In Memory of Elie Wiesel

Posted on Friday, July 8, 2016 by Svetlana Grobman

Book cover for Open Heart by Elie Wiesel“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”

Get Gaming!

Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 by Dana

Photo of gamers playing Settlers of Catan, photo by sewing puzzle via FlickrLooking 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!”

Fourth Summer Reading Gift Card Winner!

Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 by Kirk

Winner's trophyCongratulations 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.

Lend Me Your Ears: Outstanding Audiobooks

Posted on Friday, July 1, 2016 by Lauren

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.)

Audiobook cover for All the Old KnivesAll 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 by Erik LarsonDead 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”

Summer Cooking (or How to Torment Your Kids)

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 by Reading Addict

Book cover for Love & LemonsThe 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)”

Literary Links: One Read 2016

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 by Lauren

Lauren Williams, Public Services Librarian

Bettyville

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”

Third Summer Reading Gift Card Winner!

Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 by Kirk

Winner's trophyCongratulations to Amy, a Southern Boone County Library patron, for winning our third Adult Summer Reading prize drawing.  She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble 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.

Couch to 5K: Books (and Other Resources)

Posted on Monday, June 27, 2016 by Seth

Book cover for Young Runners by Marc BloomThe popularity of the 5K running event is soaring these days. Nearly 8 million people competed in a 5K event during 2015 according to the official entity that keeps such statistics, Running USA.  That is a significant number of people pounding the pavement in pursuit of a personal running best. Probably the hardest thing about the process is actually getting started! Fortunately, there are many “couch to 5K” types of books to help.

My wife and I have two small children, ages 6 and 10, and we love running with them. I really enjoy it – an after-work two-miler with my kids is just what the doctor ordered. I get to spend time with my girls, and they get to stay fit and active. A great book about starting a running program for kids is titled: “Young Runners: The Complete Guide to Healthy Running for Kids From 5 to 18.” Some of the challenges facing young runners are age and growth specific injuries such as shin splints and knee pain. “Young Runners” outlines training programs so that kids can avoid these pitfalls, stay motivated and even run their first 5 or 10K. Continue reading “Couch to 5K: Books (and Other Resources)”

Blood Relations: Docs Featuring Families In Crisis

Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 by Dewey Decimal Diver

tarnation imageFamilies can go into crisis mode when faced with stressful situations. How will family members deal with the situation and how will it transform their relationships with each other? Check out these docs that focus on families in a state of crisis.

tarnationTarnation” (2005)

Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, and part acid trip. Faced with the haunting remnants of his past, including a family legacy of mental illness, abuse and neglect, Jonathan Caouette returns home to aid in his schizophrenic mother’s recovery. Continue reading “Blood Relations: Docs Featuring Families In Crisis”

The Gentleman Recommends: Arthur Bradford

Posted on Monday, June 20, 2016 by Chris

Book cover for Turtle Face and Beyond by Arthur BradfordWhile I’ll recommend the work of a rascal if that rascal’s work is great enough, there are enough brilliant and kind writers out there that I’ve rarely had to resort to that. How do I know if they’re kind? The same way you find out if anyone is kind – you google them, show a picture of them to your neighbor’s hounds, and then carefully observe the hounds’ reactions. With this month’s recommendation, I needn’t confirm the internet’s verdict with a hound test. Arthur Bradford’s gentlemanly nature shows in the big-hearted way he renders his characters and because the good sir is dedicated to helping people. In addition to some film work and two incredible collections of short stories, he’s worked at the Texas School for the Blind, been a co-director for Camp Jabberwocky (a camp for people with disabilities), and he’s currently working in a juvenile detention center. He’s not your typical literary superstar who spends all his time eating figs, drinking brandy and bidding for antique typewriters on eBay. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Arthur Bradford”