New D-List : Reading Across America

Are you ready to do some traveling?  Armchair traveling?  The newest D-List will let you experience every state in America.  It is called Reading Across America and is comprised of books set in all fifty states!  Buckle up in that armchair and let this set of books whisk you around the country.

If you are interested in the newest D-List, call the library at 515.281.1323 and ask to be signed up for the Reading Across America D-List.  We will then send you a special cartridge (in addition to your circulation cartridge) filled with books set in Alabama to Wyoming and everywhere in between.  Once you have listened to an installment, mail it back and we’ll reload it until you have read all 100 titles!

Below are past D-Lists that are still available to sign up for:

Books to Movies – includes books that have been made into movies

Plants in Name Only – includes books with a kind of plant or flower in the title.

TGAR (The Great American Read) – features the 100 books chosen during the PBS 2018 eight part series. Each cartridge will have ten of the 100 books from the Great American Read list.

VOICE (Voices Of Iowa Connecting Everyone) – features our local narrators and the great audio books they have recorded for our collection.

The Bookmark Series – 50 titles that we think would make a great movie for the Hallmark Channel.

Staff Picks  – filled with our staffs’ all-time favorite books.  As with our staff, there is a wide variety of books included, from true crime stories to romance to mystery to historical fiction.  With a little horror and fantasy thrown in there!

Library Chat Podcast: November 2020

November’s Library Chat focuses on humor and laughter. Library staff discuss humorous adult and youth books and what makes them laugh. They also discuss Laughter: The Best Medicine episode from the podcast Hidden Brain hosted by NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam.

Check out the book list below highlighting the books we discussed during the podcast.

Library Chat:  November 2020 Book List

Adult Titles

Good omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch : a novel  by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman  DB37043 BR21217

If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits? by Erma Bombeck DB11627  LT555

The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams  DB18339  BR14438

I feel bad about my neck: and other thoughts on being a woman by Nora Ephron  DB63378

Three men in a boat: (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome  DB66776  BRN10235

The world according to Garp: a novel by John Irving  DB11764

Why not me? by Mindy Kaling  DB82596

Live right and find happiness (although beer is much faster): life lessons and other ravings from Dave Barry  DB82269

A walk in the woods: rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail  by Bill Bryson  DB46519  LT5740

The life and times of the thunderbolt kid: a memoir by Bill Bryson DB63131  BR16929

Marley & me: life and love with the world’s worst dog by John Grogan  DB61561  BR16584

The importance of being earnest, and other plays by Oscar Wilde  DB26431  BRN8395

If you ask me: (and of course you won’t) by Betty White DB73334  LT10032

Skinny dip by Carl Hiaasen  DB58649  LT7552

Children and Youth Titles

Princess and the pony by Kate Beaton  DB83927  Print/Braille

Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus! by Mo Willems  DBO00481  Print/Braille

The book with no pictures by B.J. Novak  DBC09571  Print/Braille

Also check out the library’s monthly Library News podcast and Braille Bits podcast.  Check out the library’s Podcast Page for information on all the library’s podcasts and episodes.

Beyond the Book

Beyond the Book with Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

This month we are going Beyond the Book with Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf (DB96617).  Before She Was Found is “a gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town. For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover–movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences. Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora–and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted–not even those closest to Cora. Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe–even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.”–Provided by publisher.

Heather Gudenkauf is a bestselling author of many mystery/thriller books.  She currently lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her family.   But she spent a lot of her childhood in Mason City, Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa. I was able to hear Ms. Gudenkauf speak recently at the Iowa Library Association Annual Conference and she is a very calming, insightful speaker.  She possesses a great love of libraries and talked about her many memories using libraries throughout her life, especially the Mason City Public Library.  This summer she did an interview series with other bestselling authors and their pets called Sidekicks and Sidetrips.  It’s a fun, entertaining way to learn about other authors.  You can find these interviews on her website  If you like mysteries, Heather Gudenkauf is the author for you!

Next time we will go Beyond the Book with Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (DB74646).  Ms. Strayed recounts the three-month, 1,100-mile solo hike she took on a whim in 1995, after years of devastating personal losses. She describes her encounters with rattlesnakes, locals, fellow hikers, and her own thoughts during her trek from Los Angeles to Washington State on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Call the library to request this book and we can take her journey together. Once you have read it, call or email with your review or thoughts.  You might hear your words in the next Beyond the Book segment in the January Library News. We would love to hear from you!  Call 515.452.1329 or email

Thanks for reading with us!

Join the Friends of the Library for Their Annual Meeting and Special Presentations

This year the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will hold their Annual Board meeting online on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at 2 p.m. The meeting will feature an address from Karen Keninger, Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in the Library of Congress, and Peggy Chong, the Blind History Lady. Both women were instrumental in founding The Friends in 2005.

Friends of the Library Virtual Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 12, 2020 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm
The annual meeting will include presentations and the business meeting
Special Presentations By:

  • Karen Keninger, Library Director for the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled
  • Emily Wharton, Director of the Iowa Department for the Blind
  • Peggy Chong, The Blind History Lady

Registration for the Friends of the Library Annual Meeting

For information on how to join the Friends of the Iowa and learn more their history, see their website at