In the United States, chess has seemingly been held at arm’s length, generally thought of as a game for rainy days and old men in parks. A few times in the past 170 years, interest has swelled to a more appropriate representation of the populace. Understandably, these surges usually coincide with the ascension of a prominent player to the world stage. Most notably, this happened when Bobby Fischer won the World Chess Championship in 1972. Continue reading “The New U.S. Chess Boom”
Study up on the directors featured at this year’s True/False Film Festival. Their past documentaries below are available for check out as either DVDs or streaming online through Kanopy. Continue reading “Previous Docs From True/False 2021 Directors”
Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in May. All of the mentioned titles are available to put on hold in our catalog and will also be made available via the library’s Overdrive website on the day of publication in eBook and eAudiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: May 2021”
The Environmental Protection Agency explains what compost is and why it’s important: “Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away, and could be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.” Continue reading “International Compost Awareness Week”
I have a weakness for crime dramas. If there’s an English accent involved, all the better. Here, I have rounded up a few of my favorites from the library collection. In order to narrow the list, I have only included women who fight crime. They aren’t necessarily newer acquisitions, but they’re worth a look if you haven’t checked them out yet.
First, “Vera.” Brenda Blethyn stars as DCI Vera Stanhope, a loner with a sharp tongue and a quick wit who always solves the crime. She is accompanied by her ever-patient young Sergeant, DS Joe Ashworth, played by David Leon from 2011-2014, and DS Kenny Doughty, played by Aiden Healy from 2015-2021. Set in the moorlands of Northumbria, these mysteries have a bleak and slightly creepy feel. Vera lives in her father’s old house by herself, barring the taxidermy birds her father kept around the place. She is a well-developed character with flaws and charms almost in equal measure. Continue reading “Women-Centered Crime Dramas”
Join us online to discuss “Circe” by Madeline Miller. The novel follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals. This discussion is geared for adults.
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Books and beverages are a classic combination. The experience of curling up with a good book is always enhanced by having some kind of tea, coffee, or whatever else nearby. Matching the vibe of the drink to the vibe of the book really elevates the experience. As a self-proclaimed expert on books and Starbucks, consider me your literary, caffeinated sommelier. Continue reading “Starbucks & Book Pairings”
Growing up I wanted to be a circus strongman or some sort of trickster god. Unfortunately, I could never choose a leotard and as of yet have not transcended the mortal realm, so, at least until the next leotard catalogue arrives in the mail, I will have to settle for reading about the fearsome and magnificent beasts and trickster gods, too. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Daniel Kehlmann (Again)”
Have you ever taken a drive through the countryside in Mid-Missouri and were amazed at the vast lawns that people spend hours mowing, which otherwise could be used as arable land? Have you ever thought about the possibilities of “farming your yard,” even a small patch of land in a nice sunny spot on your front lawn? Did you know that most of the food that we enjoy invariably comes at a high fuel cost?
Each Earth Day we reflect on many different perspectives for how climate change can be mitigated. Some believe that producing a chemical cloud across the planet, thus reducing the heat of the sun, would be a good thing. Others feel that drastic policy measures on a global scale must be made. The Kyoto and Paris Accords, for instance, are a great examples of monolithic recommendations that would happen on a unfathomably large policy scale. However, what if the climate problems aren’t merely so fixable by pure policy? Perhaps they are also fixable though our attitudes toward human existence itself. Some thinkers believe that many of our environmentally destructive behaviors are actually created by globalism, manic consumerism and unfettered technological advances. Many writers, some of them quite obscure, others lost in the mists of time, have called for something slightly less futuristic to combat climate change: a return to localism. Continue reading “Earth Day and Localism”
I’m continuing my tour of the United States through literature by heading up the coast to the Pacific Northwest. My first stop on the way is Portland, Oregon with the science fiction classic, “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula K. Leguin. It tells the tale of George Orr, who can manipulate the world with his dreams, but they have become nightmares for him and so he tries to never sleep. He seeks help from a psychiatrist who quickly begins to use George, through hypnosis, for his own gain. But, in spite of things going horribly awry, the psychiatrist is not willing to stop. Continue reading “Travel Through Story: The Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii”