Quintessential Comics: Top Reads of 2019

Posted on Monday, November 11, 2019 by Josh

We’re back! Hello, everyone, and welcome to the triumphant return of Quintessential Comics! It’s been awhile (almost a year!), so I figured what better way to get back into the swing of things than to do a list of some of the best reads of 2019. We’ve got Batman! We’ve got magic! We’ve got talking foxes in the Midwest?! Well, you’re about to find out. Let’s get into it.

The Batman Who Laughs

Batman who laughs book coverFirst up is a spin-off of the popular Dark Nights: Metal series. Written by Scott Snyder, the Dark Nights series accomplished something that I never thought was possible: it made Batman even more dark. Not that Batman was all sunshine and rainbows before, but when you take his character and create a slew of evil re-imaginings of him based on some of his closest allies and friends, it gets pretty rough. The Batman Who Laughs might be the most twisted character born from that idea. He is an amalgam of Bruce Wayne and, arguably, his greatest foe: The Joker. An obsession with chaos combined with the focus and abilities of Batman make The Batman Who Laughs a force to be reckoned with. In his own run, he forces Bruce to contend with his inner demons and own dark impulses in ways that begs the question: What makes Batman, well, Batman? Don’t miss your chance to find out in this series. Continue reading “Quintessential Comics: Top Reads of 2019”

Literary Links: The Legacy of Ice

Posted on Friday, November 8, 2019 by Seth

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude”
(From “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene VII)

In past eons, the earth without ice was not a particularly habitable place for humans. It was a scene of relentless volcanism, vast continental swamps and humid rainforests that extended as far south as Antarctica. We are currently in a very different age, the Holocene, represented by the ebb and flow of massive ice sheets. This age may rapidly be coming to an end, replaced by something many scientists call the Anthropocene. Recent books examine both the influence of the ice age on human culture and also what its absence portends. It may soon be a very strange world indeed. Continue reading “Literary Links: The Legacy of Ice”

50th Anniversary: Sesame Street

Posted on Friday, November 8, 2019 by Liz


Sunny Day
Sweepin’ the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get?
How to get to Sesame Street

Welcome to the final post for my 50th anniversary series celebrating important events that took place in 1969. This last entry is near and dear to my heart, the 50th anniversary of the great show “Sesame Street!” “Sesame Street” first aired on November 10, 1969 and has since produced over 4,500 episodes. It was created to help children prepare for school. To learn more about Sesame Street check out the titles below. For a more titles, including ones for children, a more extensive list can be found in our catalog. Continue reading “50th Anniversary: Sesame Street”

Reader Review: Neverwhere

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2019 by patron reviewer

Neverwhere book coverNeverwhere” is an early Neil Gaiman novel that looks into the depths of London — both in terms of the existential crisis of a young urban professional and what happens when said yuppie discovers there’s a whole world below the London Underground. What follows is a venture-quest full of unexpected characters and situations that are simultaneously completely impossible and totally believable. There are shadings of Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony, a touch of Lovecraft, and a fair helping of Gaiman’s ability to re-imagine familiar folklore and mythology.

I listened to the audio book and Neil Gaiman’s voicing skills make the story come to life.

Three words that describe this book: imaginative, madcap, down-below

You might want to pick this book up if: You ever wondered if the ragged guy talking to himself in the subway station was actually perfectly sane.


Know Your Dystopias: Halloween Edition!

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by Eric

The concept of dystopian living is pretty scary stuff. You know, because everything is generally horrible. But there are some dystopian visions that lean more overtly into horror as a genre than others. Supernatural elements combine with, or are the cause of, some sort of societal collapse or takeover. The horror is doubled! For this Halloween, let’s have a look at some of the spookier takes on dystopian worlds.

"The Circle" Book CoverCan you imagine if a technology company could link users’ emails, social media accounts, banking, and purchasing with a universal operating system? I know, it sounds totally far fetched. Well, this crazy idea is what Dave Eggers explores in “The Circle.” Mae Holland is hired to work for the world’s most powerful tech company, the Circle. The idyllic corporate campus starts to reveal itself to be more of a creepy totalitarian compound. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Halloween Edition!”

60th Anniversary of DBRL: Docs About Libraries

Posted on Monday, October 28, 2019 by Cap'n Ludd

ex libris film still

It wasn’t that time stopped in the library. It was as if it were captured here, collected here, and in all libraries …The library is a gathering pool of narratives and of the people who come to find them. It is where we can glimpse immortality …

— Susan Orlean, “The Library Book

We’ve got libraries on the mind for the 60th anniversary of DBRL, so this month we’re highlighting documentaries that explore the vital, and at times unexpected, roles that libraries fill. Check out the following documentaries from Kanopy: Continue reading “60th Anniversary of DBRL: Docs About Libraries”

Good Reasons to Mushroom Hunt

Posted on Friday, October 25, 2019 by Larkspur

Wandering through many early spring forests in mid-Missouri in search of wild morels, I’ve never been lucky enough to discover a secret cache of these fairytale figures. Although I’ve found one or two random fruits, not enough to make a meal or brag about to other mycophiles, I can’t complain, because morels, while magical in appearance, to me seem rather insubstantial and bland. Chanterelles on the other hand, oh, la, la — are not only intriguingly shaped and a stunning orange hue, but are also meaty and have a woodsy, floral flavor that is truly unique. This past summer while hiking deep in the Ozarks woods, near the Current River, I stumbled upon a generous outcropping of these bright beauties — my first ever wild mushroom bonanza. I picked a hatful and brought them back to camp. There I consulted with a local mushroom expert to double check that the mushrooms I’d picked were chanterelles, and not look-alikes … because some mushrooms are poisonous, and can even be deadly. For this reason, the golden rule of wild mushroom gathering is:  never eat one if you can’t positively identify it as safe. Turns out, the mushrooms I’d found were the real deal, so I was able to cook and enjoy them in a sauce over rice. Mmmm! Continue reading “Good Reasons to Mushroom Hunt”