Spring Break and Learn

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by JessB

Spring is a great time to travel and enjoy a change of scenery. With Spring Break quickly approaching, many students and families are planning trips or deciding how to make the most of the upcoming break. Whether you are traveling for a change of scenery or warmer temperatures, consider learning something new on your trip. There are many destinations where you can explore a new culture, learn the local history of an area or engage in fun activities!

Daniel Boone - Lofaro, Michael A.

As an archaeologist, I love getting to explore the prehistory and history that Missouri has to offer. You can explore Graham Cave State Park in Montgomery City, Missouri where artifacts were discovered in a cave occupied by prehistoric people between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago. The park is also a great spot for hiking, camping, and fishing with over 300 acres including the Graham Cave Glades Natural Area. You could also check out the petroglyphs at Thousand Hills State Park in Kirksville, Missouri. Petrogylphs are prehistoric rock carvings that were made by intentionally pecking, incising or carving to remove part of the rock’s surface. At Thousand Hills, you can also enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and fishing in the beautiful Forest Lake. You can also visit Defiance, Missouri to see the historic home of Daniel Boone, an early pioneer who eventually settled in what is now St. Charles County. The Boone home is part of a county park that includes a general store, a schoolhouse, and a gristmill. If you want to learn more, the library has several biographies of Daniel Boone including “Daniel Boone: An American Life” and even a compilation of interviews from his son Nathan Boone! Continue reading “Spring Break and Learn”

Read Harder 2019: An Epistolary Novel or Collection of Letters

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2019 by Ida

Harriet the SpyOn the list of books that represent turning points in my reading life, “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh is somewhere in the top five. The story taught me an important life lesson – “There are as many ways to live as there are people in the world.” Harriet is an authentic and relatable character who records observations about residents of her neighborhood (her spy route) in a secret notebook. When I read the novel in fifth grade, my eyes opened wide at the new-to-me method of storytelling, which I would later learn is called epistolary.

I was thrilled to see 2019’s Read Harder Challenge includes a category for an epistolary novel or collection of letters. For the purpose of the challenge, Book Riot uses the Wikipedia definition: “An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used.” Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: An Epistolary Novel or Collection of Letters”

Not Another Ides of March Think Piece

Posted on Friday, March 15, 2019 by Cap'n Ludd

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11343352 ****on pg. 25
Caesar’s assassination from Classics Illustrated #68.

Another revolution around the sun and the ill-fated ides of March are here once again. I prophesy we’re due for an op-ed or two ruminating on parallels between our current political moment, the bloody last days of the Roman Republic and Shakespeare’s dramatized version of events. Could I be skilled in the ancient arts of harupsicy? Or am I simply recognizing what the classics do best, i.e. in the words of Jyotsna G. Singh “provide us with a complex, poetic language for imagining and interpreting the intractable world in which we live.”

The times are ripe for comparison, particularly as established leaders abroad like the embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are all facing significant challenges to their power, not to mention our own soap-operatic political spectacle unfolding at home. For some however, such suggestion of analogy with the ides of March draws ire.

But if all this phrase brings to mind is some hazy memory of the 2011 George Clooney election drama, no shame. Let’s review.

  • Ides – A term in the Roman calendar marking a month’s first full moon, which falls during the middle of that month.
  • The ides of March — Literally, March 15th. In history, the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C., which precipitated years of further* civil war and solidified Rome’s future as an empire under one ruler. Symbolically, an omen of political insurgency or, in general, betrayal. *The Republic had already been embroiled in civil war as Caesar crossed the Rubicon five years prior. This step ignited war with rival Pompey’s armies and paved the way to Caesar’s appointment as “Dictator perpetuo”.
  • Beware the ides of March” – A soothsayer’s unheeded warning to Caesar from Act I, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.” Caesar notoriously shrugs off this prophecy, merely claiming, “He is a dreamer.” And the rest is history.

Continue reading “Not Another Ides of March Think Piece”

New DVD List: Makala, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & More

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Makala imageHere is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

Makala DVD coverMakala
Website / Reviews
Shown previously at the True False Film Fest, this documentary focuses on a 28-year-old man living in Congo with his wife and daughters who dreams of purchasing a plot of land on which to build his family a home by selling charcoal. Featuring stunning cinematography, the film is a powerful testament to one man’s commitment to his family, and his endurance in working to provide them with a brighter future.

Can You Ever Forgive Me DVD coverCan You Ever Forgive Me?
Website / Reviews
Playing last year at Ragtag Cinema, this film is inspired by the true story of author Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn & Tallulah Bankhead. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack. Continue reading “New DVD List: Makala, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & More”

The Gentleman Recommends: Tim Wirkus

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2019 by Chris

I like my reading material like I like my nachos: with several delicious layers. “The Infinite Future” meets this criteria. In Tim Wirkus’s novel a character named Tim Wirkus runs into an old college classmate. Intriguing! What has the classmate been up to? How is it going? Do they remember the eccentric professor? There is so much to discuss when you see an acquaintance for the first time in years, but rather than mine their lives for stimulating conversation, the classmate urges Wirkus to run a manuscript by his agent. Wirkus has to spend time in an airport, so with his other reading material, laptop, tablet, phone, and e-reader lost or damaged (I assume), Wirkus settles on reading the unsolicited manuscript.

"The Infinite Future" book coverThe manuscript begins with a translator’s note by Danny Laszlo (Wirkus’s former classmate). It’s the story of how Danny came to acquire the manuscript he translates. Danny goes to Brazil on a grant from an organization that wants him to write about Mormon missionary work there. Instead, with significant prodding from an obsessed librarian, he joins a hunt for a missing manuscript from an obscure science fiction author. Danny scatters summaries of the obscure author’s work throughout his translator’s note, and these are treats for anyone who has or would enjoy the work of Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout. The librarian shows Danny a book proposal for a missing manuscript called “The Infinite Future.” The proposal sells it as a “prophetic text on par with the Holy Bible or I Ching.” Danny and the librarian buy the hype.

Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Tim Wirkus”

Literary Links: Activism in Women’s History

Posted on Sunday, March 10, 2019 by Anne

Change is inevitable. But change does not have to be random; it can be strongly influenced by people who speak up and take action. Activists are a key component of change, shining a light on the issues at hand, ensuring they are not forgotten until they are resolved. During this Women’s History Month, let us reflect on the role women have played as activists both in this country and around the world. As Margaret Mead is thought to have said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward HoweJulia Ward Howe is probably most well-known for writing the anthem “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861. She was also an abolitionist and active in the women’s suffrage movement. Her activism was inspired by her marriage to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Despite being an activist himself, Howe’s husband did not approve of married women working outside the house and he tried to stifle his wife’s ambitions of being a writer. In “The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe” author Elaine Showalter explores Howe’s unhappy marriage and how it helped shape her into an important early voice for women’s rights both in and outside of the home. Continue reading “Literary Links: Activism in Women’s History”

Read Harder 2019: An Alternate History Novel

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2019 by Alyssa

As a chronic overthinker, I spend a lot of time and mental energy asking, “What if?” Therefore, it is surprising that I haven’t really ventured into what is basically a What If genre. That’s the point of Read Harder though – branching out. Alternate history novels describe a re-imagined world in which an element of history is changed. DBRL’s catalog has a long list of alternate history novels to satisfy this Read Harder task, and I would like to highlight a few.

Cover of The Only Harmless Great ThingThe Only Harmless Great Thing” is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It imagines a combination between “The Radium Girls” and Topsy the Elephant, and I have to concur with my colleague The Gentleman that it can be hard to avoid the allure of a glowing elephant. The language in this book is remarkable. The prose reads so much like poetry in the sense that it is rhythmic and loaded with unexpected but shrewd imagery. In only 92 pages, Bolander sent me to a dictionary (okay, Google) four times. Though short, the books delves into the matriarchal social workings of the elephants and their clash with human greed and class struggles in a way that is compelling and heartbreaking. Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: An Alternate History Novel”

Know Your Dystopias: Lazarus

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by Eric

"Lazarus, Volume One" CoverIn the comic book series “Lazarus” by Greg Rucka, the world is divided into swaths of land each ruled by a different family. The nation states we currently know have been swallowed up by these families. Each territory is a feudal system with three distinct social classes — family, serfs and wastes. We do not see how the world became this way or, for example, how the Carlyle family came to control Duluth Minnesota. What we do see is a stark world of haves and have-nots where the haves use their ample resources to fight each other for more.

The central character is Forever Carlyle, the “Lazarus” of the Carlyle family. The lazarus for each family is a member chosen to represent them in combat. They have been trained their entire lives and artificially enhanced to be outstanding fighters. As Forever learns more about her family, her place in it and the way this world works she begins to question it. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Lazarus”

Nonfiction Roundup: March 2019

Posted on Monday, March 4, 2019 by Liz

Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this March. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.

Top Picks

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals” by Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in the light of other people– whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee– instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die: How the Allies Won on D-Day” by Giles Milton

A ground-breaking gripping account of the first 24 hours of the D-Day invasion told by a symphony of incredible accounts of unknown and unheralded members of the Allied – and Axis – forces by one of the world’s most lively historians. An epic battle that involved 156,000 men, 7,000 ships, and 20,000 armored vehicles, the desperate struggle that unfolded on 6 June 1944 was, above all, a story of individual heroics- of men who were driven to keep fighting until the German defenses were smashed and the precarious beachheads secured. This authentic human story – Allied, German, French – has never fully been told.  Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: March 2019”

Patron Review: The Outsider

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2019 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

The Outsider book cover

How can someone be in two places at once? Stephen King and his fictional investigators examine this question in “The Outsider” as they investigate a horrific murder. An upstanding member of the community is accused after numerous witnesses attest that he committed the crime, but he has proof that he did not. Soon, the investigators learn that something similar happened in another case. In typical King fashion, a supernatural explanation turns out to be the solution to the puzzle. King combines elements of horror, the supernatural and mystery in this captivating (and terrifying) read.

Three words that describe this book: horror, mystery, supernatural

You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy Dean Koontz, John Saul, horror novels

-Sarah