The Gentleman Recommends: Shirley Barrett

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2019 by Chris

I picked up “The Bus on Thursday” by Shirley Barrett because the cover has a disembodied hand on it. It’s creepy and striking, much like disembodied hands are when they don’t appear on book covers. After reading the first sentence (“I was at work scratching my armpit.”), I knew I’d have to read the whole book. Would the scratching alleviate or aggravate the itch in her pit? These are the sort of hooks novelists spend their lives searching for.

"The Bus on Thursday" Book Cover

Immediately, subsequent sentences turn the outcome of the itch into a triviality: she’d discovered a lump, and it was cancer. Soon after being told she won’t be able to have kids until her late 30s, her best friend announces her own pregnancy on social media with a particularly annoying post. Eleanor decides to move from the big city and take a teaching job in small, cute, and creepy town. She’s replacing a beloved teacher who recently disappeared, and she can move into the teacher’s former home, complete with thirty plus locks on the door, immediately. Between the missing teacher and the preponderance of locks on her door, the reader may venture to assume something strange is afoot. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Shirley Barrett”

It’s Time for the Fourth Annual Unbound Book Festival!

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 by Reading Addict

Unbound Book Festival LogoThis is the fourth year for the Unbound Book Festival and it just gets bigger and better every year! I’m so grateful to be living in such a bookish town!

"Luincoln in the Bardo" Book Cover

"Fox *" Book Cover

The keynote speaker this year is George Saunders, who will grace us at The Missouri Theater on April 19 at 7:30. Tickets were free (as is everything with the festival), but the space is limited so I hope you were able get yours back in January for this sold out event! If not, you can still try to get in last minute. Just show up a little early for the “no ticket” line. There are bound to be a few seats open. Saunder’s first novel length book, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” won the 2017 Man Booker Prize along with a fist full of other accolades. Our very own gentleman wrote about it in “The Gentleman Reccomends” blog series. He describes the book as “a fancy genius writer’s take on historical fiction, and it’s about, among other things, a brilliant president’s grief and a bunch of ghosts too scared and stubborn to move on from this realm, so they’re stuck in this one, in the same cemetery as Abraham Lincoln’s recently deceased son.” Saunder’s new book, “Fox 8,” is an environmental fable and has also received high praise.

Earlier in the day on Friday, from 4pm-6pm, there will be poetry readings at Cafe Berlin. According to the Unbound website, “The event will be MC’d by T’Keyah Thomas, who is on the Unbound programming committee. TK is a poet and community organizer living in Columbia, MO. She’s an on-air announcer and producer for KBIA and is the host and co-founder of the spoken word collective, OneMic.” Among the many poets performing will be Jennifer Maritza McCauley and Marc McKee. Continue reading “It’s Time for the Fourth Annual Unbound Book Festival!”

Alzheimer’s Disease and Personhood

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2019 by Cap'n Ludd

book cover age of dignityFor several years now, folks from the Alzheimer’s Association have partnered with us at DBRL to host informational sessions on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. With these events coming up again, I began lookingand I didn’t need to look far— for narratives of those experiencing Alzheimer’s, whether first hand or in a loved one. Case in point, while progressing through The Sopranos as quickly as I can stomach, my favorite character has developed the symptoms between disorientation, muddled memories and straying far from home. With this content all around, I’ve realized how commonly writers draw on their own experiences to take up this heavy subject. Alzheimer’s looms large over our society, especially as we are living longer in what Ai-jen Poo calls an “elder boom.” It can bring some of our worst fears of impermanence to head, so we may find solace in stories that help us share the load and reckon with this social reality.

When authors write Alzheimer’s and dementia narratives, they often confront core questions of identity, transition, and loss. In his New Yorker essay, A Place Beyond Words, author Stefan Merrill Block asks,

“How do you locate the personhood in someone who is, for neurobiological reasons, no longer the person you knew? Is there a way to be true to medical fact and still find something that is transcendently human?” 

Continue reading “Alzheimer’s Disease and Personhood”

Literary Links: Welcome to the Anthropocene

Posted on Sunday, April 14, 2019 by Eric

The consensus in the scientific community is that we are in an age where human activity has had a defining impact on our environment. This is being taken seriously by many sectors of our society, such as the insurance industry, the intelligence community and the military. Welcome to the “Anthropocene.” This somewhat ungainly term has been adopted by many to define our current geologic age, the time period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Naming this period is an attempt to reframe our way of seeing the natural world, to bring to light our impact on it and our responsibility towards it.

"Living in the Anthropocene" Book Cover

Earth Day was originally proposed by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in reaction to a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California — a very concrete example of human impact on the environment. So for this Earth Day, April 22, it would be fitting to read some books about our impact on the natural world and what we can change about it.

Living in the Anthropocene” (Smithsonian Books, 2017) is a collection of 32 essays by leading thinkers exploring the idea of the Anthropocene from scientific, anthropological, social, artistic and economic points of view. Each explores not only the ways we have changed the environment, but also our potential responses to those changes. Continue reading “Literary Links: Welcome to the Anthropocene”

Your Digital Legacy

Posted on Friday, April 12, 2019 by Seth

Several years ago the New York Times published an article about creating your digital legacy, a piece that echoed many of the thoughts that preservation specialists have been expressing since the advent of the internet: what happens to our digital photos, online accounts, and other items stored on remote hard-drives and in the cloud when we are no longer able to maintain them?  What are some of the best strategies for organizing these collections and accounts?  Who has access to our usernames and passwords after we die? What happens after the androids rise up and enslave us all?

Fortunately, archivists, librarians and preservation organizations have taken these questions very seriously. In 2005, Preservation Week was established by the American Library Association in an effort to educate the general public on practical strategies for taking care of their priceless artifacts and digital collections.  In 2014 the Daniel Boone Regional Library began offering a Personal Archiving course that teaches some of the basics behind digital preservation. In the five years this course has been offered we have also assisted patrons with digitization; scanning hundreds of family photos, slides and documents in our Studio digital lab. The library also offers many complimentary classes such as Windows 10, Basic File Management, iCloud and Google Photos to assist patrons with other aspects of file and cloud storage. Continue reading “Your Digital Legacy”

New DVD List: Free Solo & More

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Dewey Decimal Diver

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

Free Solo
Website / Reviews
Playing last year at Ragtag Cinema, this film is a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock… the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park… without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Continue reading “New DVD List: Free Solo & More”

Read Harder 2019: A Book Written in Prison

Posted on Monday, April 8, 2019 by Alyssa

Photo of jail cell through Prison bars.
CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

For about as long as society has existed, so has incarceration. From Socrates to Boethius to Oscar Wilde and beyond, philosophers and writers have often found themselves on the punitive end of a criminal justice system. Even behind bars, though, many managed to produce compelling and inspirational works.

Social activists are often imprisoned for their efforts. During his 27 year incarceration, Nelson Mandela wrote letters to family, fellow activists, government officials, and prison authorities. 255 of these letters are published, and offer an inspiring glimpse into Mandela’s altruism and powerful optimism. Mahatma Ghandi, the pioneer of non-violent protest himself, wrote his autobiography, “The Story of My Experiments With Truth,” at the urging of a fellow prisoner at Yerwada Central Jail. Martin Luther King, Jr., an activist heavily inspired by Ghandi’s example, spent eleven days behind bars. During that time, he penned “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” Both Ghandi and King cited Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On Civil Disobedience” as an influence. Thoreau wrote the essay while imprisoned for refusing to pay taxes that would fund a war he considered unjust. Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: A Book Written in Prison”

Debut Author Spotlight: March/April 2019

Posted on Friday, April 5, 2019 by Katherine

Here are a few of the debut novels that came out in March 2019 which are generating a lot of buzz. A longer list of debut titles can be found by  visiting our catalog.

The Devil Aspect” by Craig Russell

Czechoslovakia, 1935. Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane houses six of the most depraved murderers in the country, known as the Devil’s Six. Newly arrived from Prague, where a Jack the Ripper copycat known as Leather Apron is terrorizing the city, psychiatrist Viktor Kosárek delves into the inner-workings of the criminal mind. Kosárek is searching for the motivation that drives a person to commit atrocious acts of violence, a quality he calls the devil aspect. Meanwhile Prague police captain Luk Smolk finds a tiny piece of evidence at the most recent Leather Apron crime scene which he hopes will lead him to the serial killer, but first it leads him to the asylum and the Devil’s Six.

A Memory Called Empire” by Arkady Martine

A murder in space. Mahit Dzmare is summoned to court as the new ambassador to the imperializing Teixcalaanli Empire from her small, but independent, mining station after her predecessor, Yskandr, dies. No one will admit the previous ambassador was murdered, and Mahit must carefully navigate the alien culture of the Teixcalaanli, aided by her fluency in their language and Yskadr’s implanted memories. However, she soon learns that those memories are out of date, possibly even sabotaged, and she is forced to rely on her wits to protect her station, uncover the truth, and resist the seductive nature of the imperial court. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: March/April 2019”

Bee Positive!

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 by Alyssa

A bumble-bee examining a tagetes flower.
“A bumble-bee on a flower,” Christian Bauer [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
I personally owe bees so much. Without their pollination, we would not have coffee, a substance on which I am wholly dependent. All of my favorite fruits (apples, peaches, mangoes, bananas, melons, and cherries) depend on bees, as well as my favorite flower – sunflowers! As someone who can’t have dairy, I rely on almonds, cashews and coconuts for essentials like ice cream and coffee creamer. What would I even eat without bees?

Aside from being helpful, bees are fascinating creatures. They are amazing communicators. Whenever worker bees return to the hive, they perform a dance composed of figure eights and waggles to indicate where food sources are. Bees can beat their wings 200 times per minute. The average worker bee lives around five to six weeks and produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in that time. Despite their short life spans, bees typically manage to produce 2-3 times the amount of honey they need for the Winter. Continue reading “Bee Positive!”

Nonfiction Roundup: April 2019

Posted on Monday, April 1, 2019 by Liz

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

Top Picks

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win WWII” by Sarah Rose

In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was fighting. Churchill believed Britain was locked in an existential battle and created a secret agency, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whose spies were trained in everything from demolition to sharp-shooting. Their job, he declared, was “to set Europe ablaze!” But with most men on the frontlines, the SOE did something unprecedented: it recruited women. Thirty-nine women answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France. Half were caught, and a third did not make it home alive. In “D-Day Girls,” Sarah Rose draws on recently declassified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the story of three of these women: Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissac, and Andrée Borrel. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: April 2019”