Blogs

In the Stacks

Cover image of "Cinnamon and gunpowder" by Eli Brown

In the Stacks -- formerly known as Blurbs from the Backlist -- is a great way to find good books that you might not know about or haven't had a chance to read yet. These are books that are currently available in the Des Moines Public Library, meaning you could take one home today!

The Queens of Comedy: Lucy & Julia

The DVD cover for the TV series Veep, The Complete First Season

For decades, Lucille Ball has held the title "The Queen of Comedy." She certainly earned it. Originally a mid-level movie star, Ball immediately became a fixture in the new medium of television. She starred in several immensely popular sitcoms (including the top-rated I Love Lucy) in a nearly uninterrupted run of twenty-three years. In the present day, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has also accumulated stellar credentials. Like Ball, she has starred in several popular sitcoms (including the top-rated Seinfeld) and her television career now spans a period of over thirty years. Ball's impressive and long-standing Emmy award records have now been surpassed by Louis-Dreyfus. Hmm, maybe it's time to crown a new queen.

In the Stacks

Cover image of "Seating Arrangements" by Maggie Shipstead

In the Stacks -- formerly known as Blurbs from the Backlist -- is a great way to find good books that you might not know about or haven't had a chance to read yet. These are books that are currently available in the Des Moines Public Library, meaning you could take one home today!

In the Stacks

Cover image of "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson

In the Stacks -- formerly known as Blurbs from the Backlist -- is a great way to find good books that you might not know about or haven't had a chance to read yet. These are books that are currently available in the Des Moines Public Library, meaning you could take one home today!

In the Stacks

Cover image of "Heading Out to Wonderful" by Robert Goolrick

In the Stacks -- formerly known as Blurbs from the Backlist -- is a great way to find good books that you might not know about or haven't had a chance to read yet. These are books that are currently available in the Des Moines Public Library, meaning you could take one home today!

Skull in the Ashes: Murder, A Gold Rush Manhunt, & the Birth of Circumstantial Evidence in America

Skull in the ashes - cover

On a February night in 1897, the general store in Walford, Iowa, burned down. The next morning, townspeople discovered a charred corpse in the ashes. Everyone knew that the store’s owner, Frank Novak, had been sleeping in the store as a safeguard against burglars. Now all that remained were a few of his personal items scattered under the body.

Bubblegum Pop: That Sweet, Sweet Music

The CD cover for the The Monkees' self-titled album.

Bubblegum pop is a term often applied to a certain style of music with simple melodies and lyrics, but with ultra-catchy hooks. These days, when you hear the term used, it's usually in a disparaging manner. The origins of bubblegum pop were in the offices of record companies, not some kid's garage. It was a calculated attempt to create music that would appeal to a broad audience demographic, while maximizing profits for the producers. The original bubblegum era was from 1967-74 and the surprising thing is how often the producers actually succeeded in their attempts to create ear candy.

In the Stacks

Cover image of "The Orchardist" by Amanda Coplin

In the Stacks -- formerly known as Blurbs from the Backlist -- is a great way to find good books that you might not know about or haven't had a chance to read yet. These are books that are currently available in the Des Moines Public Library, meaning you could take one home today!

In the Stacks

Cover image of "Then We Came to the End" by Joshua Ferris

In the Stacks -- formerly known as Blurbs from the Backlist -- is a great way to find good books that you might not know about or haven't had a chance to read yet. These are books that are currently available in the Des Moines Public Library, meaning you could take one home today!

Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye...

Gentlemen Bootleggers cover

During Prohibition, while Al Capone was rising to worldwide prominence as Public Enemy Number One, the townspeople of rural Templeton, Iowa--population just 418--were busy with a bootlegging empire of their own. Led by Joe Irlbeck, the whip-smart and gregarious son of a Bavarian immigrant, the outfit of farmers, small merchants, and even the church Monsignor worked together to create a whiskey so excellent it was ordered by name: Templeton Rye.

Summer Reading Lists

Collage of Summer Reading books

I love reading lists. I love when someone pulls together a list of good books, tells me a little about each one and then lets me choose my next read. I'll take a good reading list any time of the year, but I especially enjoy a summer reading list. Lucky for me, there are plenty of summer reading lists out there. Not only because library summer reading programs are in full swing  (which I also love), but also because summer makes us think of vacations, beaches, relaxing, which brings us to reading.

Time Is of the Essence, Really

One of the most popular action series of recent years was 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland. What set the Fox show apart from other programs was that the action took place in real time, that is, the events shown onscreen represented the same amount of time that it took to watch them. Real time is an interesting narrative strategy. It hasn't been used a lot in TV or film, but several great TV episodes and movies have employed the device expertly.