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Stories in Stone: Cemetery Tour

October 19, 2016

Book cover for Stories in StoneWhen I start talking about cemetery tours, I usually get two responses: “Cool! Do you hunt ghosts?” or “That’s so morbid, why do you care?”

I do not hunt ghosts, but it sounds like fun. Paranormal investigators are totally welcome on my tours! And cemeteries aren’t ghoulish or scary, at least not to me. They’re peaceful and often filled with lovely art. Tombstones don’t just tell the story of a life, but the history of our country. Style, symbols and materials changed through time and reflected the values and trends of society. And yet, some burial practices are as old as the pyramids in Egypt.

Want to learn more? Come out for a tour! On Monday, October 24th, I’ll be leading an exploration of the Jewell Cemetery State Historic Site: the symbols, the superstitions, and the history. (Meet at the cemetery, S. Providence Road, near Waffle House.)

You may never look at a cemetery the same again.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Scary Books

October 17, 2016

Book cover for Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkThis Halloween take a break from mutilating winter squash and wearing disguises while you threaten people until they give you candy. Use this break to wrap yourself in your fear shawl, and read a scary book. Here are some scary books.

Zone One” by Colson Whitehead is the most poetic zombie novel I’ve read. If you want your zombie novels to be propelled by quality prose and melancholy rather than constant descriptions of carnage, this is the novel for you.

The Girl With All The Gifts” by M.R. Carey is another zombie novel. It begins in a research facility in which infected children are sprayed with stuff that makes them less bitey. The children are studied. Then something bad happens, and the action sequences start. It also packs a doozy of an ending.

House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski will try to bend your mind much like it bends the typography contained in the book. The narrator reads a book about a documentary about a house that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. People explore the increasingly massive passages that appear in the house. It’s scary. If you like horror and weirdness, and don’t mind having to turn your reading material upside down, this is the book for you.

The Road” by Cormac McCarthy probably shouldn’t be read by parents anxious about the future, but anyone else that enjoys dark fiction should give it a shot. There are terrifying scenes, but what’s maybe most memorable is the way McCarthy suffocates the whole story with dread. It’s up to the reader to decide if the book offers any hope.

Book cover for World War ZWorld War Z” by Max Brooks is another zombie novel. But rest assured, it bears no resemblance to the movie that shares its title. It’s a series of accounts from people all over the world trying to survive a zombie outbreak.

John Dies at the End” by David Wong is a horror novel for people that want to laugh at least as much as they clutch their fear shawl. You’ll want to be a connoisseur of jokes about bodily functions to truly appreciate this one.

I haven’t read “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” since I was a child, but I remember being frightened by them. Read them to your kids; it may prove a chilling reprieve from the despair of the current news cycle.

Little-known author Stephen King has written over 45,000 novels. He did much to corrupt my childhood, and I’ll always be thankful for that.  “Pet Sematary” and “Salem’s Lot”  were the novels that most moistened my onesies.

 Ascent, 1889-1939Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939” by Volker Ullrich is horror for people that prefer nonfiction. It’s terrifying and nearly unthinkable that a loud-mouth egomaniac can rise to power through nothing more than showmanship, nationalism and the repetition of substance-free mantras. I enthusiastically recommend that you read this brilliant review.

Looking for more chilling tales? I’ve previously recommended spooky books by Kelly Link, Lauren Beukes, Katherine Dunn, Graham Joyce, Emily St. John Mandel, Jeff Vandermeer, Flann O’Brien and Paul Tremblay. Also, read Shirley Jackson.

Boo! (Sorry about spooking you just now. ‘Tis the season, though.)

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Reader Review: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

October 14, 2016

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2016 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

my grandmotherMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” is about the life of young Elsa as told through the fairy tales her grandmother tells her. 7-year-old Elsa, soon to be 8, is lonely, bullied, different, extremely smart and counts her Grandma as her best friend. Well, make that her only friend. When Grandma dies, the stories begin to unravel. Elsa is tasked to solve the mysteries of where Grandma’s letters are hidden and then to deliver the letters — regardless of the challenge and danger — to all the people Grandma needs to tell she is sorry.

The translations of Fredrik Backman’s books are fabulous. The story moves along and is engaging and extremely thought provoking while being a great story with unique characters.

Three words that describe this book: reality, fantasy, family

You might want to pick this book up if:

  • you like REALLY unique characters.
  • you like a book that you think is fiction, but are carried into its fantasy element at every turn…is it fiction or is it fantasy?
  • you like to read translations from foreign authors. I do not know how this book could be better in the native language — bravo to the translator!
  • you liked “A Man Called Ove” and “Britt-Marie was Here.” Actually, Britt-Marie is introduced in this book and then her life carries on in “Britt-Marie was Here.”
  • you like a book you KNOW you want to read again for fear you missed important things.


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New DVD List: What Happened, Miss Simone? & More

October 12, 2016


Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

what-happened-miss-simoneWhat Happened, Miss Simone?
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Playing at the True/False Film Fest in 2015, this Academy Award-nominated documentary explores the life of Nina Simone. A classically trained musical genius, chart-topping chanteuse and Black Power icon, she is one of the most influential, beloved, provocative and least understood artists of our time. This film inspired a companion book published earlier this year. 

city-of-goldCity of Gold
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Playing earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema, this film follows restaurant critic Jonathan Gold as he pulls back the curtain on the perceived superficiality of Los Angeles to show viewers a genuine and vibrant world where ethnic cooking is a kaleidoscopic doorway to the mysteries of an unwieldy city and the soul of America.

the-other-sideThe Other Side

Website / Reviews / Trailer
This film played at the True/False Film Fest in 2016. In an invisible territory at the margins of society lives a wounded community whose members face the threat of being forgotten by political institutions and having their rights as citizens trampled. Through this hidden pocket of humanity, Robert Minervini opens a window to the abyss of today’s America.

Season 4
Website / Reviews
The unflappable Sheriff Walt Longmire and his deputies are trying to put the troubling events of the past behind them. But, the opening of the new casino on the Reservation brings dark new problems to Walt’s corner of Wyoming. Based on the mystery novels by Craig Johnson.

paths-of-the-soulPaths of the Soul
Website / Reviews / Trailer
This film blends documentary and fiction to follow a group of Tibetan villagers making a Buddhist “bowing pilgrimage,” laying their bodies flat on the ground after every few steps, along the 1,200-mile road to Lhasa, Tibet’s holy capital. Each of the travelers embarks on this near impossible journey for very personal reasons.

Season 3
Website / Reviews 
This series follows the life of Daniel Holden, who returns to his small hometown in Georgia after serving 19 years on death row. Having spent his entire adult life waiting to die, Daniel must now try to find a way to cope with his past and forge a “normal” life with a future before him.

messengerThe Messenger” 
Website / Reviews / Trailer
For thousands of years, songbirds were regarded by mankind as messengers from the gods. Today, these creatures, woven inextricably into the fabric of our environment, are vanishing at an alarming rate. As scientists, activists and bird enthusiasts investigate this phenomenon, amazing secrets of the bird world come to light for the first time.

the-people-vs-oj-simpsonThe People vs. O.J. Simpson
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Told from the perspective of the lawyers, it explores the chaotic dealings behind closed doors and how prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness and shocking courtroom twists led to one of the most earth-shattering verdicts of all time. It is based on the best-selling book “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson” by Jeffrey Toobin.

Other notable releases:
Californication” –  Season 1, Season 2  Website / Reviews
Daria: The Complete Animated Series –  Website / Reviews
Family MattersSeason 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7 – Website / Reviews
The Good Wife” – Season 7  Website / Reviews
Ripper StreetSeason 4 – Website / Reviews
The Seventh FireWebsite / Reviews / Trailer
War and Peace – Website / Reviews / Trailer

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The Fascinating Life of Eleanor Roosevelt

October 10, 2016

Eleanor RooseveltOctober 11 marks the birthday of the woman who spent more time in the White House as first lady than any before or since. At her birth, Eleanor Roosevelt seemed destined for a life lived mostly on the periphery of the political dynasty she was born into. A series of childhood tragedies changed her trajectory, and Eleanor went on to not only redefine the role of first lady, but also to become a political force in her own right.

Born in 1884 to socialite parents, Eleanor was orphaned by the age of 9. She attended Marie Souvestres’s all-girl’s finishing school in England. Souvestre’s teaching methods encouraged students to think independently and express themselves. The influence of this education is visible in the social justice work Eleanor pursued as an adult. Blanche Wiesen Cooke’s “Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume One, 1884-1933” documents in depth these influential early years of Eleanor’s life.

After her education, Eleanor returned to the states and became acquainted with her distant cousin, Franklin. Romance blossomed, and the two married in 1905, with Eleanor given away by her Uncle Teddy. From the beginning their relationship was fraught with difficulties. Franklin was not faithful, famously finding love with Eleanor’s social secretary, Lucy Mercer. This was painful for Eleanor, who contemplated leaving him, but it’s speculated that she may have also found romance outside of their marriage. Hazel Rowley’s “Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage” explores their unconventional relationship, why they stayed together and how it ultimately benefited them in their own personal pursuits.

Book cover for No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns GoodwinTheir marriage grew into a political force to be reckoned with after a life-changing battle with polio threatened Franklin’s political career. Eleanor helped Franklin keep in touch with the political world during his recovery through her own involvement in the Democratic party. She learned how to successfully navigate the political world and pursue those social causes that were most important to her. As first lady, Eleanor truly found her political voice. “No Ordinary Time” by Doris Kearns Goodwin provides insight into how World War II affected the homefront and shaped Eleanor’s role as first lady as she worked to help the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

Book cover for Hissing CousinsEven after she was no longer first lady, Eleanor managed to have a huge influence on humanitarian causes, with a focus on racial and social justice. Marc Peyser’s “Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth” provides an interesting look at Eleanor’s political pursuits by contrasting them with her cousin, Alice Roosevelt’s. Alice, the oldest child of Uncle Theodore, was in many was Eleanor’s equal. She was quite intelligent and is famous for her biting wit (though Eleanor also had a way with words). Alice was also interested in politics, just like her cousin, but their viewpoints and interests varied wildly. Peyser’s book offers a fascinating look at the strikingly different ways both women affected politics in Washington and how that shaped their own relationship.

photo credit: CT 57-899 via photopin (license)

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Election Day Is Coming! Get Registered and Informed

October 7, 2016

VoteIf you have even glanced at any newspaper, website, television show or your social media accounts, then you know that it’s election season. With all of the media attention on the presidential election, it can be easy to forget that on November 8, we will also be electing local representatives, from county commissioners to state senators.

Are you registered to vote? You have until October 12 to sign up! Applications must be postmarked or submitted online by that date. Check out the Secretary of State’s website for more information and to register.

Want to know more about the candidates and proposed constitutional amendments? Attend upcoming election forums at the Columbia Public Library, on Tuesday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 19. (Both events start at 6:30 p.m., but come early for coffee and cookies!) These forums are co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County.

Candidate and Ballot Issue Forum
October 11, 6:30 p.m., Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library

Hear from candidates for the following districts:
State Rep., 44th District – Tom Pauley (D) and Cheri Reisch (R)
State Rep., 46th District – Martha Stevens (D) and Don Waterman (R)
State Rep., 47th District – Susan McClintock (D) and Chuck Basye (R)
State Senate, 19th District – Stephen Webber (D) and Caleb Rowden (R)
Hear arguments pro and con for Constitutional Amendment 6 – “Photo Voter ID.”

Candidate and Ballot Issue Forum
October 19, 6:30 p.m., Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library

Hear from candidates running for the following offices:
State Rep., 45th District – Kip Kendrick (D) and William Ray Lee (I)
Northern Boone County Commissioner – Janet Thompson (D) and Brenndan Riddles (R)
Southern Boone County District – Brianna Lennon (D) and Fred Parry (R)
We will also present pro and con positions for Amendment 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Proposition A.

Can’t make it to a forum? Visit our general election subject guide for links to candidates’ websites and full text of ballot language so you can make informed decisions at your polling place.

Polling place? Where is my polling place? Glad you asked. Visit your county clerk’s website to find out where you vote in Boone or Callaway County, or you can visit the Secretary of State’s website and use their polling place look-up tool.

Get registered, get informed, and exercise your right to vote on November 8.

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World Mental Health Day

October 5, 2016

Photo of mental health to go kits

October 10, 2016 is World Mental Health Day, a day designated to raise awareness of and organize support for mental health issues. Millions of Americans (let alone the rest of the world’s population) are affected by mental illness; it is so prevalent that either we are affected ourselves, or we know family members and/or friends who struggle with mental health issues.

Red Cross volunteer Frank KeenerThis year’s theme is psychological first aid. What is psychological first aid (PFA), you ask? PFA is an approach used by mental health care providers and emergency/disaster response workers to help people function and cope in the immediate aftermath of natural or man-made disasters (for example, devastation from hurricanes, tornadoes, fires or mass shootings). Interventions are designed to offer support and practical assistance to those who are affected and can come in the form of providing food, water, shelter and counseling, among other things. These interventions help reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events, addressing the physical, psychological, behavioral and spiritual effects suffered.

If administered in a timely manner, PFA may even help reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) developing in trauma survivors. PTSD is a mental health condition that can be chronic and severely debilitating, and it occurs in some people following any kind of traumatic event (such as physical assault, death of a close loved one or experiencing or witnessing natural disasters). Since PFA interventions can support resilience factors in survivors of trauma, its importance in helping reduce the incidence of PTSD and other related mental illness can’t be understated.

SG Visits the Philippines, Assesses UN Relief EffortsSince it can be hard to imagine what it is like to live through a catastrophic event if we haven’t been through it ourselves, we wonder how others recover and go forward in life. The library has a number of memoirs written by people who survived life-altering trauma and then proceeded to make meaningful lives, anew. Their stories speak to the resiliency of the human body, heart and mind and are a great source of inspiration and hope.

In an effort to raise awareness and educate people about mental health and illness in our own community, here at DBRL we have created a collection of Mental Health To-Go Kits, made possible with funding from a Library Services and Technology Act grant and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. These kits provide helpful overviews for several common mental health disorders or challenges (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance abuse) and contain an assortment of materials, including books, DVDs, audio CDs and local resources pamphlets. The kits are just the tip of the iceberg, though, in terms of library resources—there is a huge storehouse of other materials that cover a wide range of mental health and illness topics, including caring for the mentally ill.

Although none of us wants it to be so, at any point in our lives any one of us can experience life-altering trauma, which could affect our mental well-being and ability to function.  Knowing this, we see the importance of doing what we can to ensure that agencies offering appropriate mental health services are made easily available to those in need of them.

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Judging a Book by Its Cover

September 30, 2016

Book cover for A few months ago, a shock of red caught my eye as I walked past a display of oversize books at the library. “Cover” by Peter Mendelsund collects in stunning fashion the artwork he has created for book jackets, both new works and reissued classics. If you think you don’t know his work, you actually do. Steig Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” and current bestseller “The Girls” by Emma Cline all have covers created by Mendelsund. Reading about his creative process provides a window into a world readers often wonder about. Just how does the artwork for a book get selected? Does the author have a say? Who makes the final call? And also, why are so many book covers similar?

About the same time that I picked up Mendelsund’s book, I started noticing images or themes repeated in the cover art for novels, particularly images of women in profile, with their features hidden from the viewer. An example:

book cover for Mr. Churchill's Secretary

And another:

Book cover for A Small IndiscretionAnd still another:

Book cover for The Daring Ladies of LowellThis is just a small sampling of the book cover images I’ve collected since I first noticed the pattern. What gives? I assume the women at the centers of these novels have secrets or are somehow unknowable. They have shadowy pasts or complicated interior lives hidden by a composed exterior. But shouldn’t there be a greater variety of ways to indicate these characteristics in the cover art?

What trends in book cover designs have you noticed? Is there a particular one that appeals to you? That turns you off? Let us know in the comments.

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All the World’s a Stage: Docs Involving Shakespeare

September 28, 2016


William Shakespeare may have been gone for 400 years, but his cultural influence still looms large today. How do modern people react and interact with his work? Check out these documentaries that explore Shakespeare’s works in a modern context.

shakespeare behind barsShakespeare Behind Bars” (2005)

Convicted felons at Kentucky’s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex rehearse for the Shakespearean production, “The Tempest,” as part of the Shakespeare Behind Bars Program. The play’s underlying theme of forgiveness parallels themes in the lives of the prisoners.

the hobart shakepeareansThe Hobart Shakespeareans” (2005)

Meet Los Angeles elementary school teacher and winner of the American Teacher Award, Rafe Esquith, who teaches his students to understand and perform Shakespeare as a motivational teaching tool and unique method of education.

teenager hamletTeenager Hamlet” (2010)

Painter emerges into the streets of her own neighborhood, where she discovers a mixture of slightly out-of-balance young people. In a new take on the Shakespeare tragedy, this film sharply explores how young people make art and make their morality in the city.

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Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

September 26, 2016


I love FALL! One of the reasons I love fall is that the American Library Association (ALA) celebrates Banned Books Week the last week of September. This year, the celebration is from September 25 – October 1, and the theme is “Celebrating the Freedom to Read.”

These days when we talk about banned books, we aren’t usually talking about bans by the government; however, there are countries that do still actively ban books, and our government used to be one of them. “Fanny Hill” holds the distinction of being the last book banned by the US government. It was banned in 1821 and again in 1963, and the ban was lifted after the Supreme Court decision of  Memoirs v. Massachusetts in 1966. “The Satanic Verses” continues to be banned in many Islamic countries.

Book cover for The Grapes of WrathIt is amazing to me that some of our most beloved classics have been challenged or banned. I might not have appreciated all of these books when I was in high school, but “The Grapes of Wrath” is one of my all time favorites! I have read about a fourth of the classics on the ALA’s list and loved almost all of them. I will admit that “Ulysses” was not my cup of tea, mainly because following the stream-of-consciousness style was just more work than I wanted to do to read a book — but I heartily support anyone else’s right to put in that much work!

Book cover for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeBooks do continue to face challenges in our libraries and schools. Even universities have jumped on the bandwagon in recent years with the use of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” raising concerns about academic and intellectual freedom. The ALA posts its “most frequently challenged list” every year. This year’s top 10 list contains another one of my favorite books, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” It’s a book about a gifted but autistic boy who works to solve a mystery. I can’t count the number of times I have recommended this book! Another book on the list, “Fun Home,” has been on my to-read list for a while now. I think I will bump it to the top in honor of Banned Books Week.

Please enjoy your freedom to read! But remember, not every book is for every person at every time, and that’s okay. I will grab my banned books coffee mug and a book and head outside to enjoy mine!

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Top 10 Books Librarians Love: The October 2016 LibraryReads List

September 23, 2016

Library Reads LogoNot one of these recommended books is pumpkin spice flavored, but any would pair well with your favorite fall beverage. Break out the decorative gourds, and enjoy this list of books publishing in October that librarians across the country love.

Book cover for News of the WorldNews of the World” by Paulette Jiles

“Readers fortunate enough to meet Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an old ex-soldier who makes a living reading the news to townspeople in 1870s Texas, and Joanna, the Indian captive he is charged with returning to her relatives, will not soon forget them. Everything, from the vividly realized Texas frontier setting to the characters, is beautifully crafted, right up to the moving conclusion. Both the Captain and Joanna have very distinctive voices. Wonderful storytelling.”
– Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

Book cover for The Trespasser by Tana FrenchThe Trespasser” by Tana French

“Aislinn Murray is beautiful, lives in a picture-perfect cottage, and has a boy she’s crazy about. Antoinette Conway is a tough member of the Dublin Murder Squad who knows no one likes her and says she doesn’t care. When Aislinn is murdered, Conway and her partner Steve Moran take the case and start listening to all the stories about Aislinn. Which ones are true? Was she in love and with whom? Are the stories we tell ourselves and others anywhere near the truth? Great read from Tana French.”
– Kathryn Hassert, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

Book cover for Small Great Things by Jodi PicoultSmall Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

“A black neonatal nurse is charged with causing the death of a white supremacist’s newborn baby. The story is told from the points of view of the nurse, her attorney and the baby’s heartbroken father. As always, Picoult’s attention to legal, organizational and medical details helps the tale ring true. What sets this book apart, though, are the uncomfortable points it makes about racism. The novel is both absorbing and thought-provoking and will surely spark conversations among friends, families and book clubs.”
– Laurie Van Court, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

And here is the rest of this month’s list. Place your holds today!

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The Gentleman Recommends: Gary Shteyngart

September 19, 2016

Book cover for Super Sad True Love StoryGreat satirists thrive when stuff in the world is goofy or evil. So, given the idyllic nature of the world these days, it’s hard to imagine that there’s much good satire out there or that satirists would manage to earn enough to keep themselves fed and sheltered rather than wasting away in the gutter where they probably belong. But, even with our utopia’s total lack of need for satirists, Gary Shteyngart has managed to keep himself fed, sheltered, gutter-free and, as you’ll see if you google “Shteyngart + vodka,” frequently drunk.

Shteyngart has earned the sustenance and drunkenness. That satire is pointless in our current climate is inarguable, but we still have a few years left before hilarious literature in which nearly every sentence contains a delightful turn of phrase becomes the province only of those who attempt to produce it. He’s a funny guy and a great writer, and I hope he’s able to eat comfortably at least until he’s no longer of any value to our society. (You’ll notice I linked to a picture of him being funny rather than pick from the bountiful text examples of his hilarity. I do this because, as the GlobalTeens social network from his brilliant novel “Super Sad True Love Story” says in one of its many helpful tips, “Switch to Images today! Less words = more fun!”)

Super Sad True Love Story” chronicles the relationship between Lenny Abramov, son of Russian immigrants, book lover, and mid-level employee at a firm that aims to sell immortality to the super rich, and Eunice Park, daughter of Korean immigrants, shopping lover, and unemployed. In addition to the ups and downs of their relationship, we get the scoop on the fantastically dark world they live in. People spend all their time using their “apparats,” an unthinkable device that could only spring from the mind of the most deviant of satirists. An apparat keeps you constantly linked to everyone in the world and instantly provides any information the user needs. (Among other superlative features, it keeps you perpetually informed of your attractiveness to others, via an index whose name would be inappropriate to print here. Also inappropriate to print here are the names of the story’s most popular clothing lines.) America is so indebted to “The People’s Bank of China Worldwide” that a dollar has no value unless it’s pegged to the yuan. There are protests being waged by the poor against the rich. Translucent pants (no underwear) are popular. Hardcore pornography is considered mainstream entertainment. Books are relics: everyone hates the smell.

Super Sad True Love Story” obviously is a lying title, but that’s okay because it’s satire. As every other recommender out there has noted, it’s super and sad and a love story, but it’s not true. It’s fiction. Which would become rapidly obvious to the reader as its setting is far from the world of gumdrops, equality and plentiful currency that we currently enjoy.

So why read something so absurdly inapplicable to our current situation? I don’t know. It’s hilarious and brilliant, but so is this picture of a cat. I guess I just want to make sure Mr. Shteyngart is able to procure as much horseradish vodka and organ meat as he requires, at least until he finds a proper and relevant line of work and no longer requires my assistance.

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Upcoming Author Talks

September 16, 2016

One Read is in full swing, but this community reading program is not the only upcoming opportunity to hear from nationally known, award-winning and local authors. Mark your calendars for these not-to-be-missed talks and book signings!

Book cover for Start a Community Food GardenMizzou Botanic Garden Author Reception
Monday, September 19 › 7-8:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Come meet nationally known author LaManda Joy, the founder of Chicago’s Peterson Garden Project, and hear her speak about the process of starting and maintaining a community garden. Copies of her book “Start a Community Food Garden” will be available for purchase and signing. Co-sponsored by the Mizzou Botanic Garden.

Photo of author Rachel HallMeet the Author of “Heirlooms
Wednesday, September 21 › 7-8:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Virginia G. Young Room
This collection of linked short stories by Columbia native Rachel Hall won a major award for short fiction and has been lauded as “masterful and devastating.” Based on real-life events and inspired by family stories, it begins in 1939 in coastal France and follows a Jewish family through World War II, to a new country and into a new century where they survive and forge new lives with their only heirlooms being memories. Rachel is a creative writing professor at the State University of New York and returns to her hometown for this special event.

Book cover for Mizzou Sports Through the AgesMizzou Sports Through the Ages
Thursday, October 6 › 7-8:15 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room OR
Thursday, October 20 › 6-7 p.m.
Southern Boone County Public Library
Mizzou sports have been thrilling and frustrating Tiger fans since 1890. “Mizzou Sports Through the Ages: An Illustrated Timeline of University of Missouri Athletics” by Brendon Steenbergen is the first comprehensive history of the entire University of Missouri sports program. Brendon will share some little-known stories, explore the ups and downs of various sports and follow the accomplishments of historic Mizzou sports figures. This lavishly photographed book captures the spirit of the Tigers and provides a rich history and a cherished keepsake. Copies will be available for purchase and signing.

Book cover for Haunted MissouriHaunted Columbia With Mary Barile
Monday, October 10 › 7-8 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Columbia has a rich treasure of ghostly lore reaching across the Mizzou Quad and Stephens College to the surrounding countryside. Have you heard about the specter of Broadway legend Maude Adams visiting classes at Stephens College? Or the story of invisible fingers on Blind Boone’s piano? Hear some hair-raising stories from accomplished researcher and storyteller, Mary Collins Barile, many of which are featured in her latest book “Haunted Columbia, Missouri.” Copies will be available for purchase and signing.

Book cover for Snakes in the KitchenLocal Author Carolyn Branch
Monday, October 24, 2016 › 7-8 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library, Friends Room
Join us as local author Carolyn Branch, born and raised in Mokane, shares insights and the history relating to her recently published book “Snakes in the Kitchen: A Memoir.” A book signing follows. Presented in collaboration with the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society.

A Brooklyn Memoir by Joseph C. Polacco
Wednesday, October 26 › 7-8:15 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Joe Polacco remembers his youth growing up in Brooklyn, New York in a loving and humorous tribute to his mother. “Vina: Bensonhurst Memories” is a celebration of his wise and generous mother, great Italian food, extended family and others who made up the heart and soul of this old world neighborhood. Polacco is a professor emeritus of biochemistry at the University of Missouri. He has spent most of his life in Missouri, but you can still hear the New York accent from the pages of this memoir. Copies will be available for purchase and signing.

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New DVD List: The Boys of ’36 & More

September 14, 2016

boysof36Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

boys of 36The Boys of ’36
Website / Reviews / Trailer
This documentary is based on the 2014 One Read book “The Boys in the Boat” and recently played on PBS. In 1936, nine boys from the University of Washington took the rowing world and a nation by storm when their eight-oar crew team captured the gold medal at the Olympics in Berlin. The boys’ victory, and their obstacles, inspired a nation.

oj made in americaO.J.: Made in America
Website / Reviews / Trailer
This five-part 30 for 30 documentary examines the parallels between Simpson’s incredible story with that of race in America. This series reveals how he first became a football star, why America fell in love with him off the field, what happened in the trial for his ex-wife’s murder and, finally, why he is now sitting in jail for another crime 20 years later.

ash vs evil deadAsh Vs Evil Dead
Season 1
Website / Reviews
Ash is the stock boy, who is an aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. With this series Ash is finally forced to face his demons, personal and literal.

orphan black s4Orphan Black
Season 4
Website / Reviews
The sisters have finally settled into some sense of normalcy. But peace and calm seldom lasts long with this lot, and Sarah’s hard won tranquility is disrupted when she receives a call from a mysterious ally tied to Beth. The sisters are united in their mission to end the constant threats to their lives.

the knick s2The Knick
Season 2
Website / Reviews
Steven Soderbergh’s Emmy-nominated series returns. Season 2 of the medical drama, set in the 1900s, that charts the exploits of the staff and patients at Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City, kicks off with the facility readying for a move uptown.

spanish lakeSpanish Lake” 

Website / Reviews / Trailer
A documentary on “white flight” in the area of Spanish Lake, Missouri, a post-World War II suburb five miles from Ferguson, Missouri. Due to racism, housing developments and governmental policies, Spanish Lake experienced a white exodus in the 1990s, resulting in rapid economic decline and population turnover.

Season 1
Website / Reviews
The gripping story is told through four generations, from the capture of Kunta Kinte in Africa and his transport to Colonial America in brutal conditions to successive generations fighting to win their freedom in the Civil War. Based on Alex Haley’s best-selling novel.

Other notable releases:
The Affair” –
Season 2 – Website / Reviews 
Website / Reviews / Trailer
The Bridge” –  Season 1  Website / Reviews
CastleSeason 8 – Website / Reviews
CommunitySeason 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6Website / Reviews
11.22.63” –  Season 1  Website /Reviews
Girlfriend Experience” –  Season 1  Website / Reviews
Halt and Catch FireSeason 2Website / Reviews
Hell on WheelsSeason 5 – Website / Reviews
Key and Peele” –  Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5  Website / Reviews
Merchants of Doubt – Website / Reviews / Trailer
Murdoch Mysteries” – Season 9  Website / Reviews
My So-called LifeSeason 1Website / Reviews
NarcosSeason 1Website / Reviews
The Night Manager – Website / Reviews / Trailer
Our Last Tango” –  Website / Reviews / Trailer
Person of Interest – Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5– Website / Reviews
RectifySeason 1, Season 2Website / Reviews
SGU, Stargate UniverseSeason 1 Website / Reviews
Shameless – Season 6 – Website / Reviews
Thirteen – Season 1 – Website / Reviews
Togetherness” –  Season 2  Website / Reviews
The TunnelSeason 1 – Website / Reviews
The Walking DeadSeason 6 – Website / Reviews
Xena, Warrior PrincessSeason 1Website / Reviews

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Getting to Know Agatha Christie

September 12, 2016

 An AutobiographyIf you’re looking for a cozy mystery, you can’t go wrong with any one of Agatha Christie’s books. As the uncontested “queen of the mystery,” Christie helped define a genre with her legendary characters, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Christie was not afraid to let the dark sides of society show through in the stories she wrote. Readers may find themselves wondering how a seemingly mild-mannered lady came up with these stories, and there are several books at the library that can give insight into the life that inspired these classic mysteries. Here are a few I recommend.

  • Christie’s natural storytelling abilities shine brightly in the telling of her own story in “An Autobiography.” Initially published shortly after her death, the book chronicles Christie’s life, from a rather idyllic childhood, spent mostly in the countryside of Devonshire, to the archaeological trips that took her around the world. Readers will enjoy getting to know the personal side of Christie and her perspective on a life lived out during the turbulent years of the early 1900s.

  •  Around the World With the Queen of MysteryAlthough many of Christie’s novels are set in England, her characters do venture out to other parts of the world. These exotic settings were likely inspired by Christie’s own travels, particularly the world tour that she took in 1922 with her first husband, Archibald. “The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery” gathers the correspondence between Christie and her mother over the 10 months she was away. Colored with vivid descriptions of both the countries she visited and the people who inhabited them, this is a delightful look into an adventure that shaped the great mystery writer.
  •  The Real Life of Agatha ChristieReaders wanting a more whimsical read should check out Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau’s “Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie.” This graphic novel appears quite simple at a glance, but it offers a colorful look into Christie’s life. Fans of her books may enjoy it especially because Poirot and Miss Marple pop up throughout the book, offering insight into the woman who created them.
  • Christie herself starred in what may have been her greatest mystery. In 1926 she disappeared from her home for 11 days. Search parties were gathered, and even some of the other mystery greats of the day — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers — pondered what may have happened. Christie eventually turned up at a hotel spa, seemingly with no memory of the time she was missing. She would not speak about the event, so all that exists of what happened is speculation. Author Jared Cade explores the events of those 11 days and offers his own theory regarding her missing time in “Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days.”

Happy reading!

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National Day of Service and Remembrance

September 9, 2016

Book cover for VolunteerStarting in 2002, 9/11 family members and support groups wanted to provide a productive and respectful way to honor the memory of those who were lost, as well as recreate the spirit of unity and coming together to do good works that this tragedy inspired. As a result of their efforts, the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance was established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009.

There are no shortage of worthy causes needing our time and attention. The library’s volunteering subject guide links to many local organizations that could use a helping hand, whether your passion is arts education, literacy, fighting hunger or helping animals. And if you are in the Columbia area, the Columbia Daily Tribune’s “get involved” section lists current opportunities at organizations actively seeking volunteer help.

The library has many books on ideas for volunteering as a family, combining your passion for travel and volunteerism and much more. We hope you’ll be inspired to contribute positively to your community, this day and beyond.

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Star Trek, Boldly Going for 50 Years

September 7, 2016

 The Official Guide to our UniverseI have a great story about this blog post. The same day I started work on it, I began de-cluttering at home, organizing the piles of books my family tends to amass. As I picked up an old paperback Star Trek novel, bought used, a newspaper clipping fell out. The headline read “Roddenberry Fills Heroic Void.” The article discussed a talk given in Jesse Auditorium by Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek television series. I could find no mention of the date or even the name of the newspaper, but with a bit of sleuthing through the library’s collection of University of Missouri yearbooks, I confirmed the event happened on February 17, 1976.

Among quotes from the talk, this one stood out: “Roddenberry predicted giant and efficient telecommunications systems will be available within 12 years that will make TV look primitive.” He was off by only three years, as the World Wide Web went public in 1991. Quite a visionary. His mid-sixties TV series featured communications devices that looked a lot like cell phones, information storage devices that looked a lot like iPads and a starship crew that looked a lot like the entire human race had learned to work together cooperatively.

When “Star Trek” debuted in 1966 (September 6 in Canada and September 8 in the U.S.), the sight of a multi-ethnic, mixed-gender group of people working together as equals represented a giant leap forward in popular entertainment and society. Decades later, the population of devoted Trekkies continues to grow.

Just in time for the show’s 50th anniversary, DBRL has acquired DVD sets of nearly every “Star Trek” series, including the animated one, to fulfill your binge-watching needs. We also have a large selection of Star Trek novels, music CDs of the movie soundtracks and, for those who use Hoopla, Star Trek comics.

A handful of nonfiction books about the Trek universe have been published in the last couple of years:

Star Trek, the Official Guide to Our Universe” explores “the true science behind the starship voyages.” Author Andrew Fazekas, an astronomy educator, provides fascinating facts about the celestial phenomena encountered on the screen.

The Star Trek Book” by Paul Ruditis provides generously illustrated short, encyclopedia-type entries describing characters, planets, technology and alien races encountered in the series.

In “The Fifty Year Mission” Edward Gross and Mark Altman have compiled two volumes worth of quotes from people involved in Star Trek on all aspects of the enterprise. (See what I did there?) The result is a historical overview of the entire franchise from a variety of perspectives.

With the new series “Star Trek: Discovery” set to launch in 2017, we’re not to the end yet. When asked about the enduring appeal of his creation, Roddenberry once said, “The human race is a remarkable creature, one with great potential, and I hope that ‘Star Trek’ has helped to show us what we can be if we believe in ourselves and our abilities.”

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September Is Library Card Sign-up Month!

September 2, 2016

Sally Comic

Truer words have never been spoken (and don’t worry, I’m not biased). I got my own library card in the first grade. I signed it (with my beginner’s cursive), looked at it lovingly and promptly handed it to my dad for safe-keeping in his wallet. Sure, I had been a regular fixture in my local library since I was too young to remember, but the books I took home were always checked out to my mom or dad. That all changed once I got my own library card. It would take a few years for me to fully appreciate what my library card could do for me, though. September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and it’s also a time to consider what brings you “library happiness.”

The Daniel Boone Regional Library has a lot to offer our library card holders! Besides getting the latest bestsellers in traditional and digital formats, library card holders have access to our online resources for free. These include lynda.com, which has self-paced tutorials on a variety of technical skills and business strategies, genealogy sites such as HeritageQuest and even auto repair resources. We also have some fun eBooks for kids through EZTales.com, Fable Learning and TumbleBookLibrary. All you need is your library card to access all of these resources!

“But what if I don’t have a library card,” you ask? Well, lucky for you, we can help with that. Adults (18+) can apply for a card online, and we can also get you set up with a card by mail or in-person. For specifics on card eligibility, look here. I should take a moment to note that there is no minimum age requirement for a library card. Minors do need parent or guardian signatures on their applications, but they can get a library card from the day they are born. (We like to start ’em young!)

If you are reading this, however, the chances are good you already have a DBRL library card. Maybe you’re a super user of the library, or perhaps you’re more casual. Either way, I ask you to share what you love about the library. Comment using the speech bubble prompt below, or use the hastag #LibraryHappinessIs, to tell us how the library brings you happiness!

library happiness is bubble

Peanuts comic: copyright Charles Schulz, licensed by the American Library Association

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The September 2016 List

August 31, 2016

The kids are back at school, and maybe that has some readers feeling overwhelmed by the orientations, sports practices, rehearsals and other related events suddenly filling up the family calendar. Or perhaps the back-to-school spirit has you ready to learn something new. Whether you want to read for escape or for self-improvement, this month’s LibraryReads list has you covered. Here are the 10 titles publishing in September that librarians across the country recommend.

Book cover for Leave Me by Gayle FormanLeave Me” by Gayle Forman

“Aren’t there days when you just want to leave it all behind? After a life threatening event, that’s exactly what Maribeth Klein does. Maribeth, wife, mom of 4-year old twins, and editor of a glossy magazine is told to rest. Sure! The choice she makes is not the one for most, but following Maribeth on this journey is compelling nonetheless. Fast paced narrative and terrific writing make this one hard to put down. Recommended!” – Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

The Bookshop on the Corner” by Jenny Colgan

“Despite losing her job as a librarian who liked to put the right book into a patron’s hands, Nina continues her mission by moving to rural Scotland, purchasing a van, converting it into a bookmobile, and taking to the road. The plot revolves around the romance of the road, the romance of books and reading, and just plain old romance. Another marvelous book by Colgan! A gem of a book!” – Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, IA

Book cover for Commonwealth by Ann PatchettCommonwealth” by Ann Patchett

“The Cousins and the Keatings are two California families forever intertwined and permanently shattered by infidelity. Bert Cousins leaves his wife for Beverly Keating, leaving her to raise four children on her own. Beverly, with two children of her own, leaves her husband for Bert. The six children involved are forced to forge a childhood bond based on the combined disappointment in their parents. As adults, they find their families’ stories revealed in a way they couldn’t possibly expect. Patchett has written a family drama that perfectly captures both the absurdity and the heartbreak of domestic life.” – Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

Here’s the rest of the best for your holds-placing pleasure!

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Fall Program Preview: One Read and More

August 29, 2016

one-read-logo-newSeptember is almost here! The kids are back in school, and those vacations to the mountains or the lake (or just the hammock in the back yard) are now memories and fodder for the “what I did this summer” English class essays. Your calendars are likely filling up with fall events, and so are ours! At the library, September is One Read month, with four weeks of programs around a single book the community helps select. This year’s book is the memoir “Bettyville” by George Hodgman. You can see the full line-up of discussions, films, art events and more online. And here are other great programs for adults happening soon.

Danny SantosDanny Santos Concert
Wednesday, September 7, 2016 › 7-8 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Taking inspiration from his Chicano heritage, a musical legacy ranging from Hank Williams to the Beatles and his Texas-sized determination, singer-songwriter Danny Santos creates a unique mix of country and folk tinged with bluegrass and the blues. His songs illuminate the joys of true love, the woe of love lost and the weary longing of a heart still searching, and his style is heavily influenced by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and other Texas singer-songwriters. When he’s not appearing solo, he also fronts the acoustic band Los Bluegrass Vatos. Adults and teens.

Affordable Care Act News & Updates
Thursday, September 8, 2016 › 6-7:30 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library, Friends Room, Or
Thursday, September 15, 2016 › 5-7 p.m.
Southern Boone County Public Library
Primaris Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Columbia, will help you better understand what your ACA health insurance options are, where you can go to get free help with using the online system or the call center, how the Health Insurance Marketplace works with other health insurance, and where else to get free and confidential help with your coverage needs.

Genealogy Drop-in
Monday, September 12, 2016 › 9:30 a.m.-Noon
Columbia Public Library, Training Center
Drop in to ask questions about researching your family history.

Game Time for Grown-ups
Monday, September 12, 2016 › 12:30-2 p.m.
Southern Boone County Public Library
Bring your friends and join us for Wii bowling, coloring and board games. Adults.

Will They Count Your Vote?
Sunday, September 18, 2016 › 2-3:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
In honor of National Constitution Day, come learn about the Voting Rights Act, the impact of the 2013 Supreme Court Decision on the Act, and subsequent state-level efforts affecting voting rights around the nation. Copies of the U.S. Constitution will be available for for the first 50 attendees. Refreshments will be provided. Co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County and the American Association of University Women-Columbia Branch.

Mizzou Botanic Garden Author Reception
Monday, September 19 › 7-8:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Come meet nationally known author LaManda Joy, the founder of Chicago’s Peterson Garden Project, and hear her speak about the process of starting and maintaining a community garden. Copies of her book “Start a Community Food Garden” will be available for purchase and signing. Co-sponsored by the Mizzou Botanic Garden.

See all of our upcoming programs at dbrl.org.

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