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Reader Review: Kindred Spirits

DBRL Next - July 21, 2016

book cover for Kindred Spirits by Sarah StrohmeyerKindred Spirits” is about a group of women who become the best of friends and establish their own society as a result of a failed Parent Teacher Association meeting. Their society (The Society for the Conservation of Martinis!) is based on their friendship and having fun together. The story follows the women through the quick death of one and a journey by her best friends to find the secret she never shared. Sarah Strohmeyer’s characters are “real women” I related to. Their journey together shows the true meaning of friendship.

Three words that describe this book: friendship, love, understanding

You might want to pick this book up if: You might want to read this book if you enjoy Sarah Strohmeyer’s writing. She has created another group of wonderful characters who are fun-loving and know the true meaning of being friends to the end.

-Anonymous

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Ice Cream the Old-Timey Way

DBRL Next - July 20, 2016

Photo of Peach Ice CreamFamily lore has it that my maternal grandfather, Erwin, loved-loved-loved ice cream.  He made it regularly during Georgia’s hot summer months, out in the back yard with his wooden, hand-cranked ice cream maker. It looked very much like this. People who knew him considered him to be a very generous soul, but not so when it came to sharing his ice cream. He didn’t want to do that with anyone outside his immediate family (his wife and daughter). My grandmother recalled he would lower the blinds and draw the curtains in the house on the days he was making ice cream, to make it look like there was no one home. That way he could avoid any drop-in visitors who might catch him in the act and compel him to share his beloved frozen concoction.

I was fortunate to witness his ice cream making wizardry and to taste the finished product of his efforts just once (he passed away not too much longer after that). I was young, about 3 years old, and my family was visiting in the blazing heat of the summer. Sweet yellow peaches were on tap, and that is what he used that day in his ice cream recipe. Watching the whole production — the pouring of the mixed ingredients into the metal canister, the packing of the canister into the wooden bucket with chunks of ice and rock salt, and then the cranking of the handle to churn the dasher inside the canister — made a huge impression on my young senses. And most certainly, the explosion of peachy sweet, cold, creamy, custard-like ice cream on my young taste buds was a life-changing experience.

Part of the satisfaction of making your own ice cream is tailoring the ingredients to indulge your taste buds in ways that can’t be done with store-bought ice cream. (For example, my family once made lavender chocolate chip ice cream, having infused the cream with fresh lavender leaves — wow, what a taste sensation that was!) Also, hand-cranking ice cream is a fun activity to do with a group, partially because the work of cranking can be spread out among many (yes, elbow grease is required, especially as the ice cream mix thickens), but also because ice cream is a celebratory food and more fun to share with others. (Sorry, Granddad!)

You can purchase a brand new hand-crank ice cream maker. I just checked online and saw several brands. There are antique and/or used ones for sale as well, and you can even cheat and use an electric ice cream maker, if worse comes to worst. So, you have options, should you decide to get serious about this.

Book cover for Lomelino's Ice CreamHere at DBRL we want to support you in this happy endeavor. On July 23, at the Columbia Public Library branch, children and their parents will have a chance to make their own ice cream, during the program Olympian Food: Ice Cream. While not using an ice cream-making machine, the method employed will still use ice and salt to help transform the ingredients into the blessed, calcium-rich treat. And, you can browse through books galore on everything ice cream, including books with basic and high-end designer ice cream recipes, dairy-free and vegan ice cream recipes, and other treats to make using ice cream, like sandwiches, sundaes and floats.

If you haven’t had the experience of making ice cream the old-fashioned way, don’t let this simple but exquisite pleasure pass you by. It really does yield the best ice cream there is to eat, and it can really help to deal with this summer heat. Bon appétit!

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Reader Review: Secrets From the Eating Lab

DBRL Next - July 19, 2016

secrets from the eating labDon’t diet. It won’t work. Okay, maybe you’ll lose a few pounds, but chances are you will gain them back (and maybe a few extra besides). In “Secrets From the Eating Lab,” Traci Mann, Ph.D. explains why and the research she used to develop her conclusions. She can also cite studies that show that losing weight does not improve one’s health. She does suggest ways to increase your intake of healthy foods, avoid the less healthy ones and increase the amount you exercise. These activities have been shown to improve health. With plenty of footnotes and a few humorous personal notes, Mann makes sense of the research and gives you suggestions of ways to improve your health without focusing on your weight.

Three words that describe this book: informative, humorous, life-changing

You might want to pick this book up if: you’ve ever been on a diet or thought about going on a diet.

-Jerilyn

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Cosplay Costume Con in Three Weeks!

DBRLTeen - July 19, 2016

Cosplay Banner 2
Cosplay Costume Con
Monday, August 8 › 6-8 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

Dress up as your favorite character, be it superhero, anime, sci-fi or your own original persona. Photos and registration will begin at 6 p.m., followed at 6:30 p.m. by the runway show. We’ll award prizes for the best costumes and characterization in different age categories, so be ready to show off your cosplay game! All ages.

Photos by Flickr User Marnie Joyce. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Cosplay Costume Con in Three Weeks!.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Paul Tremblay

Next Book Buzz - July 18, 2016

Book cover for A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul TremblayIf you’re looking for a grim, unputdownable book to block the blistering and incessant shine of the July sun, look no further. Paul Tremblay’sA Head Full of Ghosts” is the sort of book you read in one sitting (assuming you have sufficient free time, or a willingness/compulsion to prioritize pleasure over obligations, and also that you are not a big ol’ chicken (cause it’s scary)).

A Head Full of Ghosts” is about a young girl that is either possessed by the devil or by mental illness. (Evidence mounts for both possibilities, and when you’re certain you’ve got it all sussed out, you’re probably still going to have your mind changed a couple of times.) Her family, exhausted both mentally and financially, agrees to allow a reality television crew to film the devil’s/mental illness’s exploits. (It’s surprising that there isn’t already a “reality” television show about possessions, but this book gives us a pretty good idea of what one would look like.)

More than a decade after the possession debacle and the short-lived but successful television series, the possessed girl’s younger sister is being interviewed by a hotshot writer for a tell-all bestseller. The younger sister’s story is relayed through this framework and intercut with blog posts from the world’s foremost authority on the reality television show made about the possession. (The identity of the blogger is revealed early on, and makes for one of many moments in the book that’ll make you say, “Veritably! Now that’s some fine crafting of fiction. This novel brings me pleasure, and I am glad that I forsook sleep and a supposedly necessary medical procedure in order to find the time to partake of its literary fruits.”)

Another spectacular thingy that happens: very early in the novel a character’s quirk is revealed, a cute detail, but it couldn’t be anything crucial, right? No. Instead it is a key to the novel’s devastating ending. The sort of ending that makes you want to comfort fictional characters and perhaps attempt to construct life-size replicas of the characters so that you can properly hug them and even forge a relationship with the hat-wearing sack of hay that you’ve drawn a face on, a relationship that progresses to the point where you’re asking it to, with horrific consequences, transport you home from your various necessary medical procedures.

Book cover for Devil's Rock by Paul TremblayIf you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, do not read Tremblay’s newest novel, “Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.” It is about a child’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock. It is a sad, tricky book that makes you think one thing is happening until it makes you think another thing is happening, until it tells you most of what is really happening.

Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye,” in addition to being a description of British cuisine (haha, I WENT THERE, rimshot, etc.), is a much different novel. A desperate man signs a contract that makes him an indentured servant for an “amusement park” called FARM, which is where people go to see actual plants and animals, as well as people dressed like animals. This novel is frequently funny, as the author always is in interviews, but it also features a scene that manages to be as simultaneously heartbreaking and disgusting as anything I’ve ever read. Read it; share my burden.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Paul Tremblay appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

The Gentleman Recommends: Paul Tremblay

DBRL Next - July 18, 2016

Book cover for A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul TremblayIf you’re looking for a grim, unputdownable book to block the blistering and incessant shine of the July sun, look no further. Paul Tremblay’sA Head Full of Ghosts” is the sort of book you read in one sitting (assuming you have sufficient free time, or a willingness/compulsion to prioritize pleasure over obligations, and also that you are not a big ol’ chicken (cause it’s scary)).

A Head Full of Ghosts” is about a young girl that is either possessed by the devil or by mental illness. (Evidence mounts for both possibilities, and when you’re certain you’ve got it all sussed out, you’re probably still going to have your mind changed a couple of times.) Her family, exhausted both mentally and financially, agrees to allow a reality television crew to film the devil’s/mental illness’s exploits. (It’s surprising that there isn’t already a “reality” television show about possessions, but this book gives us a pretty good idea of what one would look like.)

More than a decade after the possession debacle and the short-lived but successful television series, the possessed girl’s younger sister is being interviewed by a hotshot writer for a tell-all bestseller. The younger sister’s story is relayed through this framework and intercut with blog posts from the world’s foremost authority on the reality television show made about the possession. (The identity of the blogger is revealed early on, and makes for one of many moments in the book that’ll make you say, “Veritably! Now that’s some fine crafting of fiction. This novel brings me pleasure, and I am glad that I forsook sleep and a supposedly necessary medical procedure in order to find the time to partake of its literary fruits.”)

Another spectacular thingy that happens: very early in the novel a character’s quirk is revealed, a cute detail, but it couldn’t be anything crucial, right? No. Instead it is a key to the novel’s devastating ending. The sort of ending that makes you want to comfort fictional characters and perhaps attempt to construct life-size replicas of the characters so that you can properly hug them and even forge a relationship with the hat-wearing sack of hay that you’ve drawn a face on, a relationship that progresses to the point where you’re asking it to, with horrific consequences, transport you home from your various necessary medical procedures.

Book cover for Devil's Rock by Paul TremblayIf you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, do not read Tremblay’s newest novel, “Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.” It is about a child’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock. It is a sad, tricky book that makes you think one thing is happening until it makes you think another thing is happening, until it tells you most of what is really happening.

Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye,” in addition to being a description of British cuisine (haha, I WENT THERE, rimshot, etc.), is a much different novel. A desperate man signs a contract that makes him an indentured servant for an “amusement park” called FARM, which is where people go to see actual plants and animals, as well as people dressed like animals. This novel is frequently funny, as the author always is in interviews, but it also features a scene that manages to be as simultaneously heartbreaking and disgusting as anything I’ve ever read. Read it; share my burden.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Paul Tremblay appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Sixth Summer Reading Gift Card Winner!

DBRL Next - July 18, 2016

TrophyCongratulations to Andrew of Ashland on winning our sixth Adult Summer Reading 2016 prize drawing. He is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

If you have not registered for the library’s Adult Summer Reading program, you can still do so online or by visiting any of our locations. Once you sign up, you are automatically entered in the prize drawings. Also, don’t forget to submit book reviews to increase your odds of winning. (That’s what this week’s winner did!) There are plenty of drawings left this summer, so keep reading and sharing your reviews with us!

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Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites

DBRL Next - July 15, 2016

Book cover for Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” ~ Lao Tzu

This year, our country is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Parks System, deemed by writer Wallas Stegner as “America’s best idea.”And it sure has been. Who hasn’t heard about Yosemite, the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, to name a few? People from all over the world come to the U.S. to visit these unique places. Yet as much as all of us admire our national parks, let’s not forget that Missouri has an abundance of wonderful parks, too.

The movement for establishing the Missouri park system began at the turn of the century, although the Missouri General Assembly did not create a state park fund until 1917. In 1924, the state made its first acquisitions — Big Spring and Round Spring on the Current River, Alley Spring on the Jacks Fork, Bennett Springs on the Niagua River, Deep Run near Ellington and Indian Trail near Salem. And in 2013, the state made its 88th acquisition — Echo Bluff.

Big Spring, Alley Spring and Round Spring are no longer in the state system but they are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. As for Echo Bluff, it will officially open its grounds at the end of the month.

Book cover for Missouri GeologyOne of the things that has made the Missouri State Parks system so successful is the diversity of the state’s natural resources: some of the oldest rocks on the continent and the youngest landforms are found here, as well as a multitude of caves and natural springs.

Missouri’s flora also varies widely. Tall grass prairies are found to the west and woodlands to the east. Missouri also includes the southern limit of northern boreal plants and the northern limit of southern coastal plants.

The cultural diversity of Missouri mimics its natural diversity. Because of its location at the junction of the two longest North American rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri, our state played a leading role in the country’s history. Here, native people made contact with mastodons and they lived in both woodlands and prairies for more than ten thousand years. Key sites of the Osage, Missouria and Illiniwek are found in the state.

Later, French fur traders established outposts here. Later still, settlers moved in, especially after the Louisiana Purchase, and after 1830, so did immigrants, mostly from Germany and British Isles.

Book cover for Missouri LegendsA rich agricultural state, Missouri is also known as the birthplace of many prominent people, including George Washington Carver, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harry Truman and Thomas Hart Benton. And in the 20th century, the state excels at creating a wonderful system of parks and historical sites. In fact, the mission of the Division of State Park states:

“preserve and interpret the finest examples of Missouri’s natural landscapes; preserve and interpret the finest example of Missouri’s cultural landmarks; and provide healthy and enjoyable outdoor recreation opportunities for all Missourians and visitors to the state.”

And so, for nearly 100 years, the state parks have been doing just that, preserving nature and history and by doing so attracting people from around here and also from afar.

Enjoy the ghostly silhouette of the Ha Ha Tonka Castle, hike Taum Sauk Mountain, fish for trout in Bennett Springs, explore the caverns of Onondaga, take a float trip down Current River, and don’t forget to leave everything exactly the way you found it — pristine and inviting. Free for us all.

Celebrate the centennial of our state park system at the Columbia Public Library on July 18 at 7 p.m. with a presentation by Susan Flader. Flader is professor emerita of environmental and western history at the University of Missouri and editor and co-author of the beautiful newly updated book, “Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites: Exploring Our Legacy.”

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Reader Review: Trigger Warning

DBRL Next - July 14, 2016

Book cover for Neil Gaiman's trigger warningRanging from the mildly strange to the hauntingly bizarre, “Trigger Warning” is a collection of short writings that should please fans of fantasy, magical realism and (in some stories) science fiction. I enjoyed Gaiman’s nods to both Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, as well as his ability to play with format (the story “Orange” is told via responses to interview questions; the questions themselves are never seen, requiring the reader to stitch the story together as the narrative moves along). In the introduction, Gaiman includes brief notes about each story. I recommend book-ending your reading by reviewing the corresponding author notes both before and after each story. It’s a rare glimpse into the author’s process and the impetus behind the stories, which I feel adds to the enjoyment of the book. That being said, it’s Neil Gaiman, so my brain still hurt at the end of some stories, and many do not end well. As the author states in his introduction, “Consider yourself warned.”

Three words that describe this book: strange, creepy, beautiful

You might want to pick this book up if: you are a fan of bizarre, intriguing narratives or would like to explore the same by starting with short stories rather than a novel.

-Katie

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New DVD List: The Fear Of 13, Elena & More

DBRL Next - July 13, 2016

fear of 13 image

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
fear of 13The Fear of 13
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Playing at the 2016 True/False Film Fest, this film presents former death-row inmate Nick Yarris as he tells the story of how he was charged with the murder of a woman in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, sentenced to death, and, after twenty-one years behind bars, exhonerated based on DNA evidence.

elenaElena
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Playing at Ragtag Cinema in 2014, this documentary follows Elena, who moves to New York to become a movie actress leaving behind her younger sister, Petra. Two decades later, Petra also becomes an actress and goes to New York in search of Elena. All she has are a few clues about her: home movies, newspaper clippings, diaries and letters.

powerPower
Season 2
Website / Reviews
A drama straddling the glamorous Manhattan lifestyles of the rich and infamous and the underworld of the international drug trade. Season Two will pick up where it left off: James “Ghost” St. Patrick doubling down on his drug business to save his nightclub and his dream of a legitimate future.

peace officerPeace Officer
Website / Reviews / Trailer
“Peace officer” is a feature documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of William “Dub” Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later.

the winding streamThe Winding Stream
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Tells the tale of the musical Carter and Cash Family, the dynasty at the heart of country music. Starting with the Original Carter Family, A.P., Sara and Maybelle, this film traces the flow of their influence through generations of musicians and the efforts of the present-day family to keep this musical legacy alive.

hollow crownThe Hollow Crown
Series 2
Website / Reviews
These three screen adaptations, Henry VI in two parts and Richard III, tell the story of ‘The Wars of the Roses’, an exceptionally turbulent period in British history. Shakespeare’s plays are filmed in the visually breathtaking landscape and architecture of the period.

song of lahoreSong of Lahore
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Follows Pakistani jazz band Sachal Studios as they venture to New York City to perform their reinterpretations of jazz standards. Despite their rising international acclaim they remain virtually unknown in Pakistan. The ensemble is faced with a daunting task: to reclaim and reinvigorate an art that has lost its space in Pakistan s narrowing cultural sphere.

Other notable releases:
Elstree 1976” –  Website / Reviews / Trailer
Grantchester” – Series 2  Website / Reviews
Moone Boy” –  Season 1Season 2Season 3  Website / Reviews
Nashville” –  Season 1Season 2Season 3  Website / Reviews
Rizzoli & Isles” –  Season 6  Website / Reviews
Star Trek, the Next Generation” –  Season 1Season 2Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7  Website / Reviews
Star Trek, Voyager” –  Season 1Season 2Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7  Website / Reviews
Strike Back” –   Season 4 – Website / Reviews
Survivors Remorse” –  Season 1Season 2  Website / Reviews
Underground” – Season 1  Website / Reviews
Vinyl” –  Season 1  Website / Reviews
Wallander” –  Series 4  Website / Reviews
We Come as Friends” – Website / Reviews / Trailer
Where To Invade Next” –  Website / Reviews / Trailer
X-files” – Season 10 – Website / Reviews

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Reader Review: Sleeping Giants

DBRL Next - July 12, 2016

sleeping giantsEven as “Sleeping Giants” is clearly a heightened, science fiction reality, I found myself really appreciating the realism on display in this story. If we somehow wave a wand and bring to life all the fanciful elements of this tale, then I could see the rest of the plot playing out very similarly to the way Sylvain Neuvel describes it.

One story element that I found lacking was an emotional connection to the characters. The way I really get invested in a story is if I’m actively rooting for someone or a relationship; I didn’t find that here. These characters, for the most part, are calm, cool, collected types. Ryan lets emotion get the best of him once, but it’s a wholly negative response. I wanted to really root for Kara and Victor’s partnership, but I felt no real thrill there.

With that said, I was pretty immediately hooked. The central, unnamed character is a curiosity. The mysterious, alien guy we meet a couple times in a Chinese restaurant seemed unnecessary in this story, but I assume he’ll play a bigger role in subsequent stories.

Let’s see where this goes.

Three words that describe this book: imaginative, curious, slick

You might want to pick this book up if: The dust jacket claims: “in the tradition of Michael Crichton, ‘World War Z,’ and ‘The Martian.'” I think that’s overstating things a bit.

-Xander

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Teen Photo Contest Entries Due July 31

DBRLTeen - July 12, 2016

ASR-Teen-Photo-Contest-2016This is a reminder to all our blog readers that July 31 is the deadline for submitting your photos for the Teen Photography Contest. Winners will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble and their artwork will be posted at teens.dbrl.org. Be sure to review the complete list of contest rules and submission guidelines before capturing your images. If you have questions regarding this contest, you can speak with a librarian by calling (573) 443-3161 or emailing teen@dbrl.org. In the meantime, check out this list of photography resources available at your library!

Originally published at Teen Photo Contest Entries Due July 31.

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Summer Reading Program Preview: Speed Date with a Book

Next Book Buzz - July 11, 2016

Book photoIn search of a galaxy far, far away: I like a book where anything is possible, including travel through deep space and the kinds of technology we can only dream about. A little time travel is also desired.

The game is afoot! I want a book with a problem to solve, preferably one that gets me using my little grey cells. I prefer twists and turns, with a few red herrings thrown in to keep me guessing.

Looking for my Mr. Darcy! A book will really catch my fancy if it has a nice dusting of romance. Watching two people fall in love is the highlight of my day, especially when it’s opposites attracting!

Do any of these readers sound like you? Have you ever struggled to figure out what to read next or are you curious about trying books that fall outside of what you normally read? Do you enjoy talking with others about books you’ve read? If so, you will want to check out the library’s first ever Speed Date with a Book on Friday, July 15, at 7 p.m. in the Columbia Public Library’s third floor reading room. 

blind date booksThe library is always a good place to find your next favorite read, and this month we want to try a new approach to helping readers find a book they can fall in love with. So, what is a speed date with a book? It’s kind of like normal speed dating, only instead of sharing information about yourself in just a couple of minutes, you get to talk about the books you love with other readers who are looking for something new. Along with the speed dating, we’ll have activities including book charades, a “first impressions” contest (because who hasn’t judged a book by its cover before?) and a chance to go on a blind date with a book. There will also be free book giveaways, door prizes and refreshments. Speed daters who find a book they want to read will have the opportunity to check it out and take the book home to find out if it lives up to expectations.

If you’re on the hunt for for an exciting new read, or just love talking about books with other readers, this is the perfect event for you!

The post Summer Reading Program Preview: Speed Date with a Book appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Summer Reading Program Preview: Speed Date with a Book

DBRL Next - July 11, 2016

Book photoIn search of a galaxy far, far away: I like a book where anything is possible, including travel through deep space and the kinds of technology we can only dream about. A little time travel is also desired.

The game is afoot! I want a book with a problem to solve, preferably one that gets me using my little grey cells. I prefer twists and turns, with a few red herrings thrown in to keep me guessing.

Looking for my Mr. Darcy! A book will really catch my fancy if it has a nice dusting of romance. Watching two people fall in love is the highlight of my day, especially when it’s opposites attracting!

Do any of these readers sound like you? Have you ever struggled to figure out what to read next or are you curious about trying books that fall outside of what you normally read? Do you enjoy talking with others about books you’ve read? If so, you will want to check out the library’s first ever Speed Date with a Book on Friday, July 15, at 7 p.m. in the Columbia Public Library’s third floor reading room. 

blind date booksThe library is always a good place to find your next favorite read, and this month we want to try a new approach to helping readers find a book they can fall in love with. So, what is a speed date with a book? It’s kind of like normal speed dating, only instead of sharing information about yourself in just a couple of minutes, you get to talk about the books you love with other readers who are looking for something new. Along with the speed dating, we’ll have activities including book charades, a “first impressions” contest (because who hasn’t judged a book by its cover before?) and a chance to go on a blind date with a book. There will also be free book giveaways, door prizes and refreshments. Speed daters who find a book they want to read will have the opportunity to check it out and take the book home to find out if it lives up to expectations.

If you’re on the hunt for for an exciting new read, or just love talking about books with other readers, this is the perfect event for you!

The post Summer Reading Program Preview: Speed Date with a Book appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Fifth Summer Reading Gift Card Winner!

DBRL Next - July 9, 2016

TrophyCongratulations to Judy of Columbia on winning our fifth Adult Summer Reading 2016 prize drawing. She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

If you have not registered for the library’s Adult Summer Reading program, you can still do so online or by visiting any of our locations. Once you sign up, you are automatically entered in the prize drawings. Also, don’t forget to submit book reviews to increase your odds of winning. (That’s what this week’s winner did!) There are plenty of drawings left this summer, so keep reading and sharing your reviews with us!

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In Memory of Elie Wiesel

Next Book Buzz - July 8, 2016

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:

People of the world
stand up a moment
Listen, listen
It buzzes from all sides
It can be heard in Buchenwald
ringing off the bells
ringing off the bells
It’s innocent blood reborn and strengthened
In a brazen roar.
Victims are resurrected from the ashes …

Yet again, we were never told that the main goal of a camp like Auschwitz was the implementation of “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” Historians estimate that among the people sent to Auschwitz there were at least 1,100,000 Jews from all the countries of occupied Europe, over 140,000 Poles, approximately 20,000 Gypsies from several European countries, over 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war and over 10,000 prisoners of other nationalities.

Book cover for Night by Elie WieselWhen I found myself in Columbia, Missouri, and I had learned enough English to start reading, books about the Holocaust were not high on my list. First, I needed to learn about my adoptive country, its history, culture and customs. So, when one day (I was already working at the reference desk of the Columbia Public Library) a teenage girl came to me and asked about “The Diary of a Young Girl,” I had no idea what that book was about. I just looked it up in the library catalog. And later, when another patron was looking for “Night” by Elie Wiesel, I didn’t know anything about that book either. In fact, I had trouble spelling “Wiesel.”

Time went by, and I learned about the Holocaust, about Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel and others. I saw a collection of victims’ shoes in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington (the Nazis confiscated their victims’ belongings and sent valuables back to Germany; the shoes were to be repaired by the camps’ prisoners and reused). And I heard a reading of names of the Jewish children murdered during the Holocaust (1.5 million names in all) in the Yad Vashem Children’s Memorial in Jerusalem, which is housed in an underground cave and lit by candles that, reflected in a system of mirrors, create the impression of millions of little stars. (The complex was built with donations from a family whose two-and-a-half-year-old son was killed in Auschwitz.) And when I read “Night,” I could hardly keep from screaming; for the way I felt, it all could have happened to me, my parents and my daughter.

There are some events so cruel and traumatic that people don’t want to talk about them, even less read about them. In fact, when Wiesel’s “Night” first appeared in print (in Yiddish) in 1954, its publication was hardly noticed. In America, when the book was published in 1960, it wasn’t an overnight success either. Gradually, though, it began attracting more attention, and when, in 2006, Oprah Winfrey presented “Night” to her book club, it became a New York Times bestseller.

Wiesel went on to write many more books and to become a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Above all, he remained a voice for Holocaust victims and survivors – the mission he considered the most important in his life.

“If I survived,” Wiesel said in 1981, “It must be for some reason. I must do something with my life…because in my place, someone else could have been saved. And so I speak for that person.”

The post In Memory of Elie Wiesel appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

In Memory of Elie Wiesel

DBRL Next - July 8, 2016

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:

People of the world
stand up a moment
Listen, listen
It buzzes from all sides
It can be heard in Buchenwald
ringing off the bells
ringing off the bells
It’s innocent blood reborn and strengthened
In a brazen roar.
Victims are resurrected from the ashes …

Yet again, we were never told that the main goal of a camp like Auschwitz was the implementation of “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” Historians estimate that among the people sent to Auschwitz there were at least 1,100,000 Jews from all the countries of occupied Europe, over 140,000 Poles, approximately 20,000 Gypsies from several European countries, over 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war and over 10,000 prisoners of other nationalities.

Book cover for Night by Elie WieselWhen I found myself in Columbia, Missouri, and I had learned enough English to start reading, books about the Holocaust were not high on my list. First, I needed to learn about my adoptive country, its history, culture and customs. So, when one day (I was already working at the reference desk of the Columbia Public Library) a teenage girl came to me and asked about “The Diary of a Young Girl,” I had no idea what that book was about. I just looked it up in the library catalog. And later, when another patron was looking for “Night” by Elie Wiesel, I didn’t know anything about that book either. In fact, I had trouble spelling “Wiesel.”

Time went by, and I learned about the Holocaust, about Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel and others. I saw a collection of victims’ shoes in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington (the Nazis confiscated their victims’ belongings and sent valuables back to Germany; the shoes were to be repaired by the camps’ prisoners and reused). And I heard a reading of names of the Jewish children murdered during the Holocaust (1.5 million names in all) in the Yad Vashem Children’s Memorial in Jerusalem, which is housed in an underground cave and lit by candles that, reflected in a system of mirrors, create the impression of millions of little stars. (The complex was built with donations from a family whose two-and-a-half-year-old son was killed in Auschwitz.) And when I read “Night,” I could hardly keep from screaming; for the way I felt, it all could have happened to me, my parents and my daughter.

There are some events so cruel and traumatic that people don’t want to talk about them, even less read about them. In fact, when Wiesel’s “Night” first appeared in print (in Yiddish) in 1954, its publication was hardly noticed. In America, when the book was published in 1960, it wasn’t an overnight success either. Gradually, though, it began attracting more attention, and when, in 2006, Oprah Winfrey presented “Night” to her book club, it became a New York Times bestseller.

Wiesel went on to write many more books and to become a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Above all, he remained a voice for Holocaust victims and survivors – the mission he considered the most important in his life.

“If I survived,” Wiesel said in 1981, “It must be for some reason. I must do something with my life…because in my place, someone else could have been saved. And so I speak for that person.”

The post In Memory of Elie Wiesel appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Reminder for Summer Reading Finishers

DBRLTeen - July 8, 2016

Kindle FireAs part of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, we have asked area young adults to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and complete seven fun library-related activities. Beginning Tuesday, July 5, Summer Reading finishers can visit any of our three library branches or bookmobile stops and claim their free book. We will have a wide selection of juvenile and young adult titles for you to choose from.

Best of all, if you finish, your name will also be entered into a drawing for a free Kindle Fire! This program is ongoing through August 13, so there is still several weeks of good reading time left.

Originally published at Reminder for Summer Reading Finishers.

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Reader Review: Long Division

DBRL Next - July 7, 2016

long divisionThis 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 😉

-Kristen

The post Reader Review: Long Division appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Mini Memoir Writing Contest

One Read - July 6, 2016

“On Betty’s Journey, I have learned something I had not known: I am very strong, strong enough to stay, strong enough to go when the time comes. I am staying not to cling on, but because sometime, at least once, everyone should see someone through. All the way home.” – George Hodgman, “Bettyville”

Great minds only need simple tools by Antti KyllonenIn this year’s One Read selection, George Hodgman tells the story of returning to Paris, Missouri after working for years in New York City and finding both his hometown and his mother in extreme decline. The book is full of stories from his childhood, woven among his present-day struggles and triumphs as his mother’s caregiver – memories, events and conversations that formed the man he now is.

Taking inspiration from “Bettyville,” we invite you to write a personal essay of 250 words or less – a mini memoir – that recalls a pivotal event or interaction that significantly shaped your personality, crystalized your worldview, or otherwise echoed through the years of your life. The memory you choose may be a monumental moment – like the birth of a child or loss of a loved one – or seemingly small, but it should be a moment that stands for something important and from which you learned something about yourself.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian (online and in print). Winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Entry Form

Entries are due by September 26. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

Contest Rules Eligibility
  • The contest is open to those 16 years of age and older.
  • Participants must reside within the DBRL service area (Boone or Callaway County, Missouri).
Contest Deadline
  • Entries will be accepted through September 26, 2016. (Mailed entries must be postmarked by that date.)
Submission Requirements and Guidelines
  • One entry per individual.
  • Submissions must be 250 words or less in length.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Submissions must include writer’s name, age, address and email address or phone number for eligibility verification and contact purposes.
  • Entries must be in text format and typed.
  • Entries may be submitted through the online form or by mail (DBRL, ATTN: Kat/One Read Writing Contest, PO Box 1267, Columbia, MO 65205), or dropped off at a DBRL location.
  • Submissions must be original, unpublished works.
  • Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to his or her submission.
  • DBRL’s and the Columbia Missourian’s publication and use of the submission in accordance with the terms set out herein will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party (including copyright), or require any payment to or consent/permission from any third party.
Content Restrictions
  • The submission must not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, profane, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.
  • The submission must not contain any material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • The submission must not contain any material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.
  • The submission must not contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service of the sponsor or any third party.
Judging
  • Entries will be evaluated and the winners chosen based on vivid language, grammar, effectiveness of details chosen, and emotion evoked by the writing, as well as adherence to the guidelines outlined above.
  • Two winners will be announced by October 12.
  • Winning entries and those receiving honorable mentions will appear on the One Read website and in the Columbia Missourian (online and in print).
  • Winners will be notified by phone or email and will each receive a $25 bookstore gift certificate.

 

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