“Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.”
~ Elie Wiesel (September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016)
When, in 1990, at the age of 39, I emigrated from the USSR to the United States, I did not know about Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank and other victims — or survivors — of the Holocaust. In fact, I didn’t even know the term “Holocaust.” And not because I was a bad student who failed to learn it in school, but because the anti-Semitic politics of the Third Reich were not covered in our school curriculum and our mass media — not before or during WWII, or afterwards. As a result, the atrocities that were well known in the West were hardly mentioned in the East. There, coverage of WWII was dedicated to the bravery and suffering of Soviet troops and, until 1956, to Stalin’s military genius. So the mass killings of Jews — in Europe and Ukraine — did not qualify.
This is not to say that the Russian population had it easy. The war was devastating for the USSR. Overall, more than 26 million Russian citizens died during the war, not to mention those who came back as invalids and hopeless alcoholics. Still, the fact that the Jews were systematically exterminated was not revealed in Russia (where casual anti -Semitism was the norm) for a very long time. Well, we knew about concentration camps, including Auschwitz, Treblinka and Buchenwald. In fact, there was a popular song written about the latter, which went like this: Continue reading “In Memory of Elie Wiesel”
This book is about a 20-something woman who is an elementary school teacher. She is writing a book, sort of journal entry style, documenting the time in which she and her boyfriend are apart while he is in the military in Iraq. Hence the title “Long Division,” a double meaning with her school teacher job title and her long distance relationship. The book was a touch difficult for me to get into but after a few chapters, I fell in love with Annie and all her quirks. I love the relationship she found with an elderly woman in a nursing home and the depth of the relationship she had with her childhood friend. There was just the right balance of romanticism, cynicism and whimsy for my taste.
Three words that describe this book: utterly, totally, relatable
You might want to pick this book up if: You are a teacher, you have experienced restlessness, you have ever thought about getting a pet chicken 😉
Looking for games to play with your kids and the thought of one more round of Candy Land makes you want to cry? Desperate to pry the smartphone or the tablet away from your teens? Tired of starting another game of Monopoly you know you’ll never finish?
Oh friends, I am about to change your world.
Table-top gaming is diverse and entertaining, ranging from dice and cards to miniatures and tiles. Some can be played in 15 minutes and some may take hours, depending on what you’re looking for.
Games indirectly teach problem-solving skills, math, strategy and adapting to other players’ actions. There is also the etiquette of listening, taking turns and teaching new players the rules of the games.
You can find something for every age. There are games that focus on math and spatial skills and are appropriate for preschoolers. There are also games that are definitely NOT for children and make for a fun evening with your grown-up friends. Continue reading “Get Gaming!”
Congratulations to Margaret, a Callaway County Public Library patron, for winning our fourth Adult Summer Reading prize drawing. She is the recipient of a $25 Well Read Books gift card.
All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online. Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning. There are plenty of chances left to win this summer, so keep those reviews coming.
More articles and experts are recommending we get away from screens and our technology addiction. Ever had a craving to live the low-technology, Amish-like lifestyle (without the religious doctrine)? “Better Off” is about a couple that tried it and all the benefits they reaped! They were worried it would be all about survival, but the shared workload created a natural camaraderie with their neighbors and natural exercise. They realized it’s in our current world where we are running in a gerbil wheel, trying to enjoy it. This should be the next One Read!!!
Three words that describe this book: transforming, anti-technology, discovery Continue reading “Reader Review: Better Off”
The best audiobooks provide something readers could not create on their own through reading the text from a page. Narrators create worlds with their voices, crafting performances that leave us sitting in our parked cars, hesitant to stop listening. For your next road trip, check out some of these books on CD or downloadable audio to make the miles fly by. Or, make exercise or housework more bearable by entertaining your ears with a good story. (Book descriptions courtesy of their publishers.)
“All the Old Knives” by Olen Steinhauer (read by Ari Fliakos and Juliana Francis Kelly)
Available on CD and downloadable audio
Nine years ago, terrorists hijacked a plane in Vienna. Somehow, a rescue attempt staged from the inside went terribly wrong and everyone on board was killed.Members of the CIA stationed in Vienna during that time were witness to this terrible tragedy, gathering intel from their sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground with a series of texts coming from one of their agents inside the plane. Had their agent been compromised, and how?
“Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson (read by Scott Brick)
Available on CD and downloadable audio
This 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle. A dramatic narration brings the details of this tragedy to crisp light. Continue reading “Lend Me Your Ears: Outstanding Audiobooks”
Dave Barry! His newspaper columns were great, and his books are even better. Little life lessons, with that twist of humor only Barry can convey. “Live Right and Find Happiness” was more of a reflective collection, speaking on cultural differences, the World Cup tour in 2014, a trip to Russia and how times have changed in terms parenting styles. Of course, you have the random blurb letter to family, everyday observations, technology, and all packed with humor. A great, light read, with eye-opening words, humility and family.
Three words that describe this book: humorous, heartfelt, eye-opening
You might want to pick this book up if: you are looking for a fun read. Dave Barry’s books are always guaranteed to be a great read, all based on his own personal life experiences with aging, parenting, work, travel and pet ownership.
The extra downtime for our kids over the summer means that we, the parents, get to use them in the name of furthering their education. Every summer, we make them plan a menu for one night a week. They help with the shopping and estimate how much it will cost (even if we are still the ones paying the bill). And then – my favorite part – they cook and clean up afterwards! It’s pure bliss to have some of that responsibility of what to cook lifted off my shoulders, and they get to learn valuable skills. That’s how I rationalize it, anyway.
I recently brought home some new cookbooks – which were met with a few groans – but it wasn’t long before I was hearing, “Hey, this looks good!” I’m really looking forward to the crustless tomato-ricotta pie in “Gluten-Free: Easy & Delicious Recipes for Every Meal.” Fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and eggs from our backyard chickens should make it incredible! And the flourless chocolate hazelnut cake? Yum! Continue reading “Summer Cooking (or How to Torment Your Kids)”
Lauren Williams, Public Services Librarian
Parent-child relations can be choppy waters in the best of circumstances. Throw in differences in lifestyles or belief systems, and the whole family boat can tip. This year’s selection for One Read, the library’s community-wide reading program, is “Bettyville” by George Hodgman (Viking, 2015), which examines the fierce love and deep silence between an aging mother and her gay son who returns to Missouri from New York City to care for her. Hodgman’s funny, warm and honest memoir beat out “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford (Ballantine Books, 2009), a sentimental work of historical fiction set largely in WWII-era Seattle. This story of Chinese-American Henry Lee’s relationship with a Japanese classmate investigates not only the racism of that time, but also the gulf that often exists between immigrant parents and their American-born children. Continue reading “Literary Links: One Read 2016”
I loved “Dead Man’s Folly!” Hercule Poirot is asked by his friend Ariadne Oliver to come visit her at Nasse House. She is planning a “murder hunt” for a garden fete, and she feels that there is something not quite right, but she can’t put her finger on it. In typical Agatha Christie fashion, a murder occurs, and Hercule Poirot sets out to find the killer! I loved this book. It is one of my favorite Poirot mysteries —I’ve read several. I have found a few to be boring, but not this one! I love the setting, plot, characters — everything really! Continue reading “Reader Review: Dead Man’s Folly”