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Kill the Messenger

DBRL Next - December 31, 2014

Book cover for Dark Alliance by Gary WebbI saw a wonderful film not long ago called “Kill the Messenger.” That phrase is an old saw about taking out one’s displeasure on the one who brings bad news. This particular messenger was the San Jose Mercury reporter Gary Webb, and the message was his work tying the explosion of crack cocaine in the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the 1980s to important leaders of Ronald Reagan’s beloved Contras. The Contras were mercenaries who fought against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and who (believe it or not!) were supported by drug sales in Los Angeles and other cities after Congress voted down funding for Reagan’s war in Central America. Turns out they were protected by the CIA and the mainstream press, as well as functionaries close to the White House.

The film was a thriller with a bit of pathos thrown in to demonstrate what happened to a reporter who embarrassed the US “deep state.” It can be found online (if you have a credit card), but in any case, DBRL has Webb’s book “Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion,” as well as a few other interesting titles on the subject.

If you find it difficult to believe that the government prioritizes the “War on Drugs” and at the same time elements within the state are supporting the importation of those drugs, check out Douglas Valentine’s “The Strength of the Wolf,” which elucidates the many connections between the “deep state” and drug trafficking as discovered by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics prior to 1968 when the FBN was dissolved.

Book cover for Cocaine Politics by Jonathan MarshallWe also have Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall’s  “Cocaine Politics,” perhaps the first to document the drug trafficking of Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries (the Contras) and the complicity of mercenaries and US government leaders and institutions. Here I bow to another reviewer, Marilynn Larew, who reviewed the book for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (September 22, 1991, N9):

“Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall expand on revelations in the Iran-Contra scandal and the 1989 Kerry Committee Report. They assert persuasively that the CIA has long-standing alliances with men who deal drugs while doing dirty tricks for us in Latin America. The links go as far back as 1961 and the Bay of Pigs. Their story, however, is about the contra war, in which drug money paid for arms, the planes that carried ‘humanitarian aid’ in [and] flew drugs out, and Latin American colonels [who] made fortunes on drugs destined for American streets, all with our government’s connivance….The core of the book, the adventures of Jack Terrell…the soldier of fortune who tried to blow the whistle on the contra drug dealers, is taut as a thriller….The authors appear to evaluate the murky evidence in the government documents and news stories temperately. The thesis rings true.”

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Kill the Messenger

Next Book Buzz - December 31, 2014

Book cover for Dark Alliance by Gary WebbI saw a wonderful film not long ago called “Kill the Messenger.” That phrase is an old saw about taking out one’s displeasure on the one who brings bad news. This particular messenger was the San Jose Mercury reporter Gary Webb, and the message was his work tying the explosion of crack cocaine in the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the 1980s to important leaders of Ronald Reagan’s beloved Contras. The Contras were mercenaries who fought against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and who (believe it or not!) were supported by drug sales in Los Angeles and other cities after Congress voted down funding for Reagan’s war in Central America. Turns out they were protected by the CIA and the mainstream press, as well as functionaries close to the White House.

The film was a thriller with a bit of pathos thrown in to demonstrate what happened to a reporter who embarrassed the US “deep state.” It can be found online (if you have a credit card), but in any case, DBRL has Webb’s book “Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion,” as well as a few other interesting titles on the subject.

If you find it difficult to believe that the government prioritizes the “War on Drugs” and at the same time elements within the state are supporting the importation of those drugs, check out Douglas Valentine’s “The Strength of the Wolf,” which elucidates the many connections between the “deep state” and drug trafficking as discovered by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics prior to 1968 when the FBN was dissolved.

Book cover for Cocaine Politics by Jonathan MarshallWe also have Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall’s  “Cocaine Politics,” perhaps the first to document the drug trafficking of Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries (the Contras) and the complicity of mercenaries and US government leaders and institutions. Here I bow to another reviewer, Marilynn Larew, who reviewed the book for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (September 22, 1991, N9):

“Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall expand on revelations in the Iran-Contra scandal and the 1989 Kerry Committee Report. They assert persuasively that the CIA has long-standing alliances with men who deal drugs while doing dirty tricks for us in Latin America. The links go as far back as 1961 and the Bay of Pigs. Their story, however, is about the contra war, in which drug money paid for arms, the planes that carried ‘humanitarian aid’ in [and] flew drugs out, and Latin American colonels [who] made fortunes on drugs destined for American streets, all with our government’s connivance….The core of the book, the adventures of Jack Terrell…the soldier of fortune who tried to blow the whistle on the contra drug dealers, is taut as a thriller….The authors appear to evaluate the murky evidence in the government documents and news stories temperately. The thesis rings true.”

The post Kill the Messenger appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Audiobook Giveaway Winner Announced

DBRLTeen - December 31, 2014

Congratulations to Nila Palaniappan! She is the lucky winner of DBRLTeen’s “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” Book Giveaway. She will receive a free autographed copy of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” on CD. If you’d like the chance to win more free books or a gift card to Barnes & Noble, be sure to support your favorite book in the upcoming March Madness Teen Book Tournament. Through a series of votes, we will narrow our list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. If you’d like to be informed of when voting begins, be sure to subscribe to our blog updates!

Originally published at Audiobook Giveaway Winner Announced.

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Suggested One Read: The Weight of Blood

One Read - December 30, 2014

Book cover for The Weight of Blood by Laura McHughIn January, our One Read reading panel will begin narrowing down the list of more than 100 books nominated for our community-wide reading program. In the meantime, we are highlighting just some of these suggested titles so you can see what other local readers are enjoying.

Each year at least one local author’s book is nominated, and this year is no different. “The Weight of Blood” by Laura McHugh received multiple nominations. This suspenseful tale, set in the Ozarks, focuses on seventeen-year-old Lucy Dane and her mother Lila, who disappeared not long after Lucy’s birth. The discovery of the body of a long-missing school friend compels Lucy to look into both disappearances, but few are willing to help her. One of our nominators writes, “The book is a well-written mystery and a page-turner. It deals with the closed culture in southern Missouri, family secrets and human trafficking.”

Read about some of the other books nominated for One Read 2015.

The post Suggested One Read: The Weight of Blood appeared first on One READ.

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Young Adult Books For Adults: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

DBRL Next - December 29, 2014

book cover for Ashes by Ilsa J. BickAlex believes she is going to die. The tumor growing in her brain, she expects it to be her end. When an electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, all of Alex’s expectations change. Suddenly, everyone in the age range of 20 to 60 is dead. Technology no longer works, and the world Alex knew no longer exists. Alex bands together with a little girl and a young soldier to survive, finding family and friends in them she never expected.

Obviously, by my description of “Ashes,” you can tell it’s apocalyptic fiction. I admit I’ve never been a big fan of apocalyptic fiction. For me, I find it a hard genre to read because reading about the world ending can be a pretty depressing topic. But Ilsa J. Bick is an amazing writer, and “Ashes” is easily in the top five best books I have read in the past two years.

It’s a fast read, and if you like the TV show “The Walking Dead,” I’m pretty sure you’ll love “Ashes” too. “Ashes” has the same feel as “The Walking Dead.” Odd characters come together, they fight together, create bonds, and then bad things happen. You’ll scream internally for the characters, root for them and cry for them, all because Bick creates them so beautifully. Before you know it, you’ll have finished the entire book in a few days.

Bick is an amazing writer, and although “Ashes” is considered YA, I would highly recommend it to the adult reader. Bick’s writing style is very honest. She’s got a unique take on action scenes, and I believe this is due to her background as an Air Force major. Her writing has a militaristic aspect, which happens to be perfect for apocalyptic fiction. Between this and her beautifully rendered characters, “Ashes” stands apart from the other reads in its genre.

Thankfully, “Ashes” is the first in a trilogy, and all three books are available. So, once you’ve finished “Ashes,” make sure to check out the second book, “Shadows,” and the third, “Monsters.”

The post Young Adult Books For Adults: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Young Adult Books For Adults: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Next Book Buzz - December 29, 2014

book cover for Ashes by Ilsa J. BickAlex believes she is going to die. The tumor growing in her brain, she expects it to be her end. When an electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, all of Alex’s expectations change. Suddenly, everyone in the age range of 20 to 60 is dead. Technology no longer works, and the world Alex knew no longer exists. Alex bands together with a little girl and a young soldier to survive, finding family and friends in them she never expected.

Obviously, by my description of “Ashes,” you can tell it’s apocalyptic fiction. I admit I’ve never been a big fan of apocalyptic fiction. For me, I find it a hard genre to read because reading about the world ending can be a pretty depressing topic. But Ilsa J. Bick is an amazing writer, and “Ashes” is easily in the top five best books I have read in the past two years.

It’s a fast read, and if you like the TV show “The Walking Dead,” I’m pretty sure you’ll love “Ashes” too. “Ashes” has the same feel as “The Walking Dead.” Odd characters come together, they fight together, create bonds, and then bad things happen. You’ll scream internally for the characters, root for them and cry for them, all because Bick creates them so beautifully. Before you know it, you’ll have finished the entire book in a few days.

Bick is an amazing writer, and although “Ashes” is considered YA, I would highly recommend it to the adult reader. Bick’s writing style is very honest. She’s got a unique take on action scenes, and I believe this is due to her background as an Air Force major. Her writing has a militaristic aspect, which happens to be perfect for apocalyptic fiction. Between this and her beautifully rendered characters, “Ashes” stands apart from the other reads in its genre.

Thankfully, “Ashes” is the first in a trilogy, and all three books are available. So, once you’ve finished “Ashes,” make sure to check out the second book, “Shadows,” and the third, “Monsters.”

The post Young Adult Books For Adults: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

2015 March Madness Booklist Announced

DBRLTeen - December 29, 2014

2015 March Madness Booklist

VOTE NOW through February 20 for the Sweet 16!

A new season of book rivalries has begun. Vote for your favorite titles from a pool of the 32 most popular teen books of the year. Your votes will narrow down the list to the 2015 Mid-Missouri teen book champion. For added excitement, each round you vote, your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win cool prizes like free book sets or a Barnes & Noble gift  card.

Vote at your library, or online at teens.dbrl.org, until February 20 for the Sweet 16; then four rounds of weekly voting will take place in March. We will announce the winner on April 7.

Who can participate?

March Madness is open to all teens ages 12-18 who live in either Boone or Callaway County, Missouri.

How It Works:

  • Round 1: VOTE NOW through February 20 for the Sweet 16.
  • Round 2: Vote March 4-11 for the Elite 8.
  • Round 3: Vote March 12-18 for the Final 4.
  • Round 4: Vote March 19-25 for the final two contending titles.
  • Round 5: Vote March 26-April 1 for the book tournament champion.
  • April 7: The champion is announced!

Each round that you vote, your name is entered into our prize drawing! Limit one ballot per person, per round.

March Madness Teen Book Tournament Finalists

Originally published at 2015 March Madness Booklist Announced.

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Reader Review: Joy Luck Club

DBRL Next - December 26, 2014

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2014 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

joyluckclubThe Joy Luck Club” is a book about four Chinese immigrant families. It goes through the perspective of the mothers and daughters. The first story is about a character’s childhood, and the second story is about present times. The main character’s mother has just passed away, and she is about to embark on a journey to China to meet her mother’s twin girls from another marriage. I loved this book. It is so heartfelt and makes you want to go and hug your mother.

Four words that describe this book: mother, daughter, love, relationships

You might want to pick this book up if: You want a good cry.  The stories in this book are so amazing and touching you will surely cry your eyes out.  It is also an amazingly written book with so many life lessons.

-Anonymous

The post Reader Review: Joy Luck Club appeared first on DBRL Next.

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While the Library Is Closed for the Holidays…

DBRL Next - December 24, 2014

Photo of a sign reading open 24 hoursDecember 24 and 25 our buildings are closed and the bookmobiles are parked in the garage, but the digital branch is always open. Visit dbrl.org and check out an eBook, research a purchase, watch a movie and more. Below are just a few of the ways you can use the library online this holiday or any day. All you need is Internet access and a library card.

photo credit: Tallent Show via photopin cc

The post While the Library Is Closed for the Holidays… appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Suggested One Read: The Chaperone

One Read - December 23, 2014

Book cover for The Chaperone by Laura MoriartyWorks of fiction with real historical settings allow us to explore a past time and place in an intimate way. The nominator of “The Chaperone” by Laura Moriarty feels that the community would enjoy experiencing 1920s New York.

Our nominator writes, “[This is] a fictional story inspired by a real-life movie star Louise Brooks. This novel follows the life of the woman who chaperoned Brooks from Wichita, KS to New York City at the start of her film career. This book will appeal to the community because it is a fascinating story and written in a manner that pulls you in from the first page. The characters are truly drawn and easy to connect with; I did not want to put this book down when I was reading it. I think it will inspire lots of discussion – about the ’20s in the US, women’s role in the country during that time, old-time movies and much more.”

Read about other books nominated for One Read 2015.

The post Suggested One Read: The Chaperone appeared first on One READ.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The January 2015 List

Next Book Buzz - December 22, 2014

Library Reads LogoIt’s cold and dark outside, so warm up with a recommended book from LibraryReads! The January list is full of thrills and mystery, just the thing to get your blood pumping. Here are the top 10 books librarians love that hit the shelves next month.

Book cover for As Chimney Sweepers Come to DustAs Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust” by Alan Bradley
“After the unexpected recovery of her mother’s body brings the de Luce’s family secrets to light, Flavia’s life is turned upside down. Now on her way to a Canadian boarding school, she must survive her first term – and more importantly, uncover the mystery of a corpse found in her dorm room chimney the night she arrives. A delightful installment in the series!” – Lizzie Gall, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, MI

Book cover for The Rosie Effect by Graeme SimsionThe Rosie Effect” by Graeme Simsion
“Don Tillman and Rosie are back again, and they’ve relocated to New York. Rosie is continuing her studies, while Don is teaching and even adding to his small circle of friends. But when Rosie announces that she is pregnant, Don is once again out of his depth. What follows are crazy situations that could only happen when Don is involved. Funny and heartwarming.” - Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Book cover for The Magician's LieThe Magician’s Lie” by Greer Macallister
“Arden is a famous illusionist whose show involves sawing a man in half, but one night, she grabs an axe instead of a knife and her husband is found dead under the stage. Can Arden, an expert at deception, get away with murder – or is she really innocent? Recommended to anyone who likes historical fiction, strong women characters and surprisingly twisty plots.” - Paula Jones, Brockton Public Library, Brockton, MA

Here’s the rest of the January list with links to these on-order titles in our catalog for your hold-placing pleasure. Enjoy!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The January 2015 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The January 2015 List

DBRL Next - December 22, 2014

Library Reads LogoIt’s cold and dark outside, so warm up with a recommended book from LibraryReads! The January list is full of thrills and mystery, just the thing to get your blood pumping. Here are the top 10 books librarians love that hit the shelves next month.

Book cover for As Chimney Sweepers Come to DustAs Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust” by Alan Bradley
“After the unexpected recovery of her mother’s body brings the de Luce’s family secrets to light, Flavia’s life is turned upside down. Now on her way to a Canadian boarding school, she must survive her first term – and more importantly, uncover the mystery of a corpse found in her dorm room chimney the night she arrives. A delightful installment in the series!” – Lizzie Gall, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, MI

Book cover for The Rosie Effect by Graeme SimsionThe Rosie Effect” by Graeme Simsion
“Don Tillman and Rosie are back again, and they’ve relocated to New York. Rosie is continuing her studies, while Don is teaching and even adding to his small circle of friends. But when Rosie announces that she is pregnant, Don is once again out of his depth. What follows are crazy situations that could only happen when Don is involved. Funny and heartwarming.” - Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Book cover for The Magician's LieThe Magician’s Lie” by Greer Macallister
“Arden is a famous illusionist whose show involves sawing a man in half, but one night, she grabs an axe instead of a knife and her husband is found dead under the stage. Can Arden, an expert at deception, get away with murder – or is she really innocent? Recommended to anyone who likes historical fiction, strong women characters and surprisingly twisty plots.” - Paula Jones, Brockton Public Library, Brockton, MA

Here’s the rest of the January list with links to these on-order titles in our catalog for your hold-placing pleasure. Enjoy!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The January 2015 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Program Preview: Family Game Days

DBRLTeen - December 22, 2014

ScrabbleFamily Game Day
Columbia Public Library
Tuesday, December 23 • 9:30-11:30 a.m. –OR– 2-3:30 p.m.
Drop by to play board games. We’ll have favorites, old and new, but feel free to bring your own games, too. For families with children of all ages.

Wii U Family Game Night
Columbia Public Library
Thursday, January 8 • 6-7:30 p.m.
Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 4″ or a bowling champion playing “Wii Sports.” Pizza served. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, December 23. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Photo by Flickr User peddhapati. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Program Preview: Family Game Days.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Hardback Charging Station

DBRLTeen - December 20, 2014

Kindle HolderAt my house, we have quite a few electronic devices: MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras and e-readers. It’s a mess, and I can never find the right cord and charger when I need it.

That’s where the handy repurposed book comes in! It’s the perfect place to keep all of those devices out of sight, organized in a lovely, old-fashioned book that looks nice sitting next to your bed or on your bookshelf. You will find complete instructions to make your own at studenthacks.org.

When you are selecting your book to repurpose, make sure it is roomy enough to fit all the things you want to hide with a bit of space to spare for airflow and easy removal. In fact, you may want several books for several devices. Or, you can just find an enormous title that’s big enough for all of them while making you look like a serious reader. (“War and Peace,” anyone?)

These hidden charging stations make a great gift for anyone else you know who might need a bit of help corralling their stuff, too. Bonus: This project can also be modified to fit those ugly remote controls that always seem to make their way into the crack of the couch cushions.

If you enjoy crafting with recycled odd and ends, you should borrow the following titles from your library:

If you’re an online learner, check out our Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. You can access this website for free with your library card number; your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). You’ll find many fun project ideas available with instructions and inspiration for all sorts of interests.

Photo credit: Kindle Case Mosaic by litlnemo via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Hardback Charging Station.

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A Few Thrilling Recommendations

Next Book Buzz - December 19, 2014

For me, the mark of an especially good book is how firmly it grabs hold of me. It’s always a pleasure to stumble across a novel that captures my attention so tightly that it has me longing to get back to it during those moments I have to pause in my reading. Here are a few of my favorite thrilling finds from 2014 that I think other readers will also be captivated by:

 

  • Book cover for Blood Work by Michael ConnellyBlood Work” by Michael Connelly. Readers may be familiar with Connelly’s two series featuring detective Harry Bosch and his half-brother, lawyer Mickey Haller. “Blood Work,” a novel set in the same “universe” as the books about Bosch and Haller, follows former FBI agent and recent heart recipient, Terry McCaleb. Upon learning that his heart donor may have been murdered, McCaleb becomes deeply troubled that his own life was saved at the cost of someone else’s. Despite doctor’s orders not to, he sets out to discover just what happened to his donor and soon finds himself in the web of an insidious killer. I could not put down this book and was unprepared for the story’s twist-filled conclusion.
  • Book cover for Trouble in Mind by Jeffery DeaverTrouble in Mind” by Jeffery Deaver. I am a big fan of Deaver’s Lincoln Rhymes books, which follow a quadriplegic former NYPD detective who uses logic and science to find the solution to mind-boggling puzzles. This collection of short stories proves that Deaver can venture outside of the world of Rhymes and still produce a whopper of a tale. I enjoyed each of these short stories, but a few stood out for me. Rhymes makes two appearances in the book, including one that begins with the disturbing revelation that he has passed away – or has he? In another tale, a man returns to his hometown where he learns his long dead father was not what he seemed. The book concludes with a fantastic novella that follows a crime statistician who believes a series of deaths are not as random as they appear. Even readers who do not normally read short stories should consider this exciting collection of thrillers.
  • Book cover for People of the Book by Geraldine BrooksPeople of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks. This is probably my favorite read of the past year. Brooks’ fabulous novel begins with scholars examining the bits of materials found in between the pages of an illustrated Jewish manuscript called the Haggadah, in the hopes of determining the book’s history. Chapter by chapter the story unfolds in reverse,  introducing the book’s previous owners and through this, revealing how the materials found their way into the book’s pages over the centuries. Although not a traditional mystery, this story unwinds in a way that will keep readers guessing as to the exact journey the Haggadah took through the centuries. I know readers will be as enthralled as I was by Brooks’ moving novel.

The post A Few Thrilling Recommendations appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

A Few Thrilling Recommendations

DBRL Next - December 19, 2014

For me, the mark of an especially good book is how firmly it grabs hold of me. It’s always a pleasure to stumble across a novel that captures my attention so tightly that it has me longing to get back to it during those moments I have to pause in my reading. Here are a few of my favorite thrilling finds from 2014 that I think other readers will also be captivated by:

 

  • Book cover for Blood Work by Michael ConnellyBlood Work” by Michael Connelly. Readers may be familiar with Connelly’s two series featuring detective Harry Bosch and his half-brother, lawyer Mickey Haller. “Blood Work,” a novel set in the same “universe” as the books about Bosch and Haller, follows former FBI agent and recent heart recipient, Terry McCaleb. Upon learning that his heart donor may have been murdered, McCaleb becomes deeply troubled that his own life was saved at the cost of someone else’s. Despite doctor’s orders not to, he sets out to discover just what happened to his donor and soon finds himself in the web of an insidious killer. I could not put down this book and was unprepared for the story’s twist-filled conclusion.
  • Book cover for Trouble in Mind by Jeffery DeaverTrouble in Mind” by Jeffery Deaver. I am a big fan of Deaver’s Lincoln Rhymes books, which follow a quadriplegic former NYPD detective who uses logic and science to find the solution to mind-boggling puzzles. This collection of short stories proves that Deaver can venture outside of the world of Rhymes and still produce a whopper of a tale. I enjoyed each of these short stories, but a few stood out for me. Rhymes makes two appearances in the book, including one that begins with the disturbing revelation that he has passed away – or has he? In another tale, a man returns to his hometown where he learns his long dead father was not what he seemed. The book concludes with a fantastic novella that follows a crime statistician who believes a series of deaths are not as random as they appear. Even readers who do not normally read short stories should consider this exciting collection of thrillers.
  • Book cover for People of the Book by Geraldine BrooksPeople of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks. This is probably my favorite read of the past year. Brooks’ fabulous novel begins with scholars examining the bits of materials found in between the pages of an illustrated Jewish manuscript called the Haggadah, in the hopes of determining the book’s history. Chapter by chapter the story unfolds in reverse,  introducing the book’s previous owners and through this, revealing how the materials found their way into the book’s pages over the centuries. Although not a traditional mystery, this story unwinds in a way that will keep readers guessing as to the exact journey the Haggadah took through the centuries. I know readers will be as enthralled as I was by Brooks’ moving novel.

The post A Few Thrilling Recommendations appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Suggested One Read: Station Eleven

One Read - December 18, 2014

Book cover for Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelNominations for the 2015 One Read program are now closed, and we are highlighting just some of the titles area readers think the community should read together. Next up is “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.

This novel opens with a famous Hollywood actor dying onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve as a fast-acting and deadly strain of the flu spreads around the world. Our nominator writes, “This is very different take on a well-worn narrative – post-apocalyptic fiction. The topic is timely (pandemic – echoes of Ebola), and the book is beautifully written. It’s about the importance of love and art, the social contract, and what matters when the world we know falls away.”

Check out what others in your community are reading and enjoying!

The post Suggested One Read: Station Eleven appeared first on One READ.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Catnip Fish

DBRLTeen - December 18, 2014
Catnip Shadowfax

Shadowfax enjoying his holiday present.

Handmade gifts are not just for people. Here is a fun and easy gift to make for your cat; or, skip the catnip and make it for a special puppy. I made this in a single evening after dinner. It took me about an hour and a half, but I had all the materials on hand.

Supplies

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine or sewing needles
  • Fabric batting
  • Catnip (I got mine at Clover’s Natural Market)
  • Funnel

Catnip Crafts

Step 1:
Make a pattern.

Step 2:
Cut out the pattern pieces and choose your fabric. I chose a scrap of colored cotton and some felt from an old sweater I washed/shrank.

Step 3:
Trace the pattern on the cloth with a pencil. Double the cloth and pin it so it won’t move while you cut it. Cut two pieces at once; one for each side of the fish. I used pinking shears so the fabric wouldn’t unravel.

Step 4:
When you are ready, sew with the right sides out. Pin the felt fins so that they are well inside your fish and will be securely caught by your sewing.

Step 5:
Sew around the fish about 5/8 of an inch inside the cut edges, catching the felt fins with either a sewing machine or by hand. Backstitching works best for hand sewing. Check out this YouTube tutorial for a live demonstration. Make sure to leave a gap so that you can fill the fish with a combination of batting and catnip. A funnel or chopsticks can be helpful when stuffing your fish.

Step 6:
Sew up the gap and sew around again if you think it needs to be extra secure. Now it’s ready to be presented to your special pet. If you’re interested in making other kinds of pet toys check out “Pet Crafts: 28 Great Toys, Gifts and Accessories for Pet Lovers” by Heidi Boyd at the library!

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Catnip Fish.

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For the Love of Food

Next Book Buzz - December 17, 2014

Book covers for The Language of Baklava, Garlic and Sapphires, and Mastering the Art of French EatingIt’s hard to find a good subject for a book column in December. It’s not a good time for serious subjects. (Who has the time to concentrate at the height of a shopping season?) It’s too early for books about reinventing yourself (wait till January) or humor (better for April :) ). So, after contemplating my options, I decided to write about books that revolve around food. (We do eat a lot this time of the year :) .) These are not plain cookbooks, mind you, but books that describe places many of us would love to travel to and lives that have been marked by memories of food.

The first book I’d like to feature (also my personal favorite) is “The Language of Baklava” by Diana Abu-Jaber. It is a touching memoir of a girl coming of age in two worlds: the American world of her mother and the Jordanian world of her father. Growing up without a clear sense of belonging is very disorienting for Diana, but she is not the only one who feels disoriented. So does her immigrant father, who doesn’t seem to be able to decide where he – and his family – should live. He tries to hold on to his identity by cooking his native dishes, and for his daughter, that food becomes a trail she can follow down memory lane. With recipes for all occasions – festive and sorrowful – Abu-Jaber’s book is a joy to read and a joy to use in the kitchen.

Book cover for Biting Through the Skin“There is something to be done at this season,” begins Nina Mukerjee Furstenau in her book “Biting Through the Skin,” as she contemplates which holiday or festival she – a person born into a family of Bengali immigrants and a raised in the American Midwest – should celebrate. Like Diana Abu-Jaber, Furstenau struggles to define her identity and her culture and to bring order to her life. She solves her longing by cooking, and – later in her life – by embracing the faith and traditions of her ancestral country. Filled with the flavors and aromas of India and peppered with recipes, Furstenau’s book is a pure sensory pleasure, as well as an eloquent meditation on one person’s life.

Would you like to go to dinner with a New York Times food critic? If you said, “Yes,” then let me introduce “Garlic and Sapphires,” by Ruth Reichl. Reichl, a Los Angeles restaurant critic, takes a similar job at the New York Times. Now in New York, she finds herself in a position that can make or break a restaurant reputation, which means that many fashionable restaurants try to prepare for her visit. To make sure that she is not recognized, Reichl decides to wear disguises: wigs, fake jewelry, etc. This allows her to see restaurants through the eyes of their average customers. Unobserved, she witnesses the rudeness of the staff, notices different portion sizes (higher-status customers get bigger portions) and even different menus (unimportant customers are offered fewer dishes). Sincere and entertaining, Reichl’s book is an eye-opener on the world of New York restaurateurs.

No food column can be complete without mentioning French cuisine, and Ann Mah’s “Mastering the Art of French Eating” is just the book to show it off. Food writer Mah comes to France with her American diplomat husband, but she soon finds herself in Paris alone, for her husband is called to Iraq. To quell her loneliness, Mah travels around the country researching its iconic dishes like cassoulet, steak, andouillette sausage and crepes – ten in all. Mah talks to butchers, restaurant owners, chefs and other food aficionados, and she learns how the history of different regions of France is reflected in the evolution of their food. Liberally peppered with French expressions and recipes (I tried her steak recipe and it worked very well!), Mah’s book is a true ode to French food.

If you like spicing your food with stories, try “Secrets of the Tsil Café” by Thomas Fox Averill or “Cinnamon and Gunpowder” by Eli Brown. And, if you want to add a little mystery to your plate, don’t forget about experienced literary chefs like Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke and Tamar Myers. Whatever your food preference, you can always find a taste of it at your public library. As they say in the restaurants, “We’re here to serve you!”

The post For the Love of Food appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

For the Love of Food

DBRL Next - December 17, 2014

Book covers for The Language of Baklava, Garlic and Sapphires, and Mastering the Art of French EatingIt’s hard to find a good subject for a book column in December. It’s not a good time for serious subjects. (Who has the time to concentrate at the height of a shopping season?) It’s too early for books about reinventing yourself (wait till January) or humor (better for April :) ). So, after contemplating my options, I decided to write about books that revolve around food. (We do eat a lot this time of the year :) .) These are not plain cookbooks, mind you, but books that describe places many of us would love to travel to and lives that have been marked by memories of food.

The first book I’d like to feature (also my personal favorite) is “The Language of Baklava” by Diana Abu-Jaber. It is a touching memoir of a girl coming of age in two worlds: the American world of her mother and the Jordanian world of her father. Growing up without a clear sense of belonging is very disorienting for Diana, but she is not the only one who feels disoriented. So does her immigrant father, who doesn’t seem to be able to decide where he – and his family – should live. He tries to hold on to his identity by cooking his native dishes, and for his daughter, that food becomes a trail she can follow down memory lane. With recipes for all occasions – festive and sorrowful – Abu-Jaber’s book is a joy to read and a joy to use in the kitchen.

Book cover for Biting Through the Skin“There is something to be done at this season,” begins Nina Mukerjee Furstenau in her book “Biting Through the Skin,” as she contemplates which holiday or festival she – a person born into a family of Bengali immigrants and a raised in the American Midwest – should celebrate. Like Diana Abu-Jaber, Furstenau struggles to define her identity and her culture and to bring order to her life. She solves her longing by cooking, and – later in her life – by embracing the faith and traditions of her ancestral country. Filled with the flavors and aromas of India and peppered with recipes, Furstenau’s book is a pure sensory pleasure, as well as an eloquent meditation on one person’s life.

Would you like to go to dinner with a New York Times food critic? If you said, “Yes,” then let me introduce “Garlic and Sapphires,” by Ruth Reichl. Reichl, a Los Angeles restaurant critic, takes a similar job at the New York Times. Now in New York, she finds herself in a position that can make or break a restaurant reputation, which means that many fashionable restaurants try to prepare for her visit. To make sure that she is not recognized, Reichl decides to wear disguises: wigs, fake jewelry, etc. This allows her to see restaurants through the eyes of their average customers. Unobserved, she witnesses the rudeness of the staff, notices different portion sizes (higher-status customers get bigger portions) and even different menus (unimportant customers are offered fewer dishes). Sincere and entertaining, Reichl’s book is an eye-opener on the world of New York restaurateurs.

No food column can be complete without mentioning French cuisine, and Ann Mah’s “Mastering the Art of French Eating” is just the book to show it off. Food writer Mah comes to France with her American diplomat husband, but she soon finds herself in Paris alone, for her husband is called to Iraq. To quell her loneliness, Mah travels around the country researching its iconic dishes like cassoulet, steak, andouillette sausage and crepes – ten in all. Mah talks to butchers, restaurant owners, chefs and other food aficionados, and she learns how the history of different regions of France is reflected in the evolution of their food. Liberally peppered with French expressions and recipes (I tried her steak recipe and it worked very well!), Mah’s book is a true ode to French food.

If you like spicing your food with stories, try “Secrets of the Tsil Café” by Thomas Fox Averill or “Cinnamon and Gunpowder” by Eli Brown. And, if you want to add a little mystery to your plate, don’t forget about experienced literary chefs like Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke and Tamar Myers. Whatever your food preference, you can always find a taste of it at your public library. As they say in the restaurants, “We’re here to serve you!”

The post For the Love of Food appeared first on DBRL Next.

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