Read Harder 2019: A Book of Humor

Posted on Monday, February 18, 2019 by Reading Addict

This task is rather hard to write about because it is so subjective. There have been a lot of books that people have handed me and said they were “just hilarious,” but I didn’t find them all that funny. I’ve also tried to pass on books I found funny to others just to have them flop. What can I tell you? A lot of humor comes down to timing. On the other hand, the task for the challenge is actually very easy, you just have to find a book, any book, that makes YOU laugh out loud. Maybe you can start with a comedian you really like and see if they have written a book, although that is no guarantee, either — Gilda Radner’s book was wonderful but it was NOT funny.

Here are some of my favorite books that made me laugh out loud and, if the timing is right, maybe they will work for you too. Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: A Book of Humor”

Cool Season Gardening

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019 by Larkspur

Although nowhere near the Master Gardener level, I’m a somewhat seasoned gardener. In fact, I’ve sown many vegetable/flower/herb seeds after the danger of frost has passed in the mid-spring of early May, planted through the summer months, and also well into mid-fall, when I annually bed down garlic cloves to slowly grow into harvestable bulbs by the following June. Recently I decided to indulge my love of milkweed, the host plant for Monarch butterflies, and purchased eight of the possible hundreds of varieties of milkweed seed. Upon their receipt in February, I will scatter them on the winter ground, so they will get the freeze they need to germinate this spring. It’s truly satisfying to grow some of my own food, and help tend a happy habitat of eye-catching, perennial wildflowers for birds and insects of all sorts, all the while being intimately engaged with the natural cycles of the seasons here on Mother Earth. Continue reading “Cool Season Gardening”

New DVD List: Brimstone & Glory & More

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

Brimstone and Glory image
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

Brimstone and Glory DVD coverBrimstone & Glory
Website / Reviews
Shown previously at the True False Film Fest and Center Aisle Cinema, this documentary focuses on the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico. For the three-quarters of Tultepec residents who work in pyrotechnics, the festival anchors their way of life. It is an explosive event with unrestrained delight and real peril. Plunging headlong into the fire, this film honors the spirit of Tultepec’s community and celebrates celebration itself. Continue reading “New DVD List: Brimstone & Glory & More”

Reader Review: The Night Circus

Posted on Monday, February 11, 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.

Night Circus book cover

The Night Circus” is about a mysterious circus that appears at night unannounced. Unbeknownst to the guests, the circus is actually the location of a duel between two young magicians. It’s a battle of imagination and will, and neither knows all the details of the game they’re really playing. I loved the writing. The slow burning romance was fantastic. I really enjoyed the mystery and never minded that it was a little slow at times. I jumped in without reading what it was about beforehand and I’m very glad I did!

Three words that describe this book: Magical, Enchanting, Whimsical

You might want to pick this book up if: You love stories about romance, magic and the circus.

-Jessica

Literary Links: All That’s Jazz!

Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2019 by Reading Addict

William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress (Holiday, Fitzgerald and Armstrong by William P. Gottlieb), derivative work: Piquito [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Jazz Appreciation Month is not until April, but let’s start early, especially since February is Black History Month, which should include jazz history, too. The very first jazz recording ever made was “Livery Stable Blues” by the Original Dixieland Jass Band on February 26, 1917. The entire band was white, led by coronet player Nick LaRocca, which allowed them the privilege of recording in a New York City studio just as the technology was being developed. Jazz actually began in New Orleans, and there were certainly black musicians who had been playing longer and better, but this first recording did allow the music to reach a broader audience. The form of jazz played by the ODJB is considered classic jazz and consisted of ensembles without an emphasis on solo artists. Just two years later, the band performed in London gaining an even wider exposure for jazz.

Readers who would like to explore the origins of jazz should check out “The History of Jazz” (Oxford University Press, 2011) by Ted Gioia and “The Jazz Book: From Ragtime to the 21st Century” (Lawrence Hill Books, 2009) by Joachim-Ernst Berendt. Both books pair well with the albums “The Music of the Americas” (Sony Music Entertainment, 2011) and “Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2010). Each of these albums include that very first jazz recording and many other highlights of jazz music up through the 2000s. If readers want a book with some wonderful pictures, “Jazz: A History of America’s Music” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000) by Geoffrey C. Ward is a great choice. Continue reading “Literary Links: All That’s Jazz!”

Know Your Dystopias: Romance!

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 by Eric

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and nothing says love quite like a totalitarian nightmare society or post-apocalyptic community of survivalists! The convergence of a romantic storyline and a dystopian world is actually not uncommon. Young adult novels often explore this territory, but it is not exclusive to that age group. Here’s a Valentine’s Day reading list where love is tested by bleak dystopias.

1984” by George Orwell is a classic. It has contributed terms like Orwellian, thoughtcrime and Big Brother to our lexicon, but it is not commonly thought of as a story about romance. However, it is a romantic connection that brings the main character, Winston, into conflict with Big Brother. The government sees that kind of relationship between two people as a threat, and the feelings that develop between Winston and Julia in turn make the government a threat to them. I won’t spoil how it ends, but it isn’t with someone receiving flowers or with Winston holding up a boombox outside Julia’s window, although that would be very ‘80s. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Romance!”

Debut Author Spotlight: February 2019

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by Katherine

It’s finally February and that means more debut novels from first-time fiction authors! And, as always, you can find a more complete list by visiting our catalog. Here’s hoping you discover a fabulous new author!

Girls at 17 Swann Street book coverThe Girls at 17 Swann Street” by Yara Zgheib

Former professional dancer Anna Roux weighs a shocking 88 pounds, but doesn’t think she has a problem with food, even though she only eats apples. Her idea of splurging is eating popcorn once a week. Her husband Matthias — with whom she moved to Missouri from Paris — is concerned, and when Anna passes out in the bathroom, they take the drastic step of going to 17 Swann Street, a residential facility for treating eating disorders. Her diagnosis: anorexia nervosa. There Anna begins a feeding program where she is forced to eat — every bite a trial and success brings only guilt — attend therapy and groups sessions, and deal with her complicated emotions surrounding food as she fights her way toward recovery. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: February 2019”

Nonfiction Roundup: February 2019

Posted on Monday, February 4, 2019 by Liz

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

Top Picks

Wild Bill book coverWild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter” by Tom Clavin

In July 1865, “Wild Bill” Hickok shot and killed Davis Tutt in Springfield, MO– the first quick-draw duel on the frontier. Thus began the reputation that made him a marked man to every gunslinger in the Wild West. The legend of Wild Bill has only grown since his death in 1876, when cowardly Jack McCall famously put a bullet through the back of his head during a card game. Bestselling author Tom Clavin has sifted through years of western lore to bring Hickok fully to life in this rip-roaring, spellbinding true story. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: February 2019”

Social Activism: Boone, Callaway and Beyond!

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2019 by Alyssa

Martin Luther King Jr quote on wall

Regardless of your political leanings, we all want to make the world a better place. Still, it’s so easy to feel powerless. From global issues to local issues, problems seem impossibly big and completely unchangeable. Where do you even start?

Luckily, people experienced in the field have offered advice. “Rules for Revolutionaries,” authored by the senior advisers of Bernie Sanders 2016 Cover of Road Map for Revolutionariespresidential campaign, provides 22 rules for “Big Organizing” to magnify a small grassroots movement into a large force for social change. In a similar vein, “Road Map for Revolutionaries” offers practical advice on attending protests, calling your representatives and leveraging social media for a cause. The book also gets into the grittier aspects of activism, such as what to do if you are arrested or tear-gassed. The layout features helpful charts and graphics, which make it easy to get the information you need with a quick glance. Continue reading “Social Activism: Boone, Callaway and Beyond!”

Reader Review: Chemistry

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 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.


Chemistry book cover
In “Chemistry: A Novel” our protagonist is a bit troubled and carries a lot of baggage, but damn if she doesn’t also create a lively and compelling journey through a rather tumultuous period in her life. She is second-guessing her career choice and her relationship choice and yet she flits from moment to moment in a way that has us (her readers) celebrating all her thoughts. Eric, her longtime boyfriend is an almost flawless (at least in her eyes) partner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they perfect for each other just now. She has been a science wiz kid all her life, but that doesn’t mean that chemistry is a perfect career path for her. Her parents have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to provide her with an opportunity at the American Dream, but that doesn’t mean that she owes them everything.

None of these important decisions are easy for a young adult, and that’s on full display here. But what’s also on display is the character’s lively internal life that helps us understand that the “important decisions” don’t really define a life. Can someone be happy being a tutor instead of a PhD? Quite possibly. Does that diminished status make her mind any less active and valuable? I don’t think so.

Three words that describe this book: Introspective, Lively, Compelling

You might want to pick this book up if: You’ve ever questioned your career path and life choices. If you’ve ever had a “quarter-life crises.”

-Xander