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Staff Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

DBRLTeen - May 14, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardWhy I Checked It Out: Weeks before its release date, “Red Queen” was advertised as the next big YA fantasy, and considering that is my favorite genre, I eagerly put it on hold and awaited its release. Also, the cover looks awesome.

What It’s About: Mare is Red. She lives in a poverty stricken world, has to steal to help feed her family and has three brothers fighting in a war she’ll soon have to join. Her world is ruled by Silvers, the majestic, rich upper class with silver blood and deadly powers. And, Mare hates them.

The Silvers suppress the Reds, making them fight in their wars, and do all the heavy lifting with nothing to expect in return. When Mare gets a job working in the palace, she can’t say no, she needs the money, but she expects to hate every moment of it. What Mare doesn’t expect is finding out she has power, too, just like the Silvers. When a group of Reds begin to rebel against the Silvers’ way of doing things, Mare realizes if there’s one thing worth fighting for, it’s to free the Reds from Silver rule.

What I Liked About It (And, What I Didn’t): I like Mare’s sassy attitude, but other people might not find her so endearing. Also, while the story idea is cool, I wouldn’t call it unique. “Red Queen” is like a mix and match of other stories, and not in the most creative way. Imagine a story with “X-Men” like powers, the same poor versus rich setup as “The Hunger Games,” and the same royal drama of the TV show “Reign.” I don’t know yet if I feel like the mash-up in “Red Queen” is good or bad. I predict many people will love this book, though, and excitedly read the other two books coming out in the trilogy.

Similar Titles: If you read “Red Queen” and liked it, there are a lot of other amazing titles out there you should try, such as Rae Carson’s “Girl of Fire and Thorns,” Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone,” Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” and Melina Marchetta’s “Finnikin of the Rock.” Each of these is a fantasy adventure with a touch of romance, and are easily among my favorite YA reads.

Originally published at Staff Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

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New DVD List: Boyhood & More

DBRL Next - May 13, 2015

boyhoodHere is a new DVD list highlighting various titles in fiction and nonfiction recently added to the library collection.

boyhoodBoyhood
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014 and garnering an Oscar nomination for best picture, this film follows a boy named Mason who ages from 6 to 18 years old on screen. The film was shot intermittently over a 12-year period from May 2002 to October 2013, showing the growth of Mason and his older sister, Samantha, to adulthood.

actressActress
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014, this film by Robert Greene (“Kati with an i“) follows actress Brandy Burre who gave up her career to start a family. When she decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world she’s carefully created crumbles around her. It’s a film about starring in the movie of your life.

nick caveNick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014, this film follows a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon, Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, the film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.

happy valleyHappy Valley
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014, this film by Amir Bar-Lev (“My Kid Could Paint That”) investigates the Penn State child molestation scandal, in which Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of several accounts of child sexual abuse and head coach Joe Paterno and university administration were implicated in a coverup.

my winnipegMy Winnipeg
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Director Guy Maddin’s 2007 “docu-fantasia” is given a special re-release through the Criterion Collection. A work of memory and imagination focusing on the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Maddin’s film burrows into what the filmmaker calls “the heart of the heart” of the continent, conjuring a city populated by sleepwalkers and hockey aficionados.

Other notable releases:
Hannibal” – Season 1, Season 2 – Website / Reviews
Boss” – Season 1, Season 2Website / Reviews
Suits” – Season 1Website / Reviews
Babylon 5” – Season 1 – Website
Musketeers” – Season 1, Season 2 – Website / Reviews
Witches of East End” – Season 1Website / Reviews
The Sopranos” – Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5 – Website / Review

The post New DVD List: Boyhood & More appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Ask the Author: An Interview with Steven Watts

Next Book Buzz - May 12, 2015

Local author and professor Steven Watts be giving a talk at the Columbia Public Library this Thursday about his book “Self-Help Messiah.” The book documents the life and times of Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and the dynamic era in which he rose to fame. Here is an interview with the author for a sneak preview of the event.

DBRL: What inspired you to write this book?

SW: Over the last 20 years or so I have been writing biographies of major figures in the shaping of modern American culture, a group that included Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Hugh Hefner. In particular, I have been interested in exploring how a mainstream modern creed of consumerism, personality and self-fulfillment replaced an older Victorian standard of producerism, character and self-control. After completing the Hefner book, I was looking for a new subject when Dale Carnegie rose to the surface. I had taught about him for many years in a couple of my classes at MU, focusing on his popular advice literature in the twentieth century, and his ideas always had formulated vigorous debate, as some students loved him and others hated him. When I looked at the literature, I was surprised to see that no one had written a full-scale biography of this crucial figure in modern American life. So he seemed like a natural choice for my next project.

DBRL: As a library employee, I see “How to Win Friends and Influence People” circulate regularly, which surprises me considering that the book was written almost 80 years ago. Why do you think the book has stayed relevant for so long?

SW: How to Win Friends,” some historians have suggested, is one of the three or four best-selling non-fiction books in the entire sweep of American history and probably stands in the top dozen or so for books of all kinds. The figures I have seen support that contention. Its enormous popularity is no accident. Carnegie, with his anecdotal style and perky personality, supplied Americans with a compelling and easily digestible handbook on how to succeed in modern society. (What Horatio Alger was to the nineteenth century, Carnegie was to the twentieth.) His advice is brilliantly tailored to meet the demands and expectations of a modern bureaucratic society and a consumer culture, particularly for white-collar workers. Since that basic structure still stands in place in the United States, and indeed seems to be spreading inexorably around the world with globalization, the advice is still relevant. People respond to it viscerally, I think, and sense immediately that its principles can be applied effectively to their daily lives.

DBRL: How pivotal do you think Carnegie was? Do you think he was in the right place at the right time, and that someone else would have filled this cultural role had he not? Was this shift already on the verge of happening? Or do you think our culture would have looked much different today had he not published this book?

SW: This “what if” kind of question is always difficult for a historian to answer because we will never know what might have happened. We can only speculate, and my speculation is this. Famous people, I always tell my students, are usually individuals who stand in the right place at the right time with the right idea. It is partly a matter of context and circumstance and partly a matter of individual perception and talent. Carnegie is just such a figure. American culture was in the midst of large-scale change in the early twentieth century, so, yes, that process would probably have gone on and ended up in roughly the same place without Carnegie. At the same time, however, his efforts played an important role in formulating and systematizing vague notions of personality development, consumer striving and success that were floating around in the cultural atmosphere. He took what was nascent and made it concrete. So Carnegie does strike me as a pivotal figure whose unique talents help define and push forward a broad process of cultural change that has shaped our modern world. While it would have gone on without him, of course, I believe that he played a very important role in giving it the particular caste it has taken on.

DBRL: In her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking,” Susan Cain pinpoints Dale Carnegie as one of the most influential people in America’s shift from a culture that values a person’s character to one that places more value on an individual’s personality. Do you agree with that assessment?

SW: I agree completely. In fact, this shift from “character,” with its stress on internalized moral qualities, to “personality,” with its stress on the projection of attractive images to others, is one of the main arguments in my book. It describes not only the broader shift in American culture that is first glimpsed in the 1890s before building much steam in subsequent decades, but also Carnegie himself, whose paeans to the power of personality are key to his success advice.

DBRL: Have you read any good books lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

SW: I do a lot of reading in non-fiction, as you might imagine, particularly in American history but also in ancient Roman history, which has been a kind of intellectual hobby of mine for many years now. In the former area, I would recommend Robert Dallek’sCamelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House,” an interesting exploration of the key figures who surrounded JFK in the creation of the New Frontier in the early 1960s. In the latter area, I have just finished “The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination,” by Barry Strauss, which presents a colorful and insightful account of the murder of Julius Caesar and its role in the decline of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Don’t miss Steven Watt’s book talk at the Columbia Public Library from 7 – 8:15 p.m on Thursday, May 14. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

The post Ask the Author: An Interview with Steven Watts appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Ask the Author: An Interview with Steven Watts

DBRL Next - May 12, 2015

Local author and professor Steven Watts be giving a talk at the Columbia Public Library this Thursday about his book “Self-Help Messiah.” The book documents the life and times of Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and the dynamic era in which he rose to fame. Here is an interview with the author for a sneak preview of the event.

DBRL: What inspired you to write this book?

SW: Over the last 20 years or so I have been writing biographies of major figures in the shaping of modern American culture, a group that included Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Hugh Hefner. In particular, I have been interested in exploring how a mainstream modern creed of consumerism, personality and self-fulfillment replaced an older Victorian standard of producerism, character and self-control. After completing the Hefner book, I was looking for a new subject when Dale Carnegie rose to the surface. I had taught about him for many years in a couple of my classes at MU, focusing on his popular advice literature in the twentieth century, and his ideas always had formulated vigorous debate, as some students loved him and others hated him. When I looked at the literature, I was surprised to see that no one had written a full-scale biography of this crucial figure in modern American life. So he seemed like a natural choice for my next project.

DBRL: As a library employee, I see “How to Win Friends and Influence People” circulate regularly, which surprises me considering that the book was written almost 80 years ago. Why do you think the book has stayed relevant for so long?

SW: How to Win Friends,” some historians have suggested, is one of the three or four best-selling non-fiction books in the entire sweep of American history and probably stands in the top dozen or so for books of all kinds. The figures I have seen support that contention. Its enormous popularity is no accident. Carnegie, with his anecdotal style and perky personality, supplied Americans with a compelling and easily digestible handbook on how to succeed in modern society. (What Horatio Alger was to the nineteenth century, Carnegie was to the twentieth.) His advice is brilliantly tailored to meet the demands and expectations of a modern bureaucratic society and a consumer culture, particularly for white-collar workers. Since that basic structure still stands in place in the United States, and indeed seems to be spreading inexorably around the world with globalization, the advice is still relevant. People respond to it viscerally, I think, and sense immediately that its principles can be applied effectively to their daily lives.

DBRL: How pivotal do you think Carnegie was? Do you think he was in the right place at the right time, and that someone else would have filled this cultural role had he not? Was this shift already on the verge of happening? Or do you think our culture would have looked much different today had he not published this book?

SW: This “what if” kind of question is always difficult for a historian to answer because we will never know what might have happened. We can only speculate, and my speculation is this. Famous people, I always tell my students, are usually individuals who stand in the right place at the right time with the right idea. It is partly a matter of context and circumstance and partly a matter of individual perception and talent. Carnegie is just such a figure. American culture was in the midst of large-scale change in the early twentieth century, so, yes, that process would probably have gone on and ended up in roughly the same place without Carnegie. At the same time, however, his efforts played an important role in formulating and systematizing vague notions of personality development, consumer striving and success that were floating around in the cultural atmosphere. He took what was nascent and made it concrete. So Carnegie does strike me as a pivotal figure whose unique talents help define and push forward a broad process of cultural change that has shaped our modern world. While it would have gone on without him, of course, I believe that he played a very important role in giving it the particular caste it has taken on.

DBRL: In her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking,” Susan Cain pinpoints Dale Carnegie as one of the most influential people in America’s shift from a culture that values a person’s character to one that places more value on an individual’s personality. Do you agree with that assessment?

SW: I agree completely. In fact, this shift from “character,” with its stress on internalized moral qualities, to “personality,” with its stress on the projection of attractive images to others, is one of the main arguments in my book. It describes not only the broader shift in American culture that is first glimpsed in the 1890s before building much steam in subsequent decades, but also Carnegie himself, whose paeans to the power of personality are key to his success advice.

DBRL: Have you read any good books lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

SW: I do a lot of reading in non-fiction, as you might imagine, particularly in American history but also in ancient Roman history, which has been a kind of intellectual hobby of mine for many years now. In the former area, I would recommend Robert Dallek’sCamelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House,” an interesting exploration of the key figures who surrounded JFK in the creation of the New Frontier in the early 1960s. In the latter area, I have just finished “The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination,” by Barry Strauss, which presents a colorful and insightful account of the murder of Julius Caesar and its role in the decline of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Don’t miss Steven Watt’s book talk at the Columbia Public Library from 7 – 8:15 p.m on Thursday, May 14. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

The post Ask the Author: An Interview with Steven Watts appeared first on DBRL Next.

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New DVDs: “The Roosevelts”

Center Aisle Cinema - December 1, 2014

roosevelts

We recently added “The Roosevelts” to the DBRL collection. The seven episode series played on PBS earlier this year, and is the latest from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns who has done other series such as “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The War,” “The National Parks,” and “Prohibition.” Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Profiles Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative. This seven-part, 14 hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962. Over the course of these years, Theodore would become the 26th President of the United States and his beloved niece, Eleanor, would marry his fifth cousin, Franklin, who became the 32nd President of the United States. Together, these three individuals not only redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, but also redefined the role of the United States within the wider world. The series encompasses the history the Roosevelts helped to shape: the creation of the National Parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the passage of innovative New Deal programs, the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad. It is also an intimate human story about love, betrayal, family loyalty, personal courage, and the conquest of fear.

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

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 28– Dec. 4

Center Aisle Cinema - November 26, 2014

wattstaxDecember 3: Troublemakers” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)
December 4: Wattstax” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)

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New DVD: “Six by Sondheim”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 24, 2014

sixbysondheim

We recently added “Six by Sondheim” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown last year on HBO and currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

An intimate and candid look at the life and art of legendary composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, as revealed through the creation and performance of six of his songs, and remembered by the man himself. The six songs featured in the film are: Something’s coming, Opening doors, Send in the clowns, I’m still here, Being alive and Sunday. Art and life are intertwined for Sondheim, and it is a story of both.

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

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New DVD: “Tim’s Vermeer”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 17, 2014

timsvermeerWe recently added “Tim’s Vermeer” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2014, and currently has a rating of 89% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did seventeenth century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? Spanning ten years, his adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces, to the north coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney, and even to Buckingham Palace to see a Vermeer masterpiece in the collection of the Queen.

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

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 14 – Nov. 20

Center Aisle Cinema - November 13, 2014

perfectvictimNovember 18: Perfect Victim” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free/donation. (via)

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“Rich Hill” on January 14th

Center Aisle Cinema - November 12, 2014

richhill-coverWednesday, January 14, 2015 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

The film “Rich Hill” (91 min.) examines the rural community of the same name that lies seventy miles south of Kansas City, Missouri. This impoverished Midwestern town is the setting for this documentary that examines the turbulent lives of three boys and the fragile family bonds that sustain them. Directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, this film was a selection of the 2014 True/False Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Rich Hill – Theatrical Trailer from Andrew Droz Palermo on Vimeo.

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New DVD: “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 10, 2014

jodorowskysduneWe recently added “Jodorowsky’s Dune” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2014, and currently has a rating of 98% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from the film website:

This fascinating documentary explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s (EL TOPO) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, whose cast would have included such icons as Salvador Dali, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger. In 1975, following the runaway success of his art-house freak-outs EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN, Alejandro Jodorowsky secured the rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune – and began work on what was gearing up to be a cinematic game-changer, a sci-fi epic unlike anything the world had ever seen.

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

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 7 – Nov. 13

Center Aisle Cinema - November 6, 2014

hornetsnest

November 10: “The Hornet’s Nest” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
November 11: 
Bag It” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)
November 13: Tiny” 7:00 p.m. at the MU Student Center, free. (via)

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New DVD: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 3, 2014

findingvivianmaierWe recently added “Finding Vivian Maier” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema and currently has a rating of 95% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime. Vivian’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never-before-seen photos, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.

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

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 31 – Nov. 6

Center Aisle Cinema - October 30, 2014

girl_rising

October 31: Citizen Four” starts at Ragtag. (via)
November 3: “20,000 Days on Earth” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
November 3:  “Girl Rising” 6:00 p.m. at Missouri Theatre. (via)
November 3: Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” 6:00 p.m. at the MU Student Center. (via)

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New DVD: “Valentine Road”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 27, 2014

valentineroadWe recently added “Valentine Road” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown last year on HBO and currently has a rating of 90% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from the film website:

In 2008, eighth-grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the film reveals the heartbreaking circumstances that led to the shocking crime as well as the aftermath.

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

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 24 – Oct. 30

Center Aisle Cinema - October 23, 2014

mistakenforstrangers

October 27: “Mistaken for Strangers” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 28: One Day Pina Asked…” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)

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“American Revolutionary” on November 12th

Center Aisle Cinema - October 22, 2014

americanrevolutionary

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

The documentary “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” (82 min.) is the latest from Columbia-native filmmaker Grace Lee (“The Grace Lee Project“). This film focuses on Grace Lee Boggs, a 98 year old Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. In this film we see how Boggs continually challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times. The screening is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

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New DVD: “12 O’clock Boys”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 20, 2014

12oclockboys

We recently added “12 O’clock Boys” to the DBRL collection. The film played at various film festivals in 2013 and currently has a rating of 91% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

A notorious urban dirt bike pack in Baltimore that pops wheelies, weaves at excessive speeds through traffic, and impressively evades the hamstrung police. Their stunning antics are viewed through the eyes of adolescent Pug, a bright kid from the Westside obsessed with the riders and willing to do anything to join their ranks.

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

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 17 – Oct. 23

Center Aisle Cinema - October 17, 2014

20feetfromstardomOctober 20: “Cyber-Seniors” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 22: 20 Feet From Stardom” 6:30 p.m. at Columbia Public Library, free. (via)

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New DVD: “Generation Like”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 16, 2014

generation-like

We recently added “Generation Like” to the DBRL collection. The film played earlier this year on the PBS series Frontline and is a followup to the 2001 documentary “The Merchants of Cool.” Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Explores how the perennial teen quest for identity and connection has migrated to social media, and exposes the game of cat-and-mouse that corporations are playing with these young consumers. Here is a powerful examination of the evolving and complicated relationship between teens and the companies that are increasingly working to target them.

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

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