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ICPL Recommends

Awaken your genius : escape conformity, ignite creativity, and become extraordinary book cover
Awaken your genius : escape conformity, ignite creativity, and become extraordinary book cover

Awaken your genius : escape conformity, ignite creativity, and become extraordinary

Ozan O. Varol

153.42 /Varol
Self Help, Philosophy

"From the critically acclaimed author of Think Like a Rocket Scientist comes a simple process for discarding obsolete beliefs and cultivating independent thought. A rare handful of leaders, artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs seem to have Teflon in their heads. They think and act with genuine independence, offering up ideas and insights direct from the subtle workings of their own minds. No matter how far that might take them from their social or political group. We sometimes call these people geniuses, as if they're another breed. But genius doesn't have to belong to just a few people--it can be cultivated. Great thinkers operate unconstrained by the opinions of others--or their own past opinions. They can act on new information regardless of the beliefs they once held, or identities they once adopted. They distinguish fact from manipulation. And just as importantly, they act first instead of reacting--creating new ideas and opportunities for themselves and others. This is a book for aspiring universe-denters: executives and entrepreneurs, activists and artists, individuals who want to escape groupthink, discard obsolete and harmful beliefs, generate breakthrough ideas, spot hidden opportunities, and flourish in a world of ever-increasing manipulation, change, and challenge. In short, it's a book for geniuses"--

Having been a reader of his blog posts for quite some time there was lot that was familiar in this book but also a lot that is new. My main takeaways relate to reframing the way I think and approach problems and other things that tend to pop up. Pretty inspiring, I've already been applying some of the strategies noted, and I would further recommend following up the supplement "homework" web-link he provides to keep the reframing effort moving forward. -Paul

Breadsong : how baking changed our lives book cover
Breadsong : how baking changed our lives book cover

Breadsong : how baking changed our lives

Kitty Tait

641.815 /Tait

Kitty Tait grew up a funny, chatty redhead who made everyone in her family laugh. But around the time she turned 14, Kitty began experiencing anxiety. Slowly, she disconnected from everyone around her and struggled to wake up, get dressed, and leave the house. Full of worry, her parents tried everything, from new hobbies like reading and painting to medication and visits to a specialist. Nothing seemed to help. Then, one day, as Kitty stood on a stool watching her dad mix flour, water, and salt, she determined Al's gloopy, sludgy blob of bread looked a whole lot like her brain. The next day, peaking under the tea towel as the mix gently bubbled and popped, Kitty came to a stunning realization: bread is alive. Al asked Kitty if she'd like to try baking bread herself, and their lives were never the same again. One loaf quickly escalated into an obsession, and Kitty felt better than she had for a long time. Within nine months, Kitty and Al opened The Orange Bakery--and they haven't stopped since. Featuring more than 80 recipes--including cinnamon buns, cheese swirls, and tahini brownies--Breadsong is a celebration of bread and baking, and an inspiring story of the life-saving power of discovering a passion.

This was a wonderful read; especially for young adults who get lost sometimes or feel a sense of hopelessness. I loved the winding, genuine stories around the craft of bread making.The recipes are beautiful, some are very simple to make but the wonderful community that stepped up to help Kitty when she needed it most is perhaps my favorite part of the book. Final verdict: baking enthusiasts- you knead to read this! -Victoria

The London Séance Society book cover
The London Séance Society book cover

The London Séance Society

Sarah Penner

FICTION Penner Sarah
Mystery, Historical Fiction, Suspense

"1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark šance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D'Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike. Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister's death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London's exclusive Šance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves..."--

Penner offers up another mystery tale involving murder and desperate circumstances for the protagonists. Although not as engaging a tale as her The Lost Apothecary was (a little too much revisiting of things already established for my tastes and a sense of it being rushed) she really develops a pretty detailed slice of Victorian England life, featuring good twists, turns and revelations, and a collection of interesting characters, both major and minor. -Paul

Loyalty book cover
Loyalty book cover


Lisa Scottoline

OverDrive Audiobook
Historical Fiction

Loyalty can save a soul—or destroy one. Franco Fiorvanti is a handsome lemon grower toiling on the estate of a baron. He dreams of owning his own grove, but the rigid class system of Sicily thwarts his ambition. Determined to secure a better future, Franco will do anything to prove his loyalty to the baron. But when the baron asks him to kidnap a little boy named Dante, Franco makes a decision that will change his life—and even the history of Sicily—forever. Gaetano Catalano is an idealistic young lawyer whose devotion to justice is tantamount to a calling. He’s a member of the Beati Paoli, a real-life secret society of aristocrats who investigate crime in Palermo, a city riddled with graft. Gaetano sets out to find the boy and punish the kidnapper, but his mission leads him to a darker place than he had ever imagined. Meanwhile, Mafalda Pancari is a new mother rejoicing at the birth of her daughter, Lucia, when disaster strikes. And Alfredo D’Antonio is a reclusive goatherd under constant threat of being discovered as a Jew. How the lives of these unforgettable characters collide makes Loyalty an epic tale of good versus evil, as the story twists and turns to its monumental showdown. Readers will be transported to the dramatic and ruggedly beautiful island of Sicily, the jewel of the Mediterranean, where lush lemon groves and mouth-watering cuisine contrast with a turbulent history of colonization and corruption. Scottoline brings her decades of thriller writing to historical fiction, creating in Loyalty a singular novel that no reader will be able to put down.

Transport yourself to the lemon orchards of 19th century Sicily with Lisa Scottoline's epic novel about the rise of the Mafia. Following the threads of several stories, the characters are engaging and novel is riveting. It is a great read for the summer. Like always, Edoardo Ballerini provides a fantastic narration. -Anne M

Cork dork : a wine-fueled adventure among the obsessive sommeliers, big bottle hunters, and rogue scientists who taught me to live for taste book cover
Cork dork : a wine-fueled adventure among the obsessive sommeliers, big bottle hunters, and rogue scientists who taught me to live for taste book cover

Cork dork : a wine-fueled adventure among the obsessive sommeliers, big bottle hunters, and rogue scientists who taught me to live for taste

Bianca Bosker

641.22 /Bosker

A tech reporter describes her introduction to the world of master sommeliers and her in-depth investigation into the source of their interests and skills, an effort marked by work with elite tasting groups, encounters at exclusive New York restaurants, visits to California winemakers and more. --Publsiher's description.

This is the May read for the library's book group, BYOBook, and it's very enlightening and entertaining! I'm going to say upfront that, based on this book, there is a big mess of snark (against each other, against regular ol' wine drinkers, against restaurant-goers) and the icky feel of a boys' club about the world of wine and sommeliers, but if you're willing to get past that there's a lot in here to learn and enjoy. (If you've read Bourdain, that's not anything new, right?) I applaud the author's desire and willingness to dive into this world, and I'm appreciative of the scientific and historical info she serves up. This behind-the-scenes look at wine in our daily lives--from learning about the doings of vendors and sommeliers, to all the ways one might determine what makes wine good--is truly interesting, and while it might make me want to hop on downtown for a glass to test my skills on, it also makes me really glad it's not my job to taste and choose SO. MUCH. WINE. If you like fun schtick-lit, if you like a little science in the vein of Mary Roach, and whether or not you imbibe, this is a really good read. -Candice

The Wager : a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder book cover
The Wager : a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder book cover

The Wager : a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder

David Grann

910.9164 /Grann
Literary Nonfiction, Nonfiction, History

"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z, a mesmerizing story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty's Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as "the prize of all the oceans," it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing 2500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes. But then ... six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they had a very different story to tell. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes - they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous captain and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death-for whomever the court found guilty could hang. The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann's recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O'Brian, his portrayal of the castaways' desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Endurance, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann's work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound. Most powerfully, he unearths the deeper meaning of the events, showing that it was not only the Wager's captain and crew who were on trial - it was the very idea of empire"--

I actually bought my own copy of this book because I just couldn't wait...it was worth the splurge! It's no secret that I'm already a fan of David Grann's writing, so it should come as no surprise that I'm loving this book. It's not even like seafaring and wrecks are my thing, but the way he writes about it, they might as well be. The story comes alive, through the details of the souls on board the ships and everything they went through, their dreams, emotions, fears, and actions. The ships and the environments even become characters of a sort in the story, as they have their own powers over the fates of everyone on board and waiting at home. Thrilling history here! -Candice


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Learn How to Save a Life! CPR/AED/Choking/Stop the Bleed. Iowa City Public Library.
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by Casey May 26, 2023
Have you ever come to the children's desk and asked, "Where can I...
by Shawna May 23, 2023
The Summer ICPL Bookmobile schedule begins Monday, June 5 and runs...
by Jason May 22, 2023
In honor of the Juneteenth holiday, the Office of Equity and Human...
by Olivia W May 17, 2023
The last of the plat maps, although the one with the least amount of...
by Olivia W May 15, 2023
The second map in our collection, although not the one with the least...
by Olivia W May 12, 2023
The first map that I’ll be covering is the oldest of the three plat...
by Olivia W May 10, 2023
If you’ve walked around the second floor of the Iowa City Public...
by Elsworth May 1, 2023
The Iowa City Public Library is governed by a semi-autonomous, nine-...
by Stacey April 25, 2023
We have a mixture of technology learning and hands-on making for you...