Comforts of the Kitchen

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 by Abbey Rimel

As we continue to celebrate the joys of winter, one requisite stop has to be the province of home cookery. Cold weather begs us to fire up our stoves and ovens. A heavy snow is incomplete without marshmallows melting in hot chocolate. If you’re not ready to slow cook a roast in the crock pot now, then when will you ever? Winter cries out for comfort food. When I speak of comfort food, I speak not only of the nurture of one’s body, but of one’s soul.

The Oxford Languages dictionary defines comfort food as “food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.” While I would never disparage the power of carbohydrates to put a person into a satisfying state of oblivion, this definition seems a little limited. Continue reading “Comforts of the Kitchen”

Elephants on World Wildlife Day

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2021 by Ida

Here’s a trivia question. How many elephants currently reside in Tennessee? I don’t know the precise number, but it’s at least 11. That’s the population of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, which provides a 2,700-acre home for retired circus and zoo elephants. One of the organization’s stated goals is to give the animals “the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being.”

Since the focus is on what’s best of for the elephants, their habitats are off limits to the public. Fortunately, for those who have a deep fascination with these magnificent creatures, there are elecams. Even better, DBRL has arranged a special opportunity to make a visit from the comfort of your own home. Continue reading “Elephants on World Wildlife Day”

DIY Bread

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2021 by Cap'n Ludd

bread dough being sprinkled with flour

Bread is one of the least controversial things out there. Most would agree with the decorated food writer Michael Pollan that “Even bad bread is pretty good.” Pillowy, fragrant inner-crumbs with chewy, caramelized crusts, who can honestly claim they know restraint around those bottomless bread baskets certain restaurants dare offer? The gluten-free industry has flourished in the last decade to satisfy cravings for this universal carb. Now, while you could continue purchasing this diet staple from the grocery store, I’d argue that it is far more gratifying and delicious to bake it yourself. Continue reading “DIY Bread”

Debut Author Spotlight: February 2021

Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2021 by Katherine

Here are just a few of the many novels by debut authors that are coming to our shelves in February. For a complete list, please visit our catalog.

Winter's Orbit book coverWinter’s Orbit” by Everina Maxwell

A famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, Prince Kiem is summoned before the Emperor and commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire.

But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the Empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy.

Their successful marriage will align conflicting worlds.

Their failure will be the end of the empire.

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: February 2021”

The Gentleman Recommends: Zoje Stage

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by Chris

As a fan of scary things that can’t hurt me, I’m always on the hunt for thrilling books and chilling portraits. When you regularly devote hours of your life to consuming media meant to disturb you, you begin to see a pattern in what is collectively considered spooky. Sure, we’d all prefer to avoid vampires and haunted dolls, but often the most chilling foes are more common (not to diminish the haunted doll population, which does seem to be getting out of hand, and is certainly too large at any non-zero number). I’m referring, naturally, to children and forests. And before a parent or park ranger takes offense, certainly children and forests can be both worthy of devotion and majestic, but once they get creepy, they can get really dang creepy. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Zoje Stage”

Travel Through Story – The Deep South

Posted on Monday, February 15, 2021 by Reading Addict

F. E. C. Railway northbound passenger train traveling along Overseas Extension bridge at Pigeon Key.

I’m beginning to feel an extreme wanderlust! We usually take at least two trips a year — one as a family vacation during the summer and one to visit distant relatives over the holidays. But since last March, four days in the Mark Twain Forest has been the extent of our travels. It was lovely but I need more. Since we can’t travel physically, I thought I would try to tour the country through literature. Every month, I plan on choosing a book per state and “travel” the country region by region. I’m going to begin in the Deep South. Continue reading “Travel Through Story – The Deep South”

Literary Links: Pets and Veterinarians

Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2021 by Ida

My two kids grew up in a house filled with small pets, most adopted due to the pleading of said children. We’ve had cats, rats, gerbils, fish and a hedgehog, and loved them all, even during the times when it felt like we were making a second home at the veterinary clinic. In honor of National Love Your Pet Day on the 20th of this month, here’s a list of books by or about veterinarians.

A Handful of HappinessA Handful of Happiness” is a sweet little memoir written by Italian large animal vet Massimo Vacchetta, with Antonella Tomaselli, and translated by Jamie Richards. Vacchetta felt unfulfilled in a job dealing almost exclusively with livestock. Then someone brought him an orphaned baby hedgehog, a creature that quickly took over his life and heart. Pretty soon, he’d rescued a second hedgehog, and a third. Finding a new purpose, he set about establishing a rescue center for the rehabilitation of injured and ill hedgehogs, releasing them back to the wild when possible. Continue reading “Literary Links: Pets and Veterinarians”

Picture Books For Everyone

Posted on Friday, February 12, 2021 by Jerilyn

The Bake Sale book coverI read to my Mom on a weekly basis. (This can be done virtually through various video communication platforms such as Zoom or Duo or Facetime.) She has Alzheimer’s and vision issues. Reading aloud is something I can share with her and it makes us both feel good. She enjoyed the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, but we’ve read every one her caregivers and I could find. Because of her memory issues, reading a novel is out of the question. Recently I discovered “The Bake Sale.” It is the story of a grandmother whose 4-year-old granddaughter helps her bake cookies for a church bake sale. They have fun baking cookies, packaging them and taking them to the church. There, they purchase other baked goods for themselves. This is a short, upbeat story with an uncomplicated plot, simple language and a satisfying ending. It includes lovely photographs of a child and cookies. After reading we ate cookies and I shared a story about making cookies with my younger sisters when we were kids. This book was written specifically for adults with Alzheimer’s but the format was very similar to a book for a child. Continue reading “Picture Books For Everyone”

Winter Sports in an Unlikely Place

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by Seth

An image of the snow over North America on February 13, 2014.

In the last 10 years something interesting has happened in Mid-Missouri: we have actually had some real winters here. Because of peculiar weather patterns, partially caused by the shifting climatological dynamics due to global warming, the winters have been snowier and in some respects much colder than those in previous decades. Even with record breaking hot spells in the summer and an overall higher average temperature, we saw some of the snowiest and coldest winters on record in the 2010s. In fact, the winter of 2013-2014 happened to be one the longest, coldest and snowiest since the epic winter of 1978-1979.  Check out this amazing visualization of the extent of snow cover in North America during that vicious winter seven years ago. Since the winter of ’13-’14 we have had numerous cold and snowy stretches, with the following winter season of 2014-2015 being again one of the coldest in many decades. Perhaps most remarkable is the following: two of the biggest snowstorms in the history of Mid-Missouri occurred in the last decade (in 2011 and 2019).

What does this mean for us misplaced snow-creatures who love winter and all the great outdoor sporting opportunities it brings?  It has meant many (though highly variable) opportunities for ice skating, cross-country skiing and for my daughters, sledding.

Cross Country Skiing: Because of its fantastic public trail system, Columbia Missouri is a great place to cross-country ski when it snows. I have spent many hours skiing in the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary in the west part of town as well as the grasslands area in the southern part of Rock Bridge state park. For those lucky enough to have access to cross country skis, check out a couple of great books here at the library about the sport, the best beginner guide called Basic Illustrated Cross-Country Skiing,” by Scott McGee. Although our trails are not groomed for the faster and more athletically challenging skate skiing, tracks are often laid down early by the nordic style skiers in town on the more popular trails, which always makes for a more pleasant experience.

Ice Skating: Another winter wonderland is Stephens Lake when it freezes over (the City of Columbia announces when it is safe). Within hours of the city’s “safe ice” announcement, one realizes how many people in town actually own figure and speed skates, play hockey, and dream at night of the sticks and pucks gathering dust in their closets. I am one of those people. I have done about everything possible on Stephens Lake during hard freeze events: from man-hauling my daughter all over the lake on her sled to playing pickup pond hockey with my brother and friends. My family is usually one of the first on the ice when it is deemed safe and often the last to leave. I was once doing laps around the lake and met a Dutch man with speed skates doing laps as well. He told me that “safe ice” stretches were probably even more rare in the Netherlands now than they are in Mid-Missouri. If you want to learn more about ice skating then take a look at the book Ice Skating Basics,” by Aaron Foeste. A timeless guide, the book teaches beginners some of the basic stopping, crossover and backward skating techniques essential to feel confident on the ice. Ice skating can be terrifying at first. After learning the hang of it, skating almost feels like flying.

Sledding: the most accessible winter sport is, of course, sledding, known as tobogganing in other regions of the country. Many great sledding opportunities can be found in the region where the northern drift plains hit the Ozark foothills: Mid-Missouri is a land filled with river-bottoms and stubby hills and valleys. Adjacent to the Stephens Lake is our very own Stephens Park sledding hill, which on a snowy Saturday can see hundreds of kids and their parents engaging in trips up and down the slope. To make the experience even more enjoyable, Stephens Lake park also has a fire pit and well supplied wood pile right next to the hill where one can warm up during those long winter sledding expeditions. For info on the best kind of sledding gear for family fun, plus other enjoyable outdoor winter activities, please see the book “The Kids Winter Fun Book” by Claire Gillman. The book also speaks to cozy indoor crafts that families can do after legs are tired from building snow igloos.

Perhaps getting out and playing some winter sports after you read about them is part of your Comforts of Winter reading challenge. You get to create your own challenge, and when you’ve completed it, you get a prize! Learn more about it here.


New DVD List: The Irishman, Primates & More

Posted on Monday, February 8, 2021 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection. Click on the website links to see the trailers.

Website / Reviews
This sweeping crime drama is the latest film from director Martin Scorsese. Left behind by the world, former hit man and union truck driver Frank Sheeran looks back from a nursing home on his life’s journey through the ranks of organized crime: from his involvement with Philadelphia mob boss Russell Bufalino to his association with Teamsters union head Jimmy Hoffa to the rift that forced him to choose between the two. Continue reading “New DVD List: The Irishman, Primates & More”