Previous Docs From True/False 2017 Directors

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by Dewey Decimal Diver

True/False image with neonWe’ve compiled a list of previous documentaries available at DBRL from the directors who are presenting films at the upcoming True/False Film Fest. Check out their old films before you attend the fest for their new films!

Alma Har’el
True/False 2017 film: “LoveTrue
Past film as director: “Bombay Beach

Amir Bar-Lev
True/False 2017 film: “Long Strange Trip
Past film as director: “Happy Valley,” “The Tillman Story,” “My Kid Could Paint That

Andreas Dalsgaard
True/False 2017 film (co-director): “The War Show
Past film as director: “The Human Scale

Peter Nicks
True/False 2017 film:  “The Force
Past films as directors: “The Waiting Room

Steve James
True/False 2017 film: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Past films as director: “Life Itself,” “The Interrupters,” “No Crossover,” “At the Death House Door,” “Reel Paradise,” “Hoop Dreams

To see more about the films showing at True/False 2017, check out the list of films on the True/False website. Be sure to check out our True/False Film Fest films at DBRL to see lists of past True/False films available from your library.

Presidential Biographies, Presidential Confidantes

Posted on Monday, February 20, 2017 by Seth

Presidential biography is a popular form of nonfiction. There are some true classics out there; I consider Carl Sandburg’s lyrical tribute to Abraham Lincoln one example of biography as fine literature. What about the biographies and stories of those who influenced the president — advisers and friends, even family? Where do these lie in the pantheon? As it turns out, there are a lot of them, and we carry many in our collection here at the library.  (Although I do not believe a biography currently exists about Steve Bannon, one day soon there may be many.)

First, let’s go back in time about 80 years. A little known figure and private secretary in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inner circle, Missy Lehand, was one of the few very close advisers to the The Gatekeeper book coverpresident. In “The Gatekeeper” by Kathryn Smith, this relationship is explored in depth. Indeed, Missy Lehand was the first person in the White House to learn about World War II: “The ringing of Missy’s bedside phone jarred her awake sometime after two on the morning of Friday, September 1, 1939. Could she authorize the switchboard operator to wake him?” Smith argues that not only did Lehand have unfettered access to the president, she was also extremely influential in the construction of the myriad government services needed for the New Deal. Continue reading “Presidential Biographies, Presidential Confidantes”

Ghost Towns: Escaping Into the Past

Posted on Friday, February 17, 2017 by cs

photo of ghost townIf you have ever made the drive to St. Louis from Columbia, you might have noticed a house that has been deteriorating for at least the last 30 years. I have watched it over the years as I drive back and forth; each time it is a little more dilapidated. It used to have a porch. That is gone now. The roof, windows and door frame sag; vines and bushes have grown around and throughout the house. Yet, you can tell it was a good, solid house at one point. I hope that it had a time of being cherished and a place people lovingly called home. Continue reading “Ghost Towns: Escaping Into the Past”

Exploring the Underground Railroad

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Anne

map of Underground RailroadLiving in a world that is so connected through the internet and social media, it is difficult to imagine how in a world connected mostly by pen, paper and telegraph, the Underground Railroad, a collaboration of somewhat random individuals across the country, managed to connect and bring so many people to safety. Around 30,000 slaves managed to escape the binds of slavery on the railroad. Here are a few titles you can find in the library that explore the Underground Railroad, the people who found safe passage through it and the individuals whose courageous efforts made it possible. Continue reading “Exploring the Underground Railroad”

The Gentleman Recommends: George Saunders (Again)

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2017 by Chris

If you’re reading this on the day it is posted or on the anniversary of the day it is posted (a safe bet as, delusions of grandeur aside, there can be little doubt that reading this post will join the pantheon of Valentine’s Day traditions), then tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and you will agree it is an appropriate time to prattle on about love. I’ll commence the prattling by saying this post is about the sweet, tender love a gentleman feels for one of our greatest writers. Rabid fans (are there any other kind?) of this series of blog posts will remember as clearly as their first kiss that the first author this gentleman recommended was George Saunders.

Lincoln in the Bardo book coverMy massive army of admirers may wonder: why recommend him again? Well, such is my passion for Saunders’ humane, hilarious and one-of-a-kind storytelling that I’ve been making passionate pitches to re-recommend him nearly every month. The editorial board has gently rejected my heartfelt pleas and pathetic attempts at bribery (“no one wants another chapbook of your excruciating poetry,” they say, lying), encouraging me to shine my blinding, career-boosting light on authors I haven’t previously spotlighted. But Saunders has a new book, and so I was able to convince them that it’s time to let this gentleman’s light shine on him again. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: George Saunders (Again)”

Books on the Big Screen in 2017

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017 by Reading Addict

Hidden Figures book to movie coverI’m sure you’ve already heard a lot about “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. It’s the true story of the female African-American mathematicians who worked for NASA to help get John Glenn into space, among many other achievements. The movie starring Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer and Dorothy Vaughan just won the Screen Actors Guild Award for best cast, and it’s been nominated for three Oscars and two Golden Globes. I read the book before I saw the movie, and I loved it. I have to admit that this is one of the fewThe Zookeeper's Wife book cover movies that I love just as much as the book, if not more! I hope it wins every award.

Also coming out soon is “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman, with an expected release date of March 31. It’s the true story of how the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from the Nazis by smuggling them in empty cages. The movie will star Jessica Chastain and Daniel Bruhl. It looks like it’s The Circle book covergoing to be incredible, and if we hurry, we just might have enough time to read it before the movie comes out. Continue reading “Books on the Big Screen in 2017”

New DVD List: The JT LeRoy Story, Zero Days, & More

Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 by Dewey Decimal Diver

JT Leory Story film still

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

Author DVD coverAuthor: The JT LeRoy Story

Website / Reviews / Trailer
Presented at the True/False Film Fest in 2016, this film tells the story behind literary persona JT LeRoy, the fictional writer created by American author Laura Albert. This epic and entertaining account plunges us into a glittery world of rock shows, fashion events, and the Cannes red carpet where LeRoy becomes a sensation. As she recounts her odyssey, Albert also reveals the intricate web spun by her irrepressible creative forces. Continue reading “New DVD List: The JT LeRoy Story, Zero Days, & More”

Nonfiction Roundup: February 2017

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 by Kirk

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


Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari book coverHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” by Yuval Noah Harari

The author of the best-selling “Sapiens” examines humanity’s triumphs over famine, plague and war during the twentieth century and looks to the issues, such as artificial intelligence and overcoming death, that will shape the human agenda in the twenty-first century. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: February 2017”

Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2017 by Ida

Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation book coverThe history of school desegregation in the United States did not start with the well-known 1954 Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. A legal precedent had been set years earlier in a case involving Columbia, Missouri. In 1938, the Court issued a landmark ruling stating that the University of Missouri Law School could not deny a student admission based on race. The student in question was Lloyd Gaines, a Lincoln University graduate who met every other qualification for entry. Though he won his suit and paved the way for others, Gaines mysteriously disappeared without enrolling.

In their book, “Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation,” MU professors James W. Endersby and William T. Horner delve into the historical context of the case and explain how a Missouri college student of modest means came to be in the center of an action that helped lay a foundation for future civil rights gains in America. Continue reading “Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation”

How to Make Your Heart Happy

Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by Larkspur

heart-shaped jasper stone held in an open handWell, I wish that I could say this blog post was going to be a prescription, and, if followed, you would attain complete and utter uninterrupted emotional happiness, with your heart continuously effusing joy. Alas, the kind of “heart happy” addressed here is not that kind of happy, but the good health kind of happy (sorry if you’re disappointed!).

Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses book coverFebruary is American Heart Month (conveniently teamed in the same month as Valentine’s Day, so you have a chance to wedge in a bit of short-term, romance-happy for your heart on the 14th). It’s a good time to take stock of how your heart is doing since heart disease (also called cardiovascular disease) is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Did you know that annually, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease? That’s 25% … shocking! Continue reading “How to Make Your Heart Happy”