As a barrage of sneezes echos through the stacks, I have to accept that temperatures are falling. At home, I plow through my cold weather drawer only to find one lonely, taunting glove.
“You lost my twin!” it whines.
“You’re not so special,” I think.
This happens every year. I suppose it’s time to cast on a new pair. Rather than feel annoyed at myself, I see this as an opportunity to create, to flex my purling muscles, to track down some alpaca wool in my mom’s massive yarn stash. Truly, there are few things more satisfying than donning your own handiwork, though the knitting process itself can also reap many rewards. These can range from mindfulness practice and stress management to loosening arthritic joints and other boosts to your mental and physical health. Knitting circles, which are ubiquitous among the many nooks and crannies of the library, not only encourage members along in their projects but also foster camaraderie, creativity and accountability. Continue reading “Winter Warm-Up: Knits”
“Ice,” a novel from 1967 by Anna Kavan, is both a tale of dystopian societies and of an impending apocalypse. It’s also a cryptic story that compels the reader to keep turning pages even though they might have the nagging feeling they aren’t one hundred percent sure what’s going on.
The plot, such as it is, involves the narrator’s obsession with “the girl,” who he has known since they were young, and his pursuit of her across the globe through increasingly strange and frightening locations. Nation states are devolving into chaos, backsliding into tribalism or dictatorships as the ice engulfing the planet claims them one by one. The ice might be the symptom of a nuclear winter or something else. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Ice”
Given humanity’s collective fondness for seminars on creative writing, we’re all aware that a story needs at least one character with at least one goal. It’s typical for this goal to be something that inspires interest in the reader. Some characters want to defuse a bomb or seduce a sea captain. Some may aim to become the world’s greatest barber or to perform a legendary heist. Others prefer to solve crimes with the aid of baked goods or house pets. Whatever their ambitions, they are usually something fun to read about. This is because reading something entertaining is more entertaining that reading something that isn’t entertaining.
Ottessa Moshfegh’s “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” features zero parakeets with investigative chops and omits even a single mention of a handsome sea captain, instead choosing to focus on its narrator’s goal of sleeping away most of a year. While many may chalk this up as a writer not knowing on which side her bread is buttered, others will realize it’s a Ottessa Moshfegh book, and anything she writes will certainly brim with delights. Certainly there are scores of those who identify with such a goal, and so will turn to the book for guidance on how to eschew a year of one’s waking life. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Ottessa Moshfegh (again)”
As we approach the end of the year, publishing slows down and the number of titles by debut authors starts to shrink, but there are still quite a few exciting books coming out in November. Take a look at the ones below, and then head over to our catalog to see a (slightly) longer list of titles coming this month.
“Empire of Sand” by Tasha Suri
In a land inspired by India lives a young woman descended from the desert spirits. Mehr inherited her power from her mother, one of the Amrithi, a people who are outcasts both desired and reviled for the magic of the desert spirits that runs through their blood. When Mehr draws the attention of the Emperor’s mystics, they coerce her into a marriage that binds her to the mystics’ leader and forces her into a conflict that could bring the wrath of the gods down upon them all.
“My Sister, the Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Ayoola has a very bad habit of killing her boyfriends, causing no end of trouble for her sister Korede, who by now has learned the best way to remove bloodstains and dispose of a body. But when her third boyfriend in a row turns up dead, Ayoola sets her sights on the doctor who just happens to be Korede’s crush. Now, Korede is forced to confront what her sister has become and decide if she can protect the man she loves and her sister at the same time.
Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: November 2018”
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
“Three Identical Strangers”
Website / Reviews
Playing at the True False Film Fest in 2018, this film tells the astonishing true story of three men who make the chance discovery, at the age of nineteen, that they are identical triplets, separated at birth and adopted to different parents. The trio’s joyous reunion in 1980 catapults them to fame but it also sets in motion a chain of events that unearths an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes far beyond their own lives. Continue reading “New DVD List: Three Identical Strangers & More”
As another midterm election winds down in America, a bitter partisan spirit remains. Global politics are also in a general state of turmoil and flux, and the library has many books on that subject.
Let’s first take a look at that bastion of European and global stability — Germany. The country’s centrist party has won the vast majority of federal elections, and is considered a major player in European politics partly because of the party’s emphasis on a robust social safety net coupled with moderate cultural stances. “Angela Merkel, Europe’s Most Influential Leader” by Matthew Qvortrup discusses Merkel’s early life in East Germany and her later role as the leader of a unified country amidst a disintegrating European consensus. Continue reading “Literary Links: Global Politics in the 21st Century”
As part of the library’s mission to connect people to ideas and be at the heart of our community, we are always happy when we have an opportunity to support local creative endeavors. Obviously, providing access to books and encouraging literacy are also in the library wheelhouse, so we try to support local authors whenever we can. One way we do this is by adding their books to our collection in the hope that they will be discovered by their fellow community members. We provide resources for aspiring writers to help hone their craft, or guide them in their quest to get published. We also host some programs for those ambitious people who are spending this month participating in National Novel Writing Month. And we are now about to embark on the third year of our Local Authors Open House, this Saturday, November 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During that time we will have tables set up for 50 local authors on the first floor of the Columbia Public Library. That provides an opportunity for the authors to meet each other and the general public, as well as to promote and sell their books. The writing that will be on display spans an impressive range of genres and styles. There will be books of poetry, young adult fantasy novels, mysteries, historical fiction, memoirs, picture books, books of local interest and books about national politics. That’s just a small sample, so please come to the library this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to meet some local authors and peruse their work.
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this November. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
In her memoir, “Becoming,” a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it — in her own words and on her own terms. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: November 2018”
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the fighting ceased. The Great War (as it was then called) had been raging for more than four years and had cost millions of lives. November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of Compiègne, the peace agreement that silenced the guns of World War I.
A lot of powerful poetry came out of the war, much of it written by soldiers in the field. Some of these authors became identified as the Trench Poets. Their verse was known for its gritty detail and lack of romantic illusions. “Above the Dreamless Dead” is a collection of 20 World War I poems illustrated by contemporary comics artists. The styles are as varied as the poems, but all help to capture the realities of combat. Continue reading “Armistice Day — 100th Anniversary”
With dropping temperatures and falling leaves, fall is the perfect time to cozy up with your favorite book and a hot cup of tea. Whether you are a long-time tea enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of tea, check out our Time for Tea program at the Callaway County Public Library on Thursday, November 8 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. This program will be hosted by tea enthusiast Alex Moore and will include tea, treats and an afternoon of learning about tea.
Tea has a long and complex history. The origins of the popular drink can be traced back to legends from China and India. The Chinese legend tells the story of Emperor Shen Nong who accidentally discovered tea when a leaf from the wild tea tree fell into a pot of water he was boiling in his garden. After this happy accident occurred, the Emperor enjoyed the infusion so much that he began to investigate the plant and discovered its medicinal properties. According to the Indian legend, tea was discovered by Prince Bodhi-Dharma, the founder of what would later be called Buddhism. While Prince Bodhi-Dharma was meditating, he fell into a deep sleep and when he woke up he cut off his eyelids and a tea tree sprung up from the ground where they fell. Continue reading “Time for Tea at the Library!”