Karen Piper is a Columbia, MO author who’s latest book is called “A Girl’s Guide to Missiles.” Piper grew up at the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, a missile testing base in California’s Mojave Desert where her family had a role in developing weapons for the US government. This memoir looks back at her unusual childhood and how it affected her and her family as she emerged into adulthood. The book was named the Capital READ for the Missouri River Regional Library in 2019. Piper is the author of several other nonfiction books and is currently a professor of literature and geography at the University of Missouri. I recently emailed some interview questions to her about the book, and she wrote back some answers. Continue reading “Author Interview: Karen Piper”
“Little Women” was a favorite book during my girlhood. I’m happy to find that it’s still a favorite book now! So well-written, so filled with valuable lessons of life, so full of hope and goodness! As a girl, I enjoyed reading about the games they played — giving plays, P.C. and P.O., Camp Laurence, Castles in the Air and Amy’s will. Upon re-reading them, I find them still every bit as enjoyable! And this time around I appreciated, more than when I was young, the life lessons learned by the sisters — Meg’s Vanity Fair, Jo’s Apollyon, Amy’s lime drop anguish and her later failed attempt to host a stylish luncheon, Meg’s ups and downs after her marriage. I also loved some of the vignettes on interactions between the characters — Beth going over to Mr. Lauren’s to thank him for the new piano, Laurie following Jo on her way to submit her manuscript, Laurie’s reaction after Jo refused him, Beth confiding to Jo at the seashore about her terminal illness, Meg’s wedding in which she chose not to follow traditional customs, Marmee’s heart-to-heart talks with Jo, and the March family giving their Christmas dinner to a poor family they knew. After reading Louisa May Alcott’s journal, I can tell a lot of these content came from real life experiences of her and immediate family, which makes me like the stories even more. Love, love, love the book. Will probably read it again in another couple of years.
Three words that describe this book: Fun, hear-warming, hopeful
You might want to pick this book up if: You want to read good, heart-warming historical fiction that gives a reader a sense of hope.
I read a lot of books I like and some that I like a lot and occasionally one that metaphorically causes my guts to combust because I love the book so much. “Inland” by Tea Obreht made my insides explode and whatnot. I get those great-art aches when I think about this book, and not just because of the book’s wells of sadness (which, unlike the book’s well of water, overfloweth) or how beautiful and elegant the writing is. I reckon the ache also comes from how thoroughly the novel attached the main players to me and how badly I wanted things to go right for those folk and from the literal ache a primary character feels when a ghost touches him and he is then imbued with a desire for whatever that ghost wants and from the knowledge that it is a narrow possibility at best that I’ll ever forge any sort of relationship with a camel, never mind the airtight kinship of the human and camel pairing in “Inland.” Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Tea Obreht”
“Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture”
Website / Reviews
Playing last year at Ragtag Cinema, this fictional film takes place after the conclusion of the hit television series, which examined the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country house. In this film the Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives: a royal visit from the King and Queen of England. Continue reading “New DVD List: Downton Abbey, Linda Ronstadt, & More”
Post-holiday blues and cabin fever aside, something is making us all very agitated these days. The general level of anger feels like it has been escalating in recent years, as evidenced by heated social media exchanges and, often, by our daily encounters. It’s a worrisome trend, which can cause us to doubt our every move as we attempt to navigate the murky waters of human interaction.
While most difficult people are only fleetingly troublesome, there are a few types of people who can, knowingly or unknowingly, do us great harm — and they are not always easy to spot. In “5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life,” lawyer and family mediator Bill Eddy helps identify the narcissistic, borderline, sociopathic, paranoid and histrionic among us. These high-conflict personalities can leave others extremely damaged, emotionally and physically. Eddy offers tactics to engage compassionately with these troubled souls, while allowing protection for those who are close to them. Continue reading “Literary Links: Troublesome Types”
The new year is ushering in a slew of new books by debut adult fiction authors. Those featured here have already received glowing reviews, so check one out today and see if you agree. As always, please visit our catalog for a complete list of this month’s debut titles.
“When We Were Vikings” by Andrew MacDonald
Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains. For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:
1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: January 2020”
It’s a new year and I’m here to highlight some new nonfiction titles you should consider checking out this month from the library! For a more extensive list of what’s coming out this month check our catalog.
“Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains” by Cassie Chambers
Nestled in the Appalachian mountains, Owsley County is one of the poorest counties in both Kentucky and the country. Buildings are crumbling and fields sit vacant, as tobacco farming and coal mining decline. But strong women are finding creative ways to subsist in their hollers in the hills. Cassie Chambers grew up in these hollers and through the women who raised her, she traces her own path out of and back into the Kentucky mountains. Chamber’s Granny was a child bride who rose before dawn every morning to raise seven children. Despite her poverty, she wouldn’t hesitate to give the last bite of pie or vegetables from her garden to a struggling neighbor. Appalachian women face issues that are all too common: domestic violence, the opioid crisis, a world that seems more divided by the day. But they are also community leaders, keeping their towns together in the face of a system that continually fails them. With nuance and heart, Chambers uses these women’s stories paired with her own journey to break down the myth of the hillbilly and illuminate a region whose poor communities, especially women, can lead it into the future. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: January 2020”
If you, like me, have been scared off by the hype around “Where the Crawdads Sing,” stop running — it totally lives up to its reputation! The story follows Kya, a woman living in the North Carolina swamps, both as a young girl growing up alone and as a grown woman. An outcast from her community, Kya is almost completely isolated. When the town playboy turns up dead and his past with Kya is revealed, she has to try and break through both the town’s distrust of her and her own defenses. Part romance, part murder mystery, and part coming of age, this book always has something to keep you turning the pages. Owens’ writing is atmospheric and enchanting, and the love Kya shows for her marsh is almost enough to make me want to brave the mosquitoes and see it myself.
Three words that describe this book: Atmospheric, Suspenseful, Heartbreaking
You might want to pick this book up if: You love suspense, stories about broken but strong women, and Southern accents.
Another year of reading is in the books (see what I did there?) I had thought that I would cut back from last year’s 170 books but I’m right there again with 168 books. I thought I would do more hiking. I thought I would hang out with friends and family more. But hours and hours of laundry, house cleaning and driving around town have kept me busy with audiobooks. My family also just seems to be busier (if that’s possible) and going in different directions. I will readily admit that I go to books out of boredom to seek entertainment, but I also use books as a refuge to hide from the world. That’s not completely a bad thing. Right? Continue reading “2019, A Year in Review”
December brings with it a whole host of fun holidays and traditions. Some of these traditions, like transforming socks into decor, are a bit puzzling. Here are the origins of traditions surrounding three of the most popular December holidays! Continue reading “Holiday Traditions”