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400 Years Gone, Shakespeare Continues to Inspire

DBRL Next - April 20, 2016

 Verily, A New Hope“Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears.” Thus speaketh Luke Skywalker during a rousing oratory in “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.”

400 years after his death, on April 23, 1616, William Shakespeare continues to inspire new generations of writers. Arguably, everyone writing in English has been influenced by him, as he added so many new words and expressions to the language. Many authors have penned books in direct homage to his work.

Ian Doescher, for instance, has rendered the first six “Star Wars” movies into stories written in Shakespearean style. Iambic pentameter has never been more exciting. Action sequences are narrated by a chorus. Just as in the movies, many of the best lines go to C-3PO. “Fear has put its grip into my wires,” the droid laments. Each volume is a quick read and faithful to the related film’s plot.

Book cover for A Thousand Acres by Jane SmileyA Thousand Acres” by Jane Smiley, is a late twentieth-century retelling of “King Lear.” Smiley’s tale is set on an Iowa farm, where Larry Cook has decided to divide his estate among his three daughters. The story is told from the point of view of Cook’s oldest daughter, Ginny. Unlike Lear’s oldest, Ginny is a sympathetic, mostly non-treacherous character (with the exception of one notable episode.) But much like Lear, Larry seems to be losing his mind, perhaps to dementia, perhaps to long-held guilt. “A Thousand Acres” won multiple awards, including the 1992 Pulitzer Prize.

Any guesses as to which Shakespeare play inspired Matt Haig’s 2007 novel, “The Dead Father’s Club”? 11-year-old Phillip’s father recently died in a car accident. Or was it murder, as his dad’s ghost claims? Phillip is tasked with the job of exacting revenge against his uncle, who appears to be making moves on both Philip’s mom and the family business, a pub called the Castle and Falcon. Sounds a lot like “Hamlet” to me. Except contemporary, funny and — if possible — even more tragic in some ways.

Book cover for The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter PalmerIn “The Dream of Perpetual Motion,” Dexter C. Palmer presents a steampunk version of “The Tempest.” Like Ferdinand in Shakespeare’s play, Harry Winslow finds himself stranded with a character named Miranda. But instead of a desert island, the setting is a perpetually orbiting zeppelin. The zeppelin has been designed by Miranda’s father, Prospero Taligent, who mirrors Shakespeare’s Prospero in his possession of abilities beyond the ordinary, creating mechanical beasts and people to do his bidding.

Shouldst thou further wish to pursue literature inspired by the Bard of Avon, look to the reading list contained in yon catalog.

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Registration Deadlines for Upcoming ACT & SAT Exams

DBRLTeen - April 20, 2016

Exam by Flickr User Alberto GThe registration deadlines are fast approaching for those planning to take the next round of ACT and SAT exams.

  • Registration for the June 11 ACT exam is due Friday, May 6. Sign-up online.
  • Registration for the June 4 SAT exam is due Thursday, May 5. Sign-up online.

If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our online guide to ACT/SAT 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!

Photo by Flickr User Alberto G. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Registration Deadlines for Upcoming ACT & SAT Exams.

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The Gentleman Recommends: John Wray

DBRL Next - April 18, 2016

Book cover for The Lost Time Accidents by John WrayJohn Wray’s latest awesome novel, “The Lost Time Accidents,” begins with its narrator declaring that he has been “excused from time.” Most readers will assume that he is waiting on a tardy chauffeur or a pizza delivery, but this statement is quickly clarified: Waldy Tolliver is literally outside of time. It’s 8:47 and he’s stuck in his aunt’s apartment, a shrine to the act of hoarding. Towers of newspapers threaten to crush careless occupants, and there are rooms divided into smaller rooms via walls of books with openings only large enough to barely crawl through. But this is more than a book about a man with a lot of a lack of time on his hands being stuck in a super cool house. It’s about his family, and their obsession with time, and the Holocaust, and a fairy that visits one half of a profoundly eccentric set of twins, and physics, and pickles, and the narrator’s doomed love affair with Mrs. Haven, and his father’s prolific career as a science fiction writer, and the powerful cult that his science fiction inadvertently spawned, and whether time is a sphere and other stuff too.

(While reviews for this novel are positive, some downright glowing, there are also a few that, while admiring Wray’s ambition and skill, don’t love its length (roughly 500 pages), nonlinear structure and tendency to meander. This gentleman enjoys a good meandering, though, and Wray’s meanderings are spectacular. Without them we wouldn’t get several hilarious summaries of Waldy’s father’s science fiction or the section written in the voice of Joan Didion. Besides, Wray’s genius needs the space to unfurl. The fellow writes sentences like someone that loves doing so and also owns a top-notch brain.)

The family’s obsession with time began with Waldy’s great-grandfather, Ottokar, an amateur physicist and proprietor of a thriving pickling business. He’d figured out the nature of time just prior to being killed by an automobile. His sons, amateur physicists and heirs to a thriving pickling business, search for clues to Ottokar’s discovery, but he’s left behind little more than some ambiguous and absolutely absurdly alliterative notes. (“FOOLS FROM FUTURE’S FETID FIEFDOMS FOLLOW FREELY IN MY FOOTSTEPS” — this reader thought maybe his sons should have thought about that a little longer.)

Ottokar’s sons, Kaspar and Waldemar, take very different paths. Waldemar becomes an anti-Semite (it doesn’t help that Albert Einstein, forever referred to by the family only as “the patent clerk,” gathered the glory he felt was meant for their father) and just generally insane and evil. He eventually becomes known as “The Black Timekeeper” for his time travel-related experimentation on prisoners during the Holocaust. Waldemar believes time is a sphere, and that with enough willpower, one can transcend it. He vanishes just prior to the destruction of his concentration camp.

Kaspar’s path is loaded with love and heartbreak, continent swapping, fatherhood and eventually a lucrative career as a watchmaker. He raises a set of eccentric twins, who cultivate their own obsession with time, encouraged by the fairy that visits one of them every so often. Those twin girls raise Kaspar’s next child, Orson. Orson loves writing science fiction, and though it tends to the erotic because that’s what sells, he’s pleased to be free of his family’s obsession with time. So of course, one of his novels becomes the text that inspires a time-obsessed cult. Orson’s son, our narrator, is compelled to write the story of his family, in part to free himself from his evil uncle’s shadow. Then he gets “excused from time” and has all the time to write he could ever want. So he uses it to write a family history in the form of a very long letter to a Mrs. Haven. He begins by informing her that he has been excused from time.

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Project Teen: Pop-up Art Book

DBRLTeen - April 18, 2016

Project Teen: Pop-up Art BookDinosaur Stomp Pop Up Book
Saturday, May 7 › 1-2:30 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library

Project Teen is a regular program hosted by the Daniel Boone Regional Library. For our next session at the Callaway County Public Library in Fulton, we’ll show you some incredible pop-up books, then teach you how to make your own. Ages 12 and older.

Photo from “Dinosaur Stomp: A Monster Pop-Up” by Paul Stickland

Originally published at Project Teen: Pop-up Art Book.

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The Magic of Adult Coloring and Doodling

DBRL Next - April 15, 2016
Photo of adult coloring page by Maxime De Ruyck

Photo of adult coloring page by Maxime De RuyckWho among us couldn’t use a little more calm in our lives? With the release and spectacular success of Johanna Basford’s “Secret Garden,” the adult coloring book craze has taken off. And they are EVERYWHERE! There have even been TED Talks on the benefits of coloring and doodling.

Of course, art therapy has been touted by professionals for decades, but the trend has really exploded over the last several years. And, while it may not really be “magic,” coloring is kind of magical. According to Psychology Today, doodling and coloring help with self-soothing, problem solving, memory retention and concentration. Doodlers aren’t just daydreaming! According to the book “Doodle Revolution” by Sunni Brown, doodling can even help us to think differently.

My kids got me an adult coloring book last year for Mother’s Day, and I love it! I have to admit that I prefer coloring books with nature, city scenes and gardens over the geometric designs. But don’t discount the designs! They can have a entrancing effect. I also have to be careful to not get designs that are too tight and intricate. I just don’t have that much skill. But coloring and doodling are things that you don’t have to have skill to enjoy.

And now you can enjoy coloring at the library. Our libraries in Ashland and Fulton offer a Coloring for Adults program that lets you relax and socialize with all materials provided. You might also want to check out our collection of Zentangle books for relaxation through doodling, drawing and coloring. Zentangles are a more structured form of doodling using lines, curves and dots on 3.5-inch squares of paper or card stock.

Here’s to a calming and productive spring!

photo credit: Photomarathon: Patterns via photopin (license)

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Program Preview: Wii U Family Gaming

DBRLTeen - April 15, 2016

Super Mario BrosWii U Family Game Time
Wednesday, April 27 › 3-4:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance,” a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8” or a party animal in “Mario Party 10.” Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration required. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Program Preview: Wii U Family Gaming.

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New DVD List: Killing Them Safely & More

DBRL Next - April 13, 2016

killing them safely image

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

killing them safelyKilling Them Safely
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the Missouri Theatre last year, this documentary directed by Columbia filmmaker Nick Berardini examines Taser International, the company responsible for the worldwide sale of Tasers to law enforcement, and explores whether the device’s safety record is at odds with its reputation as a nonlethal tool for the police.

dream killerDream/Killer
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Playing at Ragtag Cinema earlier this year, this documentary examines events that happened in Columbia, Missouri. In 2005, a resident named Ryan Ferguson was controversially convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The film is told through the eyes of Ryan’s father, whose persistent amateur sleuthing saved his son from a lifetime in prison.

off the menu asian americaOff the Menu: Asian America
Trailer / Website / Reviews
The latest from Columbia-native director Grace Lee (American Revolutionary), this film grapples with how family, tradition, faith and geography shape our relationship to food. A road trip into the kitchens, factories, temples and farms of Asian Pacific America that explores how our relationship to food reflects our evolving community.

shes beautiful when shes angryShe’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Trailer / Website / Reviews
Playing at Ragtag Cinema last year, this film is a provocative, rousing and often humorous account of the birth of the modern women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s through to its contemporary manifestations, direct from the women who lived it. The film dramatizes the movement in its exhilarating, quarrelsome, sometimes heart-wrenching glory.

game of thrones 5Game of Thrones
Season 5
Website / Reviews
This season begins with a power vacuum that protagonists across Westeros and Essos look to fill. This season features some of the most explosive scenes yet, as the promise that “Winter is Coming” becomes more ominous than ever before.

Other notable releases:
Medium Cool” –   Website / Reviews / Trailer
Manhattan – Season 2 – Website / Reviews
Peaky BlindersSeason 2 – Website / Reviews
The FallSeason 2 – Website / Reviews
The AmericansSeason 1 – Website / Reviews
The BridgeSeason 1 – Website / Reviews
Night Will FallWebsite / Reviews / Trailer
Steve Jobs: Man in the MachineWebsite / Reviews / Trailer
Becoming Bulletproof – Website / Reviews / Trailer

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National Volunteer Week: April 10-16

DBRL Next - April 11, 2016

Book cover for Everyone Helps, Everyone WinsVolunteer: a person who willingly does work without getting paid to do it.

Where I came from (Moscow, Russia), we never volunteered, at least not in the American way. The thing was that we didn’t have to – authorities “volunteered” us when and where they desired. The “without getting paid” part (see definition above) worked the same way as it does in America. As for the willingness, nobody ever cared to ask.

The most common cases of Russian “volunteering” during my time there included sending citizens to express their fake enthusiasm at state parades and sending city dwellers to collective farms to help with harvesting. I still remember spending long weeks (even months) picking cabbages and potatoes, hours away from my home in Moscow – living in military-style barracks, wearing oversized black rain boots and ugly telogreikas (black, shapeless quilted jackets) and drinking vodka – the only entertainment available in the provinces.

I also remember “voluntarily” greeting foreign dignitaries, including Gerald Ford, who visited Russia (then The Soviet Union) in November 1974. My whole college was positioned along Moscow’s wide Leninsky Prospect (Lenin’s Avenue) for about two hours, bored and cold, waiting for the black limousines and leather-clad motorcyclists to drive quickly past us, while we waved at them and smiled forced smiles under the command of our superiors.

Book cover for The Volunteer BookThis is not to say that nobody in Russia would take to the streets voluntarily. There were a few – some protesting against the injustice of the regime and some trying to force the authorities to allow them to leave the country. Yet they were called “dissidents,” and the country had appropriate places for them – mostly the state prisons. All in all, “altruism” was not a common word in our vocabulary – “mandate” was.

Of course, I haven’t been in the country of my birth for a very long time, and things are different there now. These days Russia, too, has volunteers. One example is Russian soldiers – sorry, I meant to say “volunteers” – who fought against the Ukrainian Army in 2014-15 (in Ukrainian territory, mind you). Unlike my days of digging in the mud in Russian potato/cabbage/carrots/ etc. fields, those guys weren’t wearing telograikas and rain boots, but military style clothing. They were better equipped, too. Instead of sacks for gathering veggies, they carried automatic rifles, drove tanks and used Russian-made rockets. Yet small differences aside, it’s clear that volunteering has finally made its way to Russia. In fact, some Russian volunteers are fighting in Syria right now.

Coming to America in 1990 was disorienting for me in a number of ways – mentally, linguistically and culturally. One of things that amazed me was this American “volunteering streak.” I remember asking people, “Do you mean that nobody forces (or pays) volunteers to travel to different states to help victims of natural disasters or to support a cause?! That some people would spend their time and money to feed the poor or organize and attend fundraisers?” And when I heard, “yes,” I just shook my head in disbelief.

I’m not saying everybody in this country is an altruist. Of course not. I am saying, though, that I know many people here who have done – and will do again – all of the above and more. And let me tell you, volunteering is contagious. These days, I am volunteering, too. I’ve participated in a number of fundraisers, and I’ve donated things to my congregation and my library. It’s not much, but it’s a beginning. For I finally understood that John Donne’s famous quote is not just poetic. It is a truth of the human condition:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

 
 
P.S. By the way, Unbound Book Festival is just around the corner. Would you like to volunteer? 🙂

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One Read Vote 2016

One Read - April 11, 2016
Vote for the Next One Read Book April 11-29

“Bettyville”
by George Hodgman

“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”
by Jamie Ford Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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Learn More About the 2016 One Read Finalists

One Read - April 11, 2016

The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 115 book suggestions for the 2016 program to two top contenders. Between now and April 29, cast your vote for either “Bettyville” by George Hodgman or “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.

Bettyville by George Hodgman“Bettyville” by George Hodgman

Hodgman, after working for years as an editor in New York City, returns to Paris, Missouri, and finds that his hometown and his aging mother Betty are both in extreme decline. The two share a fierce love, but a deep silence, as Betty has never been able to understand or accept his homosexuality. Hodgman reflects on his recovery from addiction, losing loved ones to the AIDS epidemic and his struggles to care for the still feisty but failing Betty. Funny, honest and tenderhearted, this memoir illuminates how a person is shaped by a family and community that are at once loving and damaging, flawed and beautiful.

Preview the first few pages of “Bettyville.”

More information:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford

When the renovation of a historic Seattle hotel unearths artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II, it also sparks memories in old Henry Lee. This historical fiction follows Henry as he remembers the racial tensions of the 1940s and his forbidden friendship with a Japanese schoolmate. Jamie Ford’s moving debut novel examines the gulf between immigrant parents and their American-born children, the innocence of first love and the dangers of blind patriotism.

Preview the first few pages of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.”

More information:

 

The post Learn More About the 2016 One Read Finalists appeared first on One Read.

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Columbia Public Library Welcomes Poet Nancy Morejón

DBRL Next - April 8, 2016

Nancy Morejon“Ahora soy: Sólo hoy tenemos y creamos.
Now I am: Only today do we have and create.”

These are the words of Nancy Morejón, one of the most distinguished poets of Cuba after the Revolution. They come from her poem “Mujer Negra,” or “Black Woman.” Born in 1944, Nancy Morejón grew up and developed her talent as a writer during the tumultuous Cold War era. Her work draws from her African heritage and her life in modern Cuba.

Ana MendietaThe Columbia Public Library has the great honor of welcoming Nancy Morejón on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. She will read from some of her most well-known poems and talk about the cultural milieu of her homeland. If you would like to explore more of her work, the library has two bilingual anthologies for you to check out: “Black Woman and Other Poems” and “Looking Within.”

We will also be displaying a selection of handcrafted books by artisanal Cuban publisher Ediciones Vigía. You’ll find them in the library’s lobby from April 18-29. Among those exhibited will be Nancy Morejón’s poem “Ana Mendieta.” During her April 19 program, there will be a short documentary about the making of one of her poems into a stunning, one-of-a-kind piece of visual art.

Nancy Morejón’s presentation is part of a much larger conference, “Afro-Cuban Artists: A Renaissance,” being hosted by the MU Afro-Romance Institute and the MU Department of Romance Languages and Literature. Be sure to review the complete listing of free community events available online. There are art exhibits, screenings, children’s workshops and more!

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2016 Teen Book Champion Is Chosen!

DBRLTeen - April 8, 2016

2016 March Madness Top Books

After two months of nail-biting competition, central Missouri teens have selected their March Madness Teen Book Tournament Champion! We began with a list of 32 finalists which included bestsellers such as “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare, “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer and several Gateway and Truman Award nominees. Many thanks to the teachers and school librarians who have supported this program, and to all the teens who have participated! And now, our 2016 champion is….

Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

Stay tuned to teens.dbrl.org for our sneak peek at this year’s teen summer reading program, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read.” Through this program, the library challenges young adults to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews, and do seven of our suggested activities. Complete the challenge, and you will be eligible to win some pretty awesome prizes like a Amazon Kindle Fire. Stay informed by subscribing to our email updates!

Originally published at 2016 Teen Book Champion Is Chosen!.

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The Nature of Poetry

DBRL Next - April 6, 2016

Book cover for Dog Songs by Mary OliverBook cover of A Thousand Mornings by Mary OliverApril is National Poetry Month, and I love that this celebration of language comes when spring is doing its raucous thing, sunny daffodils lifting their faces to the sky and flowering trees bursting into bloom. The earth is creating and nature expresses itself, and we, too, celebrate our expression. For what is poetry but the attempt to describe our human condition, to wrap an experience in words so precise, or a metaphor so fitting, that we slip the reader into our shoes?

For poems celebrating nature, Mary Oliver is my favorite. Her exuberant observations of the ordinary never fail to inspire me. She even has an entire volume dedicated to her four-legged friends: “Dog Songs.” Other noteworthy books of poems that meditate on the natural world include Oliver’s “A Thousand Mornings,” “Field Folly Snow” by Cecily Parks and “Terrapin and Other Poems” by Wendell Berry.

Additional ways to celebrate this month include getting familiar with some of the work by poets appearing at the Unbound Book Festival on April 23. (See our reading list for links to these books in our catalog.)

The Academy of American Poets has 30 suggestions for observing National Poetry Month, but I suggest you begin by reading this:

“So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.

And live
your life.”

– Mary Oliver (from “Mornings at Blackwater”)

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Callaway County Youth Poetry Contest

DBRLTeen - April 6, 2016

Magnetic PoetryApril is National Poetry Month. The Callaway County Public Library and the Auxvasse Creative Arts Program invite all Callaway County kids and teens to submit an original poem! Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners in each age group. A brief awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 24 at the Callaway County Public Library in Fulton.

Download an entry form. All submissions must be received by April 30. Entries may be turned in at the Callaway Public Library, sent by email or mailed to:

Callaway County Public Library, ATTN: Youth Poetry Contest
710 Court St.
Fulton, MO 65251.

Mail entries must be postmarked by April 30.

Originally published at Callaway County Youth Poetry Contest.

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Memoirs Without the Noir: A Reading List

DBRL Next - April 4, 2016

I like reading about real people — what happens to them and how they feel about their experiences. But I don’t want to read harrowing tales of survival. I want something lighter. I’ve read a number of these types of books recently that I recommend.

Book cover for Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlinSome people write about making changes in their lives:

  • In “Hammer Head: the Making of a Carpenter,” journalist Nina MacLaughlen decides she needs a change and answers an advertisement for a carpenter’s apprentice. She discovers she enjoys working with tools like a hammer, a saw and a level.
  • Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” by Maya Van Wagenen was written for teens, but I think adults could learn from it. A middle school girl makes changes to the way she approaches people and how she presents herself to the world.
  • My Kitchen Year” by Ruth Reichl describes how the writer coped during the year following the loss of her job due to the closing of Gourmet magazine. Reichl includes recipes of the foods she cooked during this time.

Book cover for Pardon My French by Allen JohnsonSome people write about experiencing other cultures:

Then there are memoirs from people who entertain us on television or in the movies:

  • In “Wildflower,” Drew Barrymore tells about her life after she met the mentors and role models who helped her become a responsible adult.
  • In “Melissa Explains It All,” Melissa Joan Hart tells about growing up working in the acting business. She knows a lot of other celebrities and reveals some behind-the-scenes moments from “Clarissa Explains it All” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
  • In “You’re Never Weird on the Internet,” Felicia Day tells about being homeschooled and having little interaction with her peers. The Internet was one way she could connect with people. Unfortunately, the anonymity of the Internet also led to problems once she got older.
  • In “Bossypants” by Tina Fey and “Yes, Please” by Amy Pohler, both comedy writers use humor to relate some of their experiences.

Do you have a favorite celebrity? Maybe they’ve written a book. Need inspiration to make a change in your life? Read about other people who tried something different. And yes, we even have memoirs about surviving horrible circumstances if that’s your thing. The library has something for everyone.

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What to Read if You Have Hamilton Fever

DBRL Next - April 1, 2016

Album cover for the Broadway musical HamiltonA hip-hop-inspired Broadway musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton seems as unlikely as Hamilton’s own historic rise. Born out of wedlock and orphaned as a young child, he struggled out of poverty and became one of our nation’s most powerful political leaders. “Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry,” Hamilton sings in “Hamilton: An American Musical,” created by Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer, writer, lyricist, actor and all-around genius). This show is a smash hit, with even terrible seats going for hundreds of dollars. And just a couple of weeks ago President Obama hosted local students and the cast of “Hamilton” for a daylong celebration of the arts in America.

I came a little late to the “Hamilton” party, but once I heard the soundtrack this spring, I couldn’t stop listening. Or singing. Or rapping. I randomly shout “Lafayette!” or “I am not throwing away my shot!” at my kids, and they grin and dance around because, of course, they’ve heard the soundtrack multiple times by now. Mama cannot get enough. If you haven’t listened to “Hamilton” yet, and you live in Boone or Callaway County and have a library card, you can stream or download the whole thing through Hoopla. Right now! So, go ahead and take a listen. I’ll wait.

book cover for Hamilton by Ron ChernowYou back? Amazing, right? If you want to read the book that inspired this phenomenon, check out the biography “Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, which is as much a story of the birth of our nation as it is an in-depth look at George Washington’s right-hand man, author of the majority of The Federalist Papers and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.

If an 800-page book is a little more than you want to commit to, how about learning more about Hamilton’s friend and Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette? Miranda has Lafayette rapping at about 100 miles an hour – in a French accent – in his musical, but Sarah Vowell makes him just as entertaining in “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.” With her signature voice and wit, Vowell discusses Lafayette’s nonpartisan influence on a fledgling United States, his relationships with the Founding Fathers and his contributions during the contentious 1824 presidential election.

If your Hamilton fever has given you the history bug, Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph J. Ellis has authored a number of lyrically written books that explore the birth of America. “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation” analyzes the intertwined careers of the founders of the American republic and documents the lives of John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington. The text doesn’t rhyme, though. Sorry. “American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic,” and “His Excellency: George Washington” (“Here Comes the General!”) are other works by Ellis worth exploring.

If all of this revolutionary reading only has you more excited about the musical, starting in September a travelling company will perform the show in Chicago. Road trip?

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The Library Can Help You Get Your Driver’s License

DBRLTeen - March 31, 2016

Car KeysThrough our partnership with Driving-Tests.org, the Daniel Boone Regional Library is now able to better assist teens looking to get their Missouri driver’s license. With this new service, all library cardholders now have online access to the Missouri driver’s manual and practice written driver exams.

Simply visit dbrl.driving-tests.org/missouri to get started.  You will need to log in using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (573) 443-3161 or 1-800-324-4806. You can also try the library’s chat reference service to visit with a librarian who can help in real time from your computer. Learn more.

Photo by Flickr User Kathryn Decker. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at The Library Can Help You Get Your Driver’s License.

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Art Quilts

DBRL Next - March 30, 2016

 Art QuiltsThe Columbia Public Library will be hosting a 2016 Quilt Exhibit featuring art quilts April 2-16. So I wondered, “How is an art quilt different from the quilts I’ve been making for the last five years?” I checked out a number of books to find out.

The quilts I’ve made are for babies to lie on or to keep someone warm. An art quilt is not made to serve these purposes. It is made primarily as a creative expression of an artist and meant to be displayed. These works are called quilts because they are layered, usually made of fabric, and they are held together by stitches, knots or other means. Artists sometimes transform the cloth through dyeing, printing or painting. The library owns a number of books with wonderful photos of art quilts.

Book cover for 500 Art Quilts500 Art Quilts: An Inspiring Collection of Contemporary Work,” published by Lark Books, includes examples of abstract as well as representational art.

Masters: Art Quilts” by Martha Sielman highlights the works of 40 artists from around the world. A second volume collects the works of 40 more artists.

Art Quilts of the Midwest” by Linzee Kull McCray includes quilts by two artists from St. Louis, Missouri and one from Kansas City, Missouri.

Cutting-Edge Art Quilts” by Mary W. Kerr presents the art of 51 quilters who offer design and technique tips to those interested in textile art.

Fusing Fun! Fast Fearless Art Quilts” by Laura Wasilowski explains how to make your own art quilt using fusible web.

Book cover for Brave New QuiltsBrave New Quilts: 12 Projects Inspired by 20th-Century Art from Art Nouveau to Punk & Pop” by Kathreen Ricketson takes you through the process of designing an art quilt and encourages you to create your own work of art.

Looking through these books was awe-inspiring, but nothing beats experiencing works of art in person. I am looking forward to seeing the exhibit. I hope you can find time to drop by the library to enjoy it, too, and maybe even attend one of the related programs. If you are a quilter of functional quilts, join us at the Callaway County Public Library in Fulton for Quilting Learning Circle on Wednesday, April 6, 2-3:30 p.m.

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In Defense of the Bard

DBRL Next - March 28, 2016

william-shakespeareShakespeare.

No, don’t leave!

I promise this is not a blog post about old men in stiff collars doing boring recitations!

Yes, Shakespeare’s works are over 400 years old. And some of them have aged better than others. There is archaic language that requires some effort, but when it comes to storytelling and wordplay, Shakespeare is peerless.

He wrote some of the most definitive and universal stories. I don’t care what kind of movies you love; some part of their appeal is owed to Shakespeare. He pretty much created the romantic comedy and the “your mom” joke. He made history accessible and dramatic, filled with heroes and stirring speeches. He worked with smart dialogue, ghosts and prophecies to give us tales of mistaken identities, doomed lovers and power-hungry villains.

Still don’t believe me? Still think it all sounds boring?

Thanks to the timelessness of Shakespeare’s plays, they can be performed in varied and creative stagings.

Romeo and Juliet by Williams ShakespeareHow about a Brit/punk “Romeo and Juliet” set in the 1980s and performed outside, complete with soundtrack? Where the balcony scene is performed from the actual balcony of a fire escape? Greenhouse Theatre Project, based in Columbia, specializes in reimagined productions in creative spaces. You can see some of their work April 23 at the Unbound Book Festival!

The University of Missouri has a production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” adapted by Cheryl Black and Patricia Downey, coming up in April that is set in the 1950s and features a doo-wop chorus singing songs like “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and “Bad to the Bone.” You can learn more at the MU Theatre Preview at the Columbia Public Library on April 2.

If you want to give a traditional staging a go, it’s hard to do better than “Macbeth.” The Scottish Play is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy and has one of the highest body counts. The Maplewood Barn Theatre is putting on this classic April 28-May 1 and May 5-8. It’s basically “Game of Thrones” and promises to be a bloody good time.

All these years later, Shakespeare’s plays still tug at our hearts and raise our ire. I think of one of my favorite lines from “Julius Caesar”:

“How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!”

 
Yes, Cassius is commenting on how history will remember them and their deeds. But it’s also a lovely meta nod from Shakespeare.

How long will my plays be performed? In what countries and languages?

Shakespeare’s works have been translated into over 80 languages, including Klingon.
And four hundred years and counting is a pretty good run. Here’s to four hundred more.

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Staff Review: Six of Crows By Leigh Bardugo

DBRLTeen - March 28, 2016

Six of crowsWhy I Checked It Out: Leigh Bardugo is known for her popular Grisha series: “Shadow and Bone,” “Siege and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising.” “Six of Crows” is the start of her latest series.

What It’s About: “Six of Crows” is an intense narrative following a group of teen criminals. Kaz, the master mind. Inej, the stealthy Wraith. Jasper, the sharpshooter. Nina, the Heartrender. Wylan, the runaway. And Matthias, the Druskelle ex-prisoner.

I warn readers, the narrative alternates between characters. Personally, I thought the change in point-of-view was amazingly well-done. Each chapter successfully builds a different character’s history while expanding the story of the giant and clever con they’re trying to pull. This story is one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Imagine “The Italian Job” or “Ocean’s 11” as a young adult fantasy. That’s this book.

What I Didn’t Like About it: That it ended? That it ended and the second book isn’t out yet? I mean really, this was an amazing read. “Shadow and Bone” was enjoyable, but honestly, “Six of Crows” blew it out of the water, into the atmosphere, and somewhere near the moon. That’s how much better “Six of Crows” was.

It seems like Leigh Bardugo built herself an original and interesting world involving Grisha, and also became an even better writer than she was when she wrote “Shadow and Bone.” Trust me, you want to check this one out, put it on hold, do whatever it is you need to do to make sure you read “Six of Crows.”

Alas, “Crooked Kingdom,” the second book in this series, isn’t due to come out until this September. Oh man, waiting that long is going to be so hard.

Similar Titles: If you enjoy a good heist story, try “Trust Me, I’m Lying” by Mary Elizabeth Summer, “White Cat” by Holly Black and “How to Lead a Life of Crime” by Kristen Miller.

Originally published at Staff Review: Six of Crows By Leigh Bardugo.

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