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A modern gentleman buys his monocles fair-trade, extends his habits of refined discourse to the Internet and understands that literature sometimes pulls the curtain back on acts of marital intimacy that are often neither preceded nor followed by nuptials. Even so, I was unable to prevent the frequent dropping of my monocles during the course of reading Bill Cotter’s “The Parallel Apartments.” But not all droppings were related to the artfully depicted acts of often artless intimacy. Indeed, the monocle carnage extended past the reading of the novel and to the reading of reactions to it. I ruined one when I read a review focusing on the ribald aspects rather than the myriad less scandalous reasons to recommend the book. As Cotter alludes to in this charming interview, the Puritanism regarding a few scenes of bodily congress is surprising given erotica’s stranglehold on bestseller lists.
But now I’m guilty of focusing on the tawdry when I should be trying to convince fans of tragicomedy and exquisite writing to check out this book. “The Parallel Apartments” aims most of its focus on three generations of mothers and most of the remaining on assorted inhabitants of the titular complex. One character has $400,000 of credit card debt, and when she inherits enough to pay it off, she instead decides to invest in a robot gigolo and start a brothel in her home, which is both a good business plan and an aid in avoiding her greatest fear: becoming pregnant. Another’s desire to become pregnant is intense enough to require the reader have several backup monocles at the ready. Another character yearns to be a serial killer but thwarts himself, among other ways, by tipping his darts with harmless frog juice rather than deadly frog poison. A retired prostitute hopes to defeat AIDS by having a guru and his unfortunate raccoon clean her blood. She’s accompanied back to Austin by a man that fled it for reasons, revealed brilliantly and late in the novel, that will again have your monocle in shocked descent. Eventually the characters converge to form an ending I’d love to prattle on endlessly about.
The author says his focus was on the sentence level, and the attention to pretty and amusing sentences shows. Cotter’s plot is also worthy of praise, though. The story’s timeline weaves back and forth through decades in a way orchestrated to maximize the impact of various alarming bits of back story and have your eyewear flying off your face. “The Parallel Apartments” is a unique novel, and it gave me a unique feeling (that has nothing to do with the aforementioned scenes of fleshy goings-on). I was heartbroken, delighted, awed and some other stuff there’s probably words for in German. This emotional cocktail caused both a special breed of the weird melancholic elation that often accompanies the finishing of great books and also the need to replace several shattered and/or irreparably moistened monocles.
I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I enjoy the ways technology has democratized access to information and transformed librarianship. Yes, we still have books printed on actual paper (my preferred way to read), but we also provide downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and digital magazines, as well as streaming music and movies. I love being able to have something to read or listen to, any time and anywhere.
However, I don’t want to always have my face in a screen, and I don’t want my young children to become device addicts either, always clamoring to play Minecraft or Angry Birds. So I’ve resisted smartphone ownership (being ridiculed for my old-school cell phone with its slide-out QWERTY keyboard) until this Mother’s Day when I received a shiny new Galaxy S 5. Now I have to figure out how to make this device work for me and not become a slave to its many tempting features and functions.
I could start with a class. Every month or so the library offers a training session called Maximizing your Android Device. (We also have similar classes for Apple device owners.) The next class will be at 2:30 p.m. on June 9 at the Columbia Public Library. (Call 573-443-3161 to register starting May 27.)
Of course, there are books I could consult as well. We have a slew of books about smartphones, from the Missing Manual series to the Teach Yourself Visually books.
In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the number of apps available for download, I’m starting with my library favorites, including our mobile catalog app from BiblioCommons, the OverDrive app for my eBooks and Hoopla for music and video. (All of these apps are featured at DBRLTeen in a handy guide that includes links for downloading.)
Finally, to make sure I don’t let this very seductive device ruin my real-life relationships with friends and family, I’m going to check out William Powers’ book “Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age.” In hardback.
When someone in the family suffers appendicitis, breaks an arm or develops an insufferable case of poison ivy, we usually know where we can look for help. For mental health needs, it’s not always obvious. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this is a good time to highlight resources related to this topic.
On Tuesday, May 20, the Columbia Public Library will host a Mental Health Forum focusing on local resources for children and youth. Refreshments will be available at 6:30 p.m., and the panel presentation will take place from 7:00 to 8:30. No registration is required.
During the month of May, two of our branches will have displays focusing on the subject of mental health. The Callaway County Public Library exhibit can be found outside their Friends Room. It features winning artwork from the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s 2013 poster contest, with a theme of “Recovery, Hope and Stigma Reduction.”
Beginning Thursday, May 15, the Columbia Public Library will have a table display on the second floor. This will include books for checkout, along with brochures, flyers, bookmarks and stickers provided by the Missouri Mental Health Foundation and supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health.
The Columbia Public Library will also provide space for the “Pillows of Unrest & Hope” display, beginning Saturday, May 17. This exhibit includes pillow cases used as artistic canvases by clients of the Fulton State Hospital. They were asked to depict their struggles with mental illness or developmental disability and what gives them hope.
Of course, the library has a plethora of helpful resources available year-round:
Our Mental Health To-Go Kits address a variety of specific issues – depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse and more. Each kit contains books and DVDs for checkout, plus pamphlets, magnets and other items you can keep.
“Junebug” is an autobiographical novel with fantasy elements. Local author and Cherie Doyen penned this empowering story of a girl overcoming the trauma of sexual abuse in the hopes that others suffering similarly would not feel alone or powerless.
“Healing With the Arts” speaks to integrating the arts into medical care, both physical and mental, as an essential part of the healing process. Literature, visual arts, dance and music are all part of the program.
“After the Crisis: Using Storybooks to Help Children Cope” provides a list of 50 book recommendations with related activities to help kids recover from traumatic life events such as natural disasters, homelessness and loss of a loved one. The book is geared toward teachers, but other adults will find it useful, too.
For more items, see our catalog list. And remember, these resources wouldn’t exist if there were no demand for them. That means you’re not alone.
We recently added “A Brief History of Time” to the DBRL collection. This film by Errol Morris was originally released in 1991, but has been re-released by the Criterion Collection with new material. The film currently has a rating of 93% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
Errol Morris (The Fog of War) turns his camera on one of the most fascinating men in the world: the pioneering astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, afflicted by a debilitating motor neuron disease that has left him without a voice or the use of his limbs. An adroitly crafted tale of personal adversity, professional triumph, and cosmological inquiry, Morris’s documentary examines the way the collapse of Hawking’s body has been accompanied by the untrammeled broadening of his imagination.
I hate to tell Charles Dickens, but one of his contemporaries is a rival for my literary heart. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins has been collecting dust on my “to read” list for years. When I discovered the book is one of J.K. Rowling’s favorites, it moved up the list, but didn’t make it to the top until a few weeks ago. Then, wowza! I stayed up late several nights in a row, reading “just a few more pages.”
“The Woman in White” is a story of mysterious characters and devious plots, assumed identities and international intrigue, family scandals and thwarted love. We see the full range of human character – greed, devotion, manipulation, love, hate, duty, evasion of duty, cheating, honesty – as different parts of the story are related by various characters involved.
Walter Hartright has no idea the turns his life will take after he accepts a position as drawing teacher for the Fairlie family. He has two pupils, Marian and Laura, who are half-sisters. The head of the estate is Laura’s uncle, who provides much of the humor in the book. He suffers from nerves, poor thing, and can’t tolerate sunlight, conversation, decision-making or servants who fail to mind-read. Before Hartright reaches the Fairlie home, he encounters and assists a strange young woman in white during a late-night walk. As it turns out, she has some connection to the family who has employed him. And some mysterious, less-than-desirable connection to Laura’s fiancé, Sir Percival Glyde. (Even his name sounds oily and corrupt.) Assisted by his friend Count Fosco, who is Laura’s uncle by marriage, it’s obvious early on that Glyde is up to something nefarious. But what could it be?
I feel it is my duty, dear reader, to warn you that there is a fainting couch and it is swooned upon. You will also encounter some gender stereotyping typical of the mid-19th century. However, the plot and strong characterizations (Marian, in particular, is an intelligent and active female character) make these deficiencies forgivable. A bonus for me, as a Harry Potter fan, was discovering where J.K. Rowling found inspiration for a certain trademark of a cohort of villains.
Are you intrigued enough to want your very own copy of “The Woman in White?” Fill out the following form, including the answer to this trivia question for a chance to win:
Wilkie Collins’ book “The Moonstone” involves the theft of a jewel. What type of jewel is it?
One winner will be selected at random from among correct entries.
The post Classics For Everyone, and a Book Giveaway: Wilkie Collins appeared first on DBRL Next.
SYNC, a service of AudioFile Magazine, offers free young adult and classic audiobook downloads during the summer months. Through this program, you can download two free audiobook titles each week from May 15 through August 20.
This summer’s lineup includes “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein, “Warp: The Reluctant Assassin” by Eoin Colfer and “I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You” by Ally Carter. The classics available for download include works by H.G. Wells, Agatha Christie, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle.
These audiobooks download directly to your computer through Overdrive Media Console. After you’ve downloaded the audiobook to your computer, you can then transfer it to your MP3 player, iPod or other Apple device.
If you download free audiobooks through the library, then you may already be familiar with Overdrive Media Console. If not, you can review these instructions to help you get started. The best part is that all audiobooks downloaded through SYNC are yours to keep forever and ever.
Originally published at Free Audiobook Downloads from SYNC.
With our new digital service, Hoopla, you can watch videos or listen to music and audiobooks with your computer or mobile device for free. Hoopla allows us to add music, movies and TV to our digital oﬀerings for the ﬁrst time. Plus, you’ll never have to wait on any item through Hoopla because more than one person can access the same movie, album or audiobook at the same time.
Download the free Hoopla mobile app on your Android or iOS device to begin enjoying thousands of titles from major ﬁlm studios, recording companies and publishers. Hoopla items can also stream to your computer through your Web browser.
- You will be allowed to borrow 10 titles each month.
- Movies & TV shows check out for 72 hours.
- Music checks out for 7 days.
- Audiobooks check out for 21 days.
- Content begins streaming immediately. You can also download most titles to devices for oﬄine viewing or listening.
- Once you borrow a title on one device it is automatically available via all devices with the Hoopla app or, on your computer, through your browser (Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 12+, Safari 5+, Chrome 19+).
- View or listen to the borrowed content as often as you want during the check-out period.
To use this free service, you need to have a current Daniel Boone Regional Library card. Don’t have one? Learn more at www.dbrl.org/librarycard.
The post Stream Free Movies, Music and Audiobooks From Your Library appeared first on DBRL Next.
We recently added “These Birds Walk” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2013, and currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? The streets, an orphanage, or with the family he fled in the first place? Simultaneously heart-wrenching and life-affirming, the film documents the struggles of these wayward street children and the Samaritans looking out for them in this ethereal and inspirational story of resilience.
We all could say something nice or special about our moms, and I’m no exception. What makes my mom amazing and notable is the way she lives her life. But before I tell you about her life today, you need to know where she has been.
Dorothy Elizabeth Isgrig was born in 1926 in Montgomery City, Missouri, the first of three children born to her parents Frederick William Isgrig and his third wife Stella Moore Yates Nalley. She also had 12 older half brothers and sisters, as her parents already had several children between the two. The Great Depression was in full swing when my mom was little, and she can remember getting her Christmas toys from the Salvation Army. From the ages of 2 to 9 she lived in Kansas, and then she returned to Missouri in a Ford Model T or Model A, driven by her brother-in-law. In 1936, her first year back in Missouri, my mom and her immediate family lived in a shack that had previously been occupied by hired hands of a local farmer. My mom went on to get her eighth-grade diploma at Jesse School house two miles west of Mexico. She walked over five blocks every day to be picked up by her teacher to be taken to school.
On Easter Sunday this year, my mom and other family members went to see the one-room Beagles schoolhouse in Audrain County, now a community center, that mom attended. On that same trip we drove by where my mom’s other school, Erisman, once stood. She attended there four years. We then went on to the Presbyterian Church where she was “sprinkled” as a teenager. While on the road, my mom began to tell me even more details about her childhood – teachers’ names, schoolmates and stories from her younger days. I said, “Mom, I can’t write this stuff down while I’m driving!” Soon after our excursion, we sat on the couch, and I wrote down everything I could remember her telling me. She had never spoken about these details before. There is something about “going home” that jogs the memory.
We didn’t have much growing up, and my mom didn’t either. She grew up during the Great Depression when there was no work to be had. When she was a young teenager she peeled apples for ladies who made pies. At 16 she got a job at the Crown Laundry and continued that until she had her first child. Women could get work then because so many men were in the service.
Dorothy married my father, Raymond Lee Dollens, in April of 1947, just less than four months shy of her twenty-first birthday. Two days shy of their first wedding anniversary they became the parents of their first child, Ruth Ann. A baby would follow almost every year after that until they had their fourteenth child (me) in December of 1964. So all of us kids are baby boomers. We could be a sociological project! My Mom now has 35 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren, with two more great grandchildren on the way.
Raising a large family is much like army life. Order, discipline and pecking order are all in play. If I told you I didn’t have an opinion until I was an adult on my own, you might not believe me, but it is TRUE. I had more peer pressure from my siblings than I ever had from kids I knew from church or school. My mom pretty much followed the same routine every day to keep the household running. She still washes the dishes with my older sister every day.
What makes my mom amazing is that things she does today should inspire anyone of the baby boom generation or older. First, she keeps a regular schedule. She walks up to two miles a day, five to six days a week like clockwork. She goes to her doctor regularly and actually follows through with her diet plan. Oh, she will tell you that she gained 30 pounds with her first baby and has never been able to lose them, but that doesn’t keep her from maintaining her diabetes. She became a diabetic at the age of 79, and up until the age of 87 she maintained it with diet and exercise alone. Talk about discipline. She now has to take a pill to help regulate her diabetes. How many octogenarians can say that? Her lifestyle is what makes her the strong person she is.
Most of my mom’s contemporaries are deceased, including all of her siblings and most of her in-laws. Her friends now are her children and their families. She does enjoy the babies. She loves to hold the babies and talk to the toddlers. I am so very thankful that at the age of 87 my mom is as alert, mobile, social and healthy as a person of her age can be.
So now you know why my mom is special. Why is your mom special? Whatever the reason, make sure you let her know this Mother’s Day!
Our annual teen Summer Reading program will launch Monday, June 2. Area young adults ages 12-18 will be challenged to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews and do seven of our suggested activities. Get your reward card punched as you go, and when you finish, you’ll receive a surprise and be entered in a drawing for a free Kindle eReader.
In addition to our popular teen summer reading challenge, the library is planning a wide range of free programs to help you “Spark a Reaction.” We’ll invite teens to enjoy crafting over lunch, participate in our annual photography contest and showcase their knowledge through a fun trivia contest. To receive email reminders of these and other teen programs, sign up for our blog updates!“Spark a Reaction” Teen Photography Contest
Spark your creativity through photography. Submit your photos in one of three categories by July 25 for a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card. This contest is open to all teens in Boone and Callaway Counties. Find contest rules and submission guidelines at teens.dbrl.org after June 2. Ages 12-18.Project Teen: Pamper Yourself
Make your own bath bombs, shower soothers and lip balms. We’ll provide pizza and supplies. Ages 11-16.Callaway County Public Library
Fri., June 20 at 12 p.m.
No registration required. Southern Boone County Public Library
Tues., June 24 at 12 p.m.
No registration required. Project Teen: Steampunk Accessories
Monday, June 23, 1-2:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Fashion your own steampunk jewelry and accessories. We’ll provide a pizza lunch. Ages 12-18. Registration begins Tuesday, June 10. Call (573) 443-3161 to sign up.Project Teen: Catapults
Create your own catapult. We’ll take them outside to see how far they will throw marshmallows. We’ll provide pizza afterwards (for eating, not throwing.) Ages 11-16.Callaway County Public Library
Fri., July 18 at 12 p.m.
No registration required. Southern Boone County Public Library
Tues., July 22 at 12 p.m.
No registration required. Project Teen: Trivia at the End of the World
Wednesday, July 23, 1-2:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Answer trivia questions related to your favorite dystopian young adult novels such as “Divergent,” “Hunger Games” and “Legend.” It may not be a battle to the death, but there will be some fun prizes. We will provide a pizza lunch. Registration begins Tuesday, July 8. Call (573) 443-3161 to sign up.Doctor Who Celebration
Thursday, July 31, 6:30-8 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library
Are you a Doctor Who fan? Join us for games and activities based on the British science fiction TV series. Create a replica of a sonic screwdriver. Answer trivia questions. Come in costume or not. All ages.Color Explosion
Friday, August 1, 3-5:30 p.m.
Southern Boone County Public Library
Come create your own inspired tie-dye t-shirt. Learn about the science of dyes and color mixing and matching. We’ll supply the t-shirts. All ages.The Giver Celebration
Thursday, August 7, 6-7 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Discuss Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, the upcoming movie, and participate in themed activities. Ages 10 and up. Registration begins Tuesday, July 29. Call (573) 443-3161 to sign up.Teen Game Night
Friday, August 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Southern Boone County Public Library
Challenge your friends to a game on our Wii U console or to a board game tournament. We’ll have various games available as well as supplies for art projects. Refreshments provided. Please enter through back door.
Originally published at 2014 Summer Program Preview.
My wife and I have found parenting small children to be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. While our children are little, we see it as a way to relive our own childhoods in some ways: watching the old Muppet Movies again, flying kites, enjoying Fruit Loops guilt-free, playing board games that involve colorful shiny plastic objects and lots of rudimentary counting.
Along with the fun it can get difficult. And dirty. And tiring. And also incredibly funny. The moments of laughter spent with our own daughters account for some of the most hilarious times in my life so far. Much of it is unintentional – just moments of pure joy wrapped in semi-ridiculous situations. In celebration of Mother’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the more recent humorous parenting and mothering titles out there. (Think Gen-X’s answer to Erma Bombeck – a little more irony, a few more swear words.)
How about “Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures,” a book of cartoons by Amber Dusick. Amber’s experiences are universal – toddlers who create constant chaos and havoc, misuse common phrases (and swear words, with the expected results), treat the cats badly and display affection and sweetness with sincere deliveries of flowers, pronounced “fowlers.” The sleeplessness and chaos that come with parenting young children are fleshed out in (very poorly) drawn cartoons, but the humor is very real. Why cry when you can laugh? My favorite chapter, “The Good Stuff,” includes this classic two year-old knock knock joke: “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Cookie. Cookie Who? BIG COOKIE!!”
“Don’t Lick the Minivan, and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kids” by blogger and humorist Leanne Shirtliffe examines raising baby twins in the international city of Bangkok, Thailand and returning to the suburbs of Canada, where absurdities continue, such as a barbie funeral. Anecdotes from the Shirtliffe family’s time in Bangkok are profoundly funny: “As we left the village . . . our driver navigated around an accident, likely caused by our screaming child – and he maneuvered around other developing world obstacles, like a family of five on a motorbike and a 1960s truck filled with jingling propane bottles.” The book is also spiced with sidebars that include advice such as “Parenting Tip: When you’re arguing with your spouse over parenting issues, imitate a cartoon character to defuse the situation.”
Julia Sweeney is best known for her stint on Saturday Night Live, but she is also an author, speaker and mother, having adopted a Chinese child, Mulan. In her new book “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother,” she recounts the adoption process, all the while balancing her career. “It took so long to assemble my lovely family. I did it all a bit backward: first a delightful daughter, then a beloved husband.”
Sweeney eventually ends up in Wilmette, Illinois (near the college town of Evanston, IL) which she describes as “like living in Logan, Utah, six blocks from Berkeley, California.” Coming from California was a change, she writes. “The entire city of Wilmette is set up to accommodate families. While I appreciate this, it can be mind-numbing. Also, I should add that I live in a city of blond ponytails; one might describe it as a sea of blond ponytails.” However, she does find her own domestic bliss in her new circumstances: “Thinking through this whole family experience has made me feel less attached to places and things, and more invested in experiencing being with people I love.”
Lastly, although only available in audiobook format, let us not forget Garrison Keillor’s wonderful tribute to the mothers of the world: “Motherhood.” Prairie Home Companion is, above all else, a true celebration of family and community. Listen to the cast from the show present humorous skits that showcase the joys, travails, and delightful moments encapsulated in being a Mom.
Please see these books (and many more!) for a humorous explorations of what it means to be a parent and most especially a Mom. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there!
Voting for the 2014 One Read book is now closed. We appreciate all of you who cast your vote for either “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain or “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel Brown.
On May 20 we will announce the winning book here at oneread.org.
In the meantime, read more about our finalists!
The post Thank You for Your Votes! One READ Winner Announced May 20 appeared first on One READ.
LearningExpress Library is a comprehensive, online learning platform of practice tests and tutorial courses designed to help students and adult learners succeed on the academic or licensing tests they must pass. On June 2, 2014, LearningExpress will be updated to LearningExpress Library 3.0. This new version has a cleaner, updated look and is much easier to navigate and use but houses the same quality content.
Free with your library card, use this resource to practice and prepare for:
- The HiSET Exam, which has replaced the GED for Missouri High School equivalency testing.
- College and graduate placement tests (ACT, SAT, GRE, MCAD, LSAT).
- Elementary and high school tests (Advanced Placement; high school, middle school, and elementary school skills).
- Career preparation exams (EMS, Firefighter, PPST – Praxis, Civil Service, and reading, math and writing skills practice).
- TOEFL and U.S. Citizenship Exams.
The update and the shift to a new platform requires existing users to re-register their accounts. Existing accounts will not be carried over to the new version. Work done on the old LearningExpress will be not be available after June 2, 2014. Users should finish their current tests and courses and register for a new account at their earliest convenience after June 2. To see the new look of this learning platform check out www.learningexpresslibrary3.com.
The post Updates to LearningExpress Practice Tests and Career Tutorials appeared first on DBRL Next.
Cemetery Walking Tour
Monday, May 19 ›6-7:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library
Join us on an atmospheric evening walking tour to learn about the history and art of the Columbia Cemetery. We’ll meet in the lobby of the Columbia Public Library and then walk a block down to the cemetery. Please wear comfortable shoes. Canceled if raining. Co-sponsored by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission. All ages. Those 12 and younger, please bring an adult with you.
Originally published at Program Preview: Cemetery Walking Tour.
Follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced?