Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Nine Books for Bike to Work Week

The annual celebration of the average bicyclist is coming! Are you ready for Bike to Work Week (May 16-20)? The Dubuque Bike Coop is coming to Carnegie-Stout Public Library to answer your questions about biking and give you the basics on bike care. We hope to see you there on Monday, May 9 at 6 p.m.

In the meantime, we've put together a short reading list for cycling enthusiasts:

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
(YA Fiction Dessen) When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.

Around the World on Two Wheels by Peter Zheutlin
(Biog Londonderry) For more than a century, the story of the audacious and charismatic Annie Kopchovsky and her attempt to circle the world by wheel has been lost to history. Who was this mysterious young woman on a bike? How did she manage, in the 1890s, to make a trip around the world by bicycle?

(796.64 BYR) Since the early 1980s, renowned musician and visual artist David Byrne has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Byrne's choice was initially made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation, exhilaration, and connection it provided.

(Fiction Cleave) Cyclists Zoe and Kate are friends and athletic rivals for Olympic gold, while Kate and her husband Jack, also a world-class cyclist, must contend with the recurrence of their young daughter's leukemia.

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
(Fiction Joinson) In 1923, devout Eva English and her not-so-religious sister Lizzie embark on a journey to be missionaries in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar.

Lanterne Rouge by Max Leonard
(796.62 LEO) Shares the lesser-known stories of last-place finishers in the Tour de France, recounting the inspirational and occasionally absurd events that shaped their efforts.

Life is a Wheel by Bruce Weber
(917.3 WEB) Riding a bicycle across the United States is one of those bucket-list goals that many dream about but few fulfill. In 2011 at the age of fifty-seven, New York Times obituary writer Bruce Weber made the trip alone and wrote about it as it unfolded mile by mile.

The Lost Cyclist by David Herlihy
(Biog Lenz) Herlihy's gripping narrative captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist Frank Lenz in the days before paved roads and automobiles.

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
(YA Fiction Bradbury) When best friends Chris and Win go on a cross country bicycle trek the summer after graduating and only one returns, the FBI wants to know what happened.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Staff Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is a young adult fantasy novel - the first in a series by the same name. It was published in 2012 and book number five is due out later this year (Empire of Storms). I heard the author speak last year and the audience went wild when she discussed the main character - Celaena Sardothien. My interest was piqued. This book has been hovering at the top of my to-be-read list ever since.

The story begins with our main character, seventeen year old Celaena Sardothien as she is being escorted out of the Endovier Salt Mines and into an audience with the crown prince of the country Erilea. Celaena was sentenced to Endovier - which is basically a death camp. People rarely last a month there. Celaena has been there for one year.

Celaena's crime? She is an assassin. Indeed, a notorious assassin who is considered to be the best in all of Erilea. She is brought before the prince and given an offer she can't refuse. Due to her notoriety and skill set, the royal offers her a chance to be in a competition to become the King's Assassin. If she wins, she works for the King for three years and is set free. If she loses, she has to go back to a bleak and short future at Endovier.

Celaena agrees to the proposition and lives in the castle under guard and an alias - so her competitors aren't intimidated by her reputation. Soon, one by one, the other competitors are killed in the same most gruesome manner. Who or what is killing Celaena's competition? Is she next? As Celaena begins to investigate, she finds there are dark and dangerous elements that are infecting the Kingdom. When Celaena finds herself in the center of this mystery, we want to know more. Celaena's epic story is firmly established in this first book. I have just checked out the second book (Crown of Midnight) to find out what happens next.

Throne of Glass has elements of action, danger, supernatural fantasy, mystery and touches on issues of war, violence, power and social injustice. The story moves at a nice clip and keeps you guessing. Celaena holds her own among some of the better tough and flawed female protagonists in young adult fiction.

If you like your fantasy novels to have adventure, fighting and forbidden romance, you might also like:

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Legend by Marie Lu
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Shatter Me by Teherah Mafi
Poison Study by Marie V. Snyder
Blood Red Road by Moira Young 
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's not you book, it's me

It’s not you book, It’s me.

I’m facing a reading conundrum.  Not only am I in a rut, reading books in the same genre, I also seem to have fallen out of love with some of my favorite book series. 

This is disturbing because I am a serial series reader.  I LOVE books in a series.  Sure in the past I’ve been able to break the habit by falling way behind on a series and then deciding I just don’t care enough to catch up.  But this time I’ve started to fall behind on two of my favorite series and I just don’t know why. 

I have a theory.  Usually I read the latest book in a series immediately after it is released.  Then I have to wait FOREVER for the next book to come out.  For the two series I love and have fallen behind in, I decided to wait, thereby making the time between books seem shorter.  Clearly that plan has failed me.  So why don’t I just catch up if I’m only one book behind? 

This is where my reading rut comes in to play.  The two book series I love are not in the current genre I’m obsessively reading.  I am participating in the library’s Great Reading Challenge, hopefully I can use that to snap me out of my rut.  In the meantime, series I love…it’s not you, it’s me.  I have to have faith that I will rediscover my love for you.

If this has happened to you, how did you get out of your rut? If you've fallen out of love with a series, did you eventually catch up or just let it go? 

Amy, Adult Services 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Staff Review: The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook

If you're a fan of mystery novels, I'm willing to bet at least one of your favorite authors has a recipe in The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Just pulling from our staff reviews on this blog, there are recipes from James Patterson, Laura Joh Rowland, Gillian Flynn, and Richard Castle. Yes, the best-selling fictional mystery author Richard Castle shares his recipe for "Morning-After Hotcakes."

Some of the recipes are drawn from the pages of a given author's novels, while others are personal favorites. Each recipe is accompanied by a short anecdote from the author explaining its significance, and a few of the recipes are almost like reading a very short story. In my opinion, the best part is that there are recipes for culinary experts, and recipes for those of us more interested in eating something than in making it. So obviously, I had to check this out and try a few myself (with a little help from my partner in crime)!

Appetizer: Male Chauvinist Pigs in a Blanket by Nelson DeMille
Even without having read DeMille's series following the adventures of anti-terrorism expert John Corey, I can say with certainty that I have a good feel for the character after trying this recipe. This is some straightforward, beer and sports, bachelor style cooking.

We did make a few changes to the recipe: we used cocktail sausages instead of  cut up hot dogs because that's what we had, we skipped the yellow mustard because neither of us like it, and we watched cartoons instead of a sports game.

The Verdict: Simple, tasty, and fast. We weren't sure how much impact the beer marinade had on the overall flavor, but that might be due to the hot dog substitution.

Entrée: Kinsey Millhone's Famous Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich by Sue Grafton
I followed this recipe exactly. Both because Sue Grafton is very, very clear that substitutions are not allowed, and because this recipe made me realize that reading A is for Alibi as a teen is probably when I started eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches myself. My variation calls for kosher dill pickles, a slice of hard cheese (horseradish cheddar if you can get it), and a little hot sauce.

My partner was less enthused by the idea of a pickle and peanut butter sandwich, but he was hungry enough to be willing to try something unexpected. Especially since it's such a quick recipe to assemble.

The Verdict: I could eat this sandwich every day (or a variation thereof). The pickle chips were very drippy, and you'd probably do well to pat them dry on a paper towel first, especially if you are making your sandwich to eat later in the day. We were split on the pickles; I found them very sweet, my partner thinks that substituting actual sweet pickles is the way to go.

Entrée: Innocent Frittata by Scott Turow
Scott Turow is another author whose books I haven't read (yet), but I've always wanted to try my hand at a frittata. The fact that Turow's recipe includes information on how the frittata could be used as a murder weapon just makes it even more delicious.

This was the most complicated of the recipes we tried, but even so it only took about 40 minutes from start to finish to put together. Rather like a quiche with no crust, this is a solid base recipe that opens itself up to endless variations.

The Verdict: We liked it! Seriously, my "dramatic" picture doesn't do it justice. My partner in crime didn't even mind the artichoke hearts (he's not a fan, but I love them, so we compromised and halved the amount called for). The only other change I'd make is to use fresh, rather than canned, mushrooms.

Overall, I highly recommend that anyone who loves food and mystery novels check out The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook to try their hand at some deviously delicious recipes! And if you happen to find yourself looking for even more recipes from mystery novelists, check out The Cozy Cookbook, which focuses on recipes by cozy mystery novelists.

~Sarah, Adult Services