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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The October 2015 List

DBRL Next - September 28, 2015

Halloween is around the corner, but the list of books publishing in October that librarians across the country love isn’t scary. Well, unless you fear your to-read pile growing too tall. This month’s LibraryReads list includes novels from big names in literary fiction, like Geraldine Brooks (“March,” “Caleb’s Crossing“), David Mitchell (“Cloud Atlas,” “Bone Clocks“) and Margaret Atwood (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” MaddAddam Trilogy) – perfect for longer nights and cooler days. Enjoy!

Book cover for City of FireCity on Fire” by Garth Risk Hallberg
“WOW! An excellently executed work with intricate plot lines and fascinating characters. It’s a story of how the stories of many different people of New York City in the late seventies crash into each other like waves on rocks. This work may encapsulate the whole of New York City, as it has wealth, love, filth, passion, aimless angst and a myriad of other aspects of humanity swirling in that amazing city.” – Racine Zackula, Wichita Public Library, Wichita, KS

Book cover for After You by Jojo MoyesAfter You” by Jojo Moyes
“I loved ‘Me Before You‘ and thought it ended in the perfect place, but any doubts I had about continuing the story were quickly erased when I started this sequel. Jojo Moyes is a master at tugging on your heartstrings. I laughed, I cried and I nearly threw my Kindle against the wall at one point. Give this to anyone in your life who has experienced a tragic loss. With a box of tissues.” – Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH

Book cover for A Banquet of ConsequencesA Banquet of Consequences” by Elizabeth George
“Still reeling from a previous fall from grace, police detective Barbara Havers has a chance to redeem her standing–if she can unravel the very twisted threads that led to the murder of a prominent English feminist. Meanwhile, her superior officer Thomas Lynley pursues a love interest even as he keeps a sharp lookout for any slip-ups by Havers. This is the strongest addition to the series in years.” – Starr Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, Falls Church, VA

Here are the remaining October titles for your holds-placing pleasure!

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Staff Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

DBRL Next - September 25, 2015

Book cover for Aeronaut's WindlassThe Aeronaut’s Windlass” by Jim Butcher

Why I Read It: Jim Butcher + Steampunk = Gimme. Now.

What It’s About:  Humanity lives in huge, stone Spires that rise above the surface and the monster-filled mists that cover it. Society is ruled by aristocratic houses that develop scientific marvels and build fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, Grimm is offered a proposition from the leader of Albion – to join a team of young, untried agents, an imperious cat and an utterly insane etherealist on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

Why I Recommend It:  Jim Butcher is a wonderful storyteller. This is the first book of a series, and he has laid some excellent groundwork for this new world. He doesn’t explain everything all at once. You slowly learn about the history, landscape and politics of the Spires as Butcher builds to intense action scenes.

Rowl. If you took away the incredibly imagined world, the riveting battles and the promise of future intrigues, you would be left with several interesting and well-drawn characters, not the least of which is Rowl. He is a warrior and heir to Clan Silent Paws, and he’s a cat. He is ridiculously smug and demanding, but I don’t think anyone who has ever interacted with a cat would be surprised. When a cat is one of the heroes of the story…I mean, come on. You’ve got to be interested.

What To Read While You Wait:
Furies of Calderon” by Jim Butcher
Storm Front” by Jim Butcher
Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest
Retribution Falls” by Chris Wooding

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Going Round & Round: Docs About Buses

DBRL Next - September 23, 2015

bus 2
Buses can be versatile tools of transportation. They can be used for a daily commute, to guide a tour or as a way to travel cross country. Check out these docs that explore some unique stories that have unfolded on various kinds of buses.

the cruiseThe Cruise” (1998)

Take an unforgettable bus ride through the concrete canyons of Manhattan with “Speed” Levitch as your tour guide. This acclaimed doc launched the career of Levitch, who has worked on several films with noted director Richard Linklater and given tours during the True/False Film Fest.

magic tripMagic Trip” (2011)

In 1964, Ken Kesey set off on a legendary cross-country road trip joined by “The Merry Band of Pranksters,” a renegade group of counterculture truth-seekers, including Neal Cassady, who was immortalized in Kerouac’s “On the Road,” and the driver and painter of the psychedelic Magic Bus.

bus 174Bus 174” (2002)

A powerful, award-winning examination of the tragic series of events that followed a desperate bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro in 2000 that turned deadly when a SWAT team took evasive action against the drug-addled hijacker.

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Program Preview: The Heroes of Rick Riordan

DBRLTeen - September 22, 2015

Heroes of Olympus
The Heroes of Rick Riordan
Columbia Public Library
Friday, October 9 • 4-5:30 p.m.

We learned this summer that “Every Hero Has a Story.” Rick Riordan has created lots of heroes in his Percy Jackson series and his Heroes of Olympus series. Celebrate these heroes with trivia, crafts and games. We’ll also celebrate Riordan’s newest series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Costumes welcome — Greek, Roman, Norse or other! Ages 9-14, parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, September 22. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Program Preview: The Heroes of Rick Riordan.

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Classics for Everyone: Fahrenheit 451

DBRL Next - September 21, 2015

Book cover for Fahrenheit 451As I read this year’s One Read selection, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, I repeatedly thought of the Ray Bradbury classic, “Fahrenheit 451.” In my mind, the two books convey many of the same ideas, yet in much different ways.

In “Station Eleven,” a plague has decimated the population. Those who remain are left with a world where infrastructure and social systems have collapsed. The characters in “Fahrenheit 451” have everything Mandel’s lack: health, ample food, material comforts, advanced technology. But I believe Bradbury’s characters suffer more.

The motto for the Traveling Symphony in Mandel’s book is “Survival is insufficient.” The members have lost almost everything, except what keeps them human. Through music, art and literature they forge bonds and find meaning.

“Fahrenheit 451” gives us a world where books are forbidden, where the only music is that which numbs emotions rather than stirring them, a world devoid of meaningful connection. The book’s title refers to the temperature at which paper burns. The main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman. His job is to burn houses and buildings where books are found.

At the beginning of the story, Montag loves his job. The adrenaline rush he experiences at a fire makes him feel alive. But several events shake his world view. His wife attempts suicide and later acts as if nothing happened. An old woman chooses to stay in her home and burn with her books. Montag meets an elderly former professor who remembers the days before books were outlawed. A 17-year-old free spirit shares her joy in defying convention. Soon, Montag is consumed with the desire to see for himself what is inside the books he’s burning, and he begins to pocket one or two at each call.

First published in 1953, “Fahrenheit 451” contains many surprisingly accurate predictions about future developments. There’s a televised police chase, filmed from a helicopter. People own wall-sized flat-screen televisions and use a version of earbuds. Robots sniff out contraband. One area where Bradbury missed the mark was that of gender roles. All of his men have paying jobs while the women are homemakers.

If ever anyone has doubts about the value of literature and the arts, said skeptic should read “Fahrenheit 451” to get some idea of what life would be like without them.

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David Lile Interviews Emily St. John Mandel

One Read - September 18, 2015

Listen to KFRU’s David Lile interview this year’s One Read author Emily St. John Mandel about her book “Station Eleven.”


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Creative Learning at Your Library

DBRL Next - September 18, 2015

This spring, the Columbia Public Library celebrated the grand opening of our new creative digital lab, the Studio. Since then, we have helped over 600 patrons make sense of their mobile devices,  discover new apps, download free e-Books, scan old family photos and organize their digital photo collections. We’ve invited children to make their own stop-motion animated films and promoted literacy among preschoolers using fun learning tools like Tiggly Shapes. After such a successful launch, the library is happy to announce several new Studio programs for library lovers of all ages.

This summer we introduced our newly reorganized class, “iPhone and iPad Basics.” Through this two-hour program, we help patrons master the basic functions of their Apple devices. The class has been so popular that we will be offering an advanced course beginning October 28. Attendees will learn how to run updates, back up their data and explore shortcuts to use their Apple device more efficiently. 

Another exciting addition to our fall line-up is “iMovie for Mac.” In this two-part class, you can learn how to create your own films using iMovie on your MacBook. We will also review video editing and storytelling techniques to enhance your personal project. This class is for intermediate and advanced technology users. Mark your calendars now for October 21 and 28.

The Studio not only has enriching classes for adults, but engaging programs for children as well. On Monday, September 28 we will offer our first session of “Circuit Science.” Using Snap Circuits, children ages 8-12 can discover the basics of electrical circuits. We’ll make a “space war siren,” construct a lie detector and more!

“Circuit Science” complements our program series for younger children called “Digital Playground.” These hour-long sessions are designed to spark creativity using technology and exploratory play. Throughout the fall, little ones ages 3 and up will have fun learning about shapes and colors.

If you don’t see a Studio class that meets your specific needs, consider attending “Drop-in Apple Help.” A session is offered each week. This is a great class for getting assistance with your Apple computer, iPad, iPhone or iPod. Bring your device to the library and we can show you how to download photos from your iPhone, set-up your music library in  iTunes and access the library’s free eBooks and other online collections.

It is important to note that all of our technology classes require registration, with the exception of “Drop-in Apple Help.” To sign-up, simply call (573) 443-3161. Registration begins two weeks before each program. We hope to see you soon!

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Oct. 9 Registration Deadline for Nov. SAT Exam

DBRLTeen - September 18, 2015

The Official SAT Study GuideThe registration deadline for the November 7 SAT exam is Friday, October 9. Sign-up online. If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam 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 Oct. 9 Registration Deadline for Nov. SAT Exam.

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Remnants: Art Exhibit Winners

One Read - September 16, 2015

For this year’s One Read art exhibit, we asked area artists to contribute works that explore the objects or relationships in our connected, complex and electrified world that we’d yearn for most if they were lost to us.

First-place-fbAt the exhibit’s opening reception on September 15, the following winners and honorable mentions were announced. Congratulations to all!

First place:
“Coffee,” acrylic
by Michelle Marcum



Second place:
“What Is Lost,” fiber, by Rebecca Douglas









Third place:
“Survival Is Insufficient…Spring Foraging,” ceramic, by Ann Mehr









Honorable Mentions:
“Trio” by Dennis Murphy (acrylic on iBook)
“KFC” by Andrew Gilenn (Acrylic and Spraypaint on Wood)
“Flip of the Switch” by Tootie Burns (Mixed Media)

A very big thank you to the Columbia Art League, Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Orr Street Studios for their support and promotion of this event. And a special thank you to all the area artists who submitted their work.  The One Read art exhibit will be on display at Orr Street Studios through September 26.

The post Remnants: Art Exhibit Winners appeared first on One READ.

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Free Genealogy Events and Family History Research Help

DBRL Next - September 16, 2015

HeritageQuest-newIn addition to drop-in classes and presentations on the online resources (HeritageQuest and for family researchers available through your library, there are a couple of upcoming events genealogists should add to their calendars.

The 40th anniversary celebration of the Genealogical Society of Boone County and Central Missouri — formerly the Genealogical Society of Central Missouri — will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library on Friday, October 9. That’s exactly 40 years to the date the society was formed at the Columbia Public Library in 1975! Come learn more about what we have achieved these past four decades. Current and back issues of our quarterly, The Reporter, are in our CPL reference collection, as well as many other publications that will help you find your ancestors who lived in central Missouri and elsewhere.

Another great opportunity to learn more about genealogy is to attend the local Genealogy CoMo Conference being held at 4708 Highlands Parkway in Columbia on Saturday, October 17. Sponsored by the local Family History Center, this event is free and open to the public. Register online at The all-day event will feature the Senior Vice President, Genealogical Records Division, of FamilySearch as its keynote speaker and many more sessions offered by local genealogists who can give you clues to your family’s past.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Laurent Binet

DBRL Next - September 14, 2015

Book cover for HHhH by Laurent BinetAs I perch at my word processor stroking my mustache, adjusting my top hat and considering how to write a blog post recommending a historical meta-fictional novel that is nearly as concerned with how to tell the story of the plot to assassinate monstrous Nazi Reinhard Heydrich as it is with telling the story, I have a eureka moment: I simply needed to stop massaging my elegant mouth parka and making minute adjustments to my headgear and start typing words.

I wonder how to convey that, though time is spent with the author during his research and his periods of doubt, and that we hear quite a bit about the problems inherent in writing historical novels, the story never loses its considerable propulsion. A good recommender would give some sort of proof, but for some reason my head is in tremendous pain and also my top hat is way too tight, so I’m just going to muscle on and assume that my audience knows that they should always trust a gentleman, and that I am one, which is obvious because I am wearing a top hat, and I say I’m a gentleman, and a gentleman never lies, unless it is a white lie and meant to spare someone’s feelings.

So, “HHhH” (the abomination known as Heydrich had a nickname: “Himmlers Hirn heist Heydrich,” which translates to “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”) by Laurent Binet is the gripping true story of Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis working to assassinate the horrifyingly evil Reinhard Heydrich. The momentum is sustained through the many asides wherein the author worries about how to approach his subject matter and how much to fictionalize the story when the true details are not available. (What color was Heydrich’s car? Which side of the train did he sit on?) As Binet says in the novel, “I just hope that, however bright and blinding the veneer of fiction that covers this fabulous story, you will still be able to see through it to the historical reality that lies behind.”

And a fabulous story it is. Fascinating throughout, the novel culminates with a sequence as riveting as that in any thriller. It is fascinating because we are given a thorough look at the monstrosity known as Heydrich and the horror he propagated, at the brave men commissioned to end his life, and at the process of writing the meticulously researched story of these men.

I debate how to end this recommendation and decide to do so with one further sentence of encouragement to read this book if you have any interest in the atrocities in Europe circa World War II, and the story of two heroes helping to end them. Then I remember it would be a shame not to give a tip of the top hat to the translator. Read this book if you have any interest in the atrocities in Europe circa World War II and the story of two heroes helping to end them. Also, I’d like to give a tip of the top hat to novelist Sam Taylor, who, as far as I can tell given that I don’t read French and didn’t read the French version of this novel, did a tremendous job translating it.

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Vote for “People’s Choice” Award on Facebook

DBRLTeen - September 14, 2015

Teen-Photogapher 180 pxThe library has received eight entries in this summer’s Teen Photo Contest. While a panel of staff judges will decide the official winners, we are asking for your help in selecting the “People’s Choice” award. Visit the library’s Facebook page now through Monday, September 28 to vote for your favorite photographs by “liking” them.

Photo by Flickr User martinak15. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Vote for “People’s Choice” Award on Facebook.

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National History Day Exhibit @ Your Library

DBRLTeen - September 11, 2015

History Day WidgetExplore History. Explore Opportunity.
Columbia Public Library
Thursday, September 17 • 6:30-8 p.m.

Join us for an evening of films, exhibits and stories. See how students uncovered history and put their own stamp on it by being part of National History Day in Missouri. You’ll also learn how you can produce a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website that you could enter into the National History Day contest for a chance to earn prizes and to compete at the national level. Facilitated by Maggie Mayhan, coordinator of National History Day in Missouri. Recommended for ages 9 and older.

Originally published at National History Day Exhibit @ Your Library.

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Download Roots N Blues Artists’ Albums From Your Library

DBRL Next - September 11, 2015

Hoopla logoSeptember is Roots N Blues N BBQ time in mid-Missouri. This year’s festival at Columbia’s Stephens Lake Park features some incredible musicians, from Buddy Guy to Lucinda Williams. If you want to hear some tunes from these artists before seeing them live, you can stream or download their albums FOR FREE from your library. All you need is to live in the DBRL service area and have an active DBRL library card. (And, you know, not have a bunch of overdue cookbooks blocking your account. Not that I have ever been in that situation.)

Dwight YoakamHoopla is an online streaming service for downloading not only music but also audiobooks, movies and much more. If you are new to the service, visit or download the Apple iOSAndroid or Amazon app. Click sign up, find Daniel Boone Regional Library, and follow the prompts to create your username and password. Easy! Then you can search for and download music from these Roots N Blues artists and more. (Limit of 10 items per calendar month per person.)

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Remnants – One Read Art Exhibit Reception

One Read - September 11, 2015
OR-remnants-art-exhibitRemnants – Exhibit Reception
Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr St.
Tuesday, September 15, 6:30-8 P.M.

Inspired by this year’s One Read selection, “Station Eleven”, Mid-Missouri artists contributed works that explore the objects or relationships in our connected, complex and electrified world we’d yearn for most if they were lost to us.

Please join us for the Exhibit Reception – enjoy light refreshments, hear the winning entries announced, and listen to a live performance of classical music by a string trio from MU’s School of Music, inspired by the Traveling Symphony in “Station Eleven.”

The post Remnants – One Read Art Exhibit Reception appeared first on One READ.

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New DVD List: Iris, The Walking Dead Season 5 & More

DBRL Next - September 9, 2015

irisHere is a new DVD list highlighting various titles in fiction and nonfiction recently added to the library’s collection.

An in-depth look into the life of fashion icon Iris Apfel, and her husband of over 60 years. This quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven is an outsized presence on the New York and Palm Beach fashion scenes. “Iris” is the last film by legendary documentary director Albert Maysles who died earlier this year.

walking dead s5

The Walking Dead
Season 5
Website / Reviews
The group crosses paths with a mysterious priest and takes shelter in his church. As Daryl and Carol follow a lead to the whereabouts of Beth, the others begin to realize that they’re being hunted. As Bob’s life hangs in the balance, the group prepares for the cannibalistic hunters of Terminus.

banksy does new yorkBanksy Does New York
A chronicle of British street artist Banksy’s surreptitious residency in New York City boroughs that drew a devoted following eager to find a new piece for each day in October 2013. The film incorporates user-generated content whose responses became part of the work itself, for an exhilarating account of the uproar created by the mysterious artist.

orphan black s3Orphan Black
Season 3
Website / Reviews
Season 3 of this sci-fi thriller finds many of the clones in grave danger. The season kicks off with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) learning that Topside killed six clones over 24 hours and is planning a similar assassination, with her, Cosima and Alison as targets.

Queen Latifah stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in this HBO Films presentation, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Dee Rees. The film focuses on Smith’s transformation from a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues,” who became one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and is an enduring icon today.

the affair s1The Affair
Season 1
Noah is a schoolteacher and novelist who is happily married, but resents his dependence on his wealthy father-in-law. Alison is a young waitress trying to piece her life and marriage back together in the wake of a tragedy. The provocative drama unfolds when Alison and Noah meet.

i am big birdI Am Big Bird
For 45 years, Caroll Spinney has been beloved by generations of children as the man behind Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, and at 80 years old, he has no intention of stopping. A loving portrait of the man in the yellow suit, the film features footage of Spinney’s earliest collaborations with Jim Henson as it traces his journey from bullied child to childhood icon.

Other notable releases:
The Returned
(French) Season 1 – Website / Reviews
Mighty Boosh
 – Season 1, Season 2, Season 3Website / Reviews
Revenge of the Mekons – Trailer / Website / Reviews
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
Trailer / Website / Reviews
PoldarkSeason 1 – Website / Reviews
Advanced StyleTrailer / Website / Reviews /
Hell on WheelsSeason 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4 – Website / Reviews
Deli Man – Trailer / Website / Reviews
Full HouseSeason 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7, Season 8 –Website / Reviews

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Author Brian Katcher Visits October 14

DBRLTeen - September 7, 2015

Teen Read Week Banner

Teen Read Week: Author Brian Katcher
Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, October 14 • 7-8 p.m.

Come meet award-winning author Brian Katcher  and hear about his writing process as well as his latest project. Brian’s debut novel, “Playing With Matches,” was nominated for the Gateway Readers Award in 2011. Seventeen-year-old Leon Sanders has a face that only a mother could love. Fortunately, he has a good sense of humor to help him make friends. When he befriends Melody Hennon, a classmate who was seriously burned in a childhood accident, he begins to worry what others will think of their relationship.

In “Almost Perfect,” Brian’s second young adult novel, Logan Witherspoon falls for his friend Sage Hendricks. After kissing her, he learns a secret that forever changes the nature of their relationship. This book won the American Library Association’s prestigious Stonewall Award. This honor is given annually to a book relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.

Brian will wrap up his author visit with a discussion of his most recent book, “The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak,” a hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date at a science fiction convention.

Books will be for sale from Barnes & Noble before and after the program and Brian will do a book-signing session. For more about Brian’s books, check out this interview he shared with us not long after winning the Stonewall Award.

Originally published at Author Brian Katcher Visits October 14.

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While the Library Is Closed for Labor Day

DBRL Next - September 4, 2015

In honor of Labor Day (which our trusty online version of the World Book Encyclopedia tells me Congress made a legal holiday in 1894 to honor the nation’s workers), your library will be closed Sunday, September 6 and Monday, September 7.

While our buildings are closed and the bookmobiles are parked in the garage, the digital branch is always open. Below are just a few of the ways you can use the library this Labor Day or any day.

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Books for Dudes – Marvel Comics Edition

DBRLTeen - September 4, 2015

Rage of UltronMany of today’s comic characters we know today have been around for decades, but have gotten a big boost due to some great movies in the last decade or so. Spider-man. Iron Man. The Avengers. X-Men. The Fantastic Four. The most popular superhero movies today have exciting comic stories as well – both past and present.

If you’re a fan of Avengers, you probably saw Avengers 2: Age of Ultron at the theater (or are patiently waiting until it comes to stores). Read a story about the current Avengers team and Ultron in “Rage of Ultron.” A great read with the current team, see how different Avengers view artificial intelligence and what they do when Ultron has control of a planet.

DaredevilDaredevil’s popularity has increased tenfold since his Netflix debut. “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 excels at characterization and plot twists, 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. Hulk has had many forms over the years, too. To get the best story of Hulk when he was smarter, more devious, and gray in color, check out Incredible Hulk: Ground Zero.

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. It’s better than any movie incarnation…trust me.

Spider-man origin storyPeter 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.

Miles as Spider-manAfter a successful run, Ultimate Spider-man writer Brian Michael Bendis decided to push differences between the regular and Ultimate Spider-man even further by killing off teenage Peter Parker. Right before his heroic death, a 13-year-old boy named Miles Morales gained powers similar to Peter Parker. Inspired by Peter’s heroic death fighting evil, Miles Morales became the new Spider-man in the Ultimate Universe. Due to recent events, the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe are now one single universe, and now both Peter and Miles are on the same planet Earth. To get started on the ground floor of Mike Morales’ adventures, check out Ultimate Comics: Spider-man Volume 1.

 BelieveOf course, one of the most popular modern heroes is Iron Man. There are lots of great Iron Man stories, but one of the newer Iron Man story lines that greatly affects the character can be found in “Iron Man: Believe.” When Tony’s inventions are used against him, Iron Man has to outthink his own inventions.

Dark Phoenix SagaMutants are comics’ big exploration of race, prejudice, and discrimination. 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!).

Our library is planning to bring more new comic titles to the library (both DC and Marvel), so keep checking our teen comics section for updated titles later this year.


Originally published at Books for Dudes – Marvel Comics Edition.

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Celebrating the Life and Works of Oliver Sacks

DBRL Next - September 2, 2015

Book cover for The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatThere are some writers you wish you could befriend, they seem so warm and endlessly fascinating. You want them at the table during dinner parties. You want to meet up with them for long walks or coffee. Oliver Sacks is one of those writers.

The neurologist and author passed away this weekend of cancer at the age of 82. Sacks was curious – always investigating – and a wonderful storyteller. Even after learning his time on this earth was nearing its end, he continued to write. He became introspective, focusing “on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life – achieving a sense of peace within oneself,” as he states in his final piece for the New York Times.

Sacks’ books about the workings of the brain are full of vivid writing and detailed portraits of his subjects. His delight in scientific discovery runs through all of his books. His enthusiasm is palpable.

If you are new to Sacks, try “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales,” one of his earlier books (and the one with my favorite title). Sacks presents a series of stories about men and women who, representing both medical and literary oddities, raise fundamental questions about the nature of reality.

Book cover for The Mind's Eye by Oliver SacksOther Sacks’ works center on a single theme, like “Musicophilia,” which explores the complex human response to music and how music can affect those suffering from a variety of ailments. Sacks investigated sight in “The Mind’s Eye,” telling the stories of six people whose lives have been profoundly altered by changes to essential senses and abilities, including a pianist who lost the ability to read scores and a novelist whose ability to read was destroyed by a stroke. “Hallucinations” investigates the types, causes and cultural significance of hallucinations generated by everything from intoxication to injury and illness.

Sacks’ most recently published book is an autobiography titled “On the Move,” and he certainly was. Always studying and researching, his mental energy and curiosity defined him until the end. In the February 15, 2015 New York Times piece in which Sacks announced his terminal diagnosis, he ended with the following words. I cannot think of better words to remember him by.

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

The post Celebrating the Life and Works of Oliver Sacks appeared first on DBRL Next.

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