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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The November 2015 List

Next Book Buzz - October 26, 2015

In November the nights get longer and colder, which makes this the perfect month to snuggle up with a good novel. The latest LibraryReads list – the top 10 books publishing in November that librarians across the country recommend – is heavy on the historical fiction but still includes a few thrills, mystery and even some fairy tales to keep you warm on cold nights. Happy reading!

Book cover for The Japanese LoverThe Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende
“Irina is a young Moldavian immigrant with a troubled past. She works at an assisted living home where she meets Alma, a Holocaust survivor. Alma falls in love with Ichi, a young Japanese gardener, who survived Topaz, the Japanese internment camp. Despite man’s inhumanity to man, love, art and beauty can exist, as evidenced in their beautiful love story.” – Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

Book cover for The Improbability of LoveThe Improbability of Love” by Hannah Rothschild
“The engaging, totally unexpected story of Annie, a lonely young woman who wanders into a junk shop and buys a painting. The painting turns out to have a long and storied past, with powerful people searching high and low for it. Unpredictable and fascinating; I loved the peek into the cutthroat art world and watching Annie blossom as she discovers her true calling.” – Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC

Book cover for Little VictoriesLittle Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living” by Jason Gay
“This was a quick, enjoyable read that offers a refreshing perspective on some of the trivialities we all find ourselves caught up in. I enjoyed the tone and humor throughout. A standout for me was Gay’s list of recommendations for his child’s future baseball team. His open letter to this imagined future team envisions a team that can just let kids be kids. My only disappointment with this book was that there wasn’t more of it – it seemed to end all too soon.” – Lindley Homol, Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA

Here is the rest of the list for your holds-placing pleasure – enjoy!

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

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The November 2015 List

DBRL Next - October 26, 2015

In November the nights get longer and colder, which makes this the perfect month to snuggle up with a good novel. The latest LibraryReads list – the top 10 books publishing in November that librarians across the country recommend – is heavy on the historical fiction but still includes a few thrills, mystery and even some fairy tales to keep you warm on cold nights. Happy reading!

Book cover for The Japanese LoverThe Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende
“Irina is a young Moldavian immigrant with a troubled past. She works at an assisted living home where she meets Alma, a Holocaust survivor. Alma falls in love with Ichi, a young Japanese gardener, who survived Topaz, the Japanese internment camp. Despite man’s inhumanity to man, love, art and beauty can exist, as evidenced in their beautiful love story.” – Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

Book cover for The Improbability of LoveThe Improbability of Love” by Hannah Rothschild
“The engaging, totally unexpected story of Annie, a lonely young woman who wanders into a junk shop and buys a painting. The painting turns out to have a long and storied past, with powerful people searching high and low for it. Unpredictable and fascinating; I loved the peek into the cutthroat art world and watching Annie blossom as she discovers her true calling.” – Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC

Book cover for Little VictoriesLittle Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living” by Jason Gay
“This was a quick, enjoyable read that offers a refreshing perspective on some of the trivialities we all find ourselves caught up in. I enjoyed the tone and humor throughout. A standout for me was Gay’s list of recommendations for his child’s future baseball team. His open letter to this imagined future team envisions a team that can just let kids be kids. My only disappointment with this book was that there wasn’t more of it – it seemed to end all too soon.” – Lindley Homol, Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA

Here is the rest of the list for your holds-placing pleasure – enjoy!

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

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Staff Review: The Vanishing Season

DBRLTeen - October 26, 2015

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn AndersonWhy I Checked It Out: I give the marketing team of HarperTeen mad props. They did a fantastic job of designing the cover of “The Vanishing Season” by Jodi Lynn Anderson to ensnare readers like me. Desolate winter tree reflected in a lake? Creepy etchings of moths, snowflakes, and the silhouettes of two girls facing each other (or facing off?)? Tagline about being haunted? I’m in!

What It’s About: Her senior year of high school, Maggie moves from Chicago to a tiny town on Lake Michigan. Though she finds friends in her neighbors, Pauline and Liam, will their bond to each other always leave Maggie on the outside? Along with the drama in Maggie’s life, there just happens to be an epidemic of teenage girls disappearing on this isolated peninsula. 

Oh, and just one more thing: some chapters are told in the voice of a ghostly presence. Who is this presence and what is its purpose? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Why I Liked It: I sympathized with Maggie right from the beginning and wanted good things to happen for her. Then things got more complicated, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next with the trio–and what was happening to the disappearing girls. Thankfully for me, the paranormal aspect didn’t overwhelm the main story line. 

Who Will Like It: Ever felt on the outside? Even within your own friendships? This book is for you. Despite the ghostly presence, I wouldn’t say it’s a traditional ghost story, so if that’s your bag, try “The Girl from the Well” by Rin Chupeco.

Other Books by Jodi Lynn Anderson: Peaches,” “Love and Peaches” and “Tiger Lily.” 

Originally published at Staff Review: The Vanishing Season.

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Staff Book Review: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

DBRL Next - October 23, 2015

Book cover for An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United StatesI love reading about history, especially histories with unique perspectives! Traditional histories omit so much, and what we know has been carefully shaped by what schools usually teach and promote. The myths these texts create often overshadow the realities.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” is a book that dispels many of the myths surrounding indigenous people, such as the myth that the “New World” was sparsely populated at the time of first contact by Europeans or that their cultures were unsophisticated.  The indigenous populations were actually much denser than European societies at the time, and they were “supportable because the people had created a relatively disease-free paradise. There certainly were diseases and health problems, but the practice of herbal medicine and even surgery and dentistry, and most importantly both hygienic and ritual bathing, kept diseases at bay. “

We tend to ignore the centuries-long genocidal campaign of the indigenous peoples by US settlers even while we deliberate on genocides perpetrated by others. Here, the author shows that many famous authors, such as Walt Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper, helped champion and advocate for drastic policies and helped shape the national narrative related to native populations. Even thinking of indigenous people as a monolithic culture is a myth, as there were hundreds of distinct nations.

I was particularly fascinated by this book because my own family has an oral history of Cherokee ancestors who tried to hide their heritage by claiming to be “Black Dutch.” They fled the Carolinas for Texas during Andrew Jackson’s campaign after the Civil War.  They hid so well in fact that part of our heritage is all but lost.

“An Indigenous Peoples’ History” is a very thought-provoking and well-documented book that connects Europeans’ first contact with native populations to modern conflicts of “settler colonialism” by, as the author puts it, “a thin red line.” She asks us to face the reality of the past, “…not to make an accusation but rather to face historical reality, without which consideration not much in US history makes sense, unless indigenous peoples are erased.”

For other recent books that offer history with a unique perspective, you can try some of these titles.

The post Staff Book Review: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Let’s Travel: Oregon 101

DBRL Next - October 21, 2015

Photo of Multnomah FallsThe first thing my husband and I noticed while landing in Portland was how smoggy the city was. With the hottest summer on record and wild fires raging in Oregon, Washington and California, that was hardly surprising. Yet we had no time to dwell on it. We rented a car and drove to Multnomah Falls, located 30 miles away from Portland.

We humans are hardwired to be drawn to water, but waterfalls seem especially magical. Is it the sheer force of falling water? The cool glimmering beads that gently spray your face? The fresh smells and the haunting monotony of the sound? Who knows? All I know is that no picture can do justice to Multnomah Falls (at least not my picture :) ). The falls are immense – the drop from the upper falls is 542 feet and from the lower 69 feet – and they attract two million visitors every year.

We spent hours admiring the scenery, had lunch at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, and headed to our next destination – Mt. Hood. To my disappointment, the Columbia River Scenic Highway appeared hazy – the smoke of nearby fires washed out the dark greenery of Douglas firs and the rocky cliffs on the other side of the river. Even a bigger disappointment awaited us at Mt. Hood. The mountain, so photogenic on a clear day, was obscured by smoke. I gave up my idea of taking pictures, and we headed to Timberline Lodge, set at the tree line of the mountain.

Photograph of Timberline LodgeNext day, though, the wind changed, and, as if in a theater, the smoke receded, the sky turned velvety blue and the mountain appeared in all its glory. Well, in as much glory as the diminished amount of snow on its top allowed. To give you an idea, the first time we visited Mt. Hood together was April, 2010. Deep snow lay on the ground when we arrived, and when we woke up next morning, 33 inches (!) of fresh snow puffed up the already wintry scene, deep snowdrifts reached the windows of the third floor and the chairlift (we came to ski) was hardly visible in the whiteout of falling snow.

This time, we spent our days admiring distant views of Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters, hiking on Mt. Hood and walking in the deep Northern woods, where stately Douglas firs stand guard over cool mountain lakes that provide fun for kayakers, fishermen and sunbathers. Then we continued to Bagby Hot Springs, highly recommended to me by a library friend.

After an hour of driving, we stopped at a Forest Service office and asked for directions. A female staff member gave us a funny look and said, “Who told you about Bagby?”

“A colleague of mine,” I answered. “He said it’s a great place to visit.”

“If you’re into that kind of things, yes.” The woman said. “Where are you from?”

Missouri,” I said, feeling somewhat uneasy.

“Missouri?!” The woman said. Then she hollered to someone in the other side of the office,

“Look, Mary, people from Missouri are asking about Bagby!”

Another woman got up and looked us up and down.

“Nudity is limited these days,” She finally said and sat down.

“Nudity!? He didn’t say anything about nudity!” I started, but the first woman interrupted me.

“And you’ll have to bring several buckets of water from the creek to cool off the spring water.”

“We’re renting a car,” I said. “It didn’t come with a bucket!”

“Exactly,” the second woman said. “And the baths aren’t in good shape. They’re made of wood. Deteriorated.”

Hiker in the treesAt that point, I pulled my husband to the exit, and we headed to Silver Falls State Park instead. The park, a nine-mile-loop that begins with the 177-foot-high South Falls and snakes through a densely wooded landscape connecting 10 waterfalls, is an example of park-design-ingenuity. Of course, the unusually dry summer affected it, too, turning several waterfalls into trickles. Yet we enjoyed the park anyway, especially since two waterfalls allowed visitors to walk behind the cascading water and see the other side of the fluid curtain.

Next day we drove to the Oregon coast. The famous Pacific Northwest coastline was smoggy, and, once again, I put away my camera and waited for a food stop. The small town of Tillamook proved to be just that. A busy restaurant /gift shop offered local cheeses and wine/dips/spices-and-you-name-it tasting, while a next-door art gallery provided food for the visual sense.

Having fulfilled our tourist duties, we continued to the town of Seaside. A fancier place to stay would’ve been Canon Beach, but a librarian (me) and a retired professor (my husband) cannot afford to be fancy :) . We had no regrets, though. Seaside is a cute town with a grand, 1.5 mile-long promenade, wide sandy beaches, an aquarium and the best pancake restaurant I’ve encountered – Pig ‘N Pancake. (Tip: sourdough pancakes are to die for!)

Unfortunately, the town was veiled in smoke, too, but our luck held – the wind soon changed and the Pacific Ocean appeared before our eyes, mighty and austere. We spent our time walking along the promenade, hiking in the woods and watching windsurfers at Ecola State Park (surfing there is not for the faint of heart – the peak temperature is 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Photo of Haystack RockEven if you don’t stay in Canon Beach, you owe it to yourself to see its shoreline. The 235-foot-high Haystack Rock rises from the bottom of the ocean as a reminder of prehistoric times. (At low tide, visitors can walk up to it and see starfish and other tide-pool creatures.) Several other large monoliths next to Haystack courageously defy the crashing of ocean waves. And wide beaches offer enough space for sunbathers (swimmers are rare, but they can be easily pinpointed by their loud screams when they splash in the cold water), sandcastle builders, windsurfers, tricyclists, dog walkers and kite runners. (Tip: bring some warm clothes, preferably a hoodie – the wind there is strong and cool).

Time flew, and soon we were driving back to Portland to take a plane home. The return, always anticlimactic, was also marked by low visibility, and I began to pay more attention to the scenery close to the highway: small, rundown houses and glaring spots in the forests covered the nearby rocky landscape – a result of merciless logging. On the radio, the announcers were talking about the alarming air quality in Portland.

In the airport, while waiting for our flight, I scrolled through my photos – a barely-covered-with-snow Mt. Hood, hazy landscapes along the Columbia River, diminished waterfalls, and my thoughts turned to the environment. We, the older generation, are lucky to have seen amazing landscapes and jungle-like forests, to have skied in deep snow and enjoyed clear horizons. But what about our grandchildren? Will they ski on Mt. Hood, walk in the deep woods or swim in the lakes and rivers? Will they inhale clean air and observe clear views?

It’s about time we understood that we cannot afford to be careless and oblivious to the changes that are happening in our time. Otherwise, we’ll go the way of Easter Islanders who deforested their island, ruined its ecosystem and, eventually, caused their civilization to collapse. Let’s do something to prevent this, and do it soon – despite the inertia and political squabbles that poison our souls and our environment. If not now, when?

The post Let’s Travel: Oregon 101 appeared first on DBRL Next.

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New DVDs: “The Roosevelts”

Center Aisle Cinema - December 1, 2014

roosevelts

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

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

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

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 28– Dec. 4

Center Aisle Cinema - November 26, 2014

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

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New DVD: “Six by Sondheim”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 24, 2014

sixbysondheim

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

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

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

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New DVD: “Tim’s Vermeer”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 17, 2014

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

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

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

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 14 – Nov. 20

Center Aisle Cinema - November 13, 2014

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

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“Rich Hill” on January 14th

Center Aisle Cinema - November 12, 2014

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

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

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

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New DVD: “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 10, 2014

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

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

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

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 7 – Nov. 13

Center Aisle Cinema - November 6, 2014

hornetsnest

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

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New DVD: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 3, 2014

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

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

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

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 31 – Nov. 6

Center Aisle Cinema - October 30, 2014

girl_rising

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

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New DVD: “Valentine Road”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 27, 2014

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

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

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

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 24 – Oct. 30

Center Aisle Cinema - October 23, 2014

mistakenforstrangers

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

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“American Revolutionary” on November 12th

Center Aisle Cinema - October 22, 2014

americanrevolutionary

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

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

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New DVD: “12 O’clock Boys”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 20, 2014

12oclockboys

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

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

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

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 17 – Oct. 23

Center Aisle Cinema - October 17, 2014

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

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