Book I Read: “The Silent Companions” by Laura Purcell
Why I Checked It Out: I won’t lie — that beautiful cover with its gold inlay-enhanced imagery was the first thing that made me consider picking up this book. The eye staring out of the keyhole is just super creepy. I, of course, immediately had to open the cover and see who it was that was staring back at me. And then I figured out it was a Gothic-style horror, complete with haunted manor house, secretive servants and a protagonist with a secret from her past that has come back to haunt her. So, yeah, it had me hooked pretty quickly. Continue reading “Staff Book Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell”
The ability to manage debt and make good financial decisions can have a lasting impact on our lives, and yet many Americans struggle with financial literacy. Each stage of life, from starting a new career, to beginning life with a new baby or contemplating retirement can take a different financial toll. For that reason, financial literacy is something we have to work on throughout our lives. April is designated as Financial Literacy Month in this country and would be a good time to visit the library for a wide variety of books on the topic that can help no matter what stage you’re at financially.
Author John Bryant acknowledges that building financial stability when you start in an impoverished state can seem impossible. He shares the lessons he learned on his own journey out of poverty in “The Memo: Five Rules for Your Economic Liberation.” Bryant explores how a person’s inner capital works in combination with their life’s outer situation to bring them to financial success or failure. Inner capital includes your own knowledge, personal relationships and drive, and it can ultimately shape how you handle situations. Bryant advises readers on how to build inner capital to work through roadblocks that life and society can place in our way.
Continue reading “Literary Links: Financial Literacy”
One of my favorite memories from childhood was crawling up on my mom’s lap in our big recliner and listening to her read to us. I can distinctly remember her reading E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” and “I Was So Mad,” which was one of the Litter Critter books by Mercer Mayer. The sound of her reading helped pull my young mind into those stories, bringing the pages to life.
A well-read story can be the height of entertainment. It can help listeners more fully connect with and understand a story. A reader can deliver the humor and the pathos in ways that draws readers into the story on a more emotional level. It also can be interesting to hear how another person interprets a character’s voice and compare it with what you might have heard in your head. Sometimes hearing someone else read a story can totally change your perspective.
It’s not surprising that our story times for babies and toddlers are so well attended. They help children discover a love of books and they provide them with entertainment that stimulates their imagination and cognitive skills. But why should the kids have all the fun? Continue reading “Story Time and Discussion for Grown-ups”
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is utterly devastating. It takes away the most fundamental parts of a person — his or her memories. Families must watch their loved ones slowly disappear, even while they remain physically present. Coping with these changes can be challenging, and often leaves caregivers feeling isolated. Many authors have used fiction to explore the experience of losing someone to Alzheimer’s. The library has several books that provide insight into the Alzheimer’s experience, both from the perspective of those who suffer from it and those who take care of them.
“Elizabeth Is Missing” by Emma Healey is told from the perspective of an elderly woman named Maud who is gradually losing her memory. Maud becomes more and more flustered when she can’t find her friend, Elizabeth, or remember any reason why Elizabeth should no longer be in her house. As Maud’s memory degenerates further, she begins to confuse the disappearance of Elizabeth with the disappearance of her older sister Susan,which occurred right after WWII when Maud was a young teenager and was never solved. Healey’s novel is full of suspense that will pull readers in, while also enlightening them on the challenging experiences of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Continue reading “Exploring Alzheimer’s Disease Through Fiction”
On a dark and stormy October night, a group of travelers find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere after their van breaks down. Fortunately, they realize they are just down the street from a library. The library surely has a phone they can use to call for help.
Entering the library, they are greeted by its librarian, who introduces herself as Elsie. She welcomes them to make themselves at home, but warns that with the stormy weather the power is out and phones aren’t working. A few lanterns throughout barely light the space. The dark library is spooky and Elsie seems nervous and on edge, but with the storm raging, the travelers decide it will be safer to stay. Continue reading “Escape the Haunted Library!”
Book I Listened To: “NOS4A2” by Joe Hill
Why I Checked It Out: I’ve listened to a couple of other books by Hill and enjoyed his storytelling — a blend of fantasy and suspense, with a touch of horror. I also recently listened to his book “The Fireman,” which was also narrated by Kate Mulgrew and I fell in love with the way she reads a story (more on that later!). Continue reading “Staff Book Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill”
The dog days of summer are upon us, and I can’t think of a better way to spend them than with a good book. Sometimes, though, finding that good read can feel next to impossible. We at the library are always happy to help you solve your “what-to-read-next blues,” and so we are especially excited to invite you to a special Book Buzz event this Saturday, July 15 at 1 p.m. in the Friends Room at the Columbia Public Library.
Stop by the Book Buzz for a number of ways you can discover your next great read: Continue reading “Book Buzz: Finding Your Next Great Read!”
Images and stories of refugees fleeing war-torn nations are haunting and have unfortunately become a fairly regular sight in our news. The journeys these displaced people find themselves on are perilous and traumatic and for some, even deadly. Once they manage to arrive in their sanctuary countries, settling into a place where the language and cultures are different can be tremendously challenging. Continue reading “Center Aisle Cinema and Discussion With Refugee and Immigration Services”
Book I Read: “Company of Liars” by Karen Maitland
Why I Checked It Out: I regularly read from a variety of genres and had a craving for something historical. I hadn’t visited the Middle Ages lately during my literary travels, so it seemed like I was due for a visit. The mix of religion and superstition that were such driving factors in people’s lives during that time period fascinates me, and I’m also intrigued by the day-to-day challenges people faced in a world that lacked the modern day conveniences I take for granted. In my search for a Medieval tale, I stumbled across Karen Maitland’s book, which was billed as a take on Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” It seemed like just the thing to cure my reading craving. Continue reading “Staff Book Review: Company of Liars by Karen Maitland”
It has been 100 years since his birth, but John F. Kennedy remains a popular historic figure. People are fascinated with his privileged upbringing and the complicated politics of his presidency. His abbreviated life continues to inspire books, televisions series and movies. If you’re interested in reading more about this man who managed to leave a lasting mark on this country despite his short life, the library offers a large selection of interesting titles.
Before he was president, Kennedy showed promise as a leader when PT 109, the torpedo boat he served on, was downed by a Japanese Destroyer in the South Pacific. The ship’s surviving crew was stranded on an island, and Kennedy risked his life several times, swimming miles through the ocean in search of both food and escape from the island. “PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy” by William Doyle explores how Kennedy’s experience shaped him from a spoiled, wealthy youth into his destiny as the inspirational war hero who beat the odds to win the presidency. Continue reading “Remembering Our Fellow American, John F. Kennedy”