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Is autumn supposed to be this soggy? My chrysanthemums are struggling in my swampy flower beds. I’m thinking of designing water-proof Halloween costumes for my kiddos. All of this rain has me feeling a little down, and I thought our readers might be having a similar case of the weather-induced blues. My cure? Let’s give away some free stuff!
- “Fresh Off the Boat” by Eddie Huang
- “The Kill Switch” by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood
- “Obsessed” by Mika Brzezinski
- “President Me” by Adam Carolla
- “Starfire” by Dale Brown
- “Think Like a Freak” by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
- “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman
One entry per person. Good luck!
The post Win a Free Audiobook! (Because it’s Raining and We Need Cheering Up) appeared first on DBRL Next.
“Jack the Ripper Murders Solved!” “Identity of Jack the Ripper Proven by DNA Evidence!” For a couple of days, I saw headline after headline proclaiming the serial murder case that has befuddled investigators for more than 120 years had finally been cracked by modern forensics. This flurry of discussion was prompted by the publication of a new book, “Naming Jack the Ripper” by Russell Edwards, a London history buff who came into possession of a shawl worn by one of the victims. He claims some DNA left on the material matches the DNA of a descendant of Aaron Kosminski, a London hairdresser and long-time resident on the suspect list. Additionally, Edwards quotes a detective who worked the case as saying he believed Kosminski was the culprit. Case closed. Right?
Soon enough articles started popping up, saying, in essence: “Not so fast.” They point out that even if the DNA is Kosminski’s, it doesn’t mean he killed the owner of the shawl, only that he had some contact with it. Maybe he sneezed on it while standing next to her. Then, too, the garment has changed hands many times. A lot of people have handled it over the years. And Edwards is not the first person to have “named” the killer.
There’s an “Autobiography of Jack the Ripper,” published from a purportedly found manuscript, penned in 1920, containing the author’s recollections of the time in his life when he was on a murder spree. Or possibly it’s an anonymously-written work of historical fiction. Or an outright hoax. The book includes notes – some skeptical – by Paul Begg, who has made a career of writing about the case.
Patricia Cornwell, known primarily for fictional crime stories, tried her hand at solving the real-life mystery a few years ago. She, too, thought she’d solved the old case using contemporary techniques. In her 2003 book “Portrait of a Killer,” she concludes the guilty party was an artist named Walter Sickert. Her case hinges on “the successful use of DNA analysis to establish a link between an envelope mailed by the Ripper and two envelopes used by Sickert.” Well then.
It seems everyone claims proof of the murderer’s real identity, but in each case it’s a different person. In 2011, the Whitechapel Society – named for the area in which the murders took place, and devoted to investigating the crimes and their surrounding social context – published a book compiling the cases for and against several suspects. “Jack the Ripper, the Suspects” mentions Cornwell’s book and addresses some of its points directly. In the chapter on Kosminski, they speculate one of the reasons he drew so much focus from detectives was because of a tendency in the police department at that time toward anti-Semitism. Beyond speaking about suspects and evidence, this book explains some of the societal factors at play that made the investigation of the case difficult. The only conclusion I was able to draw was that we might never know the truth.
Themes of dystopia and survival in a post-apocalyptic world run heavy through popular fiction. Readers have ventured into The Hunger Games series, which presents a world in which children must participate in a televised fight to the death. Max Brooks’ “World War Z” examines the chaos that would erupt under a worldwide threat such as a zombie invasion. Even older novels, such as Stephen King’s “The Stand,” give readers the chance to ponder “what if?” from the comfort and safety of their own non-apocalyptic world.
“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy is another tale in the apocalyptic, dystopian sphere. McCarthy’s story follows a man and his young son as they venture through a barren, desolate wasteland on a journey to the ocean. What exactly happened to the land they venture through is never stated, but I think one can surmise. And in the end it’s not really important how this terrible thing happened – something bad occurred that made life on the planet mostly unlivable. A few people have managed to survive, but doing so has often meant living by unspeakable means.
The father and son’s journey is fascinating, but what really drew me in is their relationship. Throughout their perilous travels, the two share many discussions about life, often centering around the question of what it means to be good or bad. These talks allow McCarthy to flesh out the two characters, allowing readers to connect with and get to know them better. The father clearly adores the boy, doing everything in his power to keep the child safe and secure. And the boy loves this man who has served as his guide and protector. At one point in the book, McCarthy sums up their relationship perfectly, describing the pair as being “each other’s world entire.” In many ways, their love for each other is the only good thing remaining in their world.
McCarthy uses a sparse, poetic writing style. This makes the novel fairly compact, but it still packs quite a punch. I listened to the audiobook version, which is narrated by Tom Stechschulte. He is a masterful reader, jumping from the voice of the man to the voice of the child with apparent ease. The story moved me deeply; I’d be lying if I did not admit that this story is often incredibly sad. But it is also one of the most hopeful stories I’ve read because of McCarthy’s exploration of the bonds of love and family and how they can manage to survive even in a world that has been burnt down to little more than ashes.
As part of this year’s One Read program and inspired by the grit, perseverance and the way those “Boys in the Boat” overcame the odds, we challenged writers to craft tales containing an element of the underdog for this year’s flash fiction contest.
We received plenty of stories about unexpected triumph on the playing field, but we also read tales of cheating death, of immigration and unlikely survival – 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 Carl Kremer and Von Pittman.
We are pleased to share with you the winning stories.James Earl by Carl Kremer
James Earl, named for the great basso profundo actor (whom he resembles, except for being green) – is the biggest bullfrog in my pond. His great call silences smaller creatures in the area and attracts females (cowfrogs?) from miles away. Others who, while old enough to croak for sex – sound timid when James Earl occasionally tunes up.
He is a miracle, not just for his age (13 is ancient for his kind, and I’ve listened to his calls for nearly that long) but for his phenomenal luck, his resourcefulness, his amphibian intelligence. While he was part of a mass of thousands of eggs, most did not hatch, and most of those who did fell prey as tadpoles to snakes, fish, birds, raccoons and even other frogs. Some of his siblings were eaten as children by larger frogs, perhaps their grandparents. The struggle to survive was fierce, and he might have been a pollywog for years, while other tadpoles grow to adulthood in one season.
He has mastered patient vigilance, sitting in one moist spot for hours, alert both for prey – insects, small snakes, and even smaller frogs – and for predators. Stealthy cats haunt the edges of his pond at night, along with foxes, raccoons, snakes and owls. By day herons, kingfishers, and even hawks drop silently from the sky and he is a prize entree to any carnivore.
And still, aged, wise and wary, he sings, reverberant, stentorian, and deep – for love.Obstacle Number Three by Von Pittman
Josh Carter stood number one in Tactics and number two in Seamanship, with just two weeks of Naval Officer Candidate School left. Nonetheless, he was about to wash out.
A six-foot wooden wall – Obstacle 3 on the obstacle course – stood between Josh and his ensign’s bars. Every officer candidate was required to clear every obstacle on the course at least once. They learned to run at Obstacle 3, throw a stiff leg at the wall, then let their momentum carry them over. The few OCs who had trouble tended to be short and pear-shaped, like Josh. Sixteen tries, sixteen failures. In spite of his academic record, he feared he wouldn’t be a naval officer. He would probably become an enlisted mess cook, slinging chow and swabbing decks.
Everyone in Josh’s training company wanted him to top Obstacle 3 and graduate. Suddenly, the 17th week arrived, his last chance. Josh ran, hit the wall, and got both forearms over the top. He struggled to lift his body, then suddenly pitched over the wall, head first.
Dizzied by the impact, he stumbled through the rest of the course. In the intensity of his effort, he never saw the two classmates who had grabbed his wrists and snatched him over, or heard the cheers from his company.
At graduation, Josh received an academic award in addition to his ensign’s commission. He figured that the lingering sprain in his left wrist had to be from falling over the top of Obstacle 3.
October 10: “20,000 Days on Earth” starts at Ragtag. (via)
October 13: “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
October 14: “Unfair: Exposing the IRS” 7:00 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
Graphic novels are simply stories organized in a comic-strip format. With the popularity of books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Dork Diaries,” there has been dramatic growth in the quantity and quality of graphic novels available for children and teens.
Graphic novels are a great tool to use with reluctant readers. Text is broken down into manageable chunks, instead of lengthy chapters, and illustrations provide context clues that enhance comprehension. Graphic novels allow children and teens to gain confidence in their reading skills while learning to like reading in a way they may never have before. These books are also helpful when working with children with special needs and English-language learners.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), has created Graphic Novel Reading Lists intended for children from kindergarten through 8th grade. The books on this list are defined as a full-length story told in paneled, sequential, graphic format. The graphic novels chosen for these lists include classics as well as new titles that have been widely recommended and well-reviewed, and books that have popular appeal as well as critical acclaim. Below is the list of those titles appropriate for teens in grades 6-8.
“Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography” by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, and expertise of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, this authorized biography is the complete account of the lives of Anne’s parents, her first years in Frankfurt, the rise of Nazism, her life in the annex, and her arrest and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen.
“Anya’s Ghost” by Vera Brosgol
When Russian American teenager Anya falls down a well and meets the ghost of a girl who was killed, they become fast friends as Emily helps Anya, and Anya vows to solve Emily’s murder.
“The Arrival” by Shaun Tan
A wordless but very moving story about a lonely man who has just arrived in a new city in a world not unlike our own.
“Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love” by Patricia C. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack Jr., illustrated by Randy DuBurke
This exciting story follows the life of legendary Nat Love, a former slave and one of the most famous cowboys of the Old West.
“Bone: Out from Boneville” by Jeff Smith
The adventure starts when cousins Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are run out of Boneville and later get separated in the wilderness, meeting monsters and making friends as they attempt to return home.
“Cardboard” by Doug TenNapel
A simple birthday gift of a cardboard box turns into something more when a boy and his father discover that whatever they make out of the cardboard is capable of coming to life! Also recommended by this author: “Ghostopolis.”
“Chiggers” by Hope Larson
Summer camp angst follows Abby, a girl attempting to make new friends, who finds that her alliance with weirdo Shasta puts her in danger of becoming an outcast herself.
“Coraline” by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russell
When Coraline steps through a secret door in her house, she finds a marvelous new world much better than her own. However, when her “other mother” wants to keep her there forever, she must use her wits and the help of an all-knowing cat to return to the real world in this graphic novel version of Gaiman’s popular title.
“Foiled” by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro
Aliera is a star at fencing, but at school no one notices her—until her new lab partner Avery begins flirting with her. Will Aliera’s first date be ruined when magical creatures try to steal her foil?
“Friends with Boys” by Faith Erin Hicks
A young homeschooler transitions to high school, along with the mystery of the ghost who has followed her most of her life.
“A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return” by Zeina Abirached
Zeina’s parents have not returned from visiting the other half of divided Beirut during the civil war in Lebanon. Zeina gathers with neighbors in the safest place in the apartment, where they play games, talk and support one another.
“Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword” by Barry Deutsch
Mirka Herschberg lives in an Orthodox Jewish family and dreams of fighting dragons. A witch appears and issues a challenge, giving Mirka the chance she has always wanted.
“Jane, the Fox, and Me” by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabel Arsenault, translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli
Hélène delves deep into the world of Jane Eyre to escape the cruelty of her everyday life at school, until she meets a friend in an unlikely location.
“Kampung Boy” by Lat
Lat, a noted Malaysian cartoonist, tells the story of the early life of a Muslim boy growing up on a rubber plantation during the 1950s. The sequel is “Town Boy.”
“Laika” by Nick Abadzis
History comes alive in the heartbreaking tale of a little stray street pup that was chosen to become a worldwide sensation in the space race.
“Lewis & Clark” by Nick Bertozzi
This historically accurate graphic novel begins with President Jefferson’s call to explore the western region and continues beyond the conclusion of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition.
“Little White Duck: A Childhood in China” by Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez
A fictionalized memoir of a youth spent in post-Mao China. By turns touching, funny and smart, this graphic novel offers a slice of life in a distant country.
“Marble Season” by Gilbert Hernandez
This semiautobiographical story traces the escapades of the author and his siblings and friends in 1960s California as they grow from infants to teens.
“Page by Paige” by Laura Lee Gulledge
When Paige’s family relocates to New York City, she has to start over. As she fills up a sketchbook, she finds the courage to become exactly who she wants to be.
“Rapunzel’s Revenge” by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Two traditional fairy tales— “Rapunzel” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”—merge in a fresh and funny adventure with a western flair. The sequel is “Calamity Jack.”
“Save Yourself” by Jeremy Whitley, edited by David Dwonch, illustrated by M. Goodwin
Princess Adrienne is no damsel in distress. Along with Sparky, her dragon, she will rescue herself and have a few adventures in the meantime.
“The Storm in the Barn” by Matt Phelan
It’s Kansas in 1937, and life is bleak during the Dust Bowl. Jack is left to his imagination in this graphic novel that is part historical fiction, part tall tale.
“Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection” edited by Matt Dembicki
This collaborative effort by more than 40 writers and artists presents 21 Native American trickster tales in graphic novel format.
“Twin Spica” by Kou Yaginuma
Asumi wants to be part of Japan’s first manned space mission. Does she have what it takes?
“Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty” by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke
Based on true events and told through the eyes of a younger boy, this graphic novel tells the story of Robert (“Yummy”) as he tries to navigate the dangerous world of a Chicago neighborhood.
“Zebrafish” by Sharon Emerson, illustrated by Renée Kurilla
Vita and the members of her rock band Zebrafish raise money to help the children’s hospital where one band member is receiving cancer treatments.
Originally published at Great Graphic Novels for Children & Teens.
Looks at the plight of eight homeless persons living in the Skid Row section of downtown Los Angeles. Examines the effects of gentrification, mental illness and drug abuse, and the criminalization of homelessness on the individuals profiled.
September 29: “Code Black” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
October 1: “Tim’s Vermeer” 8:00 p.m. at Wrench Auditorium, free. (via)
October 2: “Food Stamped” 8:00 p.m. at MU Student Center, free. (via)
We recently added “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” to the DBRL collection. The film played earlier this year on the PBS series Independent Lens and currently has a rating of 92% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
The powerful documentary examines the life of Muhammad Ali beyond the boxing ring to offer a personal perspective on the American sporting legend. Investigating Ali’s spiritual transformation includes his conversion to Islam, resistance to the Vietnam War draft, and humanitarian work. The documentary connects Ali’s transcendent life story to America’ struggles with race, religion, and war in the twentieth century.
The documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” (91 min.) focuses on the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, and more. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2013. We also have the film soundtrack at the library.
September 15: “The Dog” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
September 17: “Glickman” 6:30 p.m. at Columbia Public Library, free. (via)
September 18: “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2” 7:30 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
We recently added “The Known Unknown” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2014, and currently has a rating of 84% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld discusses his career in Washington, D.C. from his days as a congressman in the early 1960s to planning the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Daniel Boone Regional Library is sponsoring various films this month in conjunction with the One Read program. This year’s book is “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel Brown, which is a is an uplifting and fast-paced Cinderella story.
“The Rape of Europa”
Friday, September 5, 2014 • 7-9:30 p.m.
106 Lefevre Hall, University of Missouri
As part of our exploration of the 1930s during this year’s One Read program, view this fascinating documentary which uses historic footage and interviews to tell the epic story of the destruction, theft and rescue of the great artworks of Europe during World War II. As Nazis loot and pillage, those dedicated to saving the art do everything in their power to protect it, including emptying the Louvre and evacuating the Hermitage. Directed by Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen and Nicole Newnham and narrated by Joan Allen. The film will be introduced by the Museum of Art and Archaeology’s director, Alex Barker.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 • 7 p.m.
William Woods University Library Auditorium
Based on a true story, this feature film follows a World War II platoon as they track down art stolen by the Nazis and return the masterpieces to their rightful owners. Following the film, Dr. Greg Smith, WWU associate professor of English and film, will lead a discussion about the movie and the University of Washington’s crew team’s experiences at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, as recounted in this year’s One Read selection, “The Boys in the Boat.”
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library – Friends Room
Before Bob Costas, there was Marty Glickman. A gifted Jewish-American athlete who was denied the chance to represent the U.S. at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he went on to become one of the most revered and influential sportscasters in history, pioneering many of the techniques, phrases and programming innovations that are commonplace in sports reporting today. This HBO documentary directed by James L. Freedman is a companion to our One Read book, “The Boys in the Boat,” a story of the U.S. crew team 1936 Olympics.
“King of the Hill”
Monday, September 22, 2014 • 5:30 p.m.
Ragtag Cinema, 10 Hitt St.
As part of One Read, enjoy a free screening of the historical drama “King of the Hill,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. This film, shot in St. Louis and set in the 1930s, Depression-era Midwest, contains echos of Joe Rantz, the central character of “The Boys in the Boat.” It follows a young boy as he struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him. (Rated PG-13, 103 min.)
We recently added “Maidentrip” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown last year at the Citizen Jane Film Festival and currently has a rating of 82% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:Fourteen-year-old Laura Dekker sets out, camera in hand, on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a global storm of media scrutiny, Laura now finds herself far from land, family and unwanted attention, exploring the world in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams of her early youth at sea.
We recently added “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema and currently has a rating of 91% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
An animated documentary on the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language.An animated documentary on the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language. – See more at: http://dbrl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/577581018_is_the_man_who_is_tall_happy#sthash.59NCeRDk.dpuf Roger Ross Williams explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them are coming from American’s largest megachurches. – See more at: http://dbrl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/559029018_god_loves_uganda#sthash.hmxmLNTm.dpuf Roger Ross Williams explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them are coming from American’s largest megachurches. – See more at: http://dbrl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/559029018_god_loves_uganda#sthash.hmxmLNTm.dpuf