Literary Links: All That’s Jazz!

Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2019 by Reading Addict

William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress (Holiday, Fitzgerald and Armstrong by William P. Gottlieb), derivative work: Piquito [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Jazz Appreciation Month is not until April, but let’s start early, especially since February is Black History Month, which should include jazz history, too. The very first jazz recording ever made was “Livery Stable Blues” by the Original Dixieland Jass Band on February 26, 1917. The entire band was white, led by coronet player Nick LaRocca, which allowed them the privilege of recording in a New York City studio just as the technology was being developed. Jazz actually began in New Orleans, and there were certainly black musicians who had been playing longer and better, but this first recording did allow the music to reach a broader audience. The form of jazz played by the ODJB is considered classic jazz and consisted of ensembles without an emphasis on solo artists. Just two years later, the band performed in London gaining an even wider exposure for jazz.

Readers who would like to explore the origins of jazz should check out “The History of Jazz” (Oxford University Press, 2011) by Ted Gioia and “The Jazz Book: From Ragtime to the 21st Century” (Lawrence Hill Books, 2009) by Joachim-Ernst Berendt. Both books pair well with the albums “The Music of the Americas” (Sony Music Entertainment, 2011) and “Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2010). Each of these albums include that very first jazz recording and many other highlights of jazz music up through the 2000s. If readers want a book with some wonderful pictures, “Jazz: A History of America’s Music” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000) by Geoffrey C. Ward is a great choice. Continue reading “Literary Links: All That’s Jazz!”

Know Your Dystopias: Romance!

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 by Eric

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and nothing says love quite like a totalitarian nightmare society or post-apocalyptic community of survivalists! The convergence of a romantic storyline and a dystopian world is actually not uncommon. Young adult novels often explore this territory, but it is not exclusive to that age group. Here’s a Valentine’s Day reading list where love is tested by bleak dystopias.

1984” by George Orwell is a classic. It has contributed terms like Orwellian, thoughtcrime and Big Brother to our lexicon, but it is not commonly thought of as a story about romance. However, it is a romantic connection that brings the main character, Winston, into conflict with Big Brother. The government sees that kind of relationship between two people as a threat, and the feelings that develop between Winston and Julia in turn make the government a threat to them. I won’t spoil how it ends, but it isn’t with someone receiving flowers or with Winston holding up a boombox outside Julia’s window, although that would be very ‘80s. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Romance!”

Debut Author Spotlight: February 2019

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by Katherine

It’s finally February and that means more debut novels from first-time fiction authors! And, as always, you can find a more complete list by visiting our catalog. Here’s hoping you discover a fabulous new author!

Girls at 17 Swann Street book coverThe Girls at 17 Swann Street” by Yara Zgheib

Former professional dancer Anna Roux weighs a shocking 88 pounds, but doesn’t think she has a problem with food, even though she only eats apples. Her idea of splurging is eating popcorn once a week. Her husband Matthias — with whom she moved to Missouri from Paris — is concerned, and when Anna passes out in the bathroom, they take the drastic step of going to 17 Swann Street, a residential facility for treating eating disorders. Her diagnosis: anorexia nervosa. There Anna begins a feeding program where she is forced to eat — every bite a trial and success brings only guilt — attend therapy and groups sessions, and deal with her complicated emotions surrounding food as she fights her way toward recovery. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: February 2019”

Nonfiction Roundup: February 2019

Posted on Monday, February 4, 2019 by Liz

Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this February. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.

Top Picks

Wild Bill book coverWild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter” by Tom Clavin

In July 1865, “Wild Bill” Hickok shot and killed Davis Tutt in Springfield, MO– the first quick-draw duel on the frontier. Thus began the reputation that made him a marked man to every gunslinger in the Wild West. The legend of Wild Bill has only grown since his death in 1876, when cowardly Jack McCall famously put a bullet through the back of his head during a card game. Bestselling author Tom Clavin has sifted through years of western lore to bring Hickok fully to life in this rip-roaring, spellbinding true story. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: February 2019”

Know Your Dystopias: Scribe

Posted on Monday, January 28, 2019 by Eric

The setting of “Scribe” by Alyson Hagy is somewhere in the southeastern United States. The time that it takes place in is less clear.  People are living in the wake of a civil war and an epidemic, both of which killed many and left the survivors damaged and uprooted.There is a government that operates in an autocratic manner, though their presence in the remote hills this story takes place seems limited. Locally the social order is dictated by the competing interests of a strongman and a family with control of a large amount of land. Travel is by foot or by horse. Goods and services are acquired through a barter economy. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Scribe”

The Gentleman Recommends: Jen Beagin

Posted on Friday, January 25, 2019 by Chris

My butler says there are two types of people: those that clean and those that make messes. He believes the mess makers should learn from the cleaners. He gently broached the topic while I was having a corn-on-the-cob break. “Intriguing premise,” I hollered. I sat my cob on the ottoman my butler was nearly done shampooing. “I’m inclined to agree,” I said at a reasonable volume. I beckoned for the butter bucket. My butler fetched the bucket and prepared a fresh cob. “But how do we teach those messy folk?” Deep in thought, I scratched my chin with the cob and wiped my buttery hand on the carpet.

My butler sighed in agreement. “Perhaps you could read a book about tidying up.” He hurriedly added, “so that then you could share the message it conveys with those that need to hear it.” As an aside, he added that perhaps books about being self aware and improving one’s memory might also be of interest to me. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Jen Beagin”

Read (Even) Harder With Contemporary Missouri Poets

Posted on Monday, January 21, 2019 by Cap'n Ludd

Boy trying to stack 25 books for the 25th anniversary of the Columbia Public Library.
From the “Community History Archive

I’m not sure I ever met someone who felt neutral toward poetry — most will feel strongly some type of way, likely a mixture of anxiety and disdain spurred by painful memories of English class. Or maybe absolute adoration causing them to burst into a melancholic recitation of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” from memory. Personally I’m no bard, but lately I’ve wanted to flex those muscles harder. Maybe it’s the residual resolution spirit of the new year. But where to start? What better place than the work of poets in my community?

There are a couple library happenings that got me interested in poetry written by Missourians in particular: Book Riot’s release of their 2019 Read Harder Challenge (see requirement 24 to read a recently published poetry collection) and Missouri’s first Poet Laureate Walter Bargen’s tour of the DBRL branches this quarter. Some of Missouri’s great poets have wide name recognition like Langston Hughes, Sara Teasdale, T.S. Eliot (who famously eschewed his Midwestern roots) and Maya Angelou, but I implore you all to look for poets even closer to home. Below you’ll find a number of local poets in our collection, ranging from Governor-appointed poets laureate to those in the Mizzou community and even DBRL staff. If you’re perusing in person, look for a purple sticker on the book spine which designates work by local authors. But first, a few tips for making poetry resonate with you: Continue reading “Read (Even) Harder With Contemporary Missouri Poets”

Debut Author Spotlight: January 2019

Posted on Friday, January 18, 2019 by Katherine

Start the new year right by picking up a book by one of these new fiction authors. There are plenty of options this month. And, as always, you can find a longer list of new titles in our catalog.

At the Wolf's Table book coverAt the Wolf’s Table” by Rosella Postorino

Left alone in Germany while her husband is fighting on the front lines of WWII, Rosa Sauer leaves Berlin seeking safety and is instead forced by the SS to become one of Hitler’s food tasters. Twice a day she accompanies nine other women to the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s secret headquarters, where they taste all of Hitler’s meals before he does. As the war worsens, the group of tasters becomes increasing more fractious, dividing into those who are loyal to Hitler and those who, like Rosa, aren’t Nazis even though they risk their lives to protect one every day. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: January 2019”

January LibraryReads

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019 by Kat

Library Reads logoWith the new year comes new librarian favorites! I’m excited to start this year on such a positive note with plenty of books. We have a trilogy-finisher, a long-awaited second novel and several heartwarming reads to protect you from the cold and snow outside. Check out these books nominated by librarians across the country with this month’s LibraryReads.

Once Upon a River book coverOnce Upon a River
by Diane Setterfield

“A wonderfully dark and mysterious read. Something happens one stormy winter solstice evening that triggers a chain of events that changes the lives of all the main characters. Moody and mystical. For readers who love gothic fiction like ‘The Death of Mrs. Westaway‘ and ‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter.’”
~Melanie Liechty, Logan Library, Logan, UT Continue reading “January LibraryReads”

Literary Links: List Mania

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019 by Ida

A few things that prompt me to make lists:

  • Obligations
  • Aspirations
  • Needs
  • Problems
  • Nostalgia
  • Mistrust of my own memory
  • A desire to share reading recommendations

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

I harbor an extreme fondness for lists, both creating and reading them. Judging by the number of books on the topic, I know I have a lot of company.
Last year saw the publication of three noteworthy books containing suggested reading lists. “1,000 Books to Read Before You Die” is the product of decades of work. James Mustich, a longtime book seller, pulls titles from many genres, time periods and cultures. His suggestions include Plato and Zadie Smith, as well as “The 9/11 Commission Report.” Continue reading “Literary Links: List Mania”