Imagine you go to school one morning to go on a field trip. Suddenly, you and your classmates wake up on an island. Each of you has an ominous metal collar around your neck. You are told you have to fight each other until only one of you is left alive. If you all refuse to kill each other those collars will start exploding. Worst day of school ever?
That is the premise of “Battle Royal” by Koushun Takami. This violent, action-packed novel tinged with teen angst was a controversial and unexpected hit in Japan in 1999. It was even rejected in the final round of the 1997 Japan Horror Fiction Awards because of its controversial content. The book was later adapted into an equally controversial and commercially successful film in 2000. The controversy is understandable, as the subject matter can feel a bit exploitative. The story is a combination of fast-paced thriller and horror story, but there is a dystopian backdrop that also makes it a bit of an allegory, albeit one told with the subtlety of a hammer. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Battle Royale”
Coming home after a long day of work at the public library, many of us find ourselves still surrounded by stacks on stacks of books that comprise our prized personal collections. (While you’d think we library workers needn’t own much given our livelihoods depend on an institution of sharing, few of us could boast of such self-restraint.) Mine had grown increasingly unwieldy through my college years, so naturally I caught the Dewey Decimal bug soon after starting my job here, feeling compelled to inventory and rearrange my own mismatch shelves (and milk crates). While sorting the nonfiction into subject areas, I wondered whether my coworkers brought the same organizational rigor to their home libraries as when on duty, so I decided to ask. The short answer is a resounding “yes,” but each has developed an idiosyncratic system for keeping it all straight, or at least off the floor.
Between their responses and those of public figures in books like “My Ideal Bookshelf,” Alberto Manguel’s “The Library at Night” and Jacques Bonnet’s “Phantoms on the Bookshelves,” I’ve seen some enviable displays and accrued techniques galore. Some are on Rory Gilmore‘s level: books on the shelves, books in the dresser drawers, books stowed under the bed. Others have adopted systems analogous to the Marie Kondō method* of painstakingly housing only the most gratifying. Some proudly have no scheme at all. Regardless, these libraries can reveal a lot about their owners; they not only represent our interests but also show our habits in negotiating space, how we assign value and how those values intersect with our conspicuous designs. For Kathryn Schulz writing in The New Yorker, a photograph of her father’s “Stack” exudes the parts of him “that normally defy a camera” like his “exuberant, expansive mind” and “the comic, necessary, generous-hearted compromises of my parents’ marriage.” Leah Price puts it concisely in the introduction to “Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books“: “To expose a bookshelf is to compose a self.” Continue reading “Personal Libraries: Taking Our Work Home With Us”
Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by Dewey Decimal Diver
Some artists use their work as a springboard for playing tricks on their audience. These artists might have varying motivations, but their shenanigans can offer insight into the nature of art and the human condition itself. Check out these docs about artist trickers:
It follows the story of Mark Landis, one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history. His impressive body of work spans thirty years, covering a wide range of painting styles and periods. Posing as a philanthropic donor, Landis has given away hundreds of works over the years to a staggering list of institutions across the United States. Continue reading “Tricks Of The Trade: Docs about Artist Tricksters”
Why should kids have all the fun? Summer Reading is for grown-ups, too! The Daniel Boone Regional Library is challenging adults to read three books, submit three book reviews and do seven fun, library-related activities. Complete the challenge, and beginning July 1, you’ll receive a prize. You’ll also be entered into a drawing for other fun rewards including a telescope or a book store gift card.
The last season of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” (based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series) has been controversial at times, but I think we can all agree on one point – it’s over. But don’t despair – your library is here to fill the dragon-shaped hole in your life.
If you want to stay in the realm (heh) of acclaimed fantasy novels adapted for prestige television, read the Philip Pullman series “His Dark Materials.” There are no dragons, but there are polar bears and prophecies, and Lyra is one of the most memorable characters you’ll ever spend time with. The first season of the show will premiere on HBO later this year. Lin-Manuel Miranda is in it!
Maybe you want to start another fantasy series with superb world building and a villain you can love to hate. “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” by Patrick Rothfuss, is well-written and propulsive and you’ll want to pick up the second book as soon as you close the first. However, this series and “A Song of Ice and Fire” have something else in common – neither series has had a book published since 2011. “The Kingkiller Chronicle” is also being adapted into a movie. Lin-Manuel Miranda is writing it! Continue reading ““Game of Thrones” Is Dead. Long Live “Game of Thrones”!”
If you enjoy some of the wonderful trails that Columbia has to offer, the letters “MKT” might sound a bit familiar. Long before it was a recreational trail, the MKT was actually a railroad line that spanned the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Texas – hence the name MKT. On Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00 pm, the Columbia Public Library will host John Wilke from the Mid-Missouri Rail Fans organization for a program about the Columbia branch of the MKT Railroad and how it connected Mid-Missouri to the rest of the country.
The MKT railroad, also known as the “Katy”, started in 1865 in Kansas and was a valuable link between the Midwest and Texas. It is known for being the first railroad to pass through Indian Territory, what is now the state of Oklahoma. The line actually began as the southern branch of the Union Pacific Railway and was intended to run from Junction City, Kansas to New Orleans, Louisiana. However, those ambitions were never quite realized and the MKT line ran from St. Louis, Missouri to San Antonio, Texas at it’s peak with stops in Kansas City, Topeka, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Galveston, among other
towns. Continue reading “The History of the MKT Railroad”
Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Reading Addict
“Excuse my dust” was Dorothy Parker’s self-chosen epitaph. “What fresh hell is this?” is how she is said to have answered the door/telephone. She had a way with words.
Dorothy Parker was born Dorothy Rothschild in 1893 but she was quick to point out it was not THOSE Rothschilds. Her mother died when she was five and she had a difficult relationship with her father before he also died, leaving her to fend for herself. One of her most famous quotes is “I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money.” A lot of her writing can be read as fictionalized biography and you can hear the stress in her voice.
“Foe” by Iain Reid is a book meant to be blazed through in a single sitting. It’s a short novel, it immediately introduces a big old mystery, and answers to the story’s questions seem to be just barely obscured, so that if, like the novel’s narrator, you drill a spy hole into your bathroom wall, maybe all will become clear. But it turns out it takes more than a creepy hole to answer your questions: just like in life, eventually a representative from a massive corporation will make things horrifyingly clear.
The story begins with a representative (Terrance) from a corporate/government entity showing up to inform our narrator he’s won a lottery and he might be going to space to work on a habitat for humanity. Terrance makes it cheerfully clear that there is no choice in the matter: if Junior wins the lottery, he’s going to be a space worker for a some years. Not to fear though, the corporation will benevolently provide a companion for his wife while he’s away. Junior doesn’t like the sound of that, and he’s not mollified when he finds out his replacement will basically be a 3D-printed replica of himself. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Iain Reid”
This summer, allow your imagination to soar among the stars as the Daniel Boone Regional Library celebrates a “Universe of Stories.” This year’s Summer Reading theme channels the explorer and dreamer in all of us. Our annual program launches May 22, and we have versions for all ages. The following book selections will inspire children and teens to look up at the sky with wonder and curiosity.
Ages 0-5: Our youngest summer readers will enjoy “Where Is the Rocket?” by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Barroux (Blue Apple Books, 2014). This brightly colored picture book uses space-themed imagery to introduce opposites and directional words, making it perfect for babies and toddlers.
What would you do if the electricity went out in your house on a hot summer night? “Blackout” by John Rocco (Disney/Hyperion Books, 2011) tells the story of a busy family who finds connection with one another and their neighbors after a city-wide power outage. The book’s illustrations, which are laid out like comic book panels, show the deep contrast between the night sky and the glow of candles, flashlights and stars. Continue reading “Literary Links: Summer Reading 2019”
Posted on Friday, May 10, 2019 by Dewey Decimal Diver
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
“My Brilliant Friend” Season 1 Website / Reviews Based on the bestselling Neapolitan novel series by author Elena Ferrante. When the most important friend in her life seems to have disappeared without a trace, Elena Greco, a now-elderly woman immersed in a house full of books, turns on her computer and starts writing the story of their friendship. “Bumblebee” Website / Reviews
Charlie Watson, a teenager trying to find her place in the world, discovers and repairs a battle-scarred robot named Bumblebee, who’s disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle. As the Decepticons hunt down the surviving Autobots with the help of a secret agency led by Agent Burns, the transformer and Charlie team up to protect the world in an action-packed adventure that’s fun for the whole family. Continue reading “New DVD List: My Brilliant Friend & More”