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New DVD: “The Graduates”

Center Aisle Cinema - January 27, 2014

thegraduates

We recently added “The Graduates” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown in last October on the PBS series Independent Lens. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

This two-part special examines the many roots of the Latino dropout crisis through the eyes of six inspiring young students who are part of an ongoing effort to increase graduation rates for a growing Latino population.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The February List

Next Book Buzz - January 27, 2014

LibraryReads_banner1_FEBRUARY

Last year I encouraged you to read like a librarian and use the newly launched Library Reads list to find out what about-to-be-published books we library folks across the country are most abuzz about. Well, get ready to add more titles to your holds list – the February edition of Library Reads is here.

Book cover for Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising
by Pierce Brown
“The next great read for those who loved The Hunger Games. This story has so much action, intrigue, social commentary and character development that the reader who never reads science fiction will happily overlook the fact that the story takes place on Mars far in the future. The characters are perfectly flawed, causing the reader to feel compassion and revulsion for both sides. Can’t wait for the next installment!”
- Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK

Book cover for The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew QuickThe Good Luck of Right Now
by Matthew Quick
“Socially-awkward 40-year-old Bartholomew has lived with his mother all his life and has never held a job. When she succumbs to cancer, he channels her favorite actor, Richard Gere, to make her happy during her last days. Funny and sad, with moving, unsentimental prose and a quick, satisfying pace. Highly recommended.”
- Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

Book cover for This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley CashThis Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
by Wiley Cash
“Cash’s second novel is as good as his first. In this story, we meet Easter and her sister Ruby, who have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed the girls’ tale and hoping for a safe outcome. Fans of ‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ will enjoy this book as well.”
- Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Here are the remaining titles on February’s list that are on order and ready for you to place on hold. Be the first among your friends to get your hands on these great reads!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The February List appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love – The February List

DBRL Next - January 27, 2014

LibraryReads_banner1_FEBRUARY

Last year I encouraged you to read like a librarian and use the newly launched Library Reads list to find out what about-to-be-published books we library folks across the country are most abuzz about. Well, get ready to add more titles to your holds list – the February edition of Library Reads is here.

Book cover for Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising
by Pierce Brown
“The next great read for those who loved The Hunger Games. This story has so much action, intrigue, social commentary and character development that the reader who never reads science fiction will happily overlook the fact that the story takes place on Mars far in the future. The characters are perfectly flawed, causing the reader to feel compassion and revulsion for both sides. Can’t wait for the next installment!”
- Cindy Stevens, Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK

Book cover for The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew QuickThe Good Luck of Right Now
by Matthew Quick
“Socially-awkward 40-year-old Bartholomew has lived with his mother all his life and has never held a job. When she succumbs to cancer, he channels her favorite actor, Richard Gere, to make her happy during her last days. Funny and sad, with moving, unsentimental prose and a quick, satisfying pace. Highly recommended.”
- Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

Book cover for This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley CashThis Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
by Wiley Cash
“Cash’s second novel is as good as his first. In this story, we meet Easter and her sister Ruby, who have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed the girls’ tale and hoping for a safe outcome. Fans of ‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ will enjoy this book as well.”
- Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Here are the remaining titles on February’s list that are on order and ready for you to place on hold. Be the first among your friends to get your hands on these great reads!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love – The February List appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Congratulations to Our Audiobook Winners!

DBRL Next - January 24, 2014

TrophyImagine balloons and confetti dropping from the ceiling as you read this post. A big congratulations to the winners of our audiobook giveaway! Renee won a copy of “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker, and LaShawn received “The Future” by Al Gore. Thanks to everyone who entered.

If you weren’t a winner this time around, don’t fret. We have more freebies in the works, so check back in the upcoming weeks to learn how to enter our next giveaway!

The post Congratulations to Our Audiobook Winners! appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Financial Aid Fridays: Scholarships vs. Loans

DBRLTeen - January 24, 2014

Money LaunderingGrants and loans and scholarships, oh my! With so many options to fund your college education, it’s easy to see how one might get confused. Here’s a basic breakdown of the most common forms of financial aid as defined by FinAid.org:

Scholarships: Scholarships are forms of aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid. Generally, scholarships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, who are members of underrepresented groups, who live in certain areas of the country or who demonstrate financial need.

Grants: Grants are a form of financial aid, based on need, which you do not have to repay. Most commonly, grants are awarded by the federal government and based on the responses provided on your FAFSA form.

Loans: An education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. Education loans come in three major categories: student loans (e.g., Stafford and Perkins loans), parent loans (e.g., PLUS loans) and private student loans (also called alternative student loans). More than $100 billion in federal education loans and $10 billion in private student loans are borrowed each year. In order to qualify for student loans, you must complete the FAFSA form.

Here are some great books for you to borrow from the library to help you investigate general sources for scholarship funding:

Photo credit: Laundering Money by Images of Money via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: Scholarships vs. Loans.

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Docs Around Town: Jan. 24 – Jan. 30

Center Aisle Cinema - January 23, 2014

inequalityforallJanuary 27: “Inequality for All” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
January 29: “Justice for My Sister” 7:00 p.m. at Stephens College Charters Auditorium, free. Filmmaker in attendance. (via)

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How to True/False on February 1st

Center Aisle Cinema - January 22, 2014

howtotruefalse

Saturday, February 1
Session one: 10:30-11:30 a.m. or Session two: Noon-1 p.m.

Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

Get ready for the True/False Film Festival with 102.3 BXR and 1400 KFRU. You’ll get a step-by-step explanation of all things True/False, including a Q&A session with fest organizers and an exclusive sneak peek at a few films before the schedule is released. This program is expected to fill up, so we’re offering two sessions of the same program that you can attend. Find additional parking in the library’s north lot.

Don’t forget that we have many of the past True/False films in the DBRL collection. You can view our True/False Film Fest lists that we’ve set up on our catalog.

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Pie Pie Love

DBRL Next - January 22, 2014

Eat Pie, photo by Todd Lapin via FlickrDo you love pie?  Most everyone does, and in my family there is a deep vein of love for it. When my oldest son was very young, we regularly visited my mother out in the Maryland countryside. Being a chef, recipe columnist and cookbook writer, she has tons of cookbooks. At the age of 2, my son pulled “Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts” off a low bookshelf at her house and started leafing through it, totally absorbed by all the sumptuous photos of scrumptious pies presented therein. It became his favorite picture book, and for the next year or so, every time we visited “Banana” he would go directly to the bookcase, extract it from the shelf and sit to feast his eyes.

Peanut Butter Pie, photo by Stefani via FlickrMy youngest son’s first sentence was “Mo’ pie,” as in “More pie.” He was sitting in his booster seat at my sister’s kitchen table. We (my extended family and I) were enjoying a homemade pecan pie, and he had just finished his first ever piece of this divine concoction. I could tell he was enjoying it, and through his eyes I saw the gears turning in his mind – he was formulating something.  Then, with effort, he let that two word sentence fly. We all busted out laughing, which delighted him, and then I gave him another sliver, which delighted him even more.

I am pleased to inform you that January 23 is National Pie Day.  Now, you don’t really need an excuse to tuck a sweet or savory filling between buttery layers of crust that flake up with baking, but if your culinary life has been deprived lately of this comforting treat, why not take the time now and celebrate this pie-designated day. What about an earthy and filling chicken pot pie for dinner and then a refined and decadent chocolate chess pie, dolloped with whipped cream, for dessert? There is no shortage of options - here’s proof. If you are gluten intolerant, as I am, you can still enjoy pie because there are lots of recipes for gluten-free crusts roaming around out there. It’s cold outside! Turn that oven on; make and bake a pie. You’ll warm your home, then your belly and finally your heart.

Photos used under the Creative Commons License.

The post Pie Pie Love appeared first on DBRL Next.

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February 7 Deadline for March SAT Exam

DBRLTeen - January 22, 2014

Standardized TestThe registration deadline for the March 8 SAT exam is Friday, February 7. Sign-up online.

If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our  online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.

Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).  If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call  (800) 324-4806.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!

Originally published at February 7 Deadline for March SAT Exam.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Susanna Clarke

Next Book Buzz - January 20, 2014

Book cover for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna ClarkeIf what we read is awesome enough it will contribute to who we are. “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is exceedingly awesome and about magic and magicians and an era when gentlemen were commonplace. So it will not surprise the reader to learn of my affinity for the novel and that I was both drawn to it by what I already was and shaped by it into what I currently am: a wearer of tophats and caster of the occasional spell. One cannot spend 850 often breathtaking pages in the company of gentlemen and gentlewomen without absorbing their delightful (and, increasingly in my view, mandatory) manners. The book’s influence extended beyond making suits and kerchiefs compulsory and replacing ibuprofen with laudanum as the tonic for headaches and chills*; it also provided much of the origin for my immense fear of faeries.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is overflowing with ideas. There are footnotes throughout relaying stories other writers would have been thrilled to settle on for the course of a book but that Susanna Clarke uses as spice to deepen the flavor of a work so savory and rich that if it were food it would be impolite to serve to the book’s characters and their stiff English palates without stern warnings of its decidedly un-pudding like flavors.

Clarke created a history so persuasive that one is given to wonder if she did not simply unearth England’s true history and that the country was shaped by magic, both literally in the sense of magically altered coastlines, and figuratively in the sense of magicians aiding them in their wars and inspiring their limericks. She tells, with a voice made to illicit chuckles and wry appreciative nods, the story of the titular magicians and their plight to reassert magic to its lofty and rightful heights. At the book’s onset magic is studied by a society of gentleman but never performed as they are unable. Soon Mr Norrell emerges,** desiring to disband the “theoretical magicians” and succeeding by showing that magic can be done. His spell provides the first of hundreds of the book’s mind-searing images: he causes the statues of a great church to come alive for a short while. Magic begins its ascent in esteem. Jonathan Strange, a career-less young man, accidentally discovers his aptitude for it. The two magicians join forces. Mr Norrell brings a young woman back to life with the aid of a faerie.*** The faerie, referred to only as “the man with the thistle-down hair,” has rather disagreeable terms. In addition to taking one of Lady Pole’s fingers, he bargains for domain over half her life. Mr Norrell accepts the terms, foolishly believing the faerie will take the last half of the lady’s life. Instead the resurrected finds her nights occupied by a perpetual ball taking place in the eerie bone-strewn semi-ruins of the faerie’s castle, a place called Lost-Hope. Lady Pole and her butler, Stephen Black, to whom the faerie has taken an unfortunate liking, find when trying to speak of their predicament and thereby exercise themselves from it they can only relate arcane bits of faerie history.

The novel builds to a climax worthy of its bulk. Readers will be sad to leave it and find themselves tempted to summon a faerie that might enchant them into the book’s pages permanently. Take heed though – a reread is a better idea; unlike a faerie’s bargain it won’t leave you missing a digit and with your house, which you can never leave, made from  the pages of a novel. Great novel though it may be, weather will not do it any favors.

____________________

*Also contributed to my fondness for footnotes.

**Figuratively. Norrell much prefers to remain cloistered in his library where he’s hoarded every book of magic, thereby effectively preventing anyone from practicing.

***A creature he detests but needs for such lofty magic.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Susanna Clarke appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

The Gentleman Recommends: Susanna Clarke

DBRL Next - January 20, 2014

Book cover for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna ClarkeIf what we read is awesome enough it will contribute to who we are. “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is exceedingly awesome and about magic and magicians and an era when gentlemen were commonplace. So it will not surprise the reader to learn of my affinity for the novel and that I was both drawn to it by what I already was and shaped by it into what I currently am: a wearer of tophats and caster of the occasional spell. One cannot spend 850 often breathtaking pages in the company of gentlemen and gentlewomen without absorbing their delightful (and, increasingly in my view, mandatory) manners. The book’s influence extended beyond making suits and kerchiefs compulsory and replacing ibuprofen with laudanum as the tonic for headaches and chills*; it also provided much of the origin for my immense fear of faeries.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is overflowing with ideas. There are footnotes throughout relaying stories other writers would have been thrilled to settle on for the course of a book but that Susanna Clarke uses as spice to deepen the flavor of a work so savory and rich that if it were food it would be impolite to serve to the book’s characters and their stiff English palates without stern warnings of its decidedly un-pudding like flavors.

Clarke created a history so persuasive that one is given to wonder if she did not simply unearth England’s true history and that the country was shaped by magic, both literally in the sense of magically altered coastlines, and figuratively in the sense of magicians aiding them in their wars and inspiring their limericks. She tells, with a voice made to illicit chuckles and wry appreciative nods, the story of the titular magicians and their plight to reassert magic to its lofty and rightful heights. At the book’s onset magic is studied by a society of gentleman but never performed as they are unable. Soon Mr Norrell emerges,** desiring to disband the “theoretical magicians” and succeeding by showing that magic can be done. His spell provides the first of hundreds of the book’s mind-searing images: he causes the statues of a great church to come alive for a short while. Magic begins its ascent in esteem. Jonathan Strange, a career-less young man, accidentally discovers his aptitude for it. The two magicians join forces. Mr Norrell brings a young woman back to life with the aid of a faerie.*** The faerie, referred to only as “the man with the thistle-down hair,” has rather disagreeable terms. In addition to taking one of Lady Pole’s fingers, he bargains for domain over half her life. Mr Norrell accepts the terms, foolishly believing the faerie will take the last half of the lady’s life. Instead the resurrected finds her nights occupied by a perpetual ball taking place in the eerie bone-strewn semi-ruins of the faerie’s castle, a place called Lost-Hope. Lady Pole and her butler, Stephen Black, to whom the faerie has taken an unfortunate liking, find when trying to speak of their predicament and thereby exercise themselves from it they can only relate arcane bits of faerie history.

The novel builds to a climax worthy of its bulk. Readers will be sad to leave it and find themselves tempted to summon a faerie that might enchant them into the book’s pages permanently. Take heed though – a reread is a better idea; unlike a faerie’s bargain it won’t leave you missing a digit and with your house, which you can never leave, made from  the pages of a novel. Great novel though it may be, weather will not do it any favors.

____________________

*Also contributed to my fondness for footnotes.

**Figuratively. Norrell much prefers to remain cloistered in his library where he’s hoarded every book of magic, thereby effectively preventing anyone from practicing.

***A creature he detests but needs for such lofty magic.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Susanna Clarke appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA

DBRLTeen - January 20, 2014

FAFSA FrenzyThe Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the primary application used by all colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. In other words, this form is mandatory for all those planning to attend college.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has an assistance program called FAFSA Frenzy to help you and your family successfully complete this online application form. They will be hosting several free events at mid-Missouri high schools. If you are planning to attend college in the fall, mark your calendars now for one of these three sessions.

Best all, FAFSA Frenzy attendees are entered for a chance to win a scholarship to a Missouri postsecondary institution for the Fall 2014 semester! To learn more about the FAFSA and its impact on funding your college education, check out our recent blog post, “Navigating the FAFSA.”

Where is the FAFSA Frenzy being held in Boone & Callaway Counties?

Location: Address: Date & Time: Fulton High School 1 Hornet Dr., Fulton Wednesday, February 19 from 4-7:30 p.m. Hickman High School Media Center 1104 N. Providence Rd., Columbia Update:
Tuesday, February 11 from 6-8:00 p.m. Columbia Area Career Center 4203 S. Providence Rd. Sunday, February 9 from 2-4 p.m.

What to bring:

  • Your parents’ and your 2013 W-2 forms
  • Copies of your parents’ and your 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2013 returns before you attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete your taxes.
  • Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending the FAFSA Frenzy.

What do I bring if my parents and I haven’t filed our taxes yet?

  • 2012 tax forms
  • 2013 statements of interest earned
  • Last year-end pay stub received in December 2013 by you and your parents, showing year-to-date earnings.

Originally published at Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA.

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How Do You Find Your Next Good Read?

DBRL Next - January 17, 2014

reading stack by burningairlinesgiveyousomuchmore via flickrHow do you discover new books to read? We have some patrons who religiously place holds on titles appearing on the New York Times Best Sellers lists. Others track like-minded readers on social reading sites like Goodreads. Did you know your library has some pretty nifty tools – both high-tech and low – for finding your next great read?

  • The Books & More section of our digital branch is a portal of sorts for all kinds of book-finding tools. Browse the latest Literary Links article, a monthly piece that appears in the Columbia Daily Tribune and provides a book list on a timely topic. You’ll also find links to our latest book recommendation posts appearing on this blog, as well as those for Teens and Kids.
  • Get book recommendations in your inbox! Sign up for BookNews, monthly themed newsletters that highlight new titles in our catalog. You can choose our newsletters highlighting our book club picks, new nonfiction, mysteries and more.
  • Browse the staff picks book lists in our online catalog for hand-selected fiction and nonfiction titles.
  • Join us for an upcoming Facebook Friday reading recommendation program. Just watch for our Facebook post asking for the last few books you enjoyed, leave a comment, and a staff member will suggest your next great read.
  • Finally, just ask! Our staff members are expert recommenders, so next time you are in one of our buildings or on the bookmobile, you can let one of us know a book or author you liked, and we’ll suggest some titles for you to try.

Do you have a favorite tool for finding your next good read? Let us know in the comments.

The post How Do You Find Your Next Good Read? appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Financial Aid Fridays: Navigating the FAFSA

DBRLTeen - January 17, 2014

Scrabble MoneyF-A-F-S-A. Commit these five letters to memory. If you plan on attending college, they will follow you throughout the course of your entire academic career. It’s a little daunting, I know. DBRLTeen is here to help make these five letters a little friendlier.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All prospective college students looking to qualify for federal grants or loans must complete this online application. Most colleges also require this application so that they can award institutional scholarships based on financial need.

Another important note: Once you are admitted and attending college, you will have to complete this form every year until you graduate. Typically the latest version of the FAFSA form is available in early January, or shortly before.

Of all the applications you submit, your FAFSA ranks right up there with your application to the college or university you have chosen to attend. Translation: Very Important. You have through early spring to complete this online form, be sure to review the 2014 FAFSA deadlines.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) also offers a free program called FAFSA Frenzy to help students and families complete the FAFSA form. Fulton High School, Hickman High School, and the Columbia Career Center are each hosting this free event. Learn more about upcoming sessions.

Last, check out this video, “Seven Steps to Applying for Financial Aid.” It is produced by MDHE and provides a six-minute overview of completing the FAFSA form. The FAFSA website also now offers a tool called the FAFSA4caster. This resource will estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Very cool.

Photo credits:
Money on Money by 401(K) 2013 via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: Navigating the FAFSA.

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Docs Around Town: Jan. 17 – Jan. 23

Center Aisle Cinema - January 16, 2014

pingpong

January 20: “We the People” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
January 22: “Ping Pong” 6:30 p.m. at Columbia Public Library, free. (via)
January 23: “Blood Brother” 7:30 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)

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New DVD: “The Bitter Buddha”

Center Aisle Cinema - January 15, 2014

bitterbuddha1We recently added “The Bitter Buddha” to the DBRL collection. The film currently has a rating of 94% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Takes an unconventional journey with a true ‘comic’s comic’. For a few decades, Eddie Pepitone has proven to be a startling force in the alt-comedy scene. Follow Eddie as he deals with a middle-age career surge, while struggling with self doubt, sobriety, and a challenging family history.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project!

DBRL Next - January 15, 2014

Book cover for The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionWhat happens when a 39-year-old brilliant genetics professor with Asperger’s and, therefore, few social skills sets out to find a wife? He approaches that task the way he approaches all his tasks, i.e. like a scientific project. First, Don Tillman develops a double-sided, 16-page questionnaire, whose purpose is to screen out unsuitable candidates: smokers, the mathematically illiterate, those with body mass index over 26, vegetarians, the perpetually tardy, etc. He then pursues his task with robotic precision (and, not surprisingly, very little luck) – until the most unsuitable candidate walks into his life and turns it upside down. This candidate, sent to Don as a joke, is Rosie, a volatile bartender and a graduate student of psychology. Rosie has a project of her own – she’s trying to find her biological father.

As the story unfolds, Don, a guy who cannot stand being touched, who can barely read social clues or understand people’s reactions, puts his project on the back burner and begins helping Rosie with hers. In the process, an unpredictable thing happens (kind of unpredictable, mind you, it is a romantic comedy after all :) ) – Don’s Asperger’s gradually gives way to affection and, ultimately, love. And these newly awakened emotions help Don learn how to sympathize with people around him and discover the things that really make him happy.

Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project,” a clever and laugh-out-loud celebration of our individual differences, is a great read for those who like happy endings and also for those who want to start their New Year on an optimistic note. Readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and Toni Jordan’s “Addition” (as well as fans of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”) will enjoy it, too.

The post Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project! appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project!

Next Book Buzz - January 15, 2014

Book cover for The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionWhat happens when a 39-year-old brilliant genetics professor with Asperger’s and, therefore, few social skills sets out to find a wife? He approaches that task the way he approaches all his tasks, i.e. like a scientific project. First, Don Tillman develops a double-sided, 16-page questionnaire, whose purpose is to screen out unsuitable candidates: smokers, the mathematically illiterate, those with body mass index over 26, vegetarians, the perpetually tardy, etc. He then pursues his task with robotic precision (and, not surprisingly, very little luck) – until the most unsuitable candidate walks into his life and turns it upside down. This candidate, sent to Don as a joke, is Rosie, a volatile bartender and a graduate student of psychology. Rosie has a project of her own – she’s trying to find her biological father.

As the story unfolds, Don, a guy who cannot stand being touched, who can barely read social clues or understand people’s reactions, puts his project on the back burner and begins helping Rosie with hers. In the process, an unpredictable thing happens (kind of unpredictable, mind you, it is a romantic comedy after all :) ) – Don’s Asperger’s gradually gives way to affection and, ultimately, love. And these newly awakened emotions help Don learn how to sympathize with people around him and discover the things that really make him happy.

Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project,” a clever and laugh-out-loud celebration of our individual differences, is a great read for those who like happy endings and also for those who want to start their New Year on an optimistic note. Readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and Toni Jordan’s “Addition” (as well as fans of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”) will enjoy it, too.

The post Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project! appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

New DVD: “Shepard & Dark”

Center Aisle Cinema - January 13, 2014

shepardanddarkWe recently added “Shepard & Dark” to the DBRL collection. The film currently has a rating of 86% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in the early ’60s and remained close friends despite living very different lives. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and an Academy Award-nominated author while Dark was a homebody with a penchant for photography and letter writing.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Classics for Everyone: A Brief History of Time

DBRL Next - January 13, 2014

Book cover for The Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingThe changing of the year always prompts me to note the swift passage of time. And the realization that we now have fewer than 50 years to wait until first contact with an alien species, as established in the Star Trek canon, makes me think of space. So what better book to highlight this month than Stephen Hawking’s non-fiction classic, “A Brief History of Time”?

In his acknowledgments for the book, first published in 1988, Hawking writes: “…the basic ideas about the origin and fate of the universe can be stated without mathematics in a form that people without a scientific education can understand. This is what I have attempted to do in this book.” More than almost any other modern-day scientist, Hawking helped the average person get a grasp on what physicists mean when they discuss the big bang or quantum mechanics or black holes, and why they now refer to space-time as one single term rather than two separate things. In “A Brief History of Time” he provides an historical overview of beliefs about the workings of the universe, beginning with Aristotle. Then he moves into current (at the time) knowledge and theories.

In 2005, Hawking published “A Briefer History of Time,” an updated and even more simplified version of his earlier work, for those of us whose brains move at a pace considerably slower than the speed of light. He followed this in 2010 with “The Grand Design,” co-authored by Leonard Mlodinow, which discusses further recent developments in cosmology, including something called M-theory.

Hawking’s life is as interesting as the subjects he explores, and he shares some of the details in his new autobiography, “My Brief History.” He just celebrated his 72nd birthday on January 8, over 50 years after being diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and told he didn’t have many years to live. But he spends more time discussing his research and education than his physical condition. Late bloomers take heart – he did not learn to read until he was 8 years old.

For those who can’t get enough Stephen Hawking in their lives, he maintains a website with up-to-date information about himself and his work: http://www.hawking.org.uk.

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