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Fans of bestselling author Greg Iles eagerly anticipated his current suspense novel “Natchez Burning.” Even before the book was released, reviewers lobbed it out there as a must-read. The book takes on racial history in the South. The protagonist is Penn Cage, a former prosecutor who becomes a novelist and Mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. The book leads with historical background about horrific murders that took place in the 1960s, which included two civil rights activists and a music store owner and their killers, the secret ultra-violent group known as the Double Eagles, a splinter group of the KKK.
Penn’s life intertwines with the cold case murders when his father, the beloved small town doctor, is accused of murdering his former nurse, Viola Turner. Viola worked for the doctor in the 60s and returned to Natchez when she was dying of cancer. Penn believes it’s the Double Eagles, not his father, who murdered Viola to keep her from revealing secrets from the past. Viola’s brother disappeared in the 60’s and Viola had been gang raped by the Double Eagles.
In his quest to vindicate his father, Penn finds the key to the past in Henry Sexton, a reporter for a small town weekly paper. Henry has been a one-man crusade to solve the cold case 1960s murders. While Penn relies on Henry’s investigation, Penn’s fiancé works for a competing daily newspaper and diligently pursues getting an upper hand on Henry’s story that could be another Pulitzer Prize for her. A dying Double Eagle member confirms Henry’s suspicions about the venomous organization. Penn wants to poke a stick into the rattlesnake den to see what came out. He finds it is impossible to know who to trust.
The book is projected to be the first in a trilogy. It is a suspenseful, traumatic and terrifying story. Brave investigative reporters seek the truth.
An amazing part of the background story is what happened in the author’s life. Isles was in a near fatal auto accident before the book was released.
Three words that describe this book: suspenseful, traumatic, terrifying
You might want to pick this book up if: You like brave investigative reporting, civil rights history, stories about good battling evil written in a suspenseful setting and are not afraid of an 800-page book!
Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, takes us through time into the world of the Inuit in the northern reaches of Canada. Connecting past, present and future is the Inuit’s unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters.
I always knew there were fiction and nonfiction books, but I did not know there were so many genres (and subgenres) beyond that until I started working at a library. Science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, graphic novels, anime, gentle fiction, poetry, memoirs – I could go on and on. And this categorization isn’t limited to books. There are music and film genres as well. So in a much less funny, but perhaps just as informative, homage to Stephen Colbert’s series “Better Know a District,” I will explore these classifications in a monthly blog series we’re calling “Better Know a Genre.”
The first genre I will tackle is a rather broad one: narrative, or creative, nonfiction. If a nonfiction book is described as “reading like fiction,” then it probably belongs to this genre. Narrative nonfiction gives the reader factual information in a storytelling format instead of presenting the information straightforwardly, such as in a cookbook or instruction manual. Authors employ the craft of fiction – such as dialogue, vivid descriptions and characterization – to make nonfiction tales into page turners.
In a public library, much of the collection consists of narrative or creative nonfiction, so chances are you have already read a book from this genre. If you haven’t, then celebrate our Summer of Science by checking out one of these fantastic narrative nonfiction books from our collection.
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
One of the most-acclaimed science books of recent years, this title was also our 2011 One Read selection. Skloot investigates how the cells taken from a woman in the 1950s have contributed to many medical advancements in the decades since. Skloot inserts herself into the story, so the book is as much about the process of writing as it is about medical ethics.
“The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York” by Deborah Blum
I don’t think it’s possible to top NPR’s Glen Weldon’s description of this book:
“Who knew that New York City experienced a surge in murders by poison during the 1910s and ’20s? Blum takes that odd historical footnote and produces a book of exhaustively researched science writing that reads like science fiction, complete with suspense, mystery and foolhardy guys in lab coats tipping test tubes of mysterious chemicals into their own mouths.”
“Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void” by Mary Roach
Roach is excellent at reducing complex ideas into manageable chunks of exposition, which alone is a valuable asset. But her books stand out because she combines that talent with a rich sense of humor and a willingness to use herself as a guinea pig. Roach takes on the subject of space travel in this outing – an examination of the lengths humans must take to attempt survival out of the earth’s atmosphere.
The post Better Know a Genre: Narrative Nonfiction (Summer of Science Edition) appeared first on DBRL Next.
Congratulations to Linda from Fulton for winning our fourth Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 Well Read Books gift card.
All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online. Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning. We are half way through our prize drawings, so keep those reviews coming.
Radiation. Genetic modification. Mutation. These words are often found in science textbooks. They are also frequently found in comic books and graphic novels! While the stories are often fantastical, the characters themselves owe much of their origins and adventures to science, often reflecting cutting-edge science at the time of publication.
“Daredevil: Vol 1, by Mark Waid,” is a great starting point for the title character. Hit by a radioactive substance as a child, Matt Murdock lost his site but increased his remaining senses to the point where he has radar vision. Mark Waid deftly describes how his remaining senses function, and the art does a good job of demonstrating his powers. (The cover showing different shapes made of sounds is ingenious.)
The “Hulk: Season 1” graphic novel is a great one-shot introduction to the character, and shows how Bruce Banner was turned into the Incredible Hulk during a gamma bomb ground zero test. While Bruce Banner is a man of science, the Hulk is a hero/monster of destruction. Like many characters, radiation is a big factor due to the nuclear threat of the 1960s when many comic heroes debuted.
Batman Science Books are new to the library! Whether you want to learn the science behind Batman’s utility belt or how his batmobile and batcycle are engineered, these books are for you! You can even find secrets about his costume! Hopefully his rogue’s gallery won’t be reading these books anytime soon…
“Fantastic Four: Season 1” graphic novel is another great origin story. See how the Fantastic Four got their powers during a space expedition and why Mr. Fantastic is smartest person in the Marvel universe.
How fast is lightning? Just ask Flash! Police scientist Barry Allen was thrown into chemicals during a lightning explosion, and the world’s fastest speedster was created. There are lots of great Flash graphic novels, but I might start with “The Flash: Volume 1, Move Forward.” Like many superheroes, Flash died and came back (with a pretty respectable gap in-between). To see how he came back to the land of the living, pick up “The Flash: The Rebirth.”
Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider (or sometimes referred to as “genetically-modified spider in more modern comics), and Spider-man was born! There are a ton of excellent graphic novels to choose from…”Spider-man: Season One” is a good origin story, “Spider-man: Blue” is a good character-driven story (especially if you watched 2014′s “Amazing Spider-man 2″ movie), and “Ultimate Spider-man: Volume 1, Power and Responsibility” is the start of a series setting Spider-man’s origin in modern times.
Mutants are comics’ big exploration of race, prejudice, and discrimination. (Again, X-Men debuted in the 1960s, when race was a much bigger issue.) Sometimes celebrated but more often feared, the X-Men are known by all. There are a LOT of mutants to keep track of, but my library picks are “X-Men: Season One” (obligatory origin story), “X-Men: the Dark Phoenix Saga” (still one of the best X-Men stories after over 30 years), “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (especially if you’re a fan of the 2014 movie), and “Astonishing X-Men: Vol. 1, Gifted” (written by Buffy and Firefly creator Joss Whedon!).
There are tons more science-centric characters out there, such as Atom, Iron Man, Swamp Thing, and many others. Science can be pretty fantastic – whether in real life or in the comics! Enjoy!
Originally published at Books for Dudes – Superhero Science.
If you are a family historian and wondering what’s going on around Missouri related to genealogy, then consider yourself lucky. Here are just some of the events happening here in the heart of the country, providing opportunities to learn some new tools, techniques and how-tos.
In Columbia, at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, is the meeting of the Genealogical Society of Central Missouri. Be sure to check their website to see what topics will be discussed. There’s always an interesting program at this gathering.
The Columbia Public Library will be hosting a special guest at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 31 in the Friends room. The Presenter is Kathleen Brandt, a professional genealogical researcher and lecturer from the Kansas City area. She will be talking about one of the hottest topics in genealogy – DNA. Her wit and charm will delight you while you get answers to questions about the test options, how accurate tests are and – the big question – how much testing costs! This event is free and open to the public.
Starting the very next day is the Missouri State Genealogical Association’s annual conference being held at the Stoney Creek Inn off Providence Road in Columbia. The main speaker for this event is none other than D. Joshua Taylor, a nationally known speaker on the use of technology in genealogy research. Both D. Joshua Taylor and Kathleen Brandt are professional researchers who worked on the family histories of some celebrities featured on “Who Do You Think You Are?” This popular show returns this summer, airing on TLC starting July 23.
The Ozarks Genealogical Society, based in Springfield, Missouri, will be hosting their annual conference September 12 and 13. Their guest speaker will be none other than Mark Lowe out of Tennessee. He, too, is a great speaker on genealogical topics – especially migration patterns out of the coastal states into Tennessee and Kentucky and then on into Missouri.
Think about planning to attend one of these events! It just might help you make your family tree grow. How much more luck do you need?
“Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” is the eighth installment in Diana Gabaldon’s epic Outlander series. It continues the stories of Claire, a WWII nurse transported mysteriously back in time, her beloved husband Jamie, their daughter Brianna and her husband Roger, as well as the myriad characters readers of Gabaldon’s series have come to know and love. Currently, the series is set in Revolutionary America. The last novel left several open story lines, and readers have rabidly awaited the coming of this novel in order to tie up those horrifyingly loose ends. This novel not only answers the questions left by the last book in the series, but it also advances the story nicely in almost all the open story lines.
I loved this book, mostly because I couldn’t have borne it if it had been bad (and the author is pretty much incapable of writing anything bad). After waiting FOUR LONG YEARS for the book, I inhaled it in 36 hours (and then was left with a terrible book hangover and a dull, aching disappointment that it will be at least another four years before the next one will be written and released).
Three words that describe this book: anxiously-awaited, mammoth, riveting
You might want to pick this book up if:
- You like really historically accurate fiction.
- You have read the Outlander series.
- You like books with tie-ins to movies and TV (The original novel is being turned in to a television series by STARZ and will debut in August).
- You like books that will draw you in and make you feel as if you’re in another world.
- Your family won’t mind you putting absolutely everything off while you read.
As part of the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, we have asked area young adults to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and complete seven fun library-related activities. Beginning Monday, July 7, you can bring your completed punch card to any of our three library branches or bookmobile stops and claim your free book. We will have a wide selection of juvenile and young adult titles for to choose from.
Best of all, if you finish, your name will also be entered into a drawing for a free black and white Kindle eReader! This program is ongoing through August 2, so there is still a month of good reading time left.
Originally published at Reminder for Summer Reading Finishers.
I must admit, I’ve never read Anna Quindlen before. I knew that she is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and bestselling author, but I never got excited enough to pick up one of her books - until I came across Quindlen’s last: “Still Life With Bread Crumbs.” I didn’t have much time for reading then, but, once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. For one thing, the book was well written. For another, it felt true to life (most of the time, anyway ). In other words, the problems of its protagonist, a used-to-be-famous photographer, were something a woman of my age could relate to: aging, caring for feeble parents, a nasty ex-husband and (amazingly!) money trouble.
How often do you read about these subjects and not about depraved murderers, horrible abuse, amnesiacs and such? (By the way, I have never met anybody suffering from the amnesia that is so prevalent in books and movies. Have you?) The money thing, especially, blew my mind. I am used to books where the best way of healing women’s troubles is traveling to exotic places or, at least, to Paris. Which always leaves me with a question: how do people afford such travels? Don’t get me wrong. I have been to Paris, but I spent some time (a lot of time, actually) finding a budget place to stay and tickets I could afford.
Anyway, Quindlen’s heroine had ordinary problems, like many of us do. She was broke, increasingly lonely, and she had lost confidence in herself. It wasn’t a mid-life crisis, either. She was already 60 years old - not at the age when changing one’s life is easy. I know, this doesn’t sound like light summer reading, but Quindlen navigates the rough waters with a gentle but experienced hand, and, in the end, delivers her heroine to a new – and much happier – place. It’s not a quick journey, but it is brightened by the author’s eloquent style, understanding of grace and frailty in everyday life, and a little romance (who can object to that? ). All in all, “Still Life With Bread Crumbs” is a very satisfying book that proves that as long as we are alive, life is not still.
“The Traveler’s Gift” is about seven personal qualities worth cultivating to be successful in life and also influence the world around you. David Ponder, an executive who lost his job, insurance, etc., feels lost and useless. After a car accident, David goes on an epic journey, visiting historical figures who give him seven decisions for living that changed his way of thinking. From Anne Frank to King Solomon, Columbus to Harry S.Truman, each person interacts with David and offers wisdom that is relevant to today’s living.
Three words that describe this book: insightful, educational, entertaining
You might want to pick this book up if: You want an easy read, packed with insights to improve daily living. This was a great read-aloud as my dear husband and I drove across the country. This book gives specific instructions on how to incorporate the seven decisions into daily life. A good read!
Join us on Wednesday, July 23 for an afternoon of trivia just for teens at the Columbia Public Library. Answer questions related to your favorite dystopian young adult novels such as “Divergent,” “Hunger Games” and “Legend.” Rather than battle to the death, we’ll finish with some fun prizes and a free pizza lunch. The party starts at 1:00 p.m.
Registration begins Tuesday, July 8. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161. Ages 12-18.
Originally published at Project Teen: Trivia at the End of the World.
It was the year of the Beatles and the Civil Rights Act; of the Gulf of Tonkin and Barry Goldwater’s campaign for the presidency; the year that Americans learned smoking was bad for their health and Cassius Clay became Mohammed Ali; the year that cities across the country erupted in violence and Americans tried to make sense of the assassination of their president. Based on The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, the film will follow some of the most prominent figures of the time.
Summer Reading this year is all about science. But what’s science without a little fiction? Here are four of 2014’s notable science fiction picks to consider adding to your reading list.
“The Girl with All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey
First off, as many will warn you, don’t read anything about this book if you want to keep everything a surprise. It’s not that what is below is a huge spoiler or anything, but some readers like to not know anything when they begin reading this book.
Now, if you’ve decided you do want a little information, read on!
This book shocked me. When first reading the back cover, which talks about a girl named Melanie being strapped down and held at gunpoint, I thought, well, maybe she has some uncontrollable powers or something. I guess I was sort of right – “The Girl with All the Gifts” is a zombie.
Like any other zombie book, we have an infection, we have hordes of hungries, and we have a doctor who is searching for a cure. What M.R. Carey does to make his book stand out among all the rest is to make the reader feel sympathy for Melanie, a fully functional and cognizant zombie.
“The Girl with All the Gifts” takes an overdone genre and reworks it in a fresh and unique way.
“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North
Harry is considered immortal. He lives, dies and is reborn, always with the knowledge of the lives he has lived before. For him, living has become repetition. He has accomplished all he can think to accomplish. When a young girl tells him the world is ending, quicker than it should, Harry finds a new purpose and begins investigating the coming apocalypse. But Harry finds out more than he bargained for.
If you aren’t into space ships and aliens, then this might be the science fiction read for you. It’s more of a fiction book, with a side of science.
“The Martian” by Andy Weir
“The Martian” sounds like the book version of the movie Gravity to me, but I’m probably not the best person to ask. These types of books and movies scare the living daylights out of me. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think being stranded in space, alone and dying, is horrifying. It’s a very subtle, quiet scary, but scary all the same.
But hey, if quiet scary is your thing, then “The Martian” is for you. This book is one of the most popular science fiction books released in 2014, scary or not.
A dust storm puts a hole in Mark Watney’s space suit, and thinking him dead, his crew leaves him behind. Stranded in space, Mark uses his engineering skills in an attempt to survive, unwilling to simply give up and die.
“Red Rising” by Pierce Brown
“Red Rising” is similar to “The Hunger Games,” but where the “The Hunger Games” is written with teens in mind, “Red Rising” is more for adults. If you enjoy reading dystopias, then this would be a good read for you.
The book follows Darrow, a young miner on Mars. He is a Red, the lowest of the castes in the social hierarchy. He believes he is important, that he is helping to terraform Mars and prepare it for habitation. But Mars is already habitable and has been for some time.
The Golds, the highest caste, lied to the rest of humanity, keeping Mars for themselves. Darrow decides it’s time to take action, and with the help of friends and a good disguise, inserts himself into the Gold’s society, preparing to take down their system from the inside out.
Have other recent science fiction books to recommend? Let us know in the comments.
“The Final Solution,” in a nutshell, is a story of an elderly Sherlock Holmes, even if he is never named. Unfortunately, this is not actually a particularly exciting or engaging story. What made it compelling for me (but maddening for my wife – we read it aloud together) was the language. Chabon’s average sentence length was probably about 40 words. Couple that with some unusual and very fresh descriptions, and you have prose that takes a lot of work to digest, but the aftertaste is fantastic.
I’m glad this was a short book (130-ish pages), because I would have needed it to be a more engrossing story otherwise. It turns out that an elderly Sherlock is also a rather less interesting Sherlock. There was little actual deduction and really little action at all. There was also little of his famously unsociable personality on display. And strangely, the penultimate chapter was from the perspective of a parrot.
Three words that describe this book: verbose, descriptive, obtuse
You might want to pick this book up if: You’re a big Sherlock fan, though don’t expect something exactly like Doyle’s tales. You may also want to check it out if you love language.
Visit the library to create your own catapult, then we’ll take it outside for a marshmallow-flinging competition. We’ll provide pizza afterwards. (For eating, not throwing!) Ages 11-16.
Join us for either of these sessions:
- Callaway County Public Library on Friday, July 18 at Noon-1:30 p.m.
- Southern Boone County Public Library on Tuesday, July 22 at Noon-1:30 p.m.
Originally published at Project Teen: Catapults.
Congratulations to Lindsey S., a Southern Boone County Public Library patron, on winning our third Adult Summer Reading 2014 prize drawing. She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.
If you have not registered for the library’s Adult Summer Reading program, you can still do so online or by visiting any of our locations. Once you sign up, you are automatically entered in the prize drawings. Also, don’t forget to submit book reviews to increase your odds of winning. There are five drawings left this summer, so keep reading and sharing your reviews with us!
“The Inner Game of Tennis” is definitely a worthwhile read for the athlete and non-athlete alike (but especially for the athlete). The book contains some amazing insights given that it preceded all of the empirical work within the field of psychology concerning the dual role of the conscious vs. unconscious mind in shaping behavior. The most difficult part is figuring out how to institute some of the suggestions in specific situations (especially in other sports). Most of the examples are of course heavily dependent on the tennis medium, but there is no reason they couldn’t be adapted for other sports. The focal point to always keep in mind is that the unconscious mind is especially well-suited for processing tremendous amounts of information at once, which is exactly what training muscles to coordinate into complex motions requires. Most of the techniques Gallwey describes are simply ways to get your conscious mind out of the way so you can let the correct motor learning system take over. Not a difficult book to understand, but nearly impossible for many athletes to actually enact. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever struggled to experience the true joy that comes with playing sports.
Three words that describe this book: tennis, sports, psychology
You might want to pick this book up if: You like tennis, psychology, or you just want to improve your performance in nearly any sport.
I love Tina Fey. I think she is smart and hilarious and a terrific writer. (There is a short chapter in her memoir “Bossypants” that made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t speak for nearly five minutes. The chapter is titled, “What Turning Forty Means to Me,” and she speaks THE TRUTH.) When I found out that Fey is starring in the movie adaptation of the very charming “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, I knew I needed to start looking for a babysitter now, even though the film won’t be released until September.
As long as movies based on books do well at the box office (heard of a little film called “The Fault in Our Stars“?), Hollywood will keep producing them. If you like to read the books before you see the movies, here are some to check out before you head to theaters later this summer. Save me some popcorn and an aisle seat, will you?
“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn
Flynn likes her characters dark and her plots even darker. If creepy is your thing, read this thriller about Libby Day who, as a small child, witnessed the murder of her mother and sisters and sent her brother to jail with her testimony. Twenty five years later, Libby is confronted by the possibility that her brother may be innocent, and she must reconstruct what really happened the night of her family’s slaughter. In the film, Charlize Theron stars as Libby Day.
“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman
While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia must decide whether to live with her grief or join her family in death. Chloë Moretz will star as Mia in the film adaptation.
“The Hundred-foot Journey” by Richard Morais
A boy from Mumbai, Hassan Haji, ends up opening a restaurant in a quiet French village and triggering a culinary war with the fancy French restaurant across the street. Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal and Om Puri star in the film.
This is a reminder to all our blog readers that July 25 is the deadline for submitting your photos for the “Spark a Reaction” Teen Photography Contest. Winners will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble and their artwork will be posted at teens.dbrl.org. Be sure to review the complete list of contest rules and submission guidelines before capturing your images.
If you have questions regarding this contest, you can speak with a librarian by calling (573) 443-3161 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, check out this list of photography resources available at your library!
Originally published at “Spark a Reaction” Photo Contest Reminder.
“Makeda” is the story of a man who throughout his life had a very close relationship with his blind grandmother (Makeda). As he comes of age and then goes to university, he becomes more and more aware that certain dreams his grandmother has had, and continues to have, reveal historically true events that took place in Africa and to people of African descent. As he researches his grandmother’s dreams, he slowly finds his own identity as an African American and can view the situation African Americans are in from a completely different perspective.
I read this book while being on a service trip building latrines in Honduras. Poor and oppressed people all around the world face so many obstacles that are both external and imposed from the outside and relatively easily seen as well as internal, subtle and much more hidden ones. This book illumines both kinds of obstacles and is especially powerful in revealing to the reader the kind of trauma that those who wield power in the world would have a hard time ever understanding. There are several nuggets of wisdom in this book that I will keep with me.
This book puts in perspective the very brief (and terribly brutal) time of European and US dominance in world history versus the advanced civilizations in Africa that European-centric history tends to be ignorant of, dismiss or ignore.
Three words that describe this book: illuminating, thought-provoking, powerful
You might want to pick this book up if: Ideally everyone should read this. This novel explains many things about race relations in this country and about African American identity that cannot be explained by facts and figures or newspaper articles. At the same time there is wisdom that anyone who is living in our highly individualistic and divided society can carry in their hearts for a long time.