Patron Review: All the Gallant Men

Posted on Friday, March 29, 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.

All the Gallant Men” is written by Donald Stratton, one of the few survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was a navy seaman on the U.S.S. Arizona when it was a attacked by Japanese airplanes. He chronicles what it was like to grow up in the Great Depression in rural Nebraska as the son of a sharecropper before joining the Navy to experience adventure. He also liked that the Navy paid him a weekly wage that he could send back to his family. Stratton goes through step-by-step what it was like in basic training, to serve on a battleship in the Pacific Ocean and ultimately survive the attack on Pearl Harbor that left him with burns across his body as well emotional scars. The way the author described everything felt like I was sitting next to him as he told this story. I learned many facts about Pearl Harbor that I did not know and I am glad I had chance to read this book. I would highly recommend that everyone reads it so we can remember the sacrifice of those who died at Pearl Harbor defending our country and our freedom.

Three words that describe this book: Informative, Shocked, and Inspired

You might want to pick this book up if: You like stories about Pearl Harbor, survivors, history (1940s), and memoirs.


Geek Squads: Docs Featuring Fandoms

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 by Dewey Decimal Diver

For some people a film or book is merely an enjoyable experience, but for others it can be a way of life. What makes fans so passionate about their entertainment? What drives them to find other fans that share their fervor both online and at conventions? Check out these documentaries featuring fandoms.

Comic Con: Episode IV, A Fan’s Hope” (2012)

A film by Morgan Spurlock that follows the lives of five attendees of the San Diego Comic-Con. The film includes one on one interviews with Comic-Con veterans along with up close and up front coverage of all the panels, parades, photos, costumes, crowds and camaraderie that make up one of the largest fan gatherings in the U.S. Continue reading “Geek Squads: Docs Featuring Fandoms”

Read Harder 2019: An #Ownvoices Book Set in Mexico or Central America

Posted on Monday, March 25, 2019 by Reading Addict

Map of Central America
Cacahuate, Dutch translation by Globe-trotter [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

I hope you are humming right along with the Read Harder Challenge. Don’t worry if you’re not or if you are just now deciding to join: there’s still plenty of time. I still haven’t decided what to read for this seventh task, but I think I have found a few contenders.

“The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande is a memoir about the author’s trek across the border as an undocumented immigrant at the age of nine to meet up with her long absent father who has been in the U.S. trying to become established. She has to leave her grandmother, who has been her caretaker, to enter a life that is not what she had expected. This is a young reader’s edition which lands it in our teen section but it still promises to be very hard hitting. We also carry the full memoir. Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: An #Ownvoices Book Set in Mexico or Central America”

Hellboy Day 2019

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2019 by Eric

On December 23, 1944, World War II was in its final months. Off the coast of Scotland the “Mad Monk” Gregor Rasputin and some Nazis Hellboy book coverembarked on a project intended to turn the direction of the war in their favor. A creature was summoned from Hell, a child. The child was deep red and in possession of some impressive horns on his head. Instead of becoming a pawn of the Nazis, as had been intended, he fell into the hands of United States Armed Forces. A paranormal researcher working for the government decided to adopt him. He named the child Hellboy.

In reality, on March 23, 1994, that story was introduced to readers by writer and artist Mike Mignola in “Hellboy: Seed of Destruction,” the BPRD book coverdebut issue for a comic book series that would go from cult favorite to cultural phenomenon. From that “seed of destruction” grew a fictional extended universe, referred to by some as the “Mignolaverse.” It spans a number of titles, both ongoing, one-shots and miniseries: BPRD, Lobster Johnson, Sir Edward Grey, Abe Sapien and more. Mignola and a slew of other talented artists and writers working with him have filled out backstories and propelled numerous story lines to their conclusions to create a rich world you can spend a lot of time inhabiting. Continue reading “Hellboy Day 2019”

Spring Break and Learn

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by JessB

Spring is a great time to travel and enjoy a change of scenery. With Spring Break quickly approaching, many students and families are planning trips or deciding how to make the most of the upcoming break. Whether you are traveling for a change of scenery or warmer temperatures, consider learning something new on your trip. There are many destinations where you can explore a new culture, learn the local history of an area or engage in fun activities!

Daniel Boone - Lofaro, Michael A.

As an archaeologist, I love getting to explore the prehistory and history that Missouri has to offer. You can explore Graham Cave State Park in Montgomery City, Missouri where artifacts were discovered in a cave occupied by prehistoric people between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago. The park is also a great spot for hiking, camping, and fishing with over 300 acres including the Graham Cave Glades Natural Area. You could also check out the petroglyphs at Thousand Hills State Park in Kirksville, Missouri. Petrogylphs are prehistoric rock carvings that were made by intentionally pecking, incising or carving to remove part of the rock’s surface. At Thousand Hills, you can also enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and fishing in the beautiful Forest Lake. You can also visit Defiance, Missouri to see the historic home of Daniel Boone, an early pioneer who eventually settled in what is now St. Charles County. The Boone home is part of a county park that includes a general store, a schoolhouse, and a gristmill. If you want to learn more, the library has several biographies of Daniel Boone including “Daniel Boone: An American Life” and even a compilation of interviews from his son Nathan Boone! Continue reading “Spring Break and Learn”

Read Harder 2019: An Epistolary Novel or Collection of Letters

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2019 by Ida

Harriet the SpyOn the list of books that represent turning points in my reading life, “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh is somewhere in the top five. The story taught me an important life lesson – “There are as many ways to live as there are people in the world.” Harriet is an authentic and relatable character who records observations about residents of her neighborhood (her spy route) in a secret notebook. When I read the novel in fifth grade, my eyes opened wide at the new-to-me method of storytelling, which I would later learn is called epistolary.

I was thrilled to see 2019’s Read Harder Challenge includes a category for an epistolary novel or collection of letters. For the purpose of the challenge, Book Riot uses the Wikipedia definition: “An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used.” Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: An Epistolary Novel or Collection of Letters”

Not Another Ides of March Think Piece

Posted on Friday, March 15, 2019 by Cap'n Ludd ****on pg. 25
Caesar’s assassination from Classics Illustrated #68.

Another revolution around the sun and the ill-fated ides of March are here once again. I prophesy we’re due for an op-ed or two ruminating on parallels between our current political moment, the bloody last days of the Roman Republic and Shakespeare’s dramatized version of events. Could I be skilled in the ancient arts of harupsicy? Or am I simply recognizing what the classics do best, i.e. in the words of Jyotsna G. Singh “provide us with a complex, poetic language for imagining and interpreting the intractable world in which we live.”

The times are ripe for comparison, particularly as established leaders abroad like the embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are all facing significant challenges to their power, not to mention our own soap-operatic political spectacle unfolding at home. For some however, such suggestion of analogy with the ides of March draws ire.

But if all this phrase brings to mind is some hazy memory of the 2011 George Clooney election drama, no shame. Let’s review.

  • Ides – A term in the Roman calendar marking a month’s first full moon, which falls during the middle of that month.
  • The ides of March — Literally, March 15th. In history, the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C., which precipitated years of further* civil war and solidified Rome’s future as an empire under one ruler. Symbolically, an omen of political insurgency or, in general, betrayal. *The Republic had already been embroiled in civil war as Caesar crossed the Rubicon five years prior. This step ignited war with rival Pompey’s armies and paved the way to Caesar’s appointment as “Dictator perpetuo”.
  • Beware the ides of March” – A soothsayer’s unheeded warning to Caesar from Act I, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.” Caesar notoriously shrugs off this prophecy, merely claiming, “He is a dreamer.” And the rest is history.

Continue reading “Not Another Ides of March Think Piece”

New DVD List: Makala, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & More

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

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

Makala DVD coverMakala
Website / Reviews
Shown previously at the True False Film Fest, this documentary focuses on a 28-year-old man living in Congo with his wife and daughters who dreams of purchasing a plot of land on which to build his family a home by selling charcoal. Featuring stunning cinematography, the film is a powerful testament to one man’s commitment to his family, and his endurance in working to provide them with a brighter future.

Can You Ever Forgive Me DVD coverCan You Ever Forgive Me?
Website / Reviews
Playing last year at Ragtag Cinema, this film is inspired by the true story of author Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn & Tallulah Bankhead. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack. Continue reading “New DVD List: Makala, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & More”

The Gentleman Recommends: Tim Wirkus

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2019 by Chris

I like my reading material like I like my nachos: with several delicious layers. “The Infinite Future” meets this criteria. In Tim Wirkus’s novel a character named Tim Wirkus runs into an old college classmate. Intriguing! What has the classmate been up to? How is it going? Do they remember the eccentric professor? There is so much to discuss when you see an acquaintance for the first time in years, but rather than mine their lives for stimulating conversation, the classmate urges Wirkus to run a manuscript by his agent. Wirkus has to spend time in an airport, so with his other reading material, laptop, tablet, phone, and e-reader lost or damaged (I assume), Wirkus settles on reading the unsolicited manuscript.

"The Infinite Future" book coverThe manuscript begins with a translator’s note by Danny Laszlo (Wirkus’s former classmate). It’s the story of how Danny came to acquire the manuscript he translates. Danny goes to Brazil on a grant from an organization that wants him to write about Mormon missionary work there. Instead, with significant prodding from an obsessed librarian, he joins a hunt for a missing manuscript from an obscure science fiction author. Danny scatters summaries of the obscure author’s work throughout his translator’s note, and these are treats for anyone who has or would enjoy the work of Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout. The librarian shows Danny a book proposal for a missing manuscript called “The Infinite Future.” The proposal sells it as a “prophetic text on par with the Holy Bible or I Ching.” Danny and the librarian buy the hype.

Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Tim Wirkus”

Literary Links: Activism in Women’s History

Posted on Sunday, March 10, 2019 by Anne

Change is inevitable. But change does not have to be random; it can be strongly influenced by people who speak up and take action. Activists are a key component of change, shining a light on the issues at hand, ensuring they are not forgotten until they are resolved. During this Women’s History Month, let us reflect on the role women have played as activists both in this country and around the world. As Margaret Mead is thought to have said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward HoweJulia Ward Howe is probably most well-known for writing the anthem “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861. She was also an abolitionist and active in the women’s suffrage movement. Her activism was inspired by her marriage to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Despite being an activist himself, Howe’s husband did not approve of married women working outside the house and he tried to stifle his wife’s ambitions of being a writer. In “The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe” author Elaine Showalter explores Howe’s unhappy marriage and how it helped shape her into an important early voice for women’s rights both in and outside of the home. Continue reading “Literary Links: Activism in Women’s History”