Oftentimes, words alone can only communicate so much. Prose authors will explore the limits of their medium by weaving together literary techniques like metaphor and personification for deliciously descriptive passages. Take for example this description of monsoon season from Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things:”
“Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty, carpet bombing still, tea-colored puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-colored minds. The grass looked wetgreen and pleased.”
We are living in an age of inequality and injustice, made worse by an increasingly divisive political atmosphere. Politics aside, some injustices are so ingrained in our society that we are desensitized to them. If they don’t directly affect our lives, we may forget they exist. But, as a society, we should not allow ourselves to forget that injustice is a part of our world and that we cannot sit idly by and allow it to continue.
“[T]he character of our society … cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation.” — Bryan Stevenson, “Just Mercy”
Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer dedicated to representing those on death row and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. He may be the best known advocate for compassion and reform within the American justice system. His book, “Just Mercy,” is a powerful examination of the injustice prevalent in our justice system. Stevenson humanizes prisoners, even those who have spent years on death row. He focuses on the case of Walter McMillan, a young black man on death row for a murder he did not commit. Stevenson relays, in heartbreaking detail, the obstacles and challenges in getting an innocent man off death row, a process that takes years. He reveals the biases that influence decisions and the convoluted workings of the courts which keep innocent people trapped in the system. Continue reading “Literary Links: An Age of Injustice”
Your Classics Maven is excited to share that I have a work in progress, titled* “Classics for Everyone: the Musical.” I’ll outline the concept here.
A group of late authors who have penned works of classic literature decide to check in on earth from the spirit world. They discover their books have been adapted into wildly popular musical theater productions.
Victor Hugo speaks first. “I hear the people sing. They’re songs related to my 1,200+ page novel.” “Les Miserables,” first published in 1862, follows the life of Jean Valjean, a man imprisoned for stealing bread. Later, his attempts to rebuild his life while raising an adopted daughter are complicated by the relentless pursuit of the singularly-focused Inspector Javer. It’s a story of poverty, wealth, justice, vengeance, revolution, redemption, and every other theme Victor Hugo could cram in, plus treatises on engineering. In my script, Hugo learns that readers found his central story so enthralling it has endured to be adapted into many different forms over the years, including a board book. The stage musical, by Claude-Michel Schӧnberg and Alain Boublil, has run continuously on London’s West End since 1985. The movie was released six years ago this month. Continue reading “Classics for Everyone: The Musical”
The winter holiday season has arrived and many of us are thinking about gift-giving, which for folks who like to use their hands, means that the season of gift-making has begun. In my humble opinion, hand making gifts is, hands down, much more satisfying than shopping for gifts at the mall or online. If you’d like to give a handmade gift this season, there are two fun and interesting crafting options being offered by DBRL for you to try: basket weaving and needle felting with wool. Both are tactility and visually pleasing activities and if approached with a relaxed attitude (no hurrying yourself), then you might find the repetitive nature of this work to be a soothing agent to any holiday stress you’ve accumulated.
First up: basket weaving (or basket making, if you prefer). Everyone knows what a basket is, right? It’s a vessel or container, created by weaving pliable materials together. Probably every single one of us has at least one basket in our house, but most likely several or many of various shapes and sizes, used for storing something like dinner napkins, or for serving bread at the dining table. Baskets are a form of functional art and have lent beauty to the rituals of daily living for thousands of years. This ancient craft, dating back to at least as early as 12,000 years ago, can be done utilizing traditional materials (i.e. vines, grasses, pine needles, reeds, etc.) or using less conventional materials, like paper strips or wire. I’m intrigued by the idea of upcycling materials, such as worn out clothing, to fashion a basket, thereby making functional art from something that would otherwise end up in the landfill. If you’d like to weave a basket, come by Southern Boone County Public Library on Saturday, December 8, from 1-3 p.m. Materials will be provided. Continue reading “Winter Holiday Season Handcrafting Opportunities!”
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this December. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
“The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors” by Charles Krauthammer
For longtime readers and newcomers alike, “The Point of It All” is a timely and much needed demonstration of what it means to cut through the noise of petty politics with clarity, integrity and intellectual fortitude. The book is a reminder of what made Charles Krauthammer the most celebrated American columnist and political thinker of his generation, a look at the man behind the words, and a lasting testament to his belief that anyone with an open and honest mind can grapple deeply with the most urgent questions in politics and life. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: December 2018”
With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is under way. The city of Columbia has a number of events that are being held around town. Why not kick off the holidays with a tour of Columbia homes beautifully decorated for the season. Starting November 30, the Holiday Home Tour will feature four homes in Southwest Columbia with a guided walk through so you can learn about the features and decor of each home. Dates, ticket locations, and event details can be found on the Columbia Tribune website.
Want to add some extra holiday flair to your own house? Flowers and greenery make wonderful decorations. Check out “Silk Florals for the Holidays” to learn how to create and arrange your own silk floral arrangements. Floral arrangements are perfect for the holidays since they don’t require any watering and won’t wilt, letting you enjoy your festive decor all season long! Also, if winter puts you in the crafting mood, check out “Origami Decorations for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa“! Using step-by-step instructions and color diagrams, this book shows you how to create ornaments and 3-D models that will delight the whole family! Never tried origami before? Don’t worry! This book will guide you with paper-folding techniques and tips on adapting to different papers and sizes. Continue reading “Holiday Events in Mid-Missouri”
Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Dewey Decimal Diver
The neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, has gotten a lot of public attention ever since the Ice Bucket Challenge gained internet fame in 2014. In the wake of this newfound interest, several ALS-related documentaries have been released which explore the impact of this disease on individuals and families. Check out these documentaries featuring subjects with ALS.
At the age of 34, Steve Gleason, former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero, was diagnosed with ALS. Doctors gave him two to five years to live. So that is what Steve chose to do: live. This film incorporates personal video journals from Gleason for his then-unborn son to footage of his adventures undertaken as part of his mission to live his life to the fullest. Continue reading “Ice Bucket List: Docs Featuring Subjects With ALS”
At the end of each year, LibraryReads asks librarians to pick their favorite book out of a pool of those that have been featured throughout the year. This year, we have a great mix, including a memoir, some romance, a little mythology and some suspense. Check out these librarian favorites of 2018.
“In her memoir, Westover recounts her childhood growing up in a strict Mormon family, ruled by an erratic father and living off the grid in Idaho. Westover compellingly sketches her years growing up, her relationships with siblings, encounters in the town nearby, and the events that eventually drove her to leave and pursue formal education. For fans of Jeannette Walls’ ‘The Glass Castle.’” ~Andrea Gough, Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WAContinue reading “Library Reads: Favorite of Favorites 2018”
As a barrage of sneezes echos through the stacks, I have to accept that temperatures are falling. At home, I plow through my cold weather drawer only to find one lonely, taunting glove.
“You lost my twin!” it whines.
“You’re not so special,” I think.
This happens every year. I suppose it’s time to cast on a new pair. Rather than feel annoyed at myself, I see this as an opportunity to create, to flex my purling muscles, to track down some alpaca wool in my mom’s massive yarn stash. Truly, there are few things more satisfying than donning your own handiwork, though the knitting process itself can also reap many rewards. These can range from mindfulness practice and stress management to loosening arthritic joints and other boosts to your mental and physical health. Knitting circles, which are ubiquitous among the many nooks and crannies of the library, not only encourage members along in their projects but also foster camaraderie, creativity and accountability. Continue reading “Winter Warm-Up: Knits”