Nonfiction Roundup: February 2023

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2023 by Liz

Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in February. 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 downloadable audiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog.

Top Picks

Wise Hours book coverThe Wise Hours: A Journey Into the Wild and Secret World of Owls” by Miriam Darlington (Feb 7)
Owls have existed for over sixty million years, and in the relatively short time we have shared the planet with these majestic birds they have ignited the human imagination. But even as owls continue to captivate our collective consciousness, celebrated British nature writer Miriam Darlington finds herself struck by all she doesn’t know about the true nature of these enigmatic creatures. Darlington begins her fieldwork in the British Isles with her teenage son, Benji. As her avian fascination grows, she travels to France, Serbia, Spain, Finland, and the frosted Lapland borders of the Arctic for rare encounters with the Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, Pygmy Owl, Snowy Owl and more. But when her son develops a mysterious illness, her quest to understand the elusive nature of owls becomes entangled with her search for finding a cure. In “The Wise Hours,” Darlington watches and listens to the natural world and to the rhythms of her home and family, inviting readers to discover the wonders of owls alongside her while rewilding our imagination with the mystery, fragility and magnificence of all creatures. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: February 2023”

What Volunteering Means to Me: Loaves and Fishes at Turning Point

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2023 by Seth

In the summer of 2020, right at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, my daughters and I started volunteering for Loaves and Fishes at Turning Point in Columbia, as people were needed to help serve food there and many volunteers had opted out because of the pandemic. Turning Point, which is housed in the Wilkes Blvd. United Methodist Church, is one of the main day shelters for those experiencing homelessness in the Columbia area. Every evening at 5:30 a meal is served. This act of service was a really great fit for me.

In 2018, I attended Ryan Dowd’s Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness training in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve since become very interested in assisting with unsheltered advocacy in the Mid-Missouri area. Ryan Dowd offers profoundly helpful tools for assisting the unsheltered at the library on a professional level as a public librarian, while on a personal level, he also helped me confront my own biases and to understand how unhoused people perceive the world. One of Dowd’s common refrains is this: empathy is the answer. What many people who have never experienced homelessness don’t realize is that most unsheltered persons come from backgrounds of severe poverty and have experienced serious trauma. Many of us can’t even imagine this place. Continue reading “What Volunteering Means to Me: Loaves and Fishes at Turning Point”

Q&A With Dianna Borsi O’Brien, Author of “Historic Movie Theaters of Columbia Missouri”

Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Dianna Borsi O’Brien is a Columbia, MO author whose latest book is “Historic Movie Theaters of Columbia.” The book shares fascinating facts and stories about all 28 movie theaters of Columbia, MO from the 1894 Haden Opera House to today’s Ragtag Cinema. Dianna is a journalist with a passion for local history that she shares on the website Her previous book, “” is a biography of notable local chemist and entrepreneur Charles W. Gehrke. She was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed via email. Continue reading “Q&A With Dianna Borsi O’Brien, Author of “Historic Movie Theaters of Columbia Missouri””

Descriptive Audio

Posted on Monday, January 30, 2023 by Sew Happy

person with short gray hair watching a televisionDescriptive audio offers you the opportunity to listen to a movie or TV show with all of the actions and scenery described aloud by a narrator. It’s usually a separate track that you can turn on to hear the purely visual aspects of the video. Listening to this track while watching the primary video track allows blind and visually-impaired people to enjoy the movie just as much as all the other people in the room. Some people say it gives them the feeling that they are listening to an audiobook. It also allowed me to enjoy the silent film “Nosferatu” while I was working at my sewing machine. Continue reading “Descriptive Audio”

Reader Review: The Power of One

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2023 by patron reviewer

The Power of One by Natasha Bowman book coverWritten during the COVID-19 pandemic, Natasha Bowman’s “The Power of One” provides insights and strategies to work toward and/or lead changing unjust systems found in our workplaces, communities and governments through regular, everyday actions no matter what status/job title we have. Using the timely events of the year 2020, this book provides information and motivation, as well as worksheets after each chapter to help guide the reader in this work. I really liked how accessible the information was and how Bowman combined real and sobering facts with encouragement, enthusiasm and compassion.

Three words that describe this book: Leadership, changing, communities

You might want to pick this book up if: You’re looking for motivation to make changes at work, home, your neighborhood, and beyond that bring more humanity, empathy and justice.


Read the Recipe! Food Is a Weapon

Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Ghetto Gastro Presents Black Power Kitchen book coverThis month, I am looking at a fascinating collection of recipes, stories, interviews, visual art and essays: “Ghetto Gastro: The Black Power Kitchen” is an amazing book written by three Bronx natives. The text is peppered with wisdom, enlightenment and that Bronx voice. Oh, and some seriously good recipes.

There is so much to like about this book, there’s so much to learn from this book and there’s so much to be inspired by from this book. From the art, the photographs, the interviews, it makes the recipes almost become secondary. In fact, I will inject here that I think the recipes ARE secondary, what I gathered from the text and illustrations was a goal of shifting a mentality. One of those steps is to move away from a meat-based diet. Many of the meals use plant-based options, though there are some items that cannot be replaced, e.g., fish and a very tempting jerk chicken selection. Continue reading “Read the Recipe! Food Is a Weapon”

Reader Review: The Boys

Posted on Monday, January 23, 2023 by patron reviewer

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard book coverThe Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family” by Ron Howard and Clint Howard is my favorite book of the last year. It’s not a Hollywood tell-all (though there are plenty of interesting stories about their lives in TV and movies), but an homage to their parents and to each other. I particularly enjoyed the format of the book it alternates between Ron and Clint each bringing forward their own perspective, often serving as a foil to the other in a way that only siblings can. I strongly encourage listening to the audiobook, narrated by the brothers themselves, to fully appreciate the book’s tone and feel. It’s a truly enjoyable memoir.

Three words that describe this book: Heartwarming, candid, comforting

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to read a memoir that’s poignant, funny and heartfelt, or an honest memoir about a remarkable show business family.



This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

What Volunteering Means to Me: Heart of Missouri CASA

Posted on Friday, January 20, 2023 by Beth

They say it takes a village to raise a child. But what if you have a child, but you don’t have a village? And whose job is it to make sure that every child really does have a village — a network of loving, safe and supportive adults who can help that child flourish? How can parents continue to advocate for their own children, while also considering the very real needs of other children?

As a parent, I asked myself these questions constantly in the months leading up to my decision to apply to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). I had been looking for an opportunity to get more involved in the mid-Missouri community for some time, but I knew I needed something flexible, something with autonomy, and something that allowed me to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships, especially with other children and families in my community. I found all of this and so much more through volunteer service with Heart of Missouri CASA. Continue reading “What Volunteering Means to Me: Heart of Missouri CASA”

The Joys of Shelving

Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 by MaggieM

Jane's Tank Recognition Guide sits on a shelf between much larger books
Photo credit M. Maginness

I’m not a shelver, but occasionally I get to do a bit of shelving or something similar. I like it. Some people don’t, and that’s okay. But I love the passage of books through my hands, books that I might not otherwise ever know. 

Today’s finds include: Jane’s Tank and Combat Vehicle Recognition Guide.” Who is Jane? I snapped a photo and sent it to my husband. It’s tempting to take this one home to him (he’s convalescing after a minor, but painful, surgery). I particularly admire the odd, tank-like size and shape of this one (especially compared to its neighbors), a short but thick spine and a long width, almost twice as wide as it’s tall. It’s well-loved, battered even. This book has been thumbed through many, many times, carried in school bags, and who knows what else. It specifically reminds me of a family friend of ours, who as a tween and teen (probably even still) eagerly devoured this sort of information — these might have been the only books he ever picked up. Continue reading “The Joys of Shelving”

Leftovers, Anyone?

Posted on Monday, January 16, 2023 by cs

desk covered in crafting suppliesIt seems to be that time of year when we begin to think of clearing out our accumulated things, and that awful phrase “spring cleaning” enters my head. In lieu of cleaning out the garage, I chose to gather our leftover Crafternoon kits from previous months and have an “Available While They Last” January event. These kits will be available at the Columbia branch only on Friday, January 20. You may pick them up at the reference desk on the second floor. (Just a reminder that these kits are designed for adults and could have things unsafe for children, such as small beads and needles.)

Look for our next Crafternoon-To-Go Kit in February as we participate in the Winter Reading program!


Image credit: Scrappy Annie, Messy Desk via Flickr (license)