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Cooking With eBooks

January 29, 2016

My iPad rarely leaves the kitchen. I use it to play podcasts or audiobooks while I do the dishes. I check Facebook while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil. But the thing I use the device for the most is my daily meal preparation. No, I’m not like that German dad using the tablet as a cutting board in the YouTube video that made the rounds a few years ago. Through the library’s OverDrive eBook collection, I can download new cookbooks from some of my favorite foodies and make meal planning and cooking that much easier. Whether I want to consult the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten,  New York Times columnist Mark Bittman or the Food Network’s Rachael Ray, the library’s eBook collection has me covered. Here are just some of the new and popular cookbooks you can have at your fingertips in almost no time.

book cover for NOPI cookbook

NOPI: The Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully

Yotam Ottolenghi is beloved in the food world for his beautiful, inspirational cookbooks, as well as his Ottolenghi delis and his fine-dining restaurant, NOPI. In the NOPI cookbook, head chef Ramael Scully’s Asian-inspired pantry meets Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern influences and brings the restaurant’s favorite dishes within reach of the home cook.

 DinnertimeThe Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime” by Ree Drummond

The #1 bestselling author and Food Network personality at last answers that age-old question –“What’s for Dinner?”– bringing together more than 125 simple, scrumptious, step-by-step recipes for delicious dinners for the whole family. She includes her family’s favorites, like  tomato soup with Parmesan croutons, buffalo chicken salad, baked ziti and shrimp scampi. 

Book cover for The Food LabThe Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” by J. Kenji López-Alt

As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it and more. In this book, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new — but simple — techniques

Book cover for 100 Days of Real Food100 Days of Real Food” by Lisa Leake

The creator of the 100 Days of Real Food blog draws from her hugely popular website to offer simple, affordable, family-friendly recipes and practical advice for eliminating processed foods from your family’s diet.

Here are more popular eBooks for cooks!

OverDrive has a sizable selection of books on food and cooking, including food memoirs and cookbooks for kids – look for the “Cooking and Food” category under eBook nonfiction.  Finally, if keeping your tablet in the kitchen has the screen greasy and food-spattered, see tips for screen cleaning from Tablet PC Review. Happy cooking and eating!

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The Slow Lane: Docs About Small Town Life

January 27, 2016

vernon floridaIt often takes a patient viewer to sit through films about small-town life, but the rewards can be rich and powerful. Check out a few of these films that examine life at a slightly slower pace.

vernon-floridaVernon, Florida” (1981)

Fire up the pickup and head down to this bizarre backwater town with Errol Morris, as he presents a pastiche of fascinating interviews with the weird and wonderful people of Vernon, Florida.  From the passionate turkey-hunter to the peculiar pet collector, each member of this motley crew has a story to tell.

middletownMiddletown” (1982)

This classic six-part series explores both the continuity and the change embodied in the people and institutions of one Midwestern community: Muncie, Indiana. In intimate detail, the films demonstrate how society and culture have changed less than one might think.

nimrod nationNimrod Nation” (2007)

This eight-part series profiles rural Watersmeet, Michigan, where everyone follows the progress of the high school basketball team – the Nimrods. This series sympathetically observes life and conversation in local coffee shops, hunting lodges and locker rooms as the long, cold basketball season unfolds.

 

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The February 2016 List

January 22, 2016

Library Reads LogoMy library coworkers’ reading tastes vary widely. Some are graphic novel and comics experts, others are sci-fi and fantasy aficionados and some kill it at every trivia night because they are voracious nonfiction readers. Many best-of lists in book-ish publications (both in print and online) offer recommendations that lean towards what you might call literary, which I personally love (I read a lot of contemporary fiction and memoirs). The LibraryReads monthly list, however, often offers up a list as diverse as the reading tastes of our patrons. The list of books publishing in February that librarians across the country recommend clearly reflects this diversity. What other list has a stunningly written historical fiction sharing space with a steamy romance? Enjoy this month’s picks!

Book cover for Salt to the Sea by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys
“Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, “Salt to the Sea” rotates among four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful–a must read.” – Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

Book cover for Black Rabbit HallBlack Rabbit Hall” by Eve Chase
“Young Amber Alton and her family adore Black Rabbit Hall and the joy and peace it brings to them all. That is, until a tragic accident changes everything. Three decades later, Lorna decides her wedding must be celebrated at the crumbling hall. As the book moves between these two time periods, secrets slowly unfold. Perfectly twisty with interesting characters and a compelling story that kept me up too late.” – Deborah Margeson, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO

Book cover for A Girl's Guide to Moving OnA Girl’s Guide to Moving On” by Debbie Macomber
“Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole both leave cheating husbands to start over. They learn that it is never easy and that hardships abound, but they meet many wonderful people on their way to happily-ever-after. Believable characters and an enjoyable story made this perfect for relaxing reading—definitely one of Macomber’s best. An excellent choice both for long-time fans of the author and for those who have never read her novels.” – Linda Tilden, Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, NJ

And here is the rest of the February list for your hold-placing pleasure. 

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Oscar Buzz for Book Adaptations

January 20, 2016

The Best Picture nominations for the 2016 Oscar’s were announced last week, and films based on books make up the majority of the list. If you are a read-it-before-you-watch-it kind of person, then your to-read pile just got much bigger.

Book cover for The Big Short by Michael LewisThe Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” by Michael Lewis
This nonfiction work investigates the 2008 stock market crash and economic crisis, citing such factors as expanded home ownership and risky derivative elections in the face of increasing shareholder demands, and profiles responsible parties in government, financial and private sectors. An unlikely basis for the plot of a riveting drama, but there you go.

The film is nominated for Best Picture, Director (Adam McKay), Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Adapted Screenplay.

Book cover for Brooklyn by Colm ToibinBrooklyn” by Colm Tóibín
Leaving her home in post-World War II Ireland to work as a bookkeeper in Brooklyn, Eilis Lacey discovers a new romance in America with a charming blond Italian man before devastating news threatens her happiness.

The film adaptation is nominated for Best Picture, Actress (Saoirse Ronan) and Adapted Screenplay.

Book cover for The MartianThe Martian” by Andy Weir
After a bad storm cuts his team’s Mars mission short, injured astronaut Mark Watley is stranded. Now he’s got to figure out how to survive without air, shelter, food or water on the harsh Martian landscape until the next manned mission in four years.

The film adaptation is nominated for Best Picture, Actor (Matt Damon) and Adapted Screenplay.

Book cover for The Revenant by Michael PunkeThe Revenant: A Novel of Revenge” by Michael Punke
A story of survival on the American frontier chronicles the exploits of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Glass is attacked by a grizzly bear and left for dead by his fellow trappers but survives and treks through the wilderness to seek justice.

The movie adaptation is nominated for Best Picture, Director (Alejandro G. Iñárritu), Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Supporting Actor (Tom Hardy).

Book cover for Room by Emma DonoghueRoom” by Emma Donoghue
A five-year-old narrates a story about his life growing up in a single room where his mother aims to protect him from the man who kidnapped her when she was a teenager and has held her prisoner for seven years.

The film is nominated for Best Picture, Director (Lenny Abrahamson), Actress (Brie Larson) and Adapted Screenplay.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Glenn Taylor

January 18, 2016

Book cover for A Hanging at Cinder BottomAs the old saying goes, “…judge a book by its cover.” The eye-catching cover of “A Hanging at Cinder Bottom” by Glenn Taylor caught my eyes, and the contents held them. If my team of editors, web developers, interns and chefs has done its job, the cover should be to the right. A keen eye will spot a monkey on a pedestal. Beware though: the monkey doesn’t show up until deep into the novel, and he doesn’t appear on a pedestal, but the wait and subterfuge about his standing gear is worth it. He’s a brave and loyal little rascal, and he wins his owner’s bets by being able to drink a bottle of beer and smoke a cigarette in under two minutes. Now, we’ve all seen our share of smoking, alcoholic monkeys, but this monkey is special. His owner, Tony Thumbs (he’s missing a thumb), loves him, and this gentleman reader was moved by the revelation that Tony, out of concern for the monkey’s health, only asked his little pal to pull the trick on occasion, when it might prove useful in making friends.

While it shouldn’t take more than a quality monkey to sell you on “A Hanging at Cinder Bottom,” it is a ripping yarn written with a poet’s dedication to word choice, and it is about much more than an awesome monkey. There is also a stage show featuring a man perfectly playing the tune “Yankee Doodle” with his farts.

The novel opens in 1910 with life-long loves Abe Baach, a card sharp and conman, and Goldie Toothman, a brothel madam capable of throwing a playing card with deadly precision, awaiting the gallows for murdering the mayor. With ropes around necks and Abe’s promise to “tell the truth before I die” or “walk out of hell in kerosene drawers and set the world on fire” ringing in the crowd’s ears, the evil sheriff collapses on the stage and lets loose some profound flatulence, and with that ringing in the crowd’s ears:

“The sun came free of the clouds then, and the people looked skyward, and there was only the north-born sound of the tardy noon train’s wheeze. The engine was not yet fully stopped at the station when men began to jump from inside the empty coal hoppers. They hit the hard dirt beside the railbed and rolled and got to their feet quick. They ran on wrenched ankles, headlong into the people staring at the heavens.”

And there, as we hope those men are injuring their ankles in an effort to save our charming heroes, the novel leaps back to 1877, and then to 1897, so that we might better understand why our protagonists would run afoul of the most powerful people in the county. Then the novel returns to 1910 and the months leading up to the hanging, where the bulk of our time is spent, and we get the story of the long con that puts them in the nooses we find them in at the beginning. While you might guess the general thrust of the ending, the specifics will delight you. Someone will eventually film the closing sequence, and while it will be impossible to improve on the novel and a reader’s imagination, it will be great fun to see someone try. Here’s hoping they cast the right monkey.

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Win a Pair of Lux Passes to the True/False Film Fest

January 15, 2016

True False LogoUPDATE: This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Chris W. of Boone County, our Lux Pass winner! Thanks to all who entered.

Saturday, January 30, at 10:30 a.m., the Columbia Public Library will be hosting our fourth annual “How to True/False” with 102.3 BXR and 1400 KFRU. You’ll get a step-by-step explanation of all things True/False, including a Q&A session with fest organizers. They will also share an exclusive sneak peek at a few films before the official fest schedule is released.

Space is limited, so plan to arrive early. For easier parking, consider using the library’s north lot, across from Landmark Bank at the corner of Garth and Walnut.

In celebration of our partnership with the True/False Film Fest, we are giving away two free Lux passes to one lucky winner. You must register online to enter. These passes, valued at $200 each, will give you nearly unlimited access to the festival’s most popular films and special events. The winner will be selected at random and contacted on Monday, February 1. One entry per person, please. You must live in Boone or Callaway County to be eligible. Good luck!

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