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Review: Dominion by C.J. Sansom

Next Book Buzz - 10 hours 25 min ago

Book cover for Dominion by CJ SansomOn a recent day trip to the Omnimax theater at the St. Louis Science Center to see a film about D-Day, my father-in-law commented on how things might be now if Germany won the war. His comment struck a chord, reminding me of a book that I had recently learned of – C.J. Sansom’s alternate history, “Dominion.” This alternative history imagines a world in which World War II has not occurred.

Great Britain, still reeling from the war torn years of WWI, finds itself under the leadership of Lord Halifax rather than Winston Churchill. This single act drastically changes the world that would have been had WWII been allowed to play out. Author C.J. Sansom sets “Dominion” in the early 1950s, over a decade after a 1940 truce between the two nations. Great Britain now finds itself more and more under the control of its Fascist alli. During that decade, European Jews and now British Jews are gathered and shipped off to camps, under the guise of separating the races. In fact, they are being exterminated, as Nazis attempt to create a “pure” empire.

Sansom focuses his story on the growing resistance movement that fights relentlessly to overthrow the German regime that has infiltrated Great Britain. He follows David, a civil servant, who also happens to be working as a spy for the resistance; Sarah, David’s wife, and a pacifist; Frank, a college friend of David’s who holds a secret the Nazis will kill to get their hands on; and Gunther, the SS officer sent to capture Frank. “Dominion” is told from their various perspectives.

I loved the depth brought to the story as its perspective moved back and forth between these rich and compelling characters. Sansom’s research is also highly evident, particularly in his notes section at the book’s end. So although this is an alternative history, it is chock full of people who did exist. Sansom even incorporates other aspects of history into the story that add to its realism. For example, he includes a true fog event that occurred during the very time period during which the novel is set, which ultimately impacts the events that occur within the novel. Sansom’s extensive research truly creates a world that could have existed if the events of 1940 had gone differently.

“Dominion” is a great read for anyone who loves a thriller, but readers of historical fiction may find it satisfying as well thanks to all the research and real history found throughout the story. And for those of us who enjoy learning about history, but also enjoy pondering “what if,” it is certainly a book that does not disappoint. (And for those who are intrigued by the idea of reading alternative histories, the library owns several beyond this title. Check out some that you may enjoy reading by browsing our catalog.)

The post Review: Dominion by C.J. Sansom appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Review: Dominion by C.J. Sansom

DBRL Next - 10 hours 25 min ago

Book cover for Dominion by CJ SansomOn a recent day trip to the Omnimax theater at the St. Louis Science Center to see a film about D-Day, my father-in-law commented on how things might be now if Germany won the war. His comment struck a chord, reminding me of a book that I had recently learned of – C.J. Sansom’s alternate history, “Dominion.” This alternative history imagines a world in which World War II has not occurred.

Great Britain, still reeling from the war torn years of WWI, finds itself under the leadership of Lord Halifax rather than Winston Churchill. This single act drastically changes the world that would have been had WWII been allowed to play out. Author C.J. Sansom sets “Dominion” in the early 1950s, over a decade after a 1940 truce between the two nations. Great Britain now finds itself more and more under the control of its Fascist alli. During that decade, European Jews and now British Jews are gathered and shipped off to camps, under the guise of separating the races. In fact, they are being exterminated, as Nazis attempt to create a “pure” empire.

Sansom focuses his story on the growing resistance movement that fights relentlessly to overthrow the German regime that has infiltrated Great Britain. He follows David, a civil servant, who also happens to be working as a spy for the resistance; Sarah, David’s wife, and a pacifist; Frank, a college friend of David’s who holds a secret the Nazis will kill to get their hands on; and Gunther, the SS officer sent to capture Frank. “Dominion” is told from their various perspectives.

I loved the depth brought to the story as its perspective moved back and forth between these rich and compelling characters. Sansom’s research is also highly evident, particularly in his notes section at the book’s end. So although this is an alternative history, it is chock full of people who did exist. Sansom even incorporates other aspects of history into the story that add to its realism. For example, he includes a true fog event that occurred during the very time period during which the novel is set, which ultimately impacts the events that occur within the novel. Sansom’s extensive research truly creates a world that could have existed if the events of 1940 had gone differently.

“Dominion” is a great read for anyone who loves a thriller, but readers of historical fiction may find it satisfying as well thanks to all the research and real history found throughout the story. And for those of us who enjoy learning about history, but also enjoy pondering “what if,” it is certainly a book that does not disappoint. (And for those who are intrigued by the idea of reading alternative histories, the library owns several beyond this title. Check out some that you may enjoy reading by browsing our catalog.)

The post Review: Dominion by C.J. Sansom appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Upcoming Teen Game Nights

DBRLTeen - August 26, 2014

Wii U Dance-OffPizza
Wednesday, September 17, 2:45-5 p.m.
Think you have the best dance moves? Prove it! Bring your moves and your friends to this fun dance competition using “Just Dance” on the Wii U. We’ll have treats and other goodies. Grades 6-8. No registration required.

Wii U Family Game Night
Columbia Public Library
Thursday September 18, 6:00 p.m.
Drop in to try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 4″ or a bowling champion playing “Wii Sports.” Pizza served. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, September 2. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Upcoming Teen Game Nights.

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New DVD: “Maidentrip”

Center Aisle Cinema - August 25, 2014

maidentrip

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.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The September 2014 List

Next Book Buzz - August 25, 2014

Library Reads logoSeptember is upon us! Time to get serious and hit the books. This month’s list of recommended titles from LibraryReads leaves behind the lighter fare of summer and includes some heavy-hitting literary fiction, as well as a book that stares death in the face. Here are the top 10 books being published in September that librarians love.

Book cover for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin DoughtySmoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty
“Part memoir, part exposé of the death industry, and part instruction manual for aspiring morticians. First-time author Doughty has written an attention-grabbing book that is sure to start some provocative discussions. Fans of Mary Roach’s ‘Stiff’ and anyone who enjoys an honest, well-written autobiography will appreciate this quirky story.”
- Patty Falconer, Hampstead Public Library, Hampstead, NH

Book cover for Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
“An actor playing King Lear dies onstage just before a cataclysmic event changes the future of everyone on Earth. What will be valued and what will be discarded? Will art have a place in a world that has lost so much? What will make life worth living? These are just some of the issues explored in this beautifully written dystopian novel. Recommended for fans of David Mitchell, John Scalzi and Kate Atkinson.”
- Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

Book cover for The Secret Place by Tana FrenchThe Secret Place
by Tana French
“French has broken my heart yet again with her fifth novel, which examines the ways in which teenagers and adults can be wily, calculating and backstabbing, even with their friends. The tension-filled flashback narratives, relating to a murder investigation in suburban Dublin, will keep you turning pages late into the night.”
- Alison McCarty, Nassau County Public Library System, Callahan, FL

And here is the rest of the list with links to our catalog so you can place holds on these on-order titles.

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The September 2014 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The September 2014 List

DBRL Next - August 25, 2014

Library Reads logoSeptember is upon us! Time to get serious and hit the books. This month’s list of recommended titles from LibraryReads leaves behind the lighter fare of summer and includes some heavy-hitting literary fiction, as well as a book that stares death in the face. Here are the top 10 books being published in September that librarians love.

Book cover for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin DoughtySmoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty
“Part memoir, part exposé of the death industry, and part instruction manual for aspiring morticians. First-time author Doughty has written an attention-grabbing book that is sure to start some provocative discussions. Fans of Mary Roach’s ‘Stiff’ and anyone who enjoys an honest, well-written autobiography will appreciate this quirky story.”
- Patty Falconer, Hampstead Public Library, Hampstead, NH

Book cover for Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
“An actor playing King Lear dies onstage just before a cataclysmic event changes the future of everyone on Earth. What will be valued and what will be discarded? Will art have a place in a world that has lost so much? What will make life worth living? These are just some of the issues explored in this beautifully written dystopian novel. Recommended for fans of David Mitchell, John Scalzi and Kate Atkinson.”
- Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

Book cover for The Secret Place by Tana FrenchThe Secret Place
by Tana French
“French has broken my heart yet again with her fifth novel, which examines the ways in which teenagers and adults can be wily, calculating and backstabbing, even with their friends. The tension-filled flashback narratives, relating to a murder investigation in suburban Dublin, will keep you turning pages late into the night.”
- Alison McCarty, Nassau County Public Library System, Callahan, FL

And here is the rest of the list with links to our catalog so you can place holds on these on-order titles.

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The September 2014 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Photo Contest: People’s Choice Award Winner

DBRLTeen - August 23, 2014
Greta Cross, "Runaway Bride"

Greta Cross, “Runaway Bride”

At the conclusion of our photo contest, we prepare for the launch of our next competition which will be a book cover contest. To celebrate Teen Read Week, we want to see what new covers you can dream up for your favorite book. Teens can submit original artwork by Friday, October 17 for a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card. Find contest rules and submission guidelines after Monday, September 8 at teens.dbrl.org.

Earlier in August we asked our patrons to choose the “People’s Choice” award winner by “liking” their photographs on the library’s Facebook page. Winner Greta Cross received nearly 90 votes for her submission, “Runaway Bride.” She will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as her award.

Congratulations to all our winners and many thanks to our talented teen patrons for their participation! To receive email reminders about our upcoming Teen Book Cover Contest, be sure to register for our blog updates!

© All rights to the photographs contained herein reserved by their respective photographers.

Originally published at Photo Contest: People’s Choice Award Winner.

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Festivals for Local History Buffs

DBRL Next - August 22, 2014

Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism via FlickrIf you’re into local history and festivals, you’re in luck.

September 13 and 14, be a part of the Battle of Centralia reenactment weekend. Held in in Centralia, Missouri, this event commemorates the 150th anniversary of the fight between Federal troops and Confederate “Bloody Bill” Anderson and his men. In addition to the reenactment, enjoy two full days of activities, including music, crafts, food vendors, Civil War historians, dancing and night firing of Civil War cannons! Visit the Friends of Centralia Battlefield’s website for more information.

The following weekend will be the 37th Annual Heritage Festival & Craft Show on the grounds of the Boone County Historical Society outside the Maplewood Home in historic Nifong Park. This annual event will be even more special this year with tours of the completed homes in the village just behind the museum. More reenactments of the “good ole days” will also be included, with artisans and tradespeople dressed in 19th century attire demonstrating their trades and selling their wares. On the Maplewood Home’s porch will be booths sharing information about the Boone County Historical Society and the Genealogical Society of Central Missouri.

In October, the 2014 inductees to the Boone County Hall of Fame will be celebrated at the historical society’s annual reception. The Boone County Hall of Fame honors some of the area’s individuals and organizations “whose contributions of talent and ingenuity made an impact on Boone County’s past, helping it to become the progressive and thriving county it is today.” This year’s honorees are writer Warren Dalton; attorney Don Sanders, a key figure in the Watergate investigation, former Boone County Commissioner and past president of the Boone County Historical Society; and Little Dixie Construction. This event is a fundraiser for the Walters History Museum.

If you love local festivals of all types, here are some other events to add to your calendar this fall. Crafts, music, food – Mid-Mo has you covered.

photo credit: Missouri Division of Tourism via photopin cc

The post Festivals for Local History Buffs appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Photo Contest Winner: Portrait Division

DBRLTeen - August 22, 2014
Lucas Desmit, "The Curious Dog"

Lucas Desmit, “The Curious Dog”

Did you know that with our new digital service, Hoopla, you can watch videos or listen to music and audiobooks with your computer or mobile device? It’s like Netflix, but free!

Hoopla allows us to offer streaming music, movies and TV shows 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 be streamed through your computer’s Web browser. Additionally, the library provides free downloadable YA titles and magazines through our Overdrive and Zinio services!

And now, we are pleased to announce the winner among those contestants competing in the Portrait division: Lucas Desmit. He will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as his award.

Tomorrow we wrap-up our Teen Photography Contest by recognizing the winner of the “People’s Choice” award.

Gallery of Portrait Submissions


© All rights to the photographs contained herein reserved by their respective photographers.

Originally published at Photo Contest Winner: Portrait Division.

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Docs Around Town: Aug. 22 – Aug. 28

Center Aisle Cinema - August 21, 2014

ifyoubuildit

August 27: If You Build It” 5:30 p.m. at  Ragtag, free. (via)

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Photo Contest: Nature Division Winner (Ages 14-18)

DBRLTeen - August 21, 2014
Hunter Dougan, "Reflection that Captured Dragonflies"

Hunter Dougan, “Reflection that Captured Dragonflies”

Today we continue to recognize the winners in our “Spark a Reaction” Teen Photography Contest. The library received 40 eligible entries and contestants were separated into four separate divisions:

Contestants have been judged on the following criteria:

  • Composition, the overall arrangement of elements within the photo.
  • The use of color, light and shadow to capture the image.
  • The creative interpretation of their chosen theme (portrait, nature or artistic showcase).

And now, we are pleased to announce the winner among those contestants ages 14-18 competing in the Nature division: Hunter Dougan. He says, “I liked the look of the reflection of the clouds in the water with my shadow and then noticed the dragonflies.” Hunter will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as his award.

Join us tomorrow as we announce the winner among those entries submitted for the Portrait division.

Gallery of Portrait Submissions


© All rights to the photographs contained herein reserved by their respective photographers.

Originally published at Photo Contest: Nature Division Winner (Ages 14-18).

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Too Hot To Cook? Then Don’t!

DBRL Next - August 20, 2014

Photo of Pan Bagnet by Kevin via FlickrOkay, admittedly, this has been one of the coolest summers in mid-Missouri in a long time, but we’ve still had plenty of hot days. Without all that summer sunshine and heat we wouldn’t have the produce bounty we’re lucky to have here in the Midwest – fat juicy tomatoes, cantaloupes, sweet corn, cucumbers, bushy bunches of basil, peaches, watermelon, okra, eggplant and on and on, all wonderfully and locally available. This appeal is obvious if you attend farmers’ markets - they are teeming with people scouting for the freshest picked and most flavorful fruits and vegetables.  That said, as the days of summer wear on and the heat and humidity debilitate, preparing meals over a hot stove and heating up the house drops way down on the list of my favorite things to do. Is that true for you? Well, if so, fear not. You can eat well without cooking (or cooking very little). When the temperatures rise, it’s time to resort to chilled soups, smoothies, saladssandwiches and other raw food recipes to feed yourself and your family. DBRL’s collection is replete with cookbooks featuring these “un-cooked” meals.

One of my boys’ all-time favorite meals is Pan-Bagnat (pronunciation: pan ban-YAH).  It is essentially a salad Nicoise (from the Nice area of France) on a crusty roll, packed with lots of goodies that can be varied – tuna, hard-boiled eggs, Greek olives, slivered red onion, tomatoes and provolone – drizzled with olive oil or pesto. It’s a complete meal in and of itself and so easy to make and divinely delicious to eat. I really ought to make it more often. We packed this treat along with some fresh bing cherries and orangeade kombucha for a recent bike ride picnic, and everyone went home with happy taste buds and satisfied bellies.

Another nice aspect to leaving the stove behind and focusing on these cooler meals is that they tend to involve less time in the making, leaving more time for other activities, like going for a swim – another great way to take the edge off the heat.

photo credit: Kevandy via photopin cc

The post Too Hot To Cook? Then Don’t! appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Photo Contest: Nature Division Winner (Ages 12-13)

DBRLTeen - August 20, 2014
Ethan Mott, "Morning Dew"

Ethan Mott, “Morning Dew”

Our teen blog not only provides access to the library’s helpful online resources, but it also serves as a gallery for our creative teen patrons. In addition to our Homework Help databases and ACT/SAT test prep guides, be sure to check out our two published booklets of “Flash Fiction” short stories and our teen photography showcase. Subscribe to our blog updates and get news of upcoming writing and photography contests delivered directly to your inbox!

Today, DBRLTeen is excited to announce that Ethan Mott is the winner among those contestants ages 12-13 competing in the Nature division. When asked about his photo, “Morning Dew,” he explained, “Dew on grass in the early morning is somewhat unique. Seeing a dew drop up-close gives you a better look at the world in a small sense.”

Ethan will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as her award.  Tomorrow we will announce the winner among those contestants ages 14-18 competing in the Nature division.

Gallery of Nature Division Submissions (Ages 12-13)


© All rights to the photographs contained herein reserved by their respective photographers.

Originally published at Photo Contest: Nature Division Winner (Ages 12-13).

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Photo Contest: Artistic Showcase Winner

DBRLTeen - August 19, 2014
Megan Reed, "Eruption"

Megan Reed, “Eruption”

If you are looking to develop your skills as a photographer, the library has plenty of resources to help. We provide free online classes through our online service called UniversalClass. Learn more about digital photography, digital scrapbooking, and other visual arts. These are just a few of the over 500 courses offered. To log in, you’ll need your DBRL library card number; your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).

You should also stop by to check out our extensive collection of photography guidebooks such as:

Today marks the first day of recognizing our photo contest winners. Megan Reed is the winner of the Artistic Showcase for her photo, “Eruption.” When asked about the inspiration behind this photo, Megan said, “My brother and cousin were shooting various targets such as watermelons, water bottles, a plastic helicopter, and a newly shaken 2 liter orange soda bottle.  I wanted to capture the soda bottle exploding when it was shot.”

Megan will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as his award. Tomorrow we announce the winner among those contestants ages 12-14 competing in the Nature division.

Gallery of Artistic Showcase Submissions


© All rights to the photographs contained herein are reserved by their respective photographers.

Originally published at Photo Contest: Artistic Showcase Winner.

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New DVD: “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?”

Center Aisle Cinema - August 18, 2014

isthemanwhoistallhappy

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

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Katherine Dunn

Next Book Buzz - August 18, 2014

Book cover for Geek Love by Katherine DunnGenetic modification is a hot topic, and not just because of the literal heat harbored by pumpkins inexplicably modified to cast horrifying, fiery glares our way every October. There are pluses, like massive potatoes capable of feeding dozens, talking to you when you’re lonely and even playing a competent game of checkers. Perhaps you give birth to Siamese twins with a gift for playing piano. There are minuses though, besides hateful pumpkins and repeatedly losing to a potato at checkers. Maybe you birth a child with flippers for limbs and a predilection for starting popular cults that mandate the removal of one’s own appendages. Also, as gene tampering becomes rampant, people will grow weary of picking their future children’s hair colors and which professional sport they will play. Parents will long for the days when, if you didn’t like your child’s hair, you simply shaved them bald, and if you wanted them to excel at sport, you were forced to mercilessly prod them until their vertical leaps were satisfactory.

While the profile of genetic shenanigans grows with every neon-blue tomato on our plates and Robocop on our streets, people have been obsessed with genes since the first bald man looked scornfully at his father’s bountiful locks. And 25 years ago, Katherine Dunn tapped into this obsession and combined it with another topic constantly on the minds of modern humans (travelling freak shows) into one gloriously deformed firecracker of a novel.

Geek Love” is narrated by Olympia, a hunchback albino dwarf, member of her parents’ lucrative freak show and product of her parents’ crude attempts to modify DNA for profit. Her parents, Aloysius and Crystal Lil, used drugs, insecticides and radioactive stuff to conjure strange fruit from the womb. Oly’s older brother, Arturo, is the aforementioned flipper-limbed, cult leader. Electra and Iphigenia are the Siamese piano dynamos. Fortunato is the youngest, a seemingly normal child nearly abandoned for his uselessness until his telekinetic powers manifested themselves.

The novel jumps between two eras. One covers Oly’s childhood with the carnival and the familial strife, much of it conjured by Arty and his cult of Arturism. The other era features Oly taking care of a mother who doesn’t know who she is, perhaps in part because of the radiation and insecticides, and stalking a daughter who doesn’t know who she is because Oly gave her to some nuns when she was a baby. The twin narratives race along like the most awesome and lengthy roller coaster ever, and you’ll leave the tracks dazed, queasy, having lost your sunglasses and ready to get in line for the next Katherine Dunn novel, which doesn’t yet exist as the author spends much of her time using her boxing knowledge to fend off muggers.

The reader should be warned, in addition to the reckless gene doctoring, there is content not for the faint-hearted: telekinetic pickpocketing, attempted murder, a human with a tail, murder, unnecessary amputations and, depending on how you define it, incest. But if you like words and watching someone bite the head off of a live chicken, this may be your new favorite novel.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Katherine Dunn appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

The Gentleman Recommends: Katherine Dunn

DBRL Next - August 18, 2014

Book cover for Geek Love by Katherine DunnGenetic modification is a hot topic, and not just because of the literal heat harbored by pumpkins inexplicably modified to cast horrifying, fiery glares our way every October. There are pluses, like massive potatoes capable of feeding dozens, talking to you when you’re lonely and even playing a competent game of checkers. Perhaps you give birth to Siamese twins with a gift for playing piano. There are minuses though, besides hateful pumpkins and repeatedly losing to a potato at checkers. Maybe you birth a child with flippers for limbs and a predilection for starting popular cults that mandate the removal of one’s own appendages. Also, as gene tampering becomes rampant, people will grow weary of picking their future children’s hair colors and which professional sport they will play. Parents will long for the days when, if you didn’t like your child’s hair, you simply shaved them bald, and if you wanted them to excel at sport, you were forced to mercilessly prod them until their vertical leaps were satisfactory.

While the profile of genetic shenanigans grows with every neon-blue tomato on our plates and Robocop on our streets, people have been obsessed with genes since the first bald man looked scornfully at his father’s bountiful locks. And 25 years ago, Katherine Dunn tapped into this obsession and combined it with another topic constantly on the minds of modern humans (travelling freak shows) into one gloriously deformed firecracker of a novel.

Geek Love” is narrated by Olympia, a hunchback albino dwarf, member of her parents’ lucrative freak show and product of her parents’ crude attempts to modify DNA for profit. Her parents, Aloysius and Crystal Lil, used drugs, insecticides and radioactive stuff to conjure strange fruit from the womb. Oly’s older brother, Arturo, is the aforementioned flipper-limbed, cult leader. Electra and Iphigenia are the Siamese piano dynamos. Fortunato is the youngest, a seemingly normal child nearly abandoned for his uselessness until his telekinetic powers manifested themselves.

The novel jumps between two eras. One covers Oly’s childhood with the carnival and the familial strife, much of it conjured by Arty and his cult of Arturism. The other era features Oly taking care of a mother who doesn’t know who she is, perhaps in part because of the radiation and insecticides, and stalking a daughter who doesn’t know who she is because Oly gave her to some nuns when she was a baby. The twin narratives race along like the most awesome and lengthy roller coaster ever, and you’ll leave the tracks dazed, queasy, having lost your sunglasses and ready to get in line for the next Katherine Dunn novel, which doesn’t yet exist as the author spends much of her time using her boxing knowledge to fend off muggers.

The reader should be warned, in addition to the reckless gene doctoring, there is content not for the faint-hearted: telekinetic pickpocketing, attempted murder, a human with a tail, murder, unnecessary amputations and, depending on how you define it, incest. But if you like words and watching someone bite the head off of a live chicken, this may be your new favorite novel.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Katherine Dunn appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Vote for “People’s Choice” Award on Facebook

DBRLTeen - August 18, 2014

Spark Burst Slogan 2The library has received 40 entries in this summer’s Teen Photo Contest. While a panel of staff judges will decide the official winners, we are asking for your help in selecting the “People’s Choice” award. Visit the library’s Facebook page now through Wednesday, August 18 to vote for your favorite photographs by “liking” them.

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

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New OverDrive Updates

DBRL Next - August 15, 2014

OverDrive Media ConsoleOverDrive recently made several updates to their site that improve your ability to find downloadable eBooks and audiobooks and manage holds. The changes include the ability to filter items by age level, automatic hold checkouts and suspending holds. Here are the highlights.

Maturity Settings
You can now exclude items from your browsing or search results based on age levels. For example, adult users are able to exclude titles for younger readers and young readers to exclude adult-only titles from their experience. This can be done by going into your account settings and choosing the appropriate range of content. You must be logged in for this to be in effect. Users can also choose to “mask” covers for “Mature Adult” items. This is also done from the account settings page.

Hold Auto–Checkout
Holds will be automatically checked out to your account when they become available. This is optional and can be done by checking a box at the time a hold is placed. If you are unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (because you have already reached their maximum checkout limit, for example) you will be sent the current hold notification email and have three days to make your checkout.

Suspended Holds
This feature allows you to temporarily suspend a hold in the waiting list. Your position will continue to advance in the queue while the hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled. You can do this by going into the Holds section of your account settings and clicking on the Options button for a hold.

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“Glickman” on September 17th

Center Aisle Cinema - August 13, 2014

glickman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

The HBO documentary “Glickman” (84 min.) examines the life of famed sportscaster 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 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.

Trailer
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