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Cool, crispy air. Beautiful fall colors. Your favorite sweater. A cup of warm tea or hot chocolate. Sound like a recipe for a great afternoon read? Well, your library has just the activity to make that afternoon even more special. Starting October 3rd, grab a mystery from our special display on the second floor by the reference desk at the Columbia Public Library, and you will not only have a great book for your afternoon read, but you will also have a chance to play Sherlock Holmes and solve a mini mystery included in all of the books on display. Solve the mystery, submit your answer online or at the library by October 24 and you could win a signed mystery by Tim O’Mara or a Barnes and Noble gift card. This would also be a great activity for an October book club meeting.
The post Discover Whodunit and Win! Check Out the CPL’s Mystery Display appeared first on DBRL Next.
The Youth Community Coalition is looking for volunteers to join them in celebrating Youth Service Day on Saturday, October 12. The day will start at 9:30 a.m. with a kickoff at Columbia’s Courthouse Square on 8th Street and continue with service projects throughout the community such as:
- stream clean-up at Hinkson Creek.
- graffiti removal in the downtown district.
- home repair for the elderly.
- sorting and organizing clothes at The Wardrobe.
- sorting and organizing food at the Central Missouri Food Bank.
If you are interested, please download and print this registration form. It should be submitted to Erin Carrillo, Program Coordinator with the Youth Community Coalition. Registration forms are due this Friday, October 4.
You can mail your registration form to:
Youth Community Coalition
Columbia, MO 65203
You can email your registration form to:
You may contact Erin with questions
at (573) 449-1993.
Originally published at Volunteers Needed for Youth Service Day.
Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2013 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share the best of these reviews throughout the year. Many thanks to all of those who participated!
The first in a series of four, “The Dwarves” by Markus Heitz takes place in an alternate world where five kingdoms (or clans) of dwarves were tasked by their creator to protect the humans, elves, wizards and other dwellers of their land from evil forces from outside, such as orcs, ogres and a race of twisted, evil elves. The prologue details how one of the kingdoms was betrayed and failed in that task. Fast forward a few centuries and our tale picks up with Tungdil – a dwarf raised among humans – getting unwittingly pulled into dwarven politics and a bid to save the world, essentially. There is some great world building, but the characters are the real draw here, particularly Tungdil as he deals with everything that is thrown at him and begrudgingly becomes a good leader.
Two words that describe this book: Absorbing, action-packed
You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy fantasy and adventure and a good, character-driven story.
Our sincere thanks to all of you who read or listened to “The Ruins of Us” by Keija Parssinen and joined us for one of this year’s outstanding One Read events. What an exceptional year and a great opportunity to celebrate our local writing community. We capped off the month with Parssinen delivering her keynote address in both Columbia and Fulton. She generously shared details of her own development as a writer, her dedication to writing in service to complex characters and as a process of exploring and answering difficult questions.
Parssinen said, “It is my belief that the only way to combat ignorance is to talk to one another, to have a conversation. In this way, the One Read program is exceptionally important. It gives us as a community the time and space to engage in civil dialogue with our neighbors.”
Our sincere thanks to you for being a part of the important dialogue sparked by “The Ruins of Us.”
This is a reminder to all our blog readers that October 9 is the deadline for submitting your Six-Word Memoir. Winners will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble and we’ll share your stories at teens.dbrl.org during Teen Read Week, October 13-19.
Looking for inspiration? Below are some Six-Word Memoirs that were submitted that last time we hosted this writing competition.
- Two dogs, feather boa, drama queen.
- An alligator ate my crazy sister.
- Legos, Magic, The Gathering, more Legos.
- I was born; now I’m here.
- I am a unicorn with cannibalism.
- In the beginning; to be continued.
- Caterpillar, cocoon, struggle, fly…Bird food.
- Life is hard, eat a cupcake.
- How extraordinarily normal it all is.
Originally published at October 9 Deadline for Six-Word Memoir.
“Where would you like to go this summer?” I asked my husband while we were finishing our weekend breakfast.
“To Paradise,” He answered without hesitation. “Paradise Inn in Mt. Rainier National Park!”
“Why don’t we go, then?” I said. “A few years from now we might not be able to enjoy it. We’ll be too old.”
And so, the plan was born. To be honest, I like making plans. In fact, I get much more pleasure from planning things than from living them. For one thing, making plans gives me a chance to learn about new places. For another, as long as I am at it, I have full control over everything: drives and fights, hotels and motels, as well as things to do and to see. In the real world, as we all know, cars break down, flights get delayed, luggage gets lost and people (including those I travel with) have different tastes and opinions – which they usually share with me. Still, every time I start anew, my heart pounds, my eyes peer into the unknown with a new luster, and my mood improves. In short, I live from one plan to another, with a few disappointments in between.
That said, three months, two flights, a desperate run through Dallas Airport and a two-hour drive later, we spotted a snow-covered mountain rising ghost-like above the dark greenery of Mt. Rainier National Park’s Douglas fir trees, and forty-five minutes later, we pulled our rental car into a Paradise Inn parking lot.
The lodge, weathered by many decades of heavy snow, strong winds, and Northwestern mist, didn’t look like the grand old palace I had previously imagined but more like an elderly housekeeper weary of her years and a constant stream of guests. Yet the lobby, furnished with old-fashioned wooden chairs and benches and softened by the orange light of table lamps and light fixtures, felt warm and welcoming – until we announced our arrival, that is. Two young receptionists looked at us with the expression that is best conveyed in a classic Russian painting of the 19th century “The Unexpected Visitors” – “Ne Zhdali” (by famous Russian artist Ilya Repin, if anybody cares to know) – which shows a political prisoner unexpectedly returning to his family home from a forced settlement in Siberia.
Despite having a reservation, we were not expected either – at least not before another couple, who was put in our room because they felt claustrophobic in theirs, returned from their day hike.
“And what if they come back tomorrow?!” I said, since from my Russian experience things usually go from bad to worse. Yet the receptionists just gave me a blank look.
Nothing of the sort happened, though. While we were having dinner, the claustrophobic hikers, apparently, came back – or another unlucky couple got shuffled around – and we finally moved into the room, the size of which gave me pause, for if this was a bigger room, what size was the room our invaders escaped from? Before I fell asleep, I made a mental note for myself – never trust my husband’s affinity for historic lodges.
When we opened the curtains next morning, the sun was already up, the sky was silky blue, and people with cameras, water bottles, and backpacks were hurrying toward Mt. Rainier, towering formidably in front of the lodge. We quickly finished our breakfast, grabbed our cameras and water bottles and joined the steady stream of mountain pilgrims.
At first, we walked on a blacktop trail. Then the trail turned into a gravel path, and later yet, the gravel was replaced by stones, which gradually became bigger and the incline steeper. In about two hours, we found ourselves well above the timberline, jumping from one rock to another, crossing mountain streams and sliding in the snow.
A sudden thought flashed through my mind. Wouldn’t it be cool to say, “I have climbed Mt. Rainier”? Oh, well, we were long past the age when looking cool is more important than being safe. The ascent is dangerous. It starts at the Paradise trail head and leads to Camp Muir, where mountaineers spend the night in tents and huts before continuing their journey through fields of ice and snow – 9,000 excruciating vertical feet in all. And if this isn’t difficult enough, heavy snow storms blanket the slopes without warning, blinding white outs make people disoriented and vertiginous and plunging temperatures hit them with hypothermia.
We came here in search of paradise – a place where existence is positive, harmonious and eternal – according to a dictionary definition that is. In real life, though, high altitudes are not suitable for human life. Mere walking requires a lot of effort. Hikers get tired, sweaty (or cold!) and dehydrated. They slip on wet rocks and fall in the snow. And yet, people of all ages, including children, keep moving up – maybe not to the peak, like those with heavy mountain packs and mountaineer boots, but as high as they can go.
Why? Because there is so much heart-stopping beauty there: the glimmering glaciers, the rugged silhouettes of the Tatoosh Range and the dream-like shapes of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood floating far away. Also, all around, impatient waterfalls hurry noisily to the mountain base, blooming meadows set off snow-covered fields and exposed rocks and meandering streams whisper melodically into hikers’ ears. Even the thundering boom of an avalanche doesn’t break the spell of the scenery but adds an ominous mystery to its allure.
As we kept moving up, something new was appearing in our view: stretches of forest interrupted by patches of snow, whimsical peaks across the valley, a marmot playing in the snow, and hues of wildflowers, fragile and hardy at the same time. And if that wasn’t heavenly enough, there were “scenic outlooks” there, too: Pinnacle Point, Panorama Point and others. There, some sat quietly soaking the view, while others talked, took pictures and gave tips to complete strangers – for the mountain brings out the best in people, even as it tires them out.
We spent three days in Paradise Inn – hiking during the day, watching the pastel colors of a dying day during the night or taking pictures of Mt. Rainier reflected in a lake. We didn’t do anything special and didn’t set any records – our longest hike was only five miles long (don’t sneer at this – half of it was uphill ). Yet, as we drove back to the airport, it occurred to me – The old Russian proverb is wrong. Really smart people don’t go around the mountain, they go up – to test their abilities or to look at the desolate world about them and the familiar one beneath their feet and put things in perspective, or to contemplate their lives and losses.
And although I’ll never be able to say that I’ve climbed Mt. Rainier, I can say that I’ve been to paradise. Not the one with large and luxurious rooms, however perfect they can be, and not the realm of the blessed some hope to enter after death, but a place where natural beauty, harmony and good spirits combine to calm, console and uplift us while we are alive.
Notes: Paradise Inn is a historic hotel built in 1916 at 5,400 feet (1,645 m) on the south slope of Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, United States. All photographs in this post were taken by the author and used with her permission.
While attending a London boarding school, Rory, a young American, witnesses a murder committed by a Jack the Ripper copycat. Gradually she figures out that something else weird is going on — she can see people when others can’t.
Why I checked it out: It’s a 2014 Truman Award nominee.
Why I liked this book: It was a fun romp of a mystery with loveable characters. There’s even a logical explanation of why some people can see ghosts and others can’t.
What I didn’t like: I listened to the audiobook, and I have to say that I found the narrator a bit distracting. When Rory’s dialogue was spoken out loud, she was voiced with a distinct Southern accent. However, the accent disappeared when Rory was simply thinking to herself. This shift in narration really threw me off. Though it was still fun to listen to, I think I would recommend reading the print version instead.
Three words that describe this book: mysterious, paranormal and fun.
Originally published at Staff Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.
Have you collected a lot of t-shirts from places you’ve visited or activities in which you have participated? I buy a library Summer Reading program t-shirt every year. My husband was involved in Boy Scouts for many years with our sons. We both have a large stash of shirts from various activities that we hate to throw away, but we no longer wear them and they take up valuable storage space (see my spring cleaning article on this very topic)! I was excited when I found “T-Shirt Quilts Made Easy” by Martha DeLeonardis. It has great ideas on turning those t-shirts into quilts. Unfortunately, it assumes you have some basic quilting knowledge. I love to sew, but the only quilt I’d made is a baby quilt, so I had to consult the basic quilting book “The Ultimate Quilting Bible” by Marie Clayton.
I decided to start with a throw-size quilt for my husband. I cut up his Boy Scout t-shirts along with printed fabrics that seemed appropriate – pumpkins (the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival), fish (the outdoors) and children. I put the blocks together then tried to quilt it on a regular sewing machine. It didn’t work well. The book recommended having the quilting done professionally, and I have to agree. Fortunately. I found someone to do it, and the project was done in time for Father’s Day. With this success I was ready to tackle a bigger quilt for myself.
For my quilt of Summer Reading t-shirts I cut each t-shirt into 12 inch squares. Then I added book-related fabrics that were leftover from other projects. The fabrics feature characters from: “The Wizard of Oz“; “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland“; “The Cat in the Hat” and other Dr. Seuss stories; Eric Carle’s illustrations in Bill Martin’s “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?“; and fairy tales. I added black fabric adorned with colorful musical notes because we often use music in story times. I made a black border that includes t-shirts from activities other than Summer Reading but that are still book related. Because the t-shirts are so heavy, I decided that I would just back the quilt with flannel and not include batting. I also decided to tie it instead of quilt it. I’m pleased with the way the project turned out. I’ll be using it as a bedspread in the guest room as it fits a twin-sized bed. But from now on I think I will stick with throw-sized quilts. My husband’s quilt was somewhat easier to work with than mine.
For those who don’t want to make a whole quilt, there are books and websites that show other ways to reuse t-shirts:
- “Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt” by Megan Nicolay
- “101 Tees” by Cathie Filian
- Fiskars shows on its website how to make a pillow out of several t-shirts.
- I found several tutorials on making scarves out of t-shirts when I did an online search. Cathie Holden does a particularly good job of showing how to make a scarf on her website Just Something I Made.
- Cut Out and Keep also does a nice job of providing clear instructions for making a t-shirt scarf.
So don’t throw those old t-shirts away. Make something out of them to remind you of those special places and events.
The registration deadlines are fast approaching for those planning to take the next round of ACT and SAT exams.
- Registration for the October 26 ACT exam is due next Friday, September 27. Sign-up online.
- Registration for the November 2 SAT exam is due Tuesday, October 3. Sign-up online.
If you would like to know more about testing locations, costs and fee waivers, please visit our online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.
Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (800) 324-4806.
Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!
Originally published at Registration Dates for Upcoming ACT and SAT Exams.
If you are a fan of music, food or both, then this weekend should find you at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival at Stephens Lake Park. Performers include The Black Crowes, Blues Traveler, the incomparable Mavis Staples, local favorite Chump Change and many more. Here is a list of books to whet your appetite.
“The Rough Guide to the Blues” by Nigel Williamson
This book gives you the complete lowdown on all the grittiest singers, bottleneck guitarists, belt-it-out divas and wailing harmonica players that made the most influential music of the last century. From music legend B.B. King to folk hero Robert Johnson, the guide includes detailed profiles of hundreds of artists and critical reviews of their best albums. (From the publisher’s description.)
“Can’t be Satisfied: The Life and times of Muddy Waters” by Robert Gordon
Muddy Waters, considered one of the fathers of Chicago blues, is credited with saying that blues had a baby, and they called it rock ‘n’ roll. Gordon unearths details of Waters’ early career and explores the life and music of this man who inspired a generation of musicians.
“BBQ 25” by Adam Perry Lang
An essential barbecue bible for beginners, this is a collection of 25 popular grilling recipes using accessible and quality ingredients. Clear instructions, short ingredients lists and tips for everything from shopping for the best meats to mastering common techniques make this a great basic barbecue cookbook.
“100 Grilling Recipes You Can’t Live Without” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
With five chapters focusing on meats alone, this is the ultimate barbecue book. This comprehensive volume also includes instructions for making grilled foods from around the world.
Fun Fact: The Daniel Boone Regional Library owns all five titles in Heather Brewer’s “Chronicles of Vladimir Tod” and our patrons have borrowed these books over 2,000 times in the last five years! Mark your calendar now for this best-selling author’s visit to the Columbia Public Library on Wednesday, October 16 at 7 p.m.
If you haven’t had a chance to read all about Vlad’s hilarious story as a coming-of-age vampire, there’s no time like the present to catch up. You can borrow a print copy from the library, listen to the audiobook or download the eBook to your tablet or smartphone.
Originally published at Author Heather Brewer Visits October 16.
“Buck, buck.” That is the sound that chickens make. In September, it’s not time to buck chicken, though, but it’s time to embrace it at meal times because…it’s National Chicken Month! To help celebrate this versatile and relatively inexpensive protein source, and to offer you inspiration in case you’re in need, we offer this list of cookbooks focused on chicken dishes. Personally, I’m very fond of “sticky” chicken. Have you ever had it? My friends John and Candy make this delicacy and serve it every year at their New Year’s Day open house. The secret to its tasty and succulent moistness (and it is finger lickin’ good!) is to bake it at a low temperature for several hours. The meat just sheds off the bones.
Complementarily, it just so happens that September is also National Rice Month. Rice, a dietary staple more than half the world over, is sodium and cholesterol-free, comes in many varieties (red, black, brown, white, basmati, Arborio, etc.) and won’t take a big bite out of your grocery budget. Here in the U.S. we eat about 25 pounds of this all-purpose starchy grain each year, and we even grow a fair amount of it (in the boot heel of Missouri, too) – the U.S. is the fourth largest rice-exporting country. Rice, unlike chicken, lends itself well to sweet recipes, like rice pudding, a classic and comforting dessert. Here is a recipe I’d love to try, though I’d replace the vanilla she uses with ground cardamom to give it a new twist.
Back in July when I was visiting my good friend Laura on the East Coast, she introduced me to a close friend of hers, Amena, from Afghanistan. We sat around the kitchen table visiting while snacking on fresh bing cherries and salty, roasted pistachios. We talked about a number of things, but one thing that stuck in my mind was the mention Laura made of Kabuli Palao (spellings of this vary), Afghanistan’s national dish. Amena had made it for a number of special gatherings that Laura had been lucky to attend. Laura declared that this mélange of rice, carrots, raisins, nuts and fragrant spices was so delicious that it made her swoon. Mmmm…made me think I’d have to try making it, so I went looking for a recipe, feeling the need to broaden my repertoire of Middle Eastern recipes. I found this one that includes both of September’s celebrated ingredients.
These cookbooks can take you further afield in Middle Eastern cuisine and move you beyond the likely standards of hummus and baba ghanoush (not that these aren’t delicious). A recent addition to our collection, ”Jerusalem: a Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi, is a gem that will delight your eyes with sumptuous photos and your taste buds with delicious recipes. If you’d like to take a dip into Middle Eastern culture (including sampling the fare), then you can join us at the Callaway County Public Library in Fulton for a One Read Cultural Experience.
And now I’ll send you off with this verse by Maurice Sendak. He must have had such fun writing this, and surely he loved chicken and rice quite a bit to pay tribute to these classic soup ingredients in this playful way.
for a while
I will ride
chicken soupy Nile.
paddle chicken soup
The circle of recommending: the recommended becomes the recommender, which is what I call a teacher. And Adam Levin had a great recommender in the form of my first recommendation: George Saunders. But it turns out his student had some INSTRUCTIONS of his own to give! (You’ll get it in a minute, and if you’re enjoying a beverage while you read this, I suggest you check the trajectory of your nostrils and line anything in their path with absorbent materials.) While Saunders has been gently sprinkling his brilliance on readers in the form of short stories and essays, Adam Levin chose to drop a semi truck full of anvils from a crashing zeppelin. What I mean, I’m sure you gather, is that he wrote a huge novel. It’s a thousand plus pages of first person narration by a ten-year-old genius whose penchant for fighting for justice (with his fists) has gotten him kicked out of multiple schools and kicked into a special program for unruly children. Like most children, Gurion ben-Judah Maccabee believes it’s likely he’s the messiah, but unlike most children he combines this with a spectacular ability to inflict pain and spin sentences. He has total knowledge of the Torah and, in an unheard-of turn, is inspired by religion to go on something of a crusade. The document he’s created and that we’re reading, ”The Instructions,” is his scripture. I’ll move to a new paragraph to give you time to gather up your newly saturated nostril-fluid blockers.
The scripture begins with an experiment between friends in which they go to the brink of drowning each other in an effort to gauge their reactions as the possibility of dying looms. It ends four scant days later with a hostage crisis, a phone call from Phillip Roth and a mysterious happening that I wouldn’t spoil even if you parted the sea to get it out of me. Along the way this brilliant little scamp of a narrator will make you chuckle, convert you to Judaism and teach you how to make a gun that shoots pennies.
If you’re not into huge novels, or still haven’t finished the last huge novel I recommended, Mr. Levin offers you the short story collection “Hot Pink.” There’s humor, there’s weirdness, there are vomiting dolls, there are walls that just won’t stop oozing no matter what you do and there are even stories where things don’t excrete stuff.
“The Instructions” is a masterpiece, and “Hot Pink” is excellent, which is all that really matters when I get to the business of recommending. But maybe after you get enamored with these books you’ll do some Googling and come to the conclusion that Mr. Levin isn’t a gentleman. He curses like your angry parrot does after your foulmouthed nephews bird-sat it for a week. He gets interviewed by porn stars that your nephews Googled while they weren’t occupied by expanding your parrot’s vocabulary. I’m of the infallible opinion, even as a fellow given to simply exhaling a frustrated ”Hot mustard!” after stubbing my toe, that these facts don’t prohibit his gentlemanhood. I think it’s best to remember that famous scripture, from the book of Steven, I think: “let she who hasn’t been the least little bit rascally fire the first volley of ammunition from her penny gun.”
This year we had over 300 area young adults participate in the library’s annual Teen Summer Reading Challenge. As part of this program, teens were asked to read for 20 hours, complete seven library-related activities, and submit three book reviews. The library collected 315 individual book reviews from teen summer readers! Below is a list of those titles that received that most rave reviews.
- “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
- “Divergent” by Veronica Roth
- “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
- “Hidden” by Helen Frost
- “The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan
- “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins
- “Hush, Hush” by Becca Fitzpatrick
- “I Am Number 4” by Pittacus Lore
Originally published at Summer Reading’s Most Popular Teen Titles.
Agatha Christie is nothing short of inspirational. Not only did she write over 60 novels during her lifetime, she also wrote several short stories and stage plays, all while being a woman in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (divorced and widowed, I might add). Although she penned a few romance novels under a pseudonym, Christie is most well known for her murder mystery novels.
You’ve probably had a run-in with what is arguably her most popular novel, “And Then There Were None.” If you haven’t, I highly recommend DBRL’s audio drama available for download through OverDrive. It’ll leave your skin crawling, but in a good way. It’s the classic “whodunit” and elimination parlor room mystery that Christie is famous for mastering!
You also may have run across two of her more famous detectives: Miss Marple, the not-so-incompetent old woman who put away many a dastardly devil, or Hercule Poirot, the Belgian whose moustache strikes fear in the hearts of villains everywhere! There have been many television and radio adaptations of both these characters. Poirot is even featured in a couple of video games, and yes, before you ask, I have played one, beat it, and loved it.
Agatha Christie is so beloved and famous that she appeared in an episode of “Doctor Who” where she, Donna and the Doctor solve their own whodunit thriller!
In celebration of the upcoming anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth (September 15, 1890), here are more of her mysteries for your enjoyment, all available from your library:
- “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” (Christie’s first novel, which features Hercule Poirot)
- “The Thirteen Problems” (a collection of short stories that introduce Miss Marple)
- “N or M? A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery“
- “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?“
- “They Came to Baghdad“
- “Murder is Easy“
As part of this year’s One Read program and inspired by the themes of displacement, disconnection and longing for the feeling of home in “The Ruins of Us,” we challenged writers to craft a tale that somehow explores this idea of being an outsider. We received stories of cliques and exclusion, moving to an unfamiliar city, the immigrant experience, or of returning to a home that is no longer home–all told in no more than 250 words. Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the worlds of your imagination with us. Our two winners are Josh Ray and Chinwe Ndubuka. Writers Melody Hapner and Nidhi Khosla receive honorable mentions.
We invite all participants to come to our Flash Fiction Reading and Reception on Monday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Columbia Independent School Cafetorium (1801 N. Stadium Blvd).
We are pleased to share with you the winning stories.Local Blueberries by Josh Ray
He had late night brake light laser streaks zooming on his overworked corneas as he sizzled 85 miles per hour down backcountry salt flat desert America, fingering through a basket of blueberries grown locally at the last town a thousand miles long passed in the rearview mirror. An early Tom Waits tune popped up on the radio with mysterious clairvoyance. And just like that he was transported back to California, back to San Francisco whereto he had taken an inspired joyride earlier this summer with the puerile hopes of discovering something personally and profoundly inner about himself, and wherein he learned a lot about what disenchantment really feels like. And in all this hyper, jazz-hip, drug-scrounging, poor busker, two a.m. highway-jism of infinite lonely soliloquizing, the only definite thing he learned, returning now to something after having never really escaped, being, in so many words, “I Yam what I Yam.”Week Two and Counting by Chinwe Ndubuka
It’s January and I’m cold. Two weeks ago, when I bid my family farewell at a Nigerian airport before heading to an American university, I was hot and teary-eyed. Here I’ve found I don’t need my many handkerchiefs to wipe sweat or dust surfaces. I interact more with my thermostat. A few days ago, I thought my walls were transmitting electricity, shocking me when I touched them. In this country where the power rarely goes out, the realization was frightful. But it was embarrassment I felt when a police officer—yes I dialed 9-1-1—explained the static commonly caused by dry winter air. For now, I adjust the dial in my apartment by three degrees and two degrees more before the heater hums to life, sending warm air through the vents. Appeased, I consider studying, but my attention rests on the five-level parking garage opposite my window. It’s barely six o’clock and darkness has already descended, but cars circle under bright lights in their own concrete community. Muffled voices pass outside my door. I am alone and lonely. With seven hours between us, it’s too late to call home; to speak to a lively voice that knows mine and carries with it a warmth not measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit. My family is sleeping soundly with open windows. I’m thankful that morning will be here before spring and pray for strength to last the night.The Homecoming by Nidhi Khosla (honorable mention)
Soon she would be home and surrounded by the cacophony that is the result when otherwise quiet relatives get together. There would be home-cooked lunch, not the flavorless creamy orange-colored curries she had reluctantly eaten at ethnic restaurants. The fans white-colored but yellowing, hung from the high ceilings would whir slowly, lulling one to sleep, while the Sun beat outside on the concrete. Eventually, dusk would fall, the heat giving way to a soft breeze that caressed your skin like resham, the soul and body heaving a sigh of relief for a few hours until the morning Sun started the relentless cycle again. In the distance, you would hear faint strains of devotional music as night approached, stars revealed themselves and a sense of mystery hung in the air.
The car halted. She entered the house, struggling with suitcases. “Thank God for old houses with high ceilings,” she thought. It was only after a few minutes that she realized that an air-conditioner was on, bought she was told because the city was now intolerably hot. The house was quiet. “Everyone is so busy these days but they will try to visit,” she was told. Jet lagged, she fell asleep as if drugged. Squinting, she looked at the gleaming, old Radium timepiece. It was 9 pm. She stepped out on the balcony. The humidity and heat hung low and a mosquito buzzed. She retreated inside as pilgrims whizzed past in their SUV, loud music blaring, ready for salvation.The Music of a Soft Wind by Melody Hapner (honorable mention)
I live in Missouri. I breathe in Missouri air. I have a mortgage for a Missouri home, and I go to work every day to a job in Missouri. But I do not find contentment nor do I find hope, resolve, or any other emotional binding to this place. Instead, I find myself longing. The dream was to come to fruition with our relocation to this place. It didn’t. I doubt it will.
“Yes,” he says to me.
“You’re wrong,” I say.
“When did this start?”
“When the Arch was within view. When there was no turning back.”
He doesn’t care. We are here for him and what he needs. That’s what matters most. I may crumble on the inside, but I must maintain the appearance of happiness to the world, or at least to Missouri.
“It’s only another handful of years,” he says.
“I know,” I say.
“You’ll be happy then.”
I stare out the window at the snow falling on the branches of the decrepit oak in our back yard. It is cloaked in at least an inch of snow. It doesn’t look as if it would be able to sway to the music of a soft wind, but instead like it would dissolve should the faintest of winds rustle its branches. It is stuck – weighed down by the impossibility of its circumstance. That poor tree is in misery.
For this year’s art exhibit, we asked area artists to contribute works that explore the idea of home, of leaving and returning, or what One Read author Keija Parssinen calls “that mysterious child-love for a left-behind place.” We were absolutely thrilled at the quality and variety of work submitted.
At the exhibit’s opening reception on September 10, the following winners and honorable mentions were announced.
First place: “If Only,” a digital painting by Laura Labieniec Pintel
Second place: “Dark House,” a work in glass by Susan Taylor Glasgow
Third place: “I Still Cry,” a photograph by Marilyn Cummins
Honorable mentions went to:
Tootie Burns for “House Keys” (mixed media)
Rebecca Douglas for “The Road Back” (quilted, collaged fiber)
Rebekah Gates for “3 Phases of Home” (wood, textiles, mixed media)
Kay McCarthy for “Lake Sally Memories” (watercolor)
Dennis Murphy for “The Giant in You” (lighted construction)
The exhibit can be viewed at Orr Street Studios through September 21.
For decades, my mom collected decorative bells. She stopped adding new items when she and my dad downsized and moved into a small apartment. Many of her bells were gifts, most purchased with some personal connection in mind. I bought one at a flea market because it had a handle shaped like a fiddle and it sported the words “Grand Ole Opry,” something I knew she enjoyed. I doubt anything in her collection is worth much monetarily. Still, I keep thinking I should make an effort to research the dollar value.
When I finally get around to it, I’ll start with a library database: Prices 4 Antiques. This site tracks sales from 140 U.S. auction houses. If a tea set like the one you inherited from Great Aunt Ethel has sold recently, you can learn the going price. It’s also a fun site for window shopping. Note: there is a category for antique books!
For the collector who finds a printed price guide appeals more to the antiquarian spirit, we have a variety of Warman’s publications. Jewelry, coins, Civil War Collectibles – whatever your passion, Warman probably has a guide to help you sort it out.
Whether you plan to keep or sell your treasures, you’ll want them in good condition. “Miller’s Care and Repair of Antiques and Collectibles” can give you guidance. An assortment of photographs accompanies the written directions.
I’ve known plenty of people who have a collection that’s “going to be worth something someday.” Meanwhile, many collections truly are worth something right now. Whether this is an expected eventuality or a present reality, it can’t hurt to do some financial planning. The “Collector’s Handbook” provides “tax planning, strategy, and estate advice for collectors and their heirs.”
To browse a larger collection of resources, see our catalog list.