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Recommending YAFA (Young Adult Books for Adults)

DBRL Next - November 10, 2014

Photo of a readerThere’s been a lot of controversy lately about adults reading young adult fiction (YA). Many argue that adults should be ashamed for reading books written for children, while others say it shouldn’t matter. If you enjoy reading YA, that’s all that’s important. I have to agree with the latter argument. Telling adults they should be ashamed to read YA is absurd, but then again, telling anyone they should be ashamed to read ANYTHING is absurd!

Sure, YA books are novels aimed at readers aged 12 to 19, but YA is more than that. Many books for teens are written in a style meant to keep these readers engaged, and thus much of YA is full of more direct language, faster pacing, action scenes and emotional turmoil. These features appeal to many people (not just teens!!) because of the other media they love with similar plots or pacing – movies, TV shows, Twitter and Instagram.

Enjoying this style of book isn’t just something teens can do. Everyone can.

Now, that being said, I don’t think the classics are dead, or adults should read only YA. That’s also crazy talk. Everything has its place and time. Everything is important to someone. But should an adult feel ashamed for not wanting to be bogged down with what they might see as superfluous language or ambiguous endings? Hardly. Everyone has their preferences.

If you have read YA fiction and thought it was immature, then maybe you haven’t read enough YA. Just like in any genre or category of books, there is the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. You can’t judge an entire type of book based on one work, or even two.

My series of YAFA posts will suggest YA books that will, I hope, appeal more to adult readers. And they won’t be books already enjoying big buzz like “The Hunger Games” or “The Fault in Our Stars.” Here is my first recommendation.

Book cover for Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversGrave Mercy” by Robin LaFevers

“Grave Mercy” is a historical fantasy. It follows Ismae, a daughter of Death, as she trains to become an assassin. When the Duchess is killed, Ismae must pretend to be Gavriel Duval’s mistress and hope to find the truth behind what happened. Used to always having Death on her side, Ismae must question everything she’s learned and save the soon-to-be Duchess Anne’s life.

Full of political intrigue, historical references and a mature love interest, “Grave Mercy” has more adult elements than teen ones. Ismae sounds like a narrator above her years, and LaFevers’ language is beautifully balanced, descriptive yet direct. Longer than the average YA, “Grave Mercy” is the first in a trilogy. Each book follows a different daughter of Death. “Dark Triumph” is book two (also amazing!), and book three is yet to be released, titled “Mortal Heart.” (I have it on hold!)

No matter what anyone says, if you enjoy reading something, no matter what it is, be happy and READ!

photo credit: Cayusa via photopin cc

The post Recommending YAFA (Young Adult Books for Adults) appeared first on DBRL Next.

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From Humble Beginnings to the Nobel Prize: Marie Curie

DBRL Next - November 7, 2014

Photo used under a Creative Commons license, photo by Tekniska museet via FlickrOn November 7, 1867, two teachers in Poland welcomed a daughter into the world. They were poor but managed to nurture within her a love of learning. In a day and age where most women did not consider higher education, the girl found herself fascinated by math and science. It was this fascination that lead the girl – Maria Salomea Sklodowska, better known as Marie Curie – on a journey to the University of Paris in 1891. This journey changed not only her life but also directly influenced the future of science and medicine.

In Paris, Marie met Pierre Curie, a physics and chemistry instructor. Pierre was the love of her life, as well as  her scientific partner in Nobel Prize-winning research on radioactivity. Marie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and she was the first person (and only woman so far) to be awarded a second Nobel Prize, which she won in 1911 for the discovery of radium and polonium. Marie’s life was marked by these great successes but also by great tragedy. Both her mother and husband died far too early in their lives. Despite these losses, she persevered. Marie Curie was an unassuming woman who saw herself as simply a wife, mother and scientist. She probably never imagined her role as such an important pioneer for women and science. If you’re interested in learning more about her, the library owns several fascinating books that explore Marie’s life, family and legacy.

  • Madame Curie: A Biography” by Eve Curie. Marie Curie’s daughter, Eve, recounts Marie’s scientific successes, examining how her mother’s Polish childhood ultimately shaped her into a superstar of the scientific world.

  • Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie” by Barbara Goldsmith. Pulling from diaries, letters and family interviews, author Barbara Goldsmith explores Curie’s challenge of living the conflicting roles of wife, mother and scientist.
  • Sudden Genius? The Gradual Path to Creative Breakthroughs” by Andrew Robinson. Author Andrew Robinson explores 10 creative geniuses, including Marie Curie, looking for what they have in common that may have directed the paths their lives took and shaped the breakthroughs they made in their work.

photo credit: Tekniska museet via photopin cc

The post From Humble Beginnings to the Nobel Prize: Marie Curie appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Books for Dudes – The Iron Trial

DBRLTeen - November 7, 2014

The Iron Trial, Magisterium Book OneYou usually read stories with characters who want to succeed, whether in an adventure, a quest, a mission, etc. But what happens when the main character wants to fail?  From popular teen authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes “The Iron Trial,” the first book in the Magisterium series that takes a sharp left from the traditional hero’s journey.

Our protagonist, Call, has been warned all his life by his father to stay away from magic. Magic finds Call anyway, and he’s off to be trained at the Magisterium. However, lots of secrets revolve around Call – oddities in his mother’s death, his connection to a big war on magic, the origin of his crippled leg, etc. You’ll find many answers in this book and at least as many more questions.

I like the rules of magic in this book. Much like other magic-based stories, Black and Clare emphasize the elements…fire wants to burn, water wants to flow, air wants to rise, and earth wants to bind. A fifth type of magic is chaos magic, which wants to devour. Each magician specializes in one of these five types – gee, can you guess which magic the main villain specializes in?

This book has gotten a lot of praise, but it’s had one primary complaint from critics – this book is too much like Harry Potter. And admittedly, there are some similarities. Child has a parent (but not two in this case) killed by a dark lord of magic. Check. Child ends up at a school for wizardry. Check. Child is initially unpopular but is befriended by two friends, a boy and a girl. Check. Dark lord of magic causes mischief. Check. So yes, I’m not denying any of the above. However, I suspect that most critics tying this book to Harry Potter have not actually read the whole story – to figure out what I’m talking about, well, you’re just going to have to read this one yourself. Magisterium Book 2 is expected to be released sometime in 2015.

 

Originally published at Books for Dudes – The Iron Trial.

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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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November is National Adoption Month

DBRL Next - November 5, 2014

Book cover for November is National Adoption month. More than 100,000 children and youth in the U.S. foster care system are awaiting permanent families. National Adoption Month is a time to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care, and we wanted to share with you some informational resources about adoption, books available from your library and a publication put out by the Missouri Attorney General called “Welcome Home,” a step-by-step guide to the adoptive process.

A newly updated resource on adoption topics is located on our library’s website. In this adoption subject guide, you will learn current information about the adoption process, including local adoption resources, national and international services, post adoption support and, of course, financial and legal resources.

Adoption Display at the Columbia Public LibrarySeveral books written on the adoption process are available for check-out from DBRL. Here is just a sampling (and some of these books are on display at the Columbia Public Library).

“Welcome Home,” the adoption process publication put out by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, is available online and at the reference desk at the Columbia Public Library. It provides a nice overview for anyone wanting to learn more about the process in Missouri and covers everything from types of adoptions and frequently asked questions to forms, legal terms and available resources.

Adoption is a very large subject with many sub categories, and each one is worthy of more in-depth exploration. Some related topics of interest might include orphan trains, adoption laws state-by-state and reunions.

Genealogy and adoption is another topic of great interest, and next week we’ll share information here on DBRL Next about the challenges and some resources related to adoption and researching family histories.

The post November is National Adoption Month appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Safe Place: A Resource for Teens in Need

DBRLTeen - November 5, 2014

On average, 2.8 million teens runaway from home each year. Rainbow House, a local emergency shelter for youth, receives 10-15 calls each month from teens who have either been abused or kicked out of their homes. To help combat this serious widespread problem, the Youth Community Coalition partnered with Rainbow House to launch the Safe Place Program.

How does Safe Place work?

Youth can stop by one of 20 Safe Place sites, including the Columbia Public Library. Then, they simply find the first available employee and let them know they are in need of a safe place. Young adults will be connected to emergency shelter and other supportive resources available through Rainbow House.

If you’re in trouble and can’t make it to a Safe Place site, you can call (573) 818-8288, or text “SAFE” and your current location (address/city/state) to 69866.

Where are Columbia’s Safe Place sites?

Columbia Fire Stations No. 1-9; Blind Boone Community Center; Columbia Housing Authority; Columbia Public Library; Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services; Activity & Recreation Center; Stephens Lake Activity Center; The Armory; Family Counseling Center; Rainbow House; Voluntary Action Center; Youth Empowerment Zone; and, QuikTrip Gas Station.


View Columbia Safe Place Sites in a larger map

Originally published at Safe Place: A Resource for Teens in Need.

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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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Better Know a Genre: Weird Fiction

Next Book Buzz - November 3, 2014

Stacks of books by Thomas GalvezOur first Better Know a Genre post was in the realm of nonfiction. In this installment, we turn our attention to fiction. Earlier this year, I read “Annihilation,” the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s wonderfully unsettling Southern Reach Trilogy. At just over 200 pages, it was a slight book, but it lingered in my mind for many weeks. I did a little research and discovered that this book was in a genre known as “weird fiction.” I was excited to learn that not only did this genre have a name, but also that it contained some of my favorite authors. I liked weird fiction and hadn’t even known it!

So what is weird fiction? As one would guess from its name, it is unusual. Before we (society) had genres, we just had stories, and some of these stories had ghosts and vampires and swamps and mysterious deaths, but they were still just stories. Later, we (publishers) had to make it easier for readers to distinguish among all the possible books to purchase, and genres became established.

H.P. Lovecraft, a famous and early writer of weird fiction, wrote that these stories have a “certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread.” These are not traditional ghost stories, but they do have a supernatural element. The stories can be horrific, but they are often psychologically terrifying instead of gory or violent. The stories are different from science fiction because they do not contain the world building that is present in much of sci-fi. The setting is often our world (or something very close to it). There might be a tentacle or two.

If you are like me, you probably have read some weird fiction and not even realized it. Edgar Allan Poe, Daphne du Maurier, Franz Kafka, Shirley Jackson and Ray Bradbury have all contributed unsettling tales to the genre. The aforementioned Jeff VanderMeer is considered one of the foremost writers of the New Weird – a recent resurgence in weird fiction. He and his wife, Ann VanderMeer, are editors of “The New Weird,” an anthology containing some of the most recognized authors of the genre. You could start there, or you could jump in with a single author. Pick up a novel by China Mieville, or take our gentleman’s recommendation and check out Kelly Link’s short story collections. As Jeff and Ann VanderMeer write in the introduction to the anthology, “Because The Weird is as much a sensation as it is a mode of writing, the mostly keenly attuned among us will say ‘I know it when I see it,’ by which they mean ‘I know when I feel it.’”

photo credit: ToGa Wanderings via photopin cc

The post Better Know a Genre: Weird Fiction appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Better Know a Genre: Weird Fiction

DBRL Next - November 3, 2014

Stacks of books by Thomas GalvezOur first Better Know a Genre post was in the realm of nonfiction. In this installment, we turn our attention to fiction. Earlier this year, I read “Annihilation,” the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s wonderfully unsettling Southern Reach Trilogy. At just over 200 pages, it was a slight book, but it lingered in my mind for many weeks. I did a little research and discovered that this book was in a genre known as “weird fiction.” I was excited to learn that not only did this genre have a name, but also that it contained some of my favorite authors. I liked weird fiction and hadn’t even known it!

So what is weird fiction? As one would guess from its name, it is unusual. Before we (society) had genres, we just had stories, and some of these stories had ghosts and vampires and swamps and mysterious deaths, but they were still just stories. Later, we (publishers) had to make it easier for readers to distinguish among all the possible books to purchase, and genres became established.

H.P. Lovecraft, a famous and early writer of weird fiction, wrote that these stories have a “certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread.” These are not traditional ghost stories, but they do have a supernatural element. The stories can be horrific, but they are often psychologically terrifying instead of gory or violent. The stories are different from science fiction because they do not contain the world building that is present in much of sci-fi. The setting is often our world (or something very close to it). There might be a tentacle or two.

If you are like me, you probably have read some weird fiction and not even realized it. Edgar Allan Poe, Daphne du Maurier, Franz Kafka, Shirley Jackson and Ray Bradbury have all contributed unsettling tales to the genre. The aforementioned Jeff VanderMeer is considered one of the foremost writers of the New Weird – a recent resurgence in weird fiction. He and his wife, Ann VanderMeer, are editors of “The New Weird,” an anthology containing some of the most recognized authors of the genre. You could start there, or you could jump in with a single author. Pick up a novel by China Mieville, or take our gentleman’s recommendation and check out Kelly Link’s short story collections. As Jeff and Ann VanderMeer write in the introduction to the anthology, “Because The Weird is as much a sensation as it is a mode of writing, the mostly keenly attuned among us will say ‘I know it when I see it,’ by which they mean ‘I know when I feel it.’”

photo credit: ToGa Wanderings via photopin cc

The post Better Know a Genre: Weird Fiction appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Project Teen to Celebrate New Hobbit Movie

DBRLTeen - November 3, 2014

hobbit banner
Celebrate the upcoming Hobbit movie and the Dwarven new year with dwarvish crafts and a free pizza lunch! Join us for either of these sessions of Project Teen:

  • Friday, November 14  at the Columbia Public Library at 1 p.m. Ages 12-18. Registration is required. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.
  • Saturday, November 22 at the Callaway County Public Library at 12 p.m. Ages 12 and older. Registration is not required for this session.

Originally published at Project Teen to Celebrate New Hobbit Movie.

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Nominate a Book for One Read 2015

One Read - November 1, 2014
// What one book should our community read next? We would like your suggestions for next year's community-wide reading program. The One Read reading panel is looking for books that have a broad-based appeal to readers of different backgrounds and reading levels, that are available in paperback and other formats, and that address themes and issues that will encourage and sustain spirited discussion. (See the full list of general criteria here.) Submit your suggestion by November 30. Book Suggestion Title
Author
Why would this be a good choice for a community-wide read?

Thank you for your suggestion!

The post Nominate a Book for One Read 2015 appeared first on One READ.

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Prepare Yourself for NaNoWriMo

DBRL Next - October 31, 2014

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing MonthNovember is NaNoWriMo. If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and yes, it’s as daunting and hard as it sounds – 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s an average of 1,600 words a day, including Thanksgiving. Easy? Definitely not.

Lots of writers participate in NaNo, using it as motivation to write that book they’ve been thinking about or to finish their current work in progress. But NaNo isn’t just for writers; it’s for anyone creative who has been procrastinating and needs inspiration (or peer pressure!) to accomplish their creative goals. Maybe that goal is drawing one illustration a day, painting for 10 hours a week or posting two blog posts each weekend.

Use November as the month to set your goals and meet them. (And sometimes even beat them!)

The books I’m suggesting are ones meant to inspire you creatively and to help you through those phases where you think, I simply can’t go on. When you meet your goal at the end of November (because I know you will), you’re going to feel very accomplished.

Book cover for Steal Like an Artist by Austin KleonSteal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon

Austin speaks from his own experiences in “Steal Like an Artist,” breaking the creative process down into 10 major ideas. Full of humor and wit, this compact book will give you suggestions on how to keep going and new ways to develop your creative self. Easy to read and full of cartoons and pictures, “Steal Like an Artist” is a must read for all artists, not just writers.

Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity” by Hugh Macleod

I discovered Hugh Macleod while searching for books on creative thinking. I’d never heard of him before, but this book is amazing. Between the text and Macleod’s quirky business card cartoons, you’ll be amused and intrigued. Hugh focuses on the hard aspects of a creative life that no one wants to hear but everyone needs to understand. After reading “Ignore Everybody,” you’ll understand yourself and your process better. I know I did.

Book cover for 3 a.m. EpiphanyThe 3 A.M. Epiphany” by Brian Kiteley

This book is specific to writing, but I think many of the prompts could easily be altered to fit other arts. “The 3 A.M. Epiphany” is meant to get your creative juices flowing when you’re feeling stumped or unable to move forward. With over a hundred writing prompts, it will be impossible not to find something to write about (or draw about), and after you get going, hopefully it will be easier for you to return to your original work.

Finish This Book” by Keri  Smith

“Finish This Book” is similar to “The 3 A.M. Epiphany,” but instead of writing prompts, this book is full of questions awaiting answers. Smith will ask you to finish drawings, to make observations, to write ideas or go “hunting” with your camera.  No matter which activity from this book you choose, it will get your brain moving. Just promise you won’t write directly in the library’s copy – use a your own journal, please!

And don’t worry that you’ll be on your own; I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo this month, too. My goal is to finish my current work in progress.

The post Prepare Yourself for NaNoWriMo appeared first on DBRL Next.

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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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November 7 Deadline for December ACT Exam

DBRLTeen - October 30, 2014

Standardized TestBe sure to register online by Friday, November 7 if you plan to take the December 13 ACT exam. 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 November 7 Deadline for December ACT Exam.

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Terrifying “Funny Books” for Halloween

Next Book Buzz - October 29, 2014

Book cover for Just as a vampire needs the blood of the living to sustain it, or a zombie needs brains, comic books might have faded from existence without the chewy, pulpy sustenance of horror stories. This same subject matter was also almost their undoing, but such are the risks when you dabble in the dark arts.

For a look at the early days of horror comics check out “The Horror! The Horror!” This collection contains numerous covers and complete horror comics from the pre-code 1950s, (before such comics were censored). Commentary and informative text provide some context for the stories.

Action! Mystery! Thrills!” is a great look at the weird world of old comic book covers. Most of these depict scenes intended to simultaneously shock and entice you.

The Weird World of Eerie Publications” is another fine collection of old horror comics and a history of the industry. It tells the story of the eccentric, ethically challenged and at times scary owner of Eerie Publications.

Book cover for If you don’t know what a pre-code comic is, you should check out David Haju’s “The Ten-Cent Plague.” This book explores the censorship campaign against comics like those in the collections above. That campaign led to the Comics Code Authority, which many people feel hamstrung creativity in comics for decades. Even after reading some of the horror comics of the time, it’s shocking the lengths people went to stop them. This book is both a fascinating history of a moment in American pop culture and a frightening look at hysteria.

Not all horror stories are held in low esteem. More than a few are now considered classics. If you’d like to look a little more highbrow while scaring yourself with comics, pick up a graphic novel adaptation of “Dracula,” “Frankenstein” or the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Richard Sala’s style shows the influence of classic illustrators of the macabre Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. Sala has a knack for drawing grotesque caricatures that are just cartoonish and humorous enough. His stories maintain an eerie mood but still wink at the reader letting them know it’s just a comic book, right? “Delphine” is a retelling of the story of Snow White from Prince Charming’s perspective. This is based on the original fairy tale and not the Disney film, so it’s a darker story told by a master of them.

Book cover for Scott Snyder currently writes Batman, but his strongest work is another series about a bat-human hybrid. “American Vampire” tells the story of a new breed of Vampire (originating in America) that can not only walk in daylight, but also is made stronger by the sun. He’s a particularly viscous vampire too. Not only does he fight with the requisite vampire hunting organization, but he also doesn’t get along well with the old-school vampires either. The series is an ongoing epic that starts in the late 19th century and sets each story arc in a different period of the 20th. It’s a new take on a classic horror trope.

Baltimore” is another fresh take on the vampire story by novelist Christopher Golden and comic book artist and writer Mike Mignola (best known for “Hellboy“). Originally a novel co-written by the two with illustrated pages by Mignola, the character of Lord Henry Baltimore has found continued life in comics. This alternate history tells the story of an ancient race of vampires brought back to life by the blood soaked battlefields of WWI. Lord Henry Baltimore is a soldier who has a confrontation with one of these vampires during the war, which sets his life on a course for revenge.

Dylan Dog” is Italy’s most popular comic book. It describes the adventures of the eponymous “Nightmare Investigator.” Dylan is a former Scotland Yard detective who lives with his sidekick Groucho (who looks exactly like Groucho marks and loves puns). He is also a penniless, poetry quoting hopeless romantic who can only play one song on the clarinet. In this collection of interconnected stories, Dylan deals with zombies, mad scientists and an axe murderer. It’s a quirky combination of surrealism, humor and horror, but the story is executed in a way that is sure to appeal to many.

Have you heard of “The Walking Dead“? I’ll bet you have. It’s a hugely popular television show that got its start as a comic book. If you like the show and haven’t read the comics, you should check them out. If you don’t like the show but like stories of surviving a zombie apocalypse, you should still check out the books.

Afterlife With Archie” is indeed about the famous Archie and his hometown of Riverdale. When Jughead’s dog is hit by a car, he calls on Sabrina to bring the dog back. As is always the case (Will we never learn?!) the dog comes back wrong. Zombie contagion ensues. A lot of people would turn this idea into an easy joke or a way to mock Archie Comics. Instead, the creators take the subject seriously and use the familiarity of the characters as a way to make the story more frightening and emotionally affecting.

Book cover for Perhaps all the monsters, darkness, terror and gloom have got you down at this point? Then let me end with a story of romance. This being a list for Halloween, it’s a romance involving a sea creature. In much the way John Gardner’s novel “Grendel” took the epic poem Beowulf and told the story from the monster’s point of view, “Dear Creature” takes the classic “sea monster terrorizes beach goers” story and tells it from the sea monster’s point of view. The sea monster, Grue, has been finding bottles stuffed with Shakespeare’s writings. This subdues his appetite for beach goers and kindles his romantic interest in the source of the bottles. How could anything go wrong?

The post Terrifying “Funny Books” for Halloween appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Terrifying “Funny Books” for Halloween

DBRL Next - October 29, 2014

Book cover for Just as a vampire needs the blood of the living to sustain it, or a zombie needs brains, comic books might have faded from existence without the chewy, pulpy sustenance of horror stories. This same subject matter was also almost their undoing, but such are the risks when you dabble in the dark arts.

For a look at the early days of horror comics check out “The Horror! The Horror!” This collection contains numerous covers and complete horror comics from the pre-code 1950s, (before such comics were censored). Commentary and informative text provide some context for the stories.

Action! Mystery! Thrills!” is a great look at the weird world of old comic book covers. Most of these depict scenes intended to simultaneously shock and entice you.

The Weird World of Eerie Publications” is another fine collection of old horror comics and a history of the industry. It tells the story of the eccentric, ethically challenged and at times scary owner of Eerie Publications.

Book cover for If you don’t know what a pre-code comic is, you should check out David Haju’s “The Ten-Cent Plague.” This book explores the censorship campaign against comics like those in the collections above. That campaign led to the Comics Code Authority, which many people feel hamstrung creativity in comics for decades. Even after reading some of the horror comics of the time, it’s shocking the lengths people went to stop them. This book is both a fascinating history of a moment in American pop culture and a frightening look at hysteria.

Not all horror stories are held in low esteem. More than a few are now considered classics. If you’d like to look a little more highbrow while scaring yourself with comics, pick up a graphic novel adaptation of “Dracula,” “Frankenstein” or the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Richard Sala’s style shows the influence of classic illustrators of the macabre Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. Sala has a knack for drawing grotesque caricatures that are just cartoonish and humorous enough. His stories maintain an eerie mood but still wink at the reader letting them know it’s just a comic book, right? “Delphine” is a retelling of the story of Snow White from Prince Charming’s perspective. This is based on the original fairy tale and not the Disney film, so it’s a darker story told by a master of them.

Book cover for Scott Snyder currently writes Batman, but his strongest work is another series about a bat-human hybrid. “American Vampire” tells the story of a new breed of Vampire (originating in America) that can not only walk in daylight, but also is made stronger by the sun. He’s a particularly viscous vampire too. Not only does he fight with the requisite vampire hunting organization, but he also doesn’t get along well with the old-school vampires either. The series is an ongoing epic that starts in the late 19th century and sets each story arc in a different period of the 20th. It’s a new take on a classic horror trope.

Baltimore” is another fresh take on the vampire story by novelist Christopher Golden and comic book artist and writer Mike Mignola (best known for “Hellboy“). Originally a novel co-written by the two with illustrated pages by Mignola, the character of Lord Henry Baltimore has found continued life in comics. This alternate history tells the story of an ancient race of vampires brought back to life by the blood soaked battlefields of WWI. Lord Henry Baltimore is a soldier who has a confrontation with one of these vampires during the war, which sets his life on a course for revenge.

Dylan Dog” is Italy’s most popular comic book. It describes the adventures of the eponymous “Nightmare Investigator.” Dylan is a former Scotland Yard detective who lives with his sidekick Groucho (who looks exactly like Groucho marks and loves puns). He is also a penniless, poetry quoting hopeless romantic who can only play one song on the clarinet. In this collection of interconnected stories, Dylan deals with zombies, mad scientists and an axe murderer. It’s a quirky combination of surrealism, humor and horror, but the story is executed in a way that is sure to appeal to many.

Have you heard of “The Walking Dead“? I’ll bet you have. It’s a hugely popular television show that got its start as a comic book. If you like the show and haven’t read the comics, you should check them out. If you don’t like the show but like stories of surviving a zombie apocalypse, you should still check out the books.

Afterlife With Archie” is indeed about the famous Archie and his hometown of Riverdale. When Jughead’s dog is hit by a car, he calls on Sabrina to bring the dog back. As is always the case (Will we never learn?!) the dog comes back wrong. Zombie contagion ensues. A lot of people would turn this idea into an easy joke or a way to mock Archie Comics. Instead, the creators take the subject seriously and use the familiarity of the characters as a way to make the story more frightening and emotionally affecting.

Book cover for Perhaps all the monsters, darkness, terror and gloom have got you down at this point? Then let me end with a story of romance. This being a list for Halloween, it’s a romance involving a sea creature. In much the way John Gardner’s novel “Grendel” took the epic poem Beowulf and told the story from the monster’s point of view, “Dear Creature” takes the classic “sea monster terrorizes beach goers” story and tells it from the sea monster’s point of view. The sea monster, Grue, has been finding bottles stuffed with Shakespeare’s writings. This subdues his appetite for beach goers and kindles his romantic interest in the source of the bottles. How could anything go wrong?

The post Terrifying “Funny Books” for Halloween appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The November 2014 List

Next Book Buzz - October 27, 2014

Library Reads LogoThis November, librarians are loving genre fiction. Maybe during these longer nights we like the comfort of familiar series or predictable plot structures. This month’s LibraryReads list, the top 10 books publishing this coming month that librarians nationwide recommend, includes a police procedural, historical romances and more than one mystery. Enjoy!

Book cover for Us by David NichollsUs
by David Nicholls
“Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that makes you wish you could meet the characters in real life. This is the case with “Us,” the poignant story of a middle-of-the-road British family spiraling out of control, and one man’s attempt to win back their love. Quirky, delightful and unpredictable, the novel delves into what makes a marriage and what tears it apart.” – Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Book cover for Never Judge a Lady by Her CoverNever Judge a Lady by Her Cover: The Fourth Rule of Scoundrels”
by Sarah MacLean
“Having lost her innocence in a teenage love affair, Lady Georgiana is a social pariah. Trying to save the tatters of her reputation, she must marry and marry well. By night, she is Anna, the most powerful madame in London, and a powerful seductress in her own right. Will Georgiana succeed in re-entering society, or will her past catch up with her once and for all?” - Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

Book cover for Lives in RuinsLives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble
by Marilyn Johnson
“Johnson takes a fascinating look at the field of archaeology, profiling a number of archaeologists at work. She visits sites as diverse as an army base, Rhode Island, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Peru, but the best part of this book is learning about the archaeologists and their passions. A fun, interesting read that may cause an uptick in field school applications.” - Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

And here is the rest of the list with links to our catalog, so you can place holds on these forthcoming titles.

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The November 2014 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The November 2014 List

DBRL Next - October 27, 2014

Library Reads LogoThis November, librarians are loving genre fiction. Maybe during these longer nights we like the comfort of familiar series or predictable plot structures. This month’s LibraryReads list, the top 10 books publishing this coming month that librarians nationwide recommend, includes a police procedural, historical romances and more than one mystery. Enjoy!

Book cover for Us by David NichollsUs
by David Nicholls
“Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that makes you wish you could meet the characters in real life. This is the case with “Us,” the poignant story of a middle-of-the-road British family spiraling out of control, and one man’s attempt to win back their love. Quirky, delightful and unpredictable, the novel delves into what makes a marriage and what tears it apart.” – Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Book cover for Never Judge a Lady by Her CoverNever Judge a Lady by Her Cover: The Fourth Rule of Scoundrels”
by Sarah MacLean
“Having lost her innocence in a teenage love affair, Lady Georgiana is a social pariah. Trying to save the tatters of her reputation, she must marry and marry well. By night, she is Anna, the most powerful madame in London, and a powerful seductress in her own right. Will Georgiana succeed in re-entering society, or will her past catch up with her once and for all?” - Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

Book cover for Lives in RuinsLives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble
by Marilyn Johnson
“Johnson takes a fascinating look at the field of archaeology, profiling a number of archaeologists at work. She visits sites as diverse as an army base, Rhode Island, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Peru, but the best part of this book is learning about the archaeologists and their passions. A fun, interesting read that may cause an uptick in field school applications.” - Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

And here is the rest of the list with links to our catalog, so you can place holds on these forthcoming titles.

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The November 2014 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

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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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It’s Oktoberfest!

DBRL Next - October 24, 2014

Munich GermanyThe first thing that comes to my mind when I think about October is its colors – or, rather, whether we’ll have the wonderful fall colors that the American Midwest is famous for. (We usually do, but I’m worried about that every year. :) ) And the second October thing I think about is Oktoberfest.

Of course, unlike fall colors, Oktoberfest is not “native” to the Midwest. It originated in Munich, Germany, in 1810, and has been celebrated there ever since (except during wars and cholera epidemics) with large quantities of beer. To give you an idea of these quantities, during Oktoberfest 2014, 6.5 million two-pint mugs of beer were consumed. This resulted, among other things, in at least one attempted heist of a trolley full of beer mugs and a number of lost items – including 230 pairs of eyeglasses, two wedding rings, a set of dentures (!) and a French horn.

Strawberry cakeMy husband and I were in Munich at the end of August, and beer tents were already going up. We also noticed that many old buildings were being thoroughly cleaned – although that could have had nothing to do with the festival but with the fact that Germany has money to spare :) . In any case, we both decided that there is more to Munich than its Oktoberfest celebrations: impressive medieval churches, neoclassical buildings and theaters and crowds of tourists from all over the globe. We had a pleasant stay there, but we didn’t drink much – my husband doesn’t drink and I prefer wine. Instead, we enjoyed German desserts: plum and strawberry cakes, sweet pretzels and such.

Back home, Oktoberfest finally caught up with us. Of course, Oktoberfest in Missouri is not as big as in Munich, where some six million people attend every year, but it is just as festive – especially if you like wine. Yes, unlike the one in Munich, our Oktoberfest is mostly about wine, although the people who brought it to this country did come from Germany.

photo of a vineyardThe influence of German immigrants in Missouri cannot be overestimated. In 1860, more than half of Missouri’s foreign-born residents were Germans, many of whom settled on the south bank of the Missouri River, west of St. Louis. They brought with them their food (apple butter, potato salad, hamburgers, etc.), their music (think “Silent Night”), their architecture and carefully-wrapped cuttings from their old vineyards.

A number of grape varieties found Missouri’s climate and rocky soil suitable for growing, so it is no surprise that by the turn of the century, Stone Hill Winery (Hermann, MO), was the third largest winery in the world (second largest in the U.S.), producing more than a million gallons of wine a year. And by 1920, Missouri was the second largest wine-producing state in the U.S.

Another jewel in the Missouri wine crown is the fact that our vineyards saved the French wine industry from total destruction. The way the story goes, in 1876 an insidious louse began an assault on vineyards throughout France. (I have to mention that the louse was transported there from Missouri :) .) Fortunately for the French, Missouri’s first entomologist, Charles V. Riley, discovered that some American grape rootstocks were immune to the louse, and by grafting French vines onto them, healthy grapes could be produced. Millions of cuttings of Missouri rootstock were shipped to France, and the imminent disaster was avoided.

Prohibition hit the Missouri wine country hard. Vines were removed from the ground and numerous barrels of wine were destroyed. (It is said that the brick roads of Hermann were blood red with wine.) Many families lost their livelihood, and the region’s economy took a downturn. It wasn’t until 1960 that Missouri began recovering its lost viticultural glory.

These days, Missouri vineyards and wineries are spread all over the state (113 wineries as of 2013), and Missouri wines regularly win prestigious national and international awards. All the wineries provide tasting rooms, and many have patios overlooking the Missouri River – or other beautiful scenery – and offer winery tours. Also, nine Missouri Wine Trails host events and festivals year-round, like live music and grape stomps.

A drive along the Missouri River Wine Trail (which includes our nearest Les Bourgeois Winery) would be a great wine-and-fall-color outing this weekend. Those who’d like to take advantage of Oktoberfest (or other wine-related events) but prefer not to drive, can do it by train, boat or bike (biking on Katy Trail could be your ticket to enjoying Missouri wine and exercising at the same time :) ).

Whichever way is right for you, don’t forget to drink responsibly. And cheers!

FYI: The three largest wineries in Missouri are St. James Winery in St. James, Stone Hill Winery in Hermann and Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport.

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