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Have you ever heard of the Owens sisters? How about Lucile Bluford, a civil rights activist and well-respected editor and publisher of an important African-American newspaper? What about Phoebe Couzins, the first female US marshal, and one of the first female lawyers? It’s not surprising that you may not have heard of these women in history class, but they’re fascinating! In addition to being important female figures, these women all have something else in common: they’re all from Missouri!
As you (hopefully) know, March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme celebrates women of character, courage and commitment, and list of 2014 honorees can be found here. Women across the world have had a powerful, but often over-looked, impact on human history, and that influence extends to women’s contributions in our own state.
Back to the Owens sisters, three trailblazers from St. Joseph, Missouri. These sisters all had highly successful careers, which was very uncommon for women in the US in the late 1800s. The work of Mary Alicia Owen, the oldest sister who had the most prominent career, is documented in the book “The Life of Folklorist, Mary Alicia Owens” by local author Greg Olson. Mary was the most famous female folklorist of her time, and her ethnographic writings documented Ozark Gypsies, Voodoo Priests and other local legends.
Luella, the middle sister, was a geologist who wrote a book about Missouri caves, which was the only resource on the subject to exist for 50 years. The youngest, Juliette, was an artist who documented Missouri wildlife through painting and drawing. She also was a conservationist and animal rights activist in the early phases of this movement. Learn more about these sisters in the book “Daring to Be Different: Missouri’s Remarkable Owen Sisters.”
DBRL has more resources on the subject of women’s history in Missouri, including online databases and books like “In Her Place: A Guide to St. Louis Women’s History” and “Women in Missouri History,” among others. The DBRL website will also direct you to more resources on women’s history, including book lists of influential women, a list of upcoming local events that celebrate women’s history and other databases and resources on this subject. Happy Women’s History Month!
“Spirit Animals” is book series in which one author guides the overall story, but each novel features a different popular children’s and/or YA author (much like “39 Clues”). Brandon Mull, author of “Fablehaven” and other popular fantasy books, oversees the whole series and wrote the first book, “Wild Born.”
In “Wild Born,” we follow four kids who go through a bonding with spirit animals. While many people have spirit animals, these four particular characters are bonded specific reincarnated spirit animals of legend. However, as typical with many fantasy series, dark forces of old are gathering, threatening the entire world of Erdas.
The second book, “Hunted,” was recently released and is written by popular YA author, Maggie Stiefvater. The story picks off almost right where the first novel lets off, and we get some excellent character study by Stiefvater as the world of Erdas is more deeply explored.
I found the diverse cast of characters appealing in these novels. A Chinese noble girl, a street rat, a shepherd, and a girl from an African tribe make up the four kids bonded to the great beasts of legend. I also enjoyed that every spirit animal bond is different. The authors get really inventive on how each bond is different. I won’t list any spoilers, but you don’t find out how every bond works in book 1.
If you like instant gratification (or as much as you can get in the world of publishing), you’ll enjoy that book 3 (“Blood Ties”) is coming out in March and book 4 (“Fire and Ice”) will be published in June. With each book being written by a separate author, the momentum of “Spirit Animals” won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Scholastic is also promoting this series with bonus material and a fun game online where you can create your own spirit animal and play in the world of Erdas yourself.
Originally published at Books for Dudes – “Spirit Animals”.
It was a typical Missouri winter day – gray, cool and windy, with no recreational potential of any kind. It was also Sunday, but nothing special was going on in town, either.
“Let’s drive to Eagle Bluffs,” I said to my husband while we were eating our breakfast – I my usual cereal and he the leftovers from a dinner party we held the night before.
“Sure,” he said and immediately reached for his binoculars.
The thing is that my husband is a wildlife lover, and since Eagle Bluffs is a state conservation area about 10 miles away from us, it is one of the places he’s always ready to go. Over the years, I have come to like that area, too, although the first time my husband took me there, I was disappointed.
Not that I expected to see parrots or flamingos flittering around the Missouri wetlands, but with a name like “Eagle Bluffs” I surely counted on seeing eagles there! In reality, though, Eagle Bluffs is a series of ponds dug into a large open field, confined between impressive sandstone bluffs and the Missouri River, and it is visited mostly by Canada geese and a variety of ducks. Also, early in the spring, white pelicans make their festive appearance. As for eagles, after numerous visits to the area, we finally (!) stumbled on an eagle’s nest, hidden high in the tree that grows on a strip of land that is surrounded by ponds on all sides. Since then, we periodically check up on it, although it’s rare that we see its occupants.
I must admit, I love seeing eagles. To me, a person who lived without any citizenship for five years (the Russians stripped me of theirs when I applied for an exit visa, and the Americans took their time to make sure that I’d be a solid citizen (just kidding!)), the bald eagle represents a new beginning. And, since I rarely see them, every time I do, it seems special. (In fact, my husband and I saw one calmly gliding over our neighborhood on the day of Obama’s first victory!)
Halfway to Eagle Bluffs, I began regretting my idea. First of all, we had recently had a snow storm, and the wetlands might still be frozen, in which case we wouldn’t see anything there. And even if we did get lucky, so what? While it’s true that my husband has nice binoculars (my present to him for his birthday) and I have a Canon SLR camera with me, I don’t have the right lenses for wildlife photography, so I cannot take good pictures of birds anyway.
“I really need better lenses,” I said to my husband, driving carefully along the curvy road. “My lenses are not sharp enough. You yourself say that my photos don’t look professional.”
“There could be other reasons for that beside lenses,” my husband mumbled, not taking his eyes off the road.
“Like what?” I said. “I’m doing as well as my lenses allow! And the camera, too. If I am to improve, I need a full-frame camera and L-series lenses!”
Of course, the truth is that I don’t have to “improve.” I’m not a professional photographer who must spend thousands of dollars on expensive equipment. Still, as obsessive as I am, I may one day do just that, so it’s important to prepare my husband for that possibility.
“I need telephoto lenses, too,” I started again when we turned off the local highway, but my husband interrupted me.
“The water is still frozen,” he said. “We won’t see much today.”
“Let’s see the eagle’s nest, then.” I said.
We parked the car and hung our equipment around our necks – he his binoculars and I my camera with its woefully insufficient lens – and walked toward the nest. It was still cool, and the sun seemed to be making up its mind about whether it should break through the clouds and light up the world underneath, or pull the clouds up, like a blanket, and take another nap.
The nest was in its usual place, hidden safely up in the big old tree. Yet it was empty.
“It must be too early in the season,” my husband said.
“It cannot be too early,” I said firmly. “This is their time for nesting.”
“I don’t see any signs of that,” he sighed. “Should we go back?”
“No, let’s walk around,” I said. For exercise. And we put up our jacket hoods, and pulled on our gloves.
We walked for about a mile, between the bluffs and a creek on one side and the ponds on the other. Yet we saw no birds. Not even obnoxiously honking Canada geese or scurrying around coots. Disappointed, we turned back. When we were passing the area with the nest, my husband said, “Too bad. No eagles this time.”
But, I seemed to notice some movement there.
“Are you sure the nest is empty?” I said. “Look through your binoculars.”
“It is,” he said, and at that moment, a white-headed bird landed on a branch by the nest – a bald eagle.
“Look!” I shouted, grabbing my camera and feverishly adjusting its settings. “An eagle!”
Whether it was my excitement that spooked the bird or something else, the eagle took off. He made several circles high above our heads and vanished behind a strip of tall trees on the other side. Had we been there a minute later, we’d never have known that he was there at all.
“Oh, no!” I cried, pulling my husband by the sleeve – he was still pointing his binoculars in the direction of the bird. He put the binoculars down and said, “Should we drive home now?”
“Don’t you think he’ll come back?”
We walked around for another 30 minutes, but the eagle never returned. Feeling tired, we headed back to our car. Before I opened the passenger’s door, I glanced toward the bluffs on the other side, which, suddenly, erupted with a fuzzy, slowly moving cloud.
“What’s that?” I said, puzzled. And then it struck me. It wasn’t a cloud. It was … a huge flock of white-and-black birds!
“Pelicans!” I screamed. “Look, pelicans!”
The birds flew higher and higher and soon they, too, disappeared behind the trees on the other side of the wetlands. We followed them – first driving as far as we could and then walking quietly to the pond where they landed. I was walking first, my camera at ready, and my husband followed me with his binoculars. We were still far away when the birds noticed us. First, they began stirring, then several of them took off, and later yet, others began following their example. Soon, the whole pond exploded with white and black colors, while the sky filled with flapping wings and the cry of birds.
Excited, I kept pressing the shutter.
“They are not pelicans,” I heard my husband say behind me.
“No? What are they?” I turned to him, immediately disappointed.
“They are snow geese.”
“Well, that’s not so bad,” my husband said. “We’ve never seen snow geese before.”
He was correct. It was the first time I saw snow geese, and although they were nothing like pelicans, they were beautiful in their own “geesey” way.
“You’re right,” I said, and we started walking.
The sun hid behind the cloud, seemingly for good, and the wind picked up, but, I no longer felt disappointed. True, we saw the eagle only briefly, and we didn’t see any pelicans. But, we saw something new, and, as Forest Gump put it, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”
P.S. While I was looking at my pictures at home, I suddenly noticed a white head peeking from the eagle’s nest. It wasn’t empty after all! I looked again. The head appeared small and fuzzy, but it was definitely an eagle. Can you spot it? It’s not very clear, is it? You see, I really need a better lens.
We recently added “Blood Brother” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown in January at Forum 8 and currently has a rating of 87% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist with no close family of his own. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay and devote his life to them. To the children, he becomes ‘Rocky Anna, ‘ or brother. The documentary features longtime friend Steve Hoover, as he traces Rocky’s story of working in the village of Tamil Nadu, India for five years. The film illustrates his commitment to the children and their families who face life-and-death situations on a daily basis.
After an exciting two months of voting, DBRLTeen is proud to announce the Sweet 16 in our March Madness Teen Book Tournament. However, if you are just joining in the fun, here’s a little background to get you caught up. Through a series of votes, we are narrowing the library’s list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. By supporting your favorite book, you’ll also be entered to win prizes like a gift card to Barnes & Noble!How the March Madness Teen Book Tournament Works:
- Round 1: Voting complete.
- Round 2: VOTE NOW through March 10 for the Elite 8.
- Round 3: Vote March 11-17 for the Final 4.
- Round 4: Vote March 18-24 for the final two contending titles.
- Round 5: Vote March 25-31 for the book tournament champion.
- April 2: The champion is announced!
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite eight titles by Monday, March 10 at 5 p.m. The winners from this round of competition will be announced next Tuesday, March 11.March Madness Teen Book Tournament: Sweet 16
- “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
- “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
- “Holes” by Louis Sachar
- “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
- “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
- “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner
- “Legend” by Marie Lu
- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
- “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
- “Girl, Stolen” by April Henry
- “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer
- “The Eleventh Plague” by Jeff Hirsch
- “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper
- “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
- “Inheritance” by Christopher Paolini
Originally published at 2014 Teen Book Tournament: Sweet 16 Announced.
(Review of the Inspector Montalbano mystery series, by Andrea Camilleri)
Salvo Montalbano is the world-weary but always upstanding Chief Inspector for the police force of Vigata, a smallish (and imaginary) town in Sicily. He’s a sensitive, ethical guy who struggles with the endemic Sicilian political corruption, superiors who can’t be bothered and subordinates who are eager but sometimes inept. Also problematic are the many attractive women who find him molto interessante – causing no end of conflict with Livia, his volatile out-of-town girlfriend.
This sounds like a standard backdrop for a police procedural mystery, international or otherwise. But this series, and Montalbano, rise above the standard. For starters, this is one well-read cop, given to Italian literary and historical references. He’s also a passionate gourmet: a steaming plate of pasta ‘ncasciata will always take precedence over police business.
Montalbano introspects fiercely, and the reader gets to spend quality time inside his head, getting to know this often melancholy and obsessive, but ultimately likable, character. In fact, all of Camilleri’s characters are worth knowing, from Ingrid Sjostrom, the beautiful six-foot-tall Swedish race-car driver (and Montalbano’s greatest temptation) to the creepy, sex-obsessed Judge Tommaseo. Add some dark Sicilian atmosphere and consistently elegant plotting, and you have a series that is just plain delizioso.
(Important disclaimer: The first book, “The Shape of Water,” begins with a single, nearly incomprehensible paragraph that goes on for a full five pages. It was so obtuse that I almost gave up. Fortunately I didn’t, because after page five things got much clearer and a whole lot more interesting – and stayed that way for 15 more books.)
For an appetizer, here are the first four books of the Inspector Montalbano series at DBRL:
- “The Shape of Water“ (2002)
- “The Terra-cotta Dog“ (2002)
- “The Snack Thief“ (2003)
- “Voice of the Violin“ (2004)
For the complete list of 16 titles, see our book list in the library’s online catalog.
Authors Rebecca Skloot and Colson Whitehead are making appearances in mid-Mo during the next two weeks. Mark your calendars for these free events!
2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the library’s community-wide reading program, One Read, and that year we read and discussed the important work of narrative nonfiction, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. The closing program was a visit with David “Sonny” Lacks, Henrietta’s son, which proved inspiring for many in our community. Mr. Lacks was a charming guest and graciously accepted thanks from several people who waited in line to share with him their personal stories and to express gratitude for his mother’s contributions to science. Now our community has the opportunity to hear about Henrietta Lacks from the author’s perspective. Skloot will appear as part of the 10th Annual MU Life Sciences & Society Symposium on Monday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:00) at Jesse Auditorium. Tickets to this event are free, but they are required for entry. You can pick them up at one of the following locations.
- Missouri Theatre Box Office (203 S 9th St, Columbia, MO 65201)
- MSA/GPC Box Office in the MU Student Center at the University of Missouri
Find more details at the University of Missouri’s website, and cross your fingers that the weather cooperates!
Why might I be worried about weather? Well, February’s snow-pocalypse forced the cancellation of another author’s – Colson Whitehead’s - visit to mid-Missouri, so we’re a little paranoid about the forecast. We were really looking forward to Whitehead’s talk, so we are pleased to announce that this event has been rescheduled! Whitehead is the author of the New York Times bestselling zombie survival tale “Zone One” and a forthcoming book about the 2011 World Series of Poker, titled “The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death.” He’ll be speaking on Thursday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Reynolds Alumni Center on the University of Missouri campus as part of the Department of English Creative Writing Visiting Writers Series.
The post Upcoming Author Events: Rebecca Skloot and Colson Whitehead appeared first on DBRL Next.
Okay, who out there is weary of this winter weather and being inside-bound and weighted down with layer upon layer to fend off the bitter cold? I have been seriously stir-crazy and blue, too, so I went looking for some solution, some relief from the bleakness found within and without. I needed some way to figuratively “climb out of winter,” like the flower bulbs will do come springtime. I decided a new hobby would help keep me going until the first crocuses surface.
Here’s what I found to do:
I’d been hearing in the ambient noise surrounding me the past few years that fermented foods had health benefits, and I had a vague notion it had to do with dosing your gut with friendly bacteria. Fermented foods (miso, tempeh, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi and other cultured vegetables, cheese, beer, wine, etc.) are taste bud-pleasers with lots of flavor and zing and texture – that in and of itself is good thing.
And always looking to economize, I felt compelled to try making my own kraut, because unpasteurized (pasteurizing foods kills bacteria, including the friendly stuff) kraut is expensive – $7 for a quart jar! Since the ingredients are very cheap, just salt and cabbage, $7 seemed too dear a price to pay, especially if I wanted to eat it on a regular basis.
But what makes fermented foods so beneficial to your health? In the fermentation process microscopic bacteria and fungi produce alcohol, lactic and acetic acids, which naturally preserve the food, thereby retaining their nutrients. Fermentation also breaks the nutrients down into more easily digestible form, increases the bioavailability of minerals and creates new nutrients. In a nutshell, by eating fermented foods you essentially line your gut with healthy living cultures vital to breaking down food and assimilating its nutrients. “Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods” by Sandor Ellix Katz has a short and informative chapter, “Cultural Rehabilitation,” that nicely explains the health benefits of fermented foods. In my reading about this topic, I also discovered that research indicates that live bacteria in fermented foods improve the body’s “response-ability” to infection and inflammation. Wow! That’s a lot of health benefits to claim.
I was thrilled to demystify this process, and it was SO easy. The results were scrumptious, and visually, the food was stunning. (Did you know that purple cabbage turns a bright, neon magenta when transformed into kraut?) There is an easy recipe in this book if you’d like to give kraut a crack.
So now I have a spot on my kitchen countertop permanently dedicated to small-batch jars of fermenting food. I’m not going to stop with kraut either. On to kimchi, kefir and kombucha!
Photo used under a creative commons license.
The post Beating the Winter Blahs and Boosting Health With Beneficial Bacteria appeared first on DBRL Next.
We’ve compiled a list of previous documentaries available at DBRL from the directors who are presenting films at the upcoming True/False Film Fest. Check out their old films before you attend the fest for their new films!
True/False 2014 film: “The Unknown Known”
Past films as director: “Mr. Death,” “The Fog of War,” “The Thin Blue Line,” “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control,” “Vernon, Florida,” “Gates of Heaven,” “Standard Operating Procedure,” “Tabloid”
To see more about the films showing at True False 2014, check out the list of films on the True/False website. Be sure to check out our True/False Film Fest films at DBRL to see lists of past True False films.
We recently added “Cutie and the Boxer” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2013, and currently has a rating of 96% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:In New York City in 1969, nineteen-year-old art student Noriko fell in love with 41-year-old avant-garde artist Ushio Shinohara and put her career on hold to marry and support this rising star of the Manhattan art world. But 40 years later and still struggling, Ushio remains consumed with reinforcing his legacy via his ‘boxing’ paintings, while Noriko is now finding her own creative voice through a series of drawings.
LibraryReads is a monthly list of forthcoming books librarians across the country recommend. The March list is particularly awesome because local author Laura McHugh’s book (partly written at the Columbia Public Library) is the number one pick!
“The Weight of Blood“
by Laura McHugh
“The Dane family has been keeping secrets in the Ozark town of Henbane for years. An outsider steals the heart of one of the Dane brothers, and the secrets threaten to unravel. When 16-year-old Lucy’s friend is found murdered after being missing for a year, Lucy begins to ask questions–the answers to which may destroy her family. Atmospheric and visceral, McHugh’s story is vividly and effectively told.”
- Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
by Chris Pavone
“Kudos to Pavone for coming through with another captivating international suspense novel. How ironic that I couldn’t put down a book about Isabel, a literary agent who stays up all night to finish an unsolicited manuscript that’s so explosive, some will kill to keep it from being published. During the 24 hours that Isabel is on the run, readers will be on the edge of their seats. Be prepared to lose some sleep!”
- Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI
“The Divorce Papers“
by Susan Rieger
“When Sophie, a loveable 29-year-old lawyer, gets roped into working on a divorce case, her life takes an unexpected turn. Though this gives her a new perspective on life, it also forces her to confront some unresolved childhood issues. Except for a few tearful, poignant moments, I had a smile on my face for the entire book. Engaging and humorous, this debut epistolary novel has become a favorite read.”
- Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL
Here is the rest of the list for your browsing and hold-placing pleasure!
- “The Outcast Dead“ by Elly Griffiths
- “Panic“ by Lauren Oliver
- “A Circle of Wives“ by Alice LaPlante
- “Gemini” by Carol Cassella
- “Precious Thing“ by Colette McBeth
- “Kill Fee: A Stevens and Windermere Novel“ by Owen Laukkanen
- “Show Your Work! 10 Things Nobody Told You about Getting Discovered“ by Austin Kleon
The registration deadlines are fast approaching for those planning to take the next round of ACT exams. Registration for the April 14 ACT exam is due Friday, March 7. Sign-up online.
If you would like to know more about testing locations, costs and fee waivers, please visit our online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.
Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (800) 324-4806.
Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!
Originally published at Mar 7 Deadline for April ACT Exam.
“Slow down!” I screamed at my husband when a gust of wind threw another clump of snow at our front window, obscuring the world outside our car. We were driving through a blizzard, and my rhetorical question “Are we there, yet?” no longer reflected boredom but acquired a true urgency. Yet – finally! – our Subaru, loaded with ski clothes, equipment and electronic gadgets (just the number of chargers is unbelievable!) reached Rabbit Ears Pass and began descending to Yampa Valley – the town of Steamboat Springs within it.
Those who’ve never seen the Rocky Mountains in the winter should definitely rethink that (if you live outside the U.S., substitute a mountain region in your country ), for, as far as I’m concerned, the austere beauty of snow-covered peaks and valleys is incomparable with any other natural setting. As for Steamboat Springs, its charm is in preserving the aura of a 19th century miners’ and ranchers’ town, where herds of cattle still run along its wide main drag to the rodeo grounds every 4th of July.
Ranching, of course, is no longer the main occupation there. The thing that puts Steamboat Springs on the map now is outdoor activities: skiing in the winter (mostly downhill but Nordic skiing and snowshoeing as well); biking, whitewater rafting and hiking in the summer; and bathing in hot springs year around. Yet despite new fads and diets, there are establishments in this town that are over 100 years old, where you can order an old-fashioned burger and unabashedly brush peanut shells on to the floor (don’t worry, there are fancy restaurants there, too ). Also, as it was in the past, the town is full of people with faces burnt by the sun, wind and snow, although they are more likely to work in the ski village several miles away than on a ranch.
Since we first came to this area, it has grown considerably, especially the village: new houses and condos have popped up all over the valley, new inns and hotels brighten long winter nights with their perpetual Christmas lights and shops and galleries have spread all over. Yet the village, bustling with activity by day, largely empties by night – some visitors stay put while many drive (or take a shuttle) to the town.
Our first morning started slowly – it’s hard to feel vigorous at 6,900 feet when you have spent most of the year at 758. Besides, the blizzard was still raging, adding low visibility to our almost forgotten skiing abilities (when you ski once a year, your body forgets what it’s supposed to do). When, at the end of the day, a young receptionist asked us where we skied that day (easy runs only), our response didn’t impress him.
“That sure is mellow,” He said condescendingly.
“We’ll see where you’ll be skiing where you’re our age!” I wanted to say, but my husband wouldn’t allow it. My husband is always like that. He never lies (what damage can a couple of white lies cause?), he never cheats on line calls in tennis (we’re not playing for money, so what if I call something out when it is in?!) and he never argues with sales clerks (recently, when he tried on crooked reading glasses, a clerk told him that his face was crooked, and my husband thought that was funny!?).
Our second day was even worse. Without much thought, we took the Storm Peak Express (should the name have told us something?) and found ourselves in a whiteout so dense that we could hardly see each other two feet apart! Yet, as often happens in the mountains, the blizzard retreated as quickly as it came, and on our third morning, the bright sun illuminated the mountains and the surrounding valley, transforming everything into a sparkling-white playground. Seemingly overnight, our bodies found their perfect balance, our skis followed our every move (almost :)) and we no longer fought against the landscape but enjoyed the views, the fresh air and the swift movements. We even had enough energy left for a night on the town: sizzling fajitas and fried ice-cream in a Mexican restaurant, a stroll through local galleries and a photo walk under the starry sky.
The next two days were picture-perfect as well: skiing under the gorgeous blue sky, stopping for lunch at a mountain lodge and watching early afternoon shadows spread their blue wings on the snow – winter days in the mountains are short. At that point, my main task always is not to lose the sight of my husband. The thing is, I have no sense of direction, and left to my own devices, I can easily end up on the other side of the mountain, alone. My husband, however, is always aware of his whereabouts. In our 16 years of skiing together, he lost that ability only once – after a fall that left him so disoriented that he asked me where the base village was. That scared me out of my wits – not because I had no idea where it was, but because it was a sign of something being very wrong with him. Lucky for me, his confusion didn’t last long, and after we got safely down, I made him buy a helmet, so he won’t scare me like that again.
Being directionally challenged, I, however, tend to ski first, ignoring (according to my husband) landscape markers and signs (trust me, I don’t – I just don’t see them!). Once in a while, I stop and wait for his directions, unless – in rare moments of absolute self-assurance, usually visiting me on our last run of the day – I take the wrong turn and hear, “No-o-o! Not there!!!” from my long-suffering ski companion.
A week in the mountains passes too quickly, and soon we were preparing to go home (didn’t we just unpack everything?!). As usual, I wondered — would we enjoy a longer stay more or would it become monotonous? After all, we do the same things every day, and we don’t speak much to anybody. Well, we talk to people in shops and restaurants, and we have short conversations on the chairlifts – this time we mostly met Texans, Australians (where it’s summertime ), college students and several locals. I’ll never know, since we never stay for more than a week.
What I do know is this: it’s great to spend time outdoors, and it’s great to be able to enjoy physical activity while surrounded by natural beauty. And when I watch ski competitions from the Sochi Olympics, I feel that my humble experience allows me to more fully appreciate the spirit of the competitors, the agony of defeat and the colossal efforts of the athletes.
So if, like me, you enjoy watching the 2014 Winter Olympics, remember that you don’t have to be a champion to see what they see and do what they do (well, to some extent:) ). All you need to do is travel!
Library staff have spent the winter reading from a wide assortment of genres: historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. However, mystery and intrigue seems to be a prevailing theme among many of titles. Have you already read one of these books? Submit your own book review or share your thoughts as a blog comment below!What We’re Reading:
“Maid of Secrets” by Jennifer McGowan
A story of intrigue surrounding Queen Elizabeth I.
“This is not a Drill” by Rebecca McDowell
Tense hostage situation.
“Battle Magic” by Tamora Pierce
The continuing tale of Briar, a plant magician.
“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by April Genevieve Tucholke
Lovely, atmospheric Gothic horror.
“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
Heartbreaking, inspiring, and highly quotable.
“I Hunt Killers” by Barry Lyga
Dark and gruesome, but fun.
“Everybody Sees the Ants” by A.S. King”
Raw and honest with a bit of magical realism thrown in.
“Stardust” by Neil Gaiman
A young man’s quest for love in the world of Faerie.
“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes
Human lab rat.
“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
Beautifully retold Cinderella cyborg science fiction mash up.
“The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making” by Catherynne Valente
Charming and delightfully strange in an Alice-in-Wonderland sort of way.
Originally published at What We’re Reading: February 2014.
February 24: “The Michigan Beer Film” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
February 25: “Moving Midway” 7:00 p.m. at Ragtag. (via)
February 26: “The Crash Reel” 8:00 p.m. at Wrench Auditorium, free. (via)
February 27-March 2: True False Film Fest in downtown Columbia. (via)
We recently added “Ain’t in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm” to the DBRL collection. The film currently has a rating of 93% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:Rock and roll legend Levon Helm is at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. Shot during the course of two-plus years, this highly anticipated film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight.
I recently stumbled across a BuzzFeed article that offers advice which is even more useful than tips on creative ways to use mason jars! “Twenty-Nine Books To Get You Through Your Quarter-Life Crisis” is a compilation of books about people in their 20s and issues that people face during this stage of their life. The list includes both fiction and nonfiction books, most of which we have in our collection (and the ones we don’t have you can get through our ILL service). As a 20-something, I enjoy learning about the various directions in which people choose to steer their lives and about the different ways people carve out their identities. Here are a few books I’ve found interesting:
- “Hyperbole and A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened” by Allie Brosh. This collection of webcomics is funny, sometimes sad, and had me yelling, “I totally do that, too!” The book combines crudely drawn pictures with short writings to tell stories of the now 28-year-old’s wild childhood, life-long obsession with dogs, bouts of depression and attempts at becoming a “responsible adult”. If you’re still not sold on this book, check out the Hyperbole and a Half blog to get a taste of Brosh’s style.
- “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed. The author’s collection of advice columns, “Tiny Beautiful Things,” made it on to the BuzzFeed list instead of this book, but “Wild” also tackles issues people in their 20s face. I’ve never been a fan of memoirs or books about nature, but this book completely won me over. At age 26 Strayed’s life was in shambles from her mother’s death four years earlier. With nothing left to lose, she impulsively decided to hike the entire 1,000+ mile Pacific Crest Trail. Armed with only a giant backpack, paperback books and no wilderness experience, the author treks through physical and emotional pain to ultimately become healed. Heart-wrenching, honest and totally inspiring.
- “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now” by Meg Jay. This is definitely not a feel-good book, but rather a therapist’s argument for what people should be doing while they’re in their 20s. Reading it was frustrating at times, because I disagree with a lot of things Dr. Jay had to say. She assumes the reader has a certain amount of privilege, and also that people in their 20s feel like they have all the time in the world. (I don’t know anyone my age that feels that way!) I could go on and on about the ways this book is problematic, but that being said, I still felt like I was able to glean some valuable information from this book. The author uses real-life examples of her clients’ struggles, which are common issues to people in their 20s. This book also includes some solid advice on moving forward in your career. Check it out and decide for yourself!
If you’d like more advice on what to read to get you through your quarter-life crisis, be sure to take a look at Book Riot’s article on this subject.
Image credit: Artwork copyrighted by Allie Brosh, creator of Hyperbole and a Half, and used according to guidelines outlined on the Hyperbole and a Half website.
Monday, March 3, 2014 › 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Pick your faction and choose your fate! Join us for the celebration of the release of “Divergent,” the film based on Veronica Roth’s popular novel. We’ll discuss the book and do a variety of faction-related crafts. Ages 11 and older. To register, please call (573) 443-3161.
While you are waiting for the March 21 release date, here are some fun online activities to check-out:
- Download the “Divergent” trilogy to your tablet, smartphone or eReader.
- Categorize your friends into factions based on their personality type.
- Test your knowledge of “Divergent” with this online quiz.
Originally published at Program Preview: “Divergent” Celebration.