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Classics for Everyone: Starring “Ulysses” as “The Most Dangerous Book”

DBRL Next - December 10, 2014

Book cover for The Most Dangerous Book by Kevin BirminghamThe Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses” by Kevin Birmingham tells the story of how one of the great novels of the 20th century almost didn’t come to be. Birmingham provides a look at Joyce’s life and work in the larger social context of the early 1900s. Though the contents of “Ulysses” would hardly cause an eye to bat in the present day, during the time the Irish author was writing the book censorship was thriving in the United States and Europe. In the U.S., the Comstock Act prohibited the circulation of obscene materials through the mail. Only a small handful of men were charged with defining obscenity, and their definitions tended to be broad.  In addition, “Ulysses” was challenged under the Sedition Act, with the accusation that it promoted anarchy.

Book cover for Ulysses by James JoycePortions of “Ulysses” first appeared in a Chicago-based literary magazine, The Little Review. The periodical was publishing the book in installments, right up until the editors were arrested for doing so. Fortunately for literature, Joyce had many supporters who were determined to make his novel available to the world. Ezra Pound, who called Joyce “probably the most significant prose writer of my generation,” coordinated efforts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Your Classics Maven admits that “Ulysses” can be a difficult work of literature. But she urges interested parties not to shy away from the book without at least trying. She herself has enjoyed it in the way you might enjoy being around an eccentric relative you don’t always understand, yet who supplies enough golden moments to make the occasional confusion worthwhile.

Everyone who reads fiction should know why “Ulysses” is considered important. Birmingham says the book “changed people’s ideas about what a novel is and what it can do.”  The title is taken from the main character in Homer’s ancient Greek classic “The Odyssey,” and different sections of the story mirror bits of that epic. But instead of taking place over a period of decades, all of the action happens in one day. This was a new idea at the time, although it’s a familiar framing device today. Also new was Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness narration, reflecting the way people actually think, instead of tidy summations. Some passages aren’t intended to be understood so much as experienced; the Sirens’ song from Homer is represented by a string of words chosen for sound rather than meaning.

Even if you only read about Joyce’s “Ulysses” instead of working your way through its text, you’ll see its influence in other novels. Some contemporary authors dispense with quotations marks. Joyce has been there, done that.  David Mitchell experiments with structure in a Joycean way. Jenny Offill’s “Dept. of Speculation” changes format several times as scenes shift, which we completely accept because Joyce first showed it could be done. So even if you haven’t read “Ulysses,” by reading contemporary fiction, you’ve read “Ulysses.”

The post Classics for Everyone: Starring “Ulysses” as “The Most Dangerous Book” appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Suggested One Read: City of Thieves

One Read - December 9, 2014

Book cover for City of Thieves by David BenioffEach year we receive many nominations for One Read that fall into the category of historical fiction. Being set during different time periods, these books inspire rich discussion and offer up plenty of possibilities for educational programs. This year a local reader nominated David Benioff’s “City of Thieves,” a novel set in Russia during World War II. Documenting his grandparents’ experiences during the siege of Leningrad, a young writer learns his grandfather’s story about how a military deserter and he tried to secure pardons by gathering hard-to-find ingredients for a powerful colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake.

Our nominator describes this book as a “really fantastic coming of age story. I could not put it down when I was reading it and was sad to see this moving story come to a close. It’s great historical fiction, but the writing will appeal to readers who don’t normally pick up that genre because it is full of compelling characters and moves at a thrilling pace. I think this is a book that will appeal to readers of all ages and backgrounds.”

Read about other books nominated for One Read 2015.

The post Suggested One Read: City of Thieves appeared first on One READ.

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Best Teen Books of 2014

DBRLTeen - December 9, 2014

Best Books of 2014If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. These were the heavy hitters on this year’s New York Times’ “Young Adult Best Seller List.”

Whether you’re looking to purchase a holiday gift for that special bookworm in your life, or you’re looking to get lost in the pages of a good book over the winter break, here are some “best of” lists of recommended young adult titles.

The Young Adult Library Services Association produces several lists each year which encompass books from a wide assortment of genres:

Be sure to check out these lists created by the publishing industry’s most renowned book reviewers, many of whom are librarians:

With 2015 fast approaching, stay ahead of upcoming trends by subscribing to the library’s YA email newsletter. This monthly publication features reviews on the the most popular new releases in young adult fiction. Best of all, this newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s also a good idea to monitor Good Reads’  lists of the “Most Exciting Upcoming YA Books” and “Upcoming YA Novels of 2015.” With your library card, you can reserve many upcoming titles before they are even published! Be sure to check out our online catalog, or give us a call at (800) 324-4806  to check on a book’s availability.

Originally published at Best Teen Books of 2014.

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Best Teen Books of 2014

Teen Book Buzz - December 9, 2014

Best Books of 2014If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. These were the heavy hitters on this year’s New York Times’ “Young Adult Best Seller List.”

Whether you’re looking to purchase a holiday gift for that special bookworm in your life, or you’re looking to get lost in the pages of a good book over the winter break, here are some “best of” lists of recommended young adult titles.

The Young Adult Library Services Association produces several lists each year which encompass books from a wide assortment of genres:

Be sure to check out these lists created by the publishing industry’s most renowned book reviewers, many of whom are librarians:

With 2015 fast approaching, stay ahead of upcoming trends by subscribing to the library’s YA email newsletter. This monthly publication features reviews on the the most popular new releases in young adult fiction. Best of all, this newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s also a good idea to monitor Good Reads’  lists of the “Most Exciting Upcoming YA Books” and “Upcoming YA Novels of 2015.” With your library card, you can reserve many upcoming titles before they are even published! Be sure to check out our online catalog, or give us a call at (800) 324-4806  to check on a book’s availability.

Originally published at Best Teen Books of 2014.

Categories: Book Buzz

Remembering Author Kent Haruf (1943-2014)

Next Book Buzz - December 8, 2014

Book cover for Plainsong by Kent HarufIn 2002, the Daniel Boone Regional Library decided to start the community-wide reading program we now know as One Read. I was excited when it was announced that the first book selection was “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf. Kent Haruf was a former teacher of mine. This connection allowed me the opportunity to interview him for the library and to chauffeur him between readings and other events. Essentially, I was paid to spend time with the man. It was the best job I’ve been given in my time working for the library.

Photo of Kent HarufIn every class I had with him he’d start the semester with a short speech to give the class an idea of the kind of writing he did. He told us about the town of Holt, Colorado, which existed only in his books. He said Holt was the kind of small town where everyone knew each other, “from the town drunk to the town mayor.” When he said that before a One Read event in Columbia, he got a little flustered. Columbia’s mayor at the time, Darwin Hindman, was there. Kent said he realized this was the first time he’d delivered that line with an actual mayor in the audience. Before a reading in Fulton, an elderly farmer and his wife approached Kent to tell him how much they liked his book. The farmer could especially relate to a scene where a cow gallops into the character Bobby and knocks the wind out of him. He’d had that exact experience many times himself.

Now I understand the true feat Kent accomplished in the classroom. We’re talking about short stories written by people in their late teens and early twenties. (I hope I’ve burned all evidence of mine.) Class after class. And he never seemed tired of us. He never made us feel like we didn’t have the potential, and he never made us think it could be easy.

For one of his classes we read Melville’s “Bartleby The Scrivener.” After we had all shared our impressions, he told us his. He told us about a former student at another college who was very isolated. The character Bartleby reminded him of that student. The last time he had heard about the student he was working at a bakery, living in an apartment above it, and spending very little time outside of those two places. I don’t know how many years it had been since he’d had that student in class, but you could hear the concern in his voice. You could tell he felt some regret that he wasn’t able to help the young man more.

That capacity for empathy made him such a good teacher, and a great writer. He cared about all his characters deeply, and he worked hard to bring them to life. Holt was based on the different small towns in Eastern Colorado he’d grown up in. Reading his books you can tell he had a real affection for the people in those towns. His writing focused on the small moments, the ordinary. His prose was spare but illuminated the moments he described. I think reading one of his novels makes our ordinary lives feel as significant as the lives in an epic or fantastic story. Maybe more so, for their being so familiar to us.

I was a little surprised by my reaction when I found out he had died. I admire him. I value the time I got to be around him, but I had only been in touch a handful of times since I graduated, and the last time was almost seven years ago. I haven’t become a published writer. I don’t teach English. I thought he was a part of my life that had passed. But the news was a real gut punch. Despite the lack of contact, I felt this sudden hole where he used to be. I realized the lasting impression he made. Then I felt sadder for not being able to tell him that. These kinds of common experiences – unexpected loss, small regrets – are what he wrote about so eloquently. I can’t help thinking as I try to put them into words, “Kent could have said it better.”

Kent Haruf wrote his seventh novel, “Our Souls At Night” before he passed away. It’s scheduled to be published in June.

The post Remembering Author Kent Haruf (1943-2014) appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Remembering Author Kent Haruf (1943-2014)

DBRL Next - December 8, 2014

Book cover for Plainsong by Kent HarufIn 2002, the Daniel Boone Regional Library decided to start the community-wide reading program we now know as One Read. I was excited when it was announced that the first book selection was “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf. Kent Haruf was a former teacher of mine. This connection allowed me the opportunity to interview him for the library and to chauffeur him between readings and other events. Essentially, I was paid to spend time with the man. It was the best job I’ve been given in my time working for the library.

Photo of Kent HarufIn every class I had with him he’d start the semester with a short speech to give the class an idea of the kind of writing he did. He told us about the town of Holt, Colorado, which existed only in his books. He said Holt was the kind of small town where everyone knew each other, “from the town drunk to the town mayor.” When he said that before a One Read event in Columbia, he got a little flustered. Columbia’s mayor at the time, Darwin Hindman, was there. Kent said he realized this was the first time he’d delivered that line with an actual mayor in the audience. Before a reading in Fulton, an elderly farmer and his wife approached Kent to tell him how much they liked his book. The farmer could especially relate to a scene where a cow gallops into the character Bobby and knocks the wind out of him. He’d had that exact experience many times himself.

Now I understand the true feat Kent accomplished in the classroom. We’re talking about short stories written by people in their late teens and early twenties. (I hope I’ve burned all evidence of mine.) Class after class. And he never seemed tired of us. He never made us feel like we didn’t have the potential, and he never made us think it could be easy.

For one of his classes we read Melville’s “Bartleby The Scrivener.” After we had all shared our impressions, he told us his. He told us about a former student at another college who was very isolated. The character Bartleby reminded him of that student. The last time he had heard about the student he was working at a bakery, living in an apartment above it, and spending very little time outside of those two places. I don’t know how many years it had been since he’d had that student in class, but you could hear the concern in his voice. You could tell he felt some regret that he wasn’t able to help the young man more.

That capacity for empathy made him such a good teacher, and a great writer. He cared about all his characters deeply, and he worked hard to bring them to life. Holt was based on the different small towns in Eastern Colorado he’d grown up in. Reading his books you can tell he had a real affection for the people in those towns. His writing focused on the small moments, the ordinary. His prose was spare but illuminated the moments he described. I think reading one of his novels makes our ordinary lives feel as significant as the lives in an epic or fantastic story. Maybe more so, for their being so familiar to us.

I was a little surprised by my reaction when I found out he had died. I admire him. I value the time I got to be around him, but I had only been in touch a handful of times since I graduated, and the last time was almost seven years ago. I haven’t become a published writer. I don’t teach English. I thought he was a part of my life that had passed. But the news was a real gut punch. Despite the lack of contact, I felt this sudden hole where he used to be. I realized the lasting impression he made. Then I felt sadder for not being able to tell him that. These kinds of common experiences – unexpected loss, small regrets – are what he wrote about so eloquently. I can’t help thinking as I try to put them into words, “Kent could have said it better.”

Kent Haruf wrote his seventh novel, “Our Souls At Night” before he passed away. It’s scheduled to be published in June.

The post Remembering Author Kent Haruf (1943-2014) appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Spicy Ranch Pretzels

DBRLTeen - December 7, 2014
Pretzels

Find a similar recipe at MacaroniAndCheesecake.com

As the holiday quickly approaches, the perfect gift to give is on the minds of many. My favorite tactic is giving the gift of food. It’s always a hit.

Like socks, sweaters and dish towels, if the recipient doesn’t like your gift, eventually it will disappear. But, if they love the food you gifted, they will have the delicious memory lingering on their taste buds and the recipe to make more and gift forward. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Below is a super yummy recipe for Spicy Ranch Pretzels. This my friends, is a CROWD PLEASER. At first glance they look like ordinary pretzels, but trust me when I say your friends and family will think you are a kitchen genius.

You can package this yummy treat in glass jars, decorate it with bow and attach a cute homemade gift tag along with the recipe. Boom! Holiday shopping, done!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz bag miniature pretzels
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ranch dressing mix, cayenne pepper and garlic powder with the oil in a medium bowl.
  3. Place pretzels in a larger bowl and top with oil mixture. Stir well to coat.
  4. Let sit in bowl for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
  5. Spread pretzels on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before packaging.

Don’t forget to check out these great cookbooks with gift ideas for all the foodies in your life. You can borrow them for free with your DBRL library card!

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Spicy Ranch Pretzels.

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Ask the Author: An Interview With Marlene Lee

DBRL Next - December 5, 2014

Book cover for Limestone Wall by Marlene LeeRemember those good old childhood days of playing card games in a pretty old house while drinking hot chocolate and looking out the window at the limestone wall of a prison? Well, that might not be a typical childhood memory, but it gave local author Marlene Lee plenty of inspiration for her latest book, aptly titled “Limestone Wall.” The house that overlooked the prison, which happens to be the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, belonged to one of Lee’s father’s patients, and he would take her with him to visit the woman who lived there. In “Limestone Wall,” the main character, Evelyn Grant, moves into this very house in Jefferson City.

DBRL: Your most recent book, “Limestone Wall,” is about a recently widowed woman who goes to find her estranged mother, who is in jail for murdering twin babies. It seems like there are some pretty heavy themes in this book. Could you talk about your inspiration? I know that before becoming a full-time writer you worked as a court room reporter. Did that influence your work?

Photo of the Missouri State PenitentiaryML: I should make clear that my mother never killed anyone or went to prison!  When I was a girl in Jefferson City, however, she died, and I’ve always wished I could see her again. This novel was a fictional way to think about what it is like to remember the past and to bring someone back to life and then to find firm footing between reality and wish-fulfillment.

My 30 years as a court reporter no doubt influenced the novel. The scene with Evelyn in the courtroom was easy to write because I’ve been in so many courtrooms. I also sat in that empty courtroom in the Cole County Courthouse so that I could describe it accurately and better imagine what it felt like for Evelyn to sit there, lost in thought about her mother’s trial.

DBRL: The excerpt from the book on your website describes a prison waiting room in vivid detail. Did you visit any prisons as research?

ML: The prison waiting room is not based on a real waiting room. I took a private tour of the Missouri State Prison with two people who are knowledgeable about the old penitentiary and life behind the walls. At the time it was being emptied out because the prison was moving to its new site; thus, the prison in “Limestone Wall” is nearly empty of inmates because that was its condition when I saw it. I’ve visited several other prisons in other locations. Once in the state of Washington I reported the deposition of a prisoner who was going through an appeal process. I don’t pretend to know very much about prisons. I used the setting of the Missouri State Penitentiary to help build my story rather than to inform readers about the prison.

Photo of a latteDBRL: I heard that you’re a regular at Lakota Coffee. Do you have a favorite drink there?

ML: My drink at the Lakota is the same every morning: a single-shot, skim-milk latte.  It never fails to satisfy!

DBRL: Have you read any good books recently which you would like to recommend to our readers?

ML: I love the writing of Edward St. Aubyn. His semi-autobiographical novels about the character Patrick Melrose are magnificent. He has mastered the ability to make the reader feel as if she or he is living the life of the main character, both in the small details and the large events. Patrick’s life is troubled, courageous, and he fights the good fight for self-control and self-knowledge. I love Marilynne Robinson‘s wise and compassionate novels.  William Styron has always been a favorite of mine. All three of these writers have a sensitive, insightful writing style that I admire. There are too many wonderful writers to include in one short list!

Marlene Lee, along with other local authors, will be speaking on a panel at the Columbia Public Library on December 13th at 1 p.m. in the Friends Room. These authors (including David Collins, Ida Fogle, Elaine Stewart, Lori Younker, Nidhi Khosla, William A. Wolff and Wayne Anderson) will be talking about their contributions to the recently published anthology of fiction and non-fiction, “Uncertain Promise.” To check out Marlene’s other events and to keep up-to-date on  her writing, please visit her website.

photo credits
Missouri State Penitentiary: Spanish Dilettante via photopin cc
Cup of coffee: Infomastern via photopin cc

The post Ask the Author: An Interview With Marlene Lee appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Ask the Author: An Interview With Marlene Lee

Next Book Buzz - December 5, 2014

Book cover for Limestone Wall by Marlene LeeRemember those good old childhood days of playing card games in a pretty old house while drinking hot chocolate and looking out the window at the limestone wall of a prison? Well, that might not be a typical childhood memory, but it gave local author Marlene Lee plenty of inspiration for her latest book, aptly titled “Limestone Wall.” The house that overlooked the prison, which happens to be the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, belonged to one of Lee’s father’s patients, and he would take her with him to visit the woman who lived there. In “Limestone Wall,” the main character, Evelyn Grant, moves into this very house in Jefferson City.

DBRL: Your most recent book, “Limestone Wall,” is about a recently widowed woman who goes to find her estranged mother, who is in jail for murdering twin babies. It seems like there are some pretty heavy themes in this book. Could you talk about your inspiration? I know that before becoming a full-time writer you worked as a court room reporter. Did that influence your work?

Photo of the Missouri State PenitentiaryML: I should make clear that my mother never killed anyone or went to prison!  When I was a girl in Jefferson City, however, she died, and I’ve always wished I could see her again. This novel was a fictional way to think about what it is like to remember the past and to bring someone back to life and then to find firm footing between reality and wish-fulfillment.

My 30 years as a court reporter no doubt influenced the novel. The scene with Evelyn in the courtroom was easy to write because I’ve been in so many courtrooms. I also sat in that empty courtroom in the Cole County Courthouse so that I could describe it accurately and better imagine what it felt like for Evelyn to sit there, lost in thought about her mother’s trial.

DBRL: The excerpt from the book on your website describes a prison waiting room in vivid detail. Did you visit any prisons as research?

ML: The prison waiting room is not based on a real waiting room. I took a private tour of the Missouri State Prison with two people who are knowledgeable about the old penitentiary and life behind the walls. At the time it was being emptied out because the prison was moving to its new site; thus, the prison in “Limestone Wall” is nearly empty of inmates because that was its condition when I saw it. I’ve visited several other prisons in other locations. Once in the state of Washington I reported the deposition of a prisoner who was going through an appeal process. I don’t pretend to know very much about prisons. I used the setting of the Missouri State Penitentiary to help build my story rather than to inform readers about the prison.

Photo of a latteDBRL: I heard that you’re a regular at Lakota Coffee. Do you have a favorite drink there?

ML: My drink at the Lakota is the same every morning: a single-shot, skim-milk latte.  It never fails to satisfy!

DBRL: Have you read any good books recently which you would like to recommend to our readers?

ML: I love the writing of Edward St. Aubyn. His semi-autobiographical novels about the character Patrick Melrose are magnificent. He has mastered the ability to make the reader feel as if she or he is living the life of the main character, both in the small details and the large events. Patrick’s life is troubled, courageous, and he fights the good fight for self-control and self-knowledge. I love Marilynne Robinson‘s wise and compassionate novels.  William Styron has always been a favorite of mine. All three of these writers have a sensitive, insightful writing style that I admire. There are too many wonderful writers to include in one short list!

Marlene Lee, along with other local authors, will be speaking on a panel at the Columbia Public Library on December 13th at 1 p.m. in the Friends Room. These authors (including David Collins, Ida Fogle, Elaine Stewart, Lori Younker, Nidhi Khosla, William A. Wolff and Wayne Anderson) will be talking about their contributions to the recently published anthology of fiction and non-fiction, “Uncertain Promise.” To check out Marlene’s other events and to keep up-to-date on  her writing, please visit her website.

photo credits
Missouri State Penitentiary: Spanish Dilettante via photopin cc
Cup of coffee: Infomastern via photopin cc

The post Ask the Author: An Interview With Marlene Lee appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Register by 12/19 for John Green’s Autograph

DBRLTeen - December 5, 2014

Will Grayson AudiobookTwo weeks remain to register for the “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” audiobook giveaway! This title is co-authored by award-winning YA writers John Green and David Levithan. They have each autographed the copy that we will be giving away to one lucky winner on Friday, December 19.

The narrators of this audiobook, MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl, take turns reading alternate chapters, helping you understand the very complex personalities of two boys who happen to share the same name. This book was selected as an expert pick for LGBTQ Fiction for Adults and Teens. You can listen to a five-minute sample at AudioFileMagazine.com.

Originally published at Register by 12/19 for John Green’s Autograph.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies: New Ideas for an Old Favorite

DBRL Next - December 3, 2014

Book cover for Chocolate Chip Cookies by Carey JonesI love chocolate chip cookies, especially fresh out of the oven. Two of my younger sisters remember baking cookies with me when they were kids. When I got married 34 years ago, they (ages 14 and 16) gave me and my husband a cookie jar shaped like Noah’s Ark to remind me of all the times I had baked cookies with them. Two years ago my older son said, “Mom, I remember baking cookies with you every Christmas. Will you continue the tradition with my son?” That year he and his wife gave me a Disney Cinderella cookie jar. (I am a Disney princess fan.) Since then my grandson and I have baked cookies together twice, and I look forward to doing it more often as he gets older. (He’s only 2 years old.) When I asked my younger son if he remembered baking cookies as a child he said, “Sure. I think that was the beginning of my enjoyment of cooking.” He now cooks for himself and loves to invite friends to his home for meals.

I always used the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips until I discovered “Chocolate Chip Cookies: Dozens of Recipes for Reinterpreted Favorites” by Carey Jones. My goal is to try them all. It’s going to take some time (there are more than 40 recipes), but I don’t think my coworkers will mind being tasters!

My niece discovered a recipe that adds bacon to the cookie dough. Bacon! The cookies have a salty, sweet flavor. Just cook up 12 ounces of bacon, dice it, and add it to your favorite recipe. Or do a Google search for “Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies.” There are many variations.

For a summer reading program one year I served chocolate chip cookies with mealworms. You freeze the mealworms (you can get them at a bait shop or pet store – they are food for some animals), then you toast them in the oven, like nuts. The majority of kids at the program were willing to taste them – the cookies were surprisingly good. The mealworms add a texture to the cookies that is similar to Rice Krispies. The University of Kentucky has an article about insects as food if you’d like to learn more.

My daughter-in-law loves chocolate chip cookie dough. I discovered a great recipe for cookie dough bonbons. Use the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. Omit the leavening agent (baking soda) and instead of using eggs in your recipe, use sweetened condensed milk to get the right consistency. Roll the dough into balls, freeze for about 15 minutes, then dip the balls in melted chocolate. “The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook” by Lindsay Landis has a wide variety of ways to make and use edible, safe (egg-free) dough. The “Chocolate Chip Cookies” book I’m baking my way through also has an edible cookie dough recipe.

For more cookie ideas check out:

I am looking forward to filling up at least one cookie jar with cookies this weekend. Happy baking!

The post Chocolate Chip Cookies: New Ideas for an Old Favorite appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Program Preview: Project Teen & Pizza

DBRLTeen - December 3, 2014

Project Teen: MemoriesMemory Jar
Monday, December 15 at 6 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Craft a personalized memory jar as a gift or in preparation of the New Year, and enjoy free pizza. Ages 12-18. Registration required. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161. 

In the meantime, check out these cool YA novels that will play tricks with your memory: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “The Program” by Suzanne Young, “Forgotten” by Cat Patrick and “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” by Mary Pearson.

Photo credit: My Memory Jar by JocelynLehman via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Program Preview: Project Teen & Pizza.

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Suggested One Read: Still Alice

One Read - December 2, 2014

A local reader has recommended “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova for One Read 2015. Our nominator writes, “It seems that Alzheimer’s is increasingly prevalent in our society. This is the first novel by a neuroscientist who lives the successful life of a top academic, much like her main character.”

That main character, Alice Howland, is happily married and at the height of her career as a Harvard professor when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Nominations for One Read 2015 are now closed, but we will continue to highlight nominated titles throughout the month of December. Check out what others in your community are reading and enjoying!

The post Suggested One Read: Still Alice appeared first on One READ.

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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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Roll and Press and Bake

DBRL Next - December 1, 2014

Photo of cookie cuttersI’m happy to report that the first week of December has been designated National Cookie Cutter Week – who knew? It makes perfect sense to claim this week as such since the winter holidays are approaching and so many folks take up baking. Okay, and who knew there was a museum housing a collection of cookie cutters in Missouri? Well, if you didn’t, I can fill you in – I just found out recently myself. It’s in Joplin, and it’s officially called the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum.

Santa Cookie CutterMaybe you’ve guessed that I’m a little partial to cookie cutters. I’ve amassed my own small collection over the years, including an aluminum Santa Claus from my early childhood. It’s a sweet relic from a past life in which my mother baked a huge assortment of holiday cookies – between eight and 10 mouth-watering kinds. I don’t know how she did that year after year between singlehandedly raising four children and working full time. (The homemade, rum-spiked eggnog must have helped!)

I could never keep up with my mother’s high gear production, but I do like to crank out a few batches to enjoy with friends and family during this time. There is a little more work involved in making rolled cookies, but it’s worth the effort, whether you have kids involved (most love doing this) or not. Depending on your time and inclination, you can decorate them simply, extravagantly or not at all. One of the all-time easiest recipes to make is Scottish shortbread, with just three ingredients. I like to make this recipe, roll the dough rather thickly and use my heart-shaped cutter to make lots of little hearts, stack them in jars or boxes and give them as gifts. No one has ever complained.

Photo of cookie cuttersBy the way, you don’t have to have a rolling pin to roll out dough. You can actually roll it out with a round, quart-sized glass jar (e.g., a mayonnaise jar). I know because I’ve done this in a pinch when finding myself in someone else’s kitchen without the real tool. A nice wooden rolling pin, though, feels good in the hands and speeds the whole process. I have a beautiful one, a gift from my father, made of pecan wood. I’ve also seen them made from marble, aluminum and hand-blown glass (functional art, yes!).

Book cover for Holiday Cookies cookbookWe are ready here at DBRL to assist you in your holiday cookie making with an ample collection of cookie recipe books from which to choose. For those folks dealing with gluten intolerance, we also have some gluten-free cookie baking books.  With a little pre-planning you can make the cookie baking a time of relaxed enjoyment, perhaps selecting just a few recipes and not overdoing it (quality, not quantity). It’s a satisfying feeling to store freshly baked cookies away in jars and tins, but it’s even more satisfying to share them while drinking coffee, tea or hot chocolate and visiting with family and friends.

If you feel sorry that your cookie cutters languish unused too much of the year, take a gander at these alternative uses for them. You might just find new ways to employ them year round, and that will surely make your life more fun and interesting.

Wishing you good cheer this holiday season!

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Suggested One Read: Empathy Exams

One Read - December 1, 2014

Book cover for The Empathy Exams by Leslie JamisonNominations for our 2015 One Read book are now closed, but we will be highlighting some of the more than 100 suggested titles throughout the month so  you can check out what your fellow mid-Missourians are reading and recommending.

Next up is “Empathy Exams” by Leslie Jamison. Recently named one of the best books of 2014 by Publisher’s Weekly, this collection of essays explores empathy, using topics ranging from street violence and incarceration to reality television and literary sentimentality to ask questions about people’s understanding of and relationships with others.

Our nominator writes, “It tackles a lot of interesting questions: what do we care about and how much control do we have over that? It’s got some pop science and some deeply reflective writing. It’s witty and fun and full of ideas that challenge in a good way.”

See what other titles have been nominated for One Read 2015.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Rag Wreaths

DBRLTeen - December 1, 2014

Submitted by Katie Long, Children’s Associate at the Columbia Public Library

Recently I stumbled upon a type of decoration called a rag wreath. They have become one of my new favorite ways to add to add character the front of my house. I love how super simple they are to make, and the possibilities for colors are endless. The great thing about these wreaths is while they look complicated, they are quite simple, and can be made while watching television, or talking to friends.

I don’t like sitting for long periods of time without something to do with my hands (say during a football game on T.V.) and these are the perfect project. It is easy to pick up where you left off and rag wreaths don’t take much brain power.

Supplies:Rag Wreath
You need only two things: a wire wreath frame (found at craft stores) and roughly 5 yards of scrap fabric.

Step 1:
Cut the fabric into strips, about six inches by one inch (or 1.5 if you prefer). I recommend using fabric scissors, but you don’t have to. Also, do not fret over getting every piece exact. No one will be able to tell if one or two strips are an inch short, or if they aren’t cut perfectly straight.

Step 2:
Knot one strip to one of the wires on your frame.

Step 3:
Repeat over and over, using different fabrics to form a pattern, or go random. As you go, twist your knots toward the front of the wreath. You want the back to be smooth, and the front to have the majority of the fabric. That’s all. It takes several hours to tie all those knots, though.

Some ideas of possible wreath themes include your favorite team colors, holiday themes, favorite colors, or just whatever fabric scraps you have on hand. Note that some fraying will occur as you handle the fabric. This is okay and it actually helps all the fabrics blend. If you want your colors to pop more, or are going for a cold/cozy theme, try using fleece or flannel fabric.

If you enjoy fabric crafts, you might also check out these titles at your library:

Photo credit: Rag Wreaths by heather via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Rag Wreaths.

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Reader Review: Wild

DBRL Next - November 28, 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. We thought the timing was right to share this particular review since the film adaptation of “Wild” hits theaters next week.

Book cover for Wild by Cheryl StrayedWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” was an engaging autobiography about the author’s time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The topic was well thought out and never got boring. Reading a book with a setting that constantly changes really gets you involved in the character, and the way the writing flowed actually made me feel like I was befriending Cheryl Strayed throughout her journey. This was a charming read for the summertime!

Three words that describe this book: Wilderness for Dummies

You might want to pick this book up if: you are in the mood for a emotional, yet charming read.

-Anonymous

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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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Researching Family Histories: Resources for Adoptees

DBRL Next - November 26, 2014

 A Handbook for Adoptees and BirthparentsMany library users take advantage of DBRL’s online tools, classes and reference collections to research their family trees. Creating a family history takes a lot of time and effort for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging for those who were adopted. In honor of National Adoption Month, we have gathered some tips and resources for adoptees.

  • Start with yourself and your adoptive family. Write down everything that you already know about your adoption, and ask questions of your adoptive family, including information they might have about birth parents’ health, education, background and interests.
  • Request adoption records. Laws for obtaining information about birth families vary by state. In the State of Missouri, nonidentifying information is available to adoptive parents, a child’s legal guardians or an adult adoptee. This can include the physical description, nationality, religious background and medical history of the birth parents or siblings. See www.childwelfare.gov for a summary of laws by state.
  • Here in mid-Missouri, the Adoption Triad Connection helps adoptees find their biological roots. They generally meet every other month at the Columbia Public Library and provide search help and support for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents, as well as adoption professionals. I know of several people this organization has been able to help. Visit their website (www.atcofmidmo.com) for more information and for contact information.
  • Register with state and national registries that assist in reuniting birth parents and adoptees when both parties consent. The International Soundex Reunion Registry is a good place to start. The State of Missouri also has an adoption information registry.

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