Over these past several weeks, I haven’t ventured much outside my neighborhood. As I’ve wandered the tree-lined side streets, I’ve waved to neighbors who were also out and about, either digging in their gardens or walking their dogs. I’m still relatively new to my neighborhood and I’ve come to realize how few of these folks I recognize, let alone know. This, of course, sparks my active imagination, getting me wondering about who they might be — what kind of lives are lived behind closed doors? This has certainly inspired my reading choices, directing me towards several books that have provided a look into the deep, dark secrets of many seemingly safe neighborhoods. Each of these titles can be found on our downloadable and streaming services. Continue reading “Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Suspense”
Want to read something that doesn’t mention coronavirus a single time, not even in the introductory sentence? I will do my best to avoid mentioning the crisis we’re living through, so that, for the length of a blog post, you can pretend that it’s okay to resume providing haircuts for your neighbors and standing next to the produce at the grocer recommending the freshest pieces to shoppers.
While the quarantine hasn’t been easy for me (you try dedicating yourself to teaching my very stubborn cats how to sing), I imagine it’s been slightly more challenging for parents. So much like how one convinces their child to consume nutrients by asking them to imagine those that are deprived of nutrients, consider how much easier it is to rear children that aren’t engulfed by flames when they become upset. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Kevin Wilson”
The lists have all been made but we still find, or hear about, more titles for the Read Harder Challenge. I’ve added a few to the list for task #2: a retelling of a classic of the canon, fairy tale or myth by an author of color, and I would like to highlight a few titles here.
“Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin
This is roughly a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz” but, instead of a scarecrow, you have a dragon who can’t fly. And instead of a wizard, you have the Old Man of the Moon. But it’s not fair to say that it is a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz” because the author deftly weaves so much Chinese folklore into the story. I will admit that this was my choice for this task and, as a bonus, this book also satisfies Task #20: a middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK. Continue reading “Read Harder: Classics, Myths or Fairy Tales Retold by Authors of Color”
I started this social distancing period with lofty goals of what I would accomplish and learn. My brain seems to have other ideas, apparently believing the logistics of navigating a whole new social order present enough of a burden to carry for now and not wanting to focus too much. Yet my desire to learn new things remains. For anyone else in the same situation, this might be a good opportunity to knock out the first task of this year’s Read Harder Challenge: read a YA nonfiction book. Young adult nonfiction sets out to educate and inform without becoming dense. There’s generally not much slogging in these texts.
Several are available in digital formats.
“Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic” by Michael McCreary can be a double dipper, also qualifying for task number 21: a book with a main character or protagonist with a disability (fiction or non.) The author is a stand-up comedian and mines his life on the spectrum for material. This memoir speaks not only of his own life, but also provides broader information about autism. Continue reading “Read Harder 2020: Young Adult Nonfiction”
Below I will be sharing some new nonfiction titles that will be coming out in May. All the titles will be made available on the library’s Overdrive account on the day of publication.
“The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President– and Why It Failed” by Brad Meltzer (May 5)
Everyone knows the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, but few are aware of the original conspiracy to kill him four years earlier in 1861, literally on his way to Washington, D.C., for his first inauguration. The conspirators were part of a pro-Southern secret society that didn’t want an antislavery President in the White House. They planned an elaborate scheme to assassinate the brand new President in Baltimore as Lincoln’s inauguration train passed through en route to the Capitol. The plot was investigated by famed detective Allan Pinkerton, who infiltrated the group with undercover agents, including one of the first female private detectives in America. Had the assassination succeeded, there would have been no Lincoln Presidency, and the course of the Civil War and American history would have forever been altered. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: May 2020”
Following what others are reading is one of my favorite features of the DBRL catalog. When we switched to the catalog powered by BiblioCommons 10 years ago, the social features were seldom used. In the last few years this has changed dramatically, and there is now a vibrant community of patrons and librarians who share what they are reading with the community. Let’s go over the basics to get you started.
How to follow others in the catalog:
Once you follow someone, you might have to wait a while for them to contribute to the catalog. When they do, a notification of their activity will show up in your newsfeed. Please note: Your newsfeed will be blank until the people you follow share new items.
How to view your newsfeed:
It might be a bit overwhelming to see all the information that’s displayed on your full newsfeed. I often will use the “Filter by” drop-down near the top right to limit it to “Item Rated,” “Comment Created” or “List Created.”
How to find people to follow:
1. Check the main DBRL catalog page for recent lists and reviews from local users.
2. Follow a person who has left a comment on a book that you liked.
3. Find a list on a subject that interests you and follow the list creator.
Keep in mind that many of the people you find will be local, but some of them may be in the over 200 libraries that BiblioCommons services. You can see which library the user is affiliated with by looking at their profile page under their username.
In this time of uncertainty, it’s quite comforting to step into the world of a book. Audiobooks can offer a unique escape, serving as storytellers in our ears. Downloadable audiobooks are infinitely portable, great for long walks or doing household chores. We can also share audiobooks, gathering our families around to listen to them together. At the library, we love sharing book recommendations, and we’ve missed being able to do that over the last several weeks. So this month, our Literary Links is a team effort, with audiobook recommendations from several staff members. You can find these titles on our three downloadable audiobook platforms (Overdrive, Hoopla, and RBdigital) at www.dbrl.org/download.
For readers who want a light mystery, Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series offers an enjoyable listen, starting with “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.” Staff who recommend this series say it offers “a mixture of comedy and mystery as the precocious Flavia follows the clues, and is made ten times better by narrator Jayne Entwistle who voices the 11-year-old Flavia as easily and believably as she does the adult characters.” Continue reading “Literary Links: Our Favorite Audiobooks”
In January of this year, the Daniel Boone Regional Library began coordinating with the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri and a non-profit called IREX (the International Research and Exchange Board) to initiate a year of programming and all-encompassing news literacy education efforts. We had plans for workshops and outreach efforts as well as fully integrating these opportunities into our technology classes.
Everything has changed. Continue reading “Wash Your News: Media Literacy”
Religion can be simultaneously so unifying and divisive because it cuts to the very core of who we are. It is the framework for what we believe about life’s deepest questions: Why are we here? How should we live? What happens to us after we die? Whether or not you have settled on answers for these questions for yourself, it is immensely valuable to learn about the answers others are living by. Even if we have different answers, we all have the same questions. Here are some memoirs that might fit into Read Harder’s task 22: memoirs by someone from a religious tradition (or lack of religious tradition) that is not your own.
“We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir” from Samira Habib details her struggle to reconcile her Muslim faith with her queer identity. Growing up in Pakistan, Habib’s family relocates to Canada to escape persecution. Habib finds herself unable to cope with the life that is expected of her, Habib sets out on a journey of self discovery. Continue reading “Memoirs From a Different Religion Than Yours: Read Harder 2020”
In the past few years, podcast producers have discovered that many of their listeners also like to read. The result is a new publishing niche: books tied to podcasts.
Since 2012, radio host Cecil Baldwin has kept listeners informed of the happenings in his fictional community. The podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” addresses current events: “City-wide utility failures continue to haunt us, but not as much as the strangers who do not appear to move.” It plumbs the depths of existence: “When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true, but because of distance, not for millions of years.” And in a brand new book, writers Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor reveal the truth about “The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home,” a familiar yet mysterious character in Night Vale. Continue reading “Books Associated With Podcasts”