Nonfiction Roundup: March 2017

Posted on Monday, March 6, 2017 by Kirk

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


Stranger in the Woods book coverThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit” by Michael Finkel

The fascinating true story of Christopher Knight, who spent nearly 30 years living alone in the woods of Maine. He lived while never coming in contact with another human being and survived only through theft and ingenuity.


The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us” by Bruce FeilerThe First Love Story book cover

This book provides an examination of the story of Adam and Eve, their central role in shaping our beliefs about human relationships and sexual identity and the lessons they can teach us about family, togetherness and love. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: March 2017”

Women’s History Month: Women in Labor and Business

Posted on Friday, March 3, 2017 by Ida

As a teen, I thought history was only about presidents, generals and Henry Ford. Perhaps that had something to do with the textbooks in use back in the day. I didn’t realize the biographies I loved to read — Amelia Earhart was a favorite — also counted as history.

For more than thirty years, the National Women’s History Project has tackled the “important work of writing women back into American history.” March is National Women’s History month, and the theme for 2017 is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Let’s learn about some of those women. Here are a few titles to begin with:

Grace and Grit book coverGrace and Grit” is Lilly Ledbetter’s story of working at Goodyear. After nineteen years as a manager, she discovered she was making forty percent less than men in the same position. She spent a decade seeking legal redress, sticking with the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Though she lost on appeal, her efforts led to the signing of the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Continue reading “Women’s History Month: Women in Labor and Business”

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 by Seth

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its less severe cousin, concussion (also known as mild traumatic brain injury) have been getting a lot of attention lately, partly because of the concussion crisis in the National Football League. This attention is a good thing. TBI and concussion can be considered a silent epidemic in society; an estimated 1.5 million head injuries appear every year in United States emergency rooms, and at least 5 million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from TBI. The suffering caused by the loss of mobility, career, hobbies and even family because of TBI is not often reported, partly because of the stigma attached to brain injury.

Unfortunately, from personal experience I can say that I’ve been there. In March of 2015 I had a bad spill on my bicycle that caused a head injury and serious concussion that took me over a year to recover from. I had a helmet on, thank God, or I would now be dead. It was a painful, long and sometimes completely disheartening journey, but I did indeed recover fully. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the library has some fantastic resources about recovering from and living with traumatic brain injury. Continue reading “March is Brain Injury Awareness Month”

March 2017 LibraryReads: Books Librarians Love

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 by Kat

LibraryReads logoHere is the March 2017 LibraryReads list! From science fiction to historical fiction, boy scouts to hermits, this month’s selection is sure to have something for everyone. Take a look at the favorite books from librarians across the country, and get ready to place holds on these new releases.

The Wanderers Book CoverThe Wanderers” by Meg Howrey

“A private space exploration company is mounting a manned mission to Mars. To prepare for the actual event, the company plans an elaborate training program to match the conditions and potential problems the team might face. The ordeal, though simulated, is no less dramatic for the astronauts, their families, and the crew. The lines cross between fiction and reality, and none of the participants are left unchanged. Part literary fiction, part sci-fi, all amazing.”
-Marie Byars, Sno-Isle Libraries, Oak Harbor, WA Continue reading “March 2017 LibraryReads: Books Librarians Love”

In Appreciation of African-American Artists

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

Photo of mural on staircase
Event Horizon, Kara Walker, 2005

The magic of visual art lies in its ability to communicate in ways not possible through words. Much like music, art is a universal language that can rise above cultural barriers. African-American art, specifically, is full of examples of this transcendence. Art in the black community has been used to exorcise pain, to rejoice and to record life. From artists like the silhouette artist, Kara Walker, or the painter, Jacob Lawrence, we can learn history not always taught in our schools. Art gives us a window into lives that may be different from our own or reveal how similar we all are when preconceived notions are stripped away.

Aesthetically, I gravitate towards art that is full of rich colors, bold shapes and dynamic compositions. There is a bounty of African-American art, in a variety of media, that fits this bill.

The Quilts of Gee's Bend book coverAfrican-American women, like so many women in history, expressed themselves through beautiful textile arts. One difference is explored in “Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad“; Jacqueline Tobin tells how quilt patterns were used to give encoded messages to men and women traveling on the Underground Railroad. Another selection, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” displays the talent of the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, who have upheld a tradition of lively quilt-making through the generations going back two hundred years. I love these! Continue reading “In Appreciation of African-American Artists”

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 ThatContinue reading “Previous Docs From True/False 2017 Directors”

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)”