deals with Bill’s crisis of conscience. He struggles with his faith and with identifying the right course of action. He feels disconnected from his family and struggles with how his responsibilities to his wife and his family affect doing what he feels is right.

This is a brief but immersive look into a period of Irish life that had resonance for decades afterwards. Seen through Bill’s innocent eyes, one can begin to understand how hard it was for entrenched ideas to shift.

 

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