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It all started with “Titans of the Ice Age.” This past winter my son and I watched this Imax film at the St. Louis Science Center. It depicts life on earth approximately 14,000 years ago, when giant mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and other ferocious creatures roamed frozen North America. Though the reasons are still speculative, these and other megafauna were extinguished when this most recent ice age ended and the glaciers retreated. Toward the end of the film, the narrator ponders whether the megafauna of our present times (elephants, bison and tigers) will go the way of their ancient cousins due to human-induced climate change and habitat destruction.
This film set me to wondering about extinction and its causes, and since I lean toward worry about the state of our planet and whether it can sustain all of our human habits, I started rooting around for information. I discovered that extinctions have occurred many times over the course of the last four billion years, including five massive events. It brought me odd comfort to know that the causes of these massive die-offs couldn’t have been prevented and were caused by external forces (e.g., a meteorite hitting earth and intensive and prolonged volcanic activity). Amazingly, each time life was virtually wiped from the face of the earth, new and different forms were born and proliferated.
Now we are presented with the possibility of another mass extinction event. This time though, the cataclysmic force is not external but brought on by humankind’s extreme alteration of the planet. In her book, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” Elizabeth Kolbert’s research tracks the disappearance of species millions of years ago. And she documents what is currently taking place – the loss of specific life forms, at alarming rates – by visiting research stations around the world and querying scientists who are carefully monitoring these vanishing animals.
In “The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It,” Fred Guterl addresses a number of circumstances that could lead to human demise, including superviruses and climate change. He explains how our success with technology brought us to this precipice, and how using technology will be our best chance of saving ourselves.
If you need a visual aid to demonstrate the profound human-induced planet change that has occurred, watch “Manufactured Landscapes,” a documentary on the art of Edward Burtynsky. His photographs are exquisitely beautiful compositions of devastation done to Mother Earth in the name of economic progress. His range covers oil fields and refineries, quarries, dam building, mounds of trash and so on. Although he makes a point not to politicize his work, leaving it up to the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions, to me the message is clear: humankind has and continues to drastically alter the earth in harmful and unsustainable ways.
If you’re less inclined to read about the earth’s mass extinctions you could learn about them by watching the television series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. In the second episode (“Some of the Things That Molecules Do”), he takes the viewer on a visit to the Halls of Extinction and explains the cause of the “Great Dying” (or “Permian Holocaust”) that occurred 251 million years ago. This was the whopper of the five mass extinctions with nine out of 10 animals being erased from the planet and was likely the result of massive and sustained (over thousands of years) volcanic activity in Siberia. This activity generated heat and toxic fumes so intense that the seas dried up and most land animals suffocated. Tyson covers a lot of material in this episode, and I was hoping for information on the other mass extinctions, but he alludes to these being covered in future episodes. I’ll have to check out the rest of the series over the course of the summer–the computer-generated graphics and animation are amazing! And I can peruse DBRL’s collection for other DVDs on extinction, and you can, too.
The post The Sixth Extinction: Are We Engineering Our Own Demise? appeared first on DBRL Next.
In a terrifying future world, Jimmy (“Snowman”) tells the story of the downfall of mankind and his part in that fall. I enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s narrative style and lush imagination. “Oryx and Crake” reads as a cautionary tale. The world she imagines could come to fruition if humanity stays the present course. Word of warning: this book contains significant profanity and adult themes. No children please!
Three words that describe this book: evocative cautionary tale
You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy post-apocalyptic imaginings and dark humor. Also, if you don’t mind some rather prolific profanity.
To a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, narco-traffickers have become icons, glorified by musicians who praise their fame and success. In this new constituency, they represent a pathway out of the ghetto, nurturing a new American dream fueled by money, drugs, and violence. The film is an explosive look at the drug cartels’ pop culture influence on both sides of the border as seen through the eyes of an LA narcocorrido singer and a Juarez crime scene investigator.
If you missed Laura McHugh’s author talk in June, you’ll have a chance to catch her at the Columbia Public Library on September 18, when she’ll be leading a book discussion of this year’s One Read selection, “The Boys in the Boat.” Her own book, “The Weight of Blood” is hyper-local, much of it having been written in the Quiet Reading Room at the Columbia Public Library. The novel centers around two cases of missing persons, a generation apart.
Lucy Dane’s mother disappeared when Lucy was a small child. Rumors about Lila Dane, a mysterious outsider who married a local, have swirled around the tiny Ozarks town of Henbane ever since. Years later, when Lucy is in high school, her friend Cheri vanishes, as well. Unlike Lila, Cheri turns up eventually – dead. In a small town where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, nobody has answers for Lucy about what happened to either young woman. But she is determined to find out.
McHugh looks at parts of American life that many of us would be happy to ignore. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, both present and past. The tension builds as the two timelines draw together to reveal the scope of what has been, and still is, happening.
“Everyone Dies in the End” by Brian Katcher is equal parts dark and funny. Imagine if H.P. Lovecraft wrote a romantic comedy. This young adult novel relates what a student journalist finds when he digs too deep. And by deep, I mean think about undead creatures that dwell underground.
Sherman Andrews has goals, dreams, ambitions. And he packs them all along with him to the Missouri Scholars’ Academy the summer before his senior year of high school. There he becomes involved with an ace library assistant (the love interest) who helps him investigate a series of unsolved deaths and disappearances from the 1930s. There are obstacles, of course – threats from people who don’t want the truth uncovered, a source who might or might not be delusional, the occasional supernatural manifestation…
Both books contain a scare factor as the characters encounter evil in different forms, but both also have characters who stand up to the evil and shine a light into the darkness.
The post What’s New and Local at Your Library: Into the Dark Places appeared first on DBRL Next.
Congratulations to Kim from Hartsburg for winning our fifth Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.
All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online. Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning. We are half way through our prize drawings, so keep those reviews coming.
In 1936, the crew team from the University of Washington won Olympic gold. They shouldn’t have. They were certainly talented and determined enough to win, but the odds were stacked against them, with one team member sick, their boat given the worst lane assignment, and them missing the signal that started the gold-medal race. This year’s One Read selection, “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, follows members of this ragtag group of rowers as they struggle through the Great Depression, physical adversity, and personal tragedy to become one of the greatest crew teams in our nation’s history.
Taking inspiration from “The Boys in the Boat,” we invite you to tell a story about beating the odds in 250 words or less. The moment can be significant or subtle, but all stories must contain an element of the underdog, of someone unexpectedly prevailing, or of a character getting up one more time than he or she is knocked down.
Starting September 2, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and winners will receive a $20 book store gift card.
Entries are due by September 23. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.Contest Rules Eligibility
- The contest is open to those 16 years of age and older.
- Participants must reside within the DBRL service area (Boone or Callaway County, Missouri).
- Entries will be accepted through Tuesday, September 23, 2014. (Mailed entries must be postmarked by that date.)
- One entry per individual.
- Submissions must be 250 words or less in length.
- Submissions must be in English.
- Submissions must include writer’s name, age, address and email address or phone number for eligibility verification and contact purposes.
- Entries must be in text format and typed.
- Entries may be submitted through the online form or by mail (DBRL, ATTN: Lauren/One Read Writing Contest, PO Box 1267, Columbia, MO 65205), or dropped off at a DBRL location.
- Submissions must be original, unpublished works.
- Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to his or her submission.
- DBRL’s publication and use of the submission in accordance with the terms set out herein will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party (including copyright), or require any payment to or consent/permission from any third party.
- The submission must not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, profane, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.
- The submission must not contain any material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
- The submission must not contain any material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.
- The submission must not contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service of the sponsor or any third party.
- Entries will be evaluated and the winners chosen based on creativity, grammar and emotion evoked by the writing, as well as adherence to the guidelines outlined above.
- Two winners will be announced by October 10.
- Winning entries and those receiving honorable mentions will appear on the One Read website.
- Winners will be notified by phone or email and will each receive a $20 bookstore gift certificate.
Young Adult fantasy lovers rejoice. Another fun adventure awaits with a unique twist: India and Indian mythology. “Tiger’s Curse” is the first in a four book series, and each book is better than the next. I found “Tiger’s Curse” to be a treat with a few bumps – mostly due to the fact that this was the author’s first book. I felt the plot was a little shaky, getting protagonist Kelsey to India. But once she was there, the story unfolded smoothly and was rife with ancient quests, were-tigers, delicious foods and complex characters. Grab a lemon water and mango yogurt and enjoy the ride…er, read.
Three words that describe this book: Quest loving fun
You might want to pick this book up if: You like YA fantasy, mythology (especially Indian) and weres.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has created a Tween Recommended Reads booklist, intended to engage and encourage reading among those ages 10 to 12-years-old. This list has some familiar award-winning titles such as “The False Prince” by Jennifer A. Nielsen as well as some new gems such as “The Lions of Little Rock” by Kristin Levine.
You can pick up a printed copy of this booklist at any of our three branches, or download one directly from the ALSC website. How many have you read? Do you have any personal favorites? Let us know in the comments below.
“Almost Home” by Joan Bauer
Sugar and her mother try to make a new start in Chicago, but with unanticipated struggles, they ﬁnd themselves homeless. Joined by a rescue dog named Shush, Sugar learns to make the most of her new life.
“Doll Bones” by Holly Black
Until recently, Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been playing an ongoing game with dolls and action ﬁgures. When Poppy takes the queen, an antique bone china doll, she is haunted in her dreams by the ghost of a girl. Can the friends stop the haunting?
“Drama” by Raina Telgemeier
Callie has Broadway dreams for her school’s production of “Moon over Mississippi.” Will the drama on and off the stage prevent the show from going on?
“Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein
Kyle and 11 other 12-year-olds win a contest to spend the night in the brand-new, high-tech library built by famous game maker Luigi Lemoncello. To be able to leave, they learn, they must ﬁnd a secret escape out of the library using only what’s in it.
“The False Prince” by Jennifer A. Nielsen
A devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition where treachery and deceit unfold, until ﬁnally, a truth is revealed that may prove more dangerous than all of the lies put together.
“Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms” by Lissa Evans
Great Uncle Tony disappeared 50 years ago, but 10-year-old Stuart picks up the trail as if it were yesterday, and he is soon on a quest to follow the clues to his great-uncle’s fantastic mechanical magic workshop.
“The Hypnotists” by Gordon Korman
Jackson Opus is a hypnotist who can make anyone bend to his whim. When Jax joins an elite group of hypnotists, he ﬁnds himself part of a conspiracy that has Jax wondering just whom he can trust.
“In a Glass Grimmly” by Adam Gidwitz
Princess Jill joins up with cousin Jack and a frog; they set off on a life-or-death quest to ﬁnd the “seeing glass,” encountering goblins, mermaids, and a monster. Gory, hilarious, smart, and lyrical.
“Jinx” by Sage Blackwood
A wizard’s apprentice sets off on a quest through the dangerous Urwald, a magical forest full of witches and were-creatures, and discovers he plays a key role in its survival.
“Keeper of the Lost Cities” by Shannon Messenger
Twelve-year-old supersmart Sophie learns that she is actually an elf. Thrust into unfamiliar elven society, she investigates her origins and the deadly ﬁres sweeping the human world.
“Liar and Spy” by Rebecca Stead
Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.
“The Lions of Little Rock” by Kristin Levine
In 1958 school integration was a political battle. Marlee is smart, but terriﬁed to say things aloud in public. Then she befriends—and talks (!) to—Lizzie, the new girl in her middle school. Lizzie abruptly leaves school. Why? Marlee wants her friend back.
“Odessa Again” by Dana Reinhardt
Odessa’s dad is remarrying, but shouldn’t that mean marrying her mother again? Stomping around her attic bedroom, she discovers a loophole that allows her to travel back hours in time. What would you do over if you could?
“The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate
Ivan is a gorilla who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. When baby elephant Ruby arrives, Ivan realizes they deserve better than their miserable environment. How does a gorilla execute a plan to give Ruby and himself a better life?
“P. S. Be Eleven” by Rita Williams-Garcia
The world is changing like crazy in the 1960s. Delphine’s mother reminds her (by mail) not to grow up too fast, to remember to just be 11. But each adult in Delphine’s life has a different idea of what that means.
“The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book” by Tom Angleberger
Can Sara’s advice, provided by an origami Wookiee, possibly replace Dwight and the all-knowing Origami Yoda at McQuarrie Middle School?
“Shadow on the Mountain” by Margi Preus
Inspired by a true story, this adventure set in Norway during World War II tells the story of a young boy who joins the Resistance, must learn whom to trust, and risks his life for the cause.
“The Spindlers” by Lauren Oliver
Accompanied by an eccentric, human-size rat, Liza embarks on a perilous quest through an underground realm to save her brother, Patrick, who has been stolen by the evilest of creatures—the spiderlike spindlers.
“Splendors and Glooms” by Laura Amy Schlitz
Orphans Lizzie Rose and Parsefall must save their friend Clara from a centuries-old curse that was put upon her by the devious puppeteer Gaspare Grisini.
“Starry River of the Sky” by Grace Lin
Rendi, a runaway, lands at a remote inn and reluctantly exchanges his labor for room and board. Only he hears the sky moaning and notices the moon is missing. When storyteller Madame Chang arrives, Rendi faces his problems, and helps solve the village’s problem.
“A Tangle of Knots” by Lisa Graff
Not everyone has a “Talent,” but orphaned Cady does; she knows what each person’s ideal cake is, and can bake it perfectly. Her special ability helps solve the interconnected mysteries of her past and present, but it also puts her in danger of losing her special “Talent.”
“Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage
In Tupelo Landing, the Colonel, who rescued and adopted Mo when she washed up during a hurricane as a baby, owns a café. But who is Mo’s real mom? All is well—until a neighbor turns up dead, and Mo’s best friend, Dale, is a suspect.
“The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” by Kathi Appelt
Twelve-year-old Chap and Swamp Scouts (young raccoons) Bingo and J’miah must wake the ancient Sugar Man in order to save the swamp from a greedy land developer. But he might be really cranky.
“Wonder” by R. J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie, born with extreme facial abnormalities, transitions from homeschooling to ﬁfth grade at Beecher Prep. Can his classmates and others get past Auggie’s extraordinary face to see the great, normal kid he is?
Originally published at Tween Recommended Reads.
I thought Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings” was a little slow at the beginning. (This could be because I have read three other books about this same topic in the past year.) This book is based on actual people, but is a mostly fictional account of the lives of Sarah Grimké and her sister Angelina. It is a story of two sisters fighting to free slaves and for equal treatment of free slaves and women. Once I got into the book, I loved it. There is a lot of complexity to this book and a lot of symbolism also, which I love. It was very inspiring to read about Sarah wanting to figure out her place in life and follow her dreams, even though at times she thought about giving up and giving into what society thought she should be. I liked that this book was based on actual people even though the book was fictional. I did get very emotional at the end of Denmark’s part of the story, and it actually made me literally sick to my stomach. That was the first time I have felt a connection to a situation in a book where I had a reaction other than tears. I really felt for Handful and Denmark and the others in that moment and could feel the tension and the strength they had.
Three words that describe this book: inspiring, historical, educational
You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy historical fiction.
Did you know the human body contains enough carbon to fill 900 pencils? Neither did I until I read “The Human Body,” part of The World in Infographics series.
Blogs and discussion forums abound for grown-ups who read young adult novels. Emboldened by the example of those who are no longer embarrassed to embrace their enjoyment of literature aimed at teens, I now confess my enduring love for juvenile nonfiction, books intended for upper elementary and middle school kids.
Sometimes I’m so interested in a topic I want that 400-page, in-depth volume written for adults. Other times I’d prefer a quick and simple explanation. I’ve found the kids’ section at the library often provides what I need. I’ve checked out books about crafts, hamster care, astronomy, history and more.
Now I’ve found The World in Infographics series of books, which I read because they caught my eye rather than in a quest for specific information. They contain all sorts of cool factoids, accompanied by fun graphics. “The Human World” illustrates mandatory paid holidays per country through images of beach chairs. “Planet Earth” has a diagram of tectonic plates that held my interest for quite a while. Also, I hadn’t realized there were so many different kinds of volcanoes.
Maybe you’re curious about what those NASA types are really talking about when they mention quasars or nebulae, but you don’t want to feel like you’re studying for a degree in astrophysics. Or you want a quick brush-up on who Alexander the Great was and how he mattered in history without having to delve into the details of his military strategies. Or you just want to know what to feed your hamster. Speak to your librarian; juvenile non-fiction might be right for you.
Fans of bestselling author Greg Iles eagerly anticipated his current suspense novel “Natchez Burning.” Even before the book was released, reviewers lobbed it out there as a must-read. The book takes on racial history in the South. The protagonist is Penn Cage, a former prosecutor who becomes a novelist and Mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. The book leads with historical background about horrific murders that took place in the 1960s, which included two civil rights activists and a music store owner and their killers, the secret ultra-violent group known as the Double Eagles, a splinter group of the KKK.
Penn’s life intertwines with the cold case murders when his father, the beloved small town doctor, is accused of murdering his former nurse, Viola Turner. Viola worked for the doctor in the 60s and returned to Natchez when she was dying of cancer. Penn believes it’s the Double Eagles, not his father, who murdered Viola to keep her from revealing secrets from the past. Viola’s brother disappeared in the 60’s and Viola had been gang raped by the Double Eagles.
In his quest to vindicate his father, Penn finds the key to the past in Henry Sexton, a reporter for a small town weekly paper. Henry has been a one-man crusade to solve the cold case 1960s murders. While Penn relies on Henry’s investigation, Penn’s fiancé works for a competing daily newspaper and diligently pursues getting an upper hand on Henry’s story that could be another Pulitzer Prize for her. A dying Double Eagle member confirms Henry’s suspicions about the venomous organization. Penn wants to poke a stick into the rattlesnake den to see what came out. He finds it is impossible to know who to trust.
The book is projected to be the first in a trilogy. It is a suspenseful, traumatic and terrifying story. Brave investigative reporters seek the truth.
An amazing part of the background story is what happened in the author’s life. Isles was in a near fatal auto accident before the book was released.
Three words that describe this book: suspenseful, traumatic, terrifying
You might want to pick this book up if: You like brave investigative reporting, civil rights history, stories about good battling evil written in a suspenseful setting and are not afraid of an 800-page book!
Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, takes us through time into the world of the Inuit in the northern reaches of Canada. Connecting past, present and future is the Inuit’s unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters.
I always knew there were fiction and nonfiction books, but I did not know there were so many genres (and subgenres) beyond that until I started working at a library. Science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, graphic novels, anime, gentle fiction, poetry, memoirs – I could go on and on. And this categorization isn’t limited to books. There are music and film genres as well. So in a much less funny, but perhaps just as informative, homage to Stephen Colbert’s series “Better Know a District,” I will explore these classifications in a monthly blog series we’re calling “Better Know a Genre.”
The first genre I will tackle is a rather broad one: narrative, or creative, nonfiction. If a nonfiction book is described as “reading like fiction,” then it probably belongs to this genre. Narrative nonfiction gives the reader factual information in a storytelling format instead of presenting the information straightforwardly, such as in a cookbook or instruction manual. Authors employ the craft of fiction – such as dialogue, vivid descriptions and characterization – to make nonfiction tales into page turners.
In a public library, much of the collection consists of narrative or creative nonfiction, so chances are you have already read a book from this genre. If you haven’t, then celebrate our Summer of Science by checking out one of these fantastic narrative nonfiction books from our collection.
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
One of the most-acclaimed science books of recent years, this title was also our 2011 One Read selection. Skloot investigates how the cells taken from a woman in the 1950s have contributed to many medical advancements in the decades since. Skloot inserts herself into the story, so the book is as much about the process of writing as it is about medical ethics.
“The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York” by Deborah Blum
I don’t think it’s possible to top NPR’s Glen Weldon’s description of this book:
“Who knew that New York City experienced a surge in murders by poison during the 1910s and ’20s? Blum takes that odd historical footnote and produces a book of exhaustively researched science writing that reads like science fiction, complete with suspense, mystery and foolhardy guys in lab coats tipping test tubes of mysterious chemicals into their own mouths.”
“Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void” by Mary Roach
Roach is excellent at reducing complex ideas into manageable chunks of exposition, which alone is a valuable asset. But her books stand out because she combines that talent with a rich sense of humor and a willingness to use herself as a guinea pig. Roach takes on the subject of space travel in this outing – an examination of the lengths humans must take to attempt survival out of the earth’s atmosphere.
The post Better Know a Genre: Narrative Nonfiction (Summer of Science Edition) appeared first on DBRL Next.
Congratulations to Linda from Fulton for winning our fourth Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 Well Read Books gift card.
All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online. Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning. We are half way through our prize drawings, so keep those reviews coming.
Radiation. Genetic modification. Mutation. These words are often found in science textbooks. They are also frequently found in comic books and graphic novels! While the stories are often fantastical, the characters themselves owe much of their origins and adventures to science, often reflecting cutting-edge science at the time of publication.
“Daredevil: Vol 1, by Mark Waid,” is a great starting point for the title character. Hit by a radioactive substance as a child, Matt Murdock lost his site but increased his remaining senses to the point where he has radar vision. Mark Waid deftly describes how his remaining senses function, and the art does a good job of demonstrating his powers. (The cover showing different shapes made of sounds is ingenious.)
The “Hulk: Season 1” graphic novel is a great one-shot introduction to the character, and shows how Bruce Banner was turned into the Incredible Hulk during a gamma bomb ground zero test. While Bruce Banner is a man of science, the Hulk is a hero/monster of destruction. Like many characters, radiation is a big factor due to the nuclear threat of the 1960s when many comic heroes debuted.
Batman Science Books are new to the library! Whether you want to learn the science behind Batman’s utility belt or how his batmobile and batcycle are engineered, these books are for you! You can even find secrets about his costume! Hopefully his rogue’s gallery won’t be reading these books anytime soon…
“Fantastic Four: Season 1” graphic novel is another great origin story. See how the Fantastic Four got their powers during a space expedition and why Mr. Fantastic is smartest person in the Marvel universe.
How fast is lightning? Just ask Flash! Police scientist Barry Allen was thrown into chemicals during a lightning explosion, and the world’s fastest speedster was created. There are lots of great Flash graphic novels, but I might start with “The Flash: Volume 1, Move Forward.” Like many superheroes, Flash died and came back (with a pretty respectable gap in-between). To see how he came back to the land of the living, pick up “The Flash: The Rebirth.”
Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider (or sometimes referred to as “genetically-modified spider in more modern comics), and Spider-man was born! There are a ton of excellent graphic novels to choose from…”Spider-man: Season One” is a good origin story, “Spider-man: Blue” is a good character-driven story (especially if you watched 2014′s “Amazing Spider-man 2″ movie), and “Ultimate Spider-man: Volume 1, Power and Responsibility” is the start of a series setting Spider-man’s origin in modern times.
Mutants are comics’ big exploration of race, prejudice, and discrimination. (Again, X-Men debuted in the 1960s, when race was a much bigger issue.) Sometimes celebrated but more often feared, the X-Men are known by all. There are a LOT of mutants to keep track of, but my library picks are “X-Men: Season One” (obligatory origin story), “X-Men: the Dark Phoenix Saga” (still one of the best X-Men stories after over 30 years), “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (especially if you’re a fan of the 2014 movie), and “Astonishing X-Men: Vol. 1, Gifted” (written by Buffy and Firefly creator Joss Whedon!).
There are tons more science-centric characters out there, such as Atom, Iron Man, Swamp Thing, and many others. Science can be pretty fantastic – whether in real life or in the comics! Enjoy!
Originally published at Books for Dudes – Superhero Science.
If you are a family historian and wondering what’s going on around Missouri related to genealogy, then consider yourself lucky. Here are just some of the events happening here in the heart of the country, providing opportunities to learn some new tools, techniques and how-tos.
In Columbia, at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, is the meeting of the Genealogical Society of Central Missouri. Be sure to check their website to see what topics will be discussed. There’s always an interesting program at this gathering.
The Columbia Public Library will be hosting a special guest at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 31 in the Friends room. The Presenter is Kathleen Brandt, a professional genealogical researcher and lecturer from the Kansas City area. She will be talking about one of the hottest topics in genealogy – DNA. Her wit and charm will delight you while you get answers to questions about the test options, how accurate tests are and – the big question – how much testing costs! This event is free and open to the public.
Starting the very next day is the Missouri State Genealogical Association’s annual conference being held at the Stoney Creek Inn off Providence Road in Columbia. The main speaker for this event is none other than D. Joshua Taylor, a nationally known speaker on the use of technology in genealogy research. Both D. Joshua Taylor and Kathleen Brandt are professional researchers who worked on the family histories of some celebrities featured on “Who Do You Think You Are?” This popular show returns this summer, airing on TLC starting July 23.
The Ozarks Genealogical Society, based in Springfield, Missouri, will be hosting their annual conference September 12 and 13. Their guest speaker will be none other than Mark Lowe out of Tennessee. He, too, is a great speaker on genealogical topics – especially migration patterns out of the coastal states into Tennessee and Kentucky and then on into Missouri.
Think about planning to attend one of these events! It just might help you make your family tree grow. How much more luck do you need?
“Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” is the eighth installment in Diana Gabaldon’s epic Outlander series. It continues the stories of Claire, a WWII nurse transported mysteriously back in time, her beloved husband Jamie, their daughter Brianna and her husband Roger, as well as the myriad characters readers of Gabaldon’s series have come to know and love. Currently, the series is set in Revolutionary America. The last novel left several open story lines, and readers have rabidly awaited the coming of this novel in order to tie up those horrifyingly loose ends. This novel not only answers the questions left by the last book in the series, but it also advances the story nicely in almost all the open story lines.
I loved this book, mostly because I couldn’t have borne it if it had been bad (and the author is pretty much incapable of writing anything bad). After waiting FOUR LONG YEARS for the book, I inhaled it in 36 hours (and then was left with a terrible book hangover and a dull, aching disappointment that it will be at least another four years before the next one will be written and released).
Three words that describe this book: anxiously-awaited, mammoth, riveting
You might want to pick this book up if:
- You like really historically accurate fiction.
- You have read the Outlander series.
- You like books with tie-ins to movies and TV (The original novel is being turned in to a television series by STARZ and will debut in August).
- You like books that will draw you in and make you feel as if you’re in another world.
- Your family won’t mind you putting absolutely everything off while you read.
As part of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, we have asked area young adults to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and complete seven fun library-related activities. Beginning Monday, July 7, you can bring your completed punch card to any of our three library branches or bookmobile stops and claim your free book. We will have a wide selection of juvenile and young adult titles for to choose from.
Best of all, if you finish, your name will also be entered into a drawing for a free black and white Kindle eReader! This program is ongoing through August 2, so there is still a month of good reading time left.
Originally published at Reminder for Summer Reading Finishers.
I must admit, I’ve never read Anna Quindlen before. I knew that she is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and bestselling author, but I never got excited enough to pick up one of her books - until I came across Quindlen’s last: “Still Life With Bread Crumbs.” I didn’t have much time for reading then, but, once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. For one thing, the book was well written. For another, it felt true to life (most of the time, anyway ). In other words, the problems of its protagonist, a used-to-be-famous photographer, were something a woman of my age could relate to: aging, caring for feeble parents, a nasty ex-husband and (amazingly!) money trouble.
How often do you read about these subjects and not about depraved murderers, horrible abuse, amnesiacs and such? (By the way, I have never met anybody suffering from the amnesia that is so prevalent in books and movies. Have you?) The money thing, especially, blew my mind. I am used to books where the best way of healing women’s troubles is traveling to exotic places or, at least, to Paris. Which always leaves me with a question: how do people afford such travels? Don’t get me wrong. I have been to Paris, but I spent some time (a lot of time, actually) finding a budget place to stay and tickets I could afford.
Anyway, Quindlen’s heroine had ordinary problems, like many of us do. She was broke, increasingly lonely, and she had lost confidence in herself. It wasn’t a mid-life crisis, either. She was already 60 years old - not at the age when changing one’s life is easy. I know, this doesn’t sound like light summer reading, but Quindlen navigates the rough waters with a gentle but experienced hand, and, in the end, delivers her heroine to a new – and much happier – place. It’s not a quick journey, but it is brightened by the author’s eloquent style, understanding of grace and frailty in everyday life, and a little romance (who can object to that? ). All in all, “Still Life With Bread Crumbs” is a very satisfying book that proves that as long as we are alive, life is not still.
“The Traveler’s Gift” is about seven personal qualities worth cultivating to be successful in life and also influence the world around you. David Ponder, an executive who lost his job, insurance, etc., feels lost and useless. After a car accident, David goes on an epic journey, visiting historical figures who give him seven decisions for living that changed his way of thinking. From Anne Frank to King Solomon, Columbus to Harry S.Truman, each person interacts with David and offers wisdom that is relevant to today’s living.
Three words that describe this book: insightful, educational, entertaining
You might want to pick this book up if: You want an easy read, packed with insights to improve daily living. This was a great read-aloud as my dear husband and I drove across the country. This book gives specific instructions on how to incorporate the seven decisions into daily life. A good read!