Reader Review: Beastars

Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2021 by patron reviewer

Beastars introduces readers to Cherryton Academy, where herbivores and carnivores live and study together in peace … mostly. Out of nowhere, Tem (an alpaca) is murdered and a rift forms between the already tenuous relationship between students (hunters vs. prey). Immediately, the suspicious turn to Legoshi, a large gray wolf, who is awkward at best and terrifying at worst. The graphic novel moves between perspectives of members of the award-winning drama club; focusing on their sympathies for their friend their suspicions of the culprit.

Well drawn and written, the book is easy to follow (albeit it read from the back to front and right to left). Finished on a cliffhanger and will definitely have me grabbing the next books in the series to find out what happened to poor, innocent Tem!

Three words that describe this book: Suspicions, School, Animals

You might want to pick this book up if: You’re into graphic novels focused on anthropomorphized characters that have deeper, more meaningful backgrounds, thoughts, and feelings.



This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. Submit your own book review here for a chance to have it featured on the Adults Blog. 

New DVD List: Sound Of Metal, Primal, & More

Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

Website / Reviews
In this dramatic film, metal drummer Ruben begins to lose his hearing. When a doctor tells him his condition will worsen, he thinks his career and life is over. His girlfriend Lou checks the former addict into a rehab for the deaf hoping it will prevent a relapse and help him adapt to his new life. After being welcomed and accepted just as he is, Ruben must choose between his new normal and the life he once knew. Continue reading “New DVD List: Sound Of Metal, Primal, & More”

Reader Review: The Vanishing Point

Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 by patron reviewer

The Vanishing Point” is the story of two couples and how their lives have been permanently altered by a secret that comes to light toward the beginning of the book. Two young men, both photography students in a prestigious program, fall in love with the same woman, Magda. One of these men, Julian, marries Magda but she never stops loving Rye. Rye marries as well, but is never quite present with his wife, Simone, a theme that is explored throughout the book. (Similarly, Julian is neglectful of and abusive toward his wife and son.) Julian and Rye both go on to live as successful photographers, but although they were roommates in college, their relationship is severed until about 20 years after they graduate, when Magda contacts Rye out of the blue. The renewed connection sparks reflections on the past as well as a mystery that the characters work to solve. Throughout the book, the characters confront the secrets of their pasts, their own troubled relationships, and, for some of the characters, personal demons. It is a compelling novel that not only explores a mystery, but also deals with trauma and addiction. It is a page-turner.

Three words that describe this book: compelling, character-driven, family conflict

You might want to pick this book up if: You like Elizabeth Brundage’s other works, enjoy stories centered on women, enjoy stories about family conflict



This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. Submit your own book review here for a chance to have it featured on the Adults Blog. 

Drawn to It: Docs Involving Animation

Posted on Monday, July 12, 2021 by DBRL_Katie

life, animated film still

Animation isn’t just for kids’ movies. It’s a useful and increasingly common medium for nonfiction storytelling, particularly when live footage doesn’t exist or won’t suffice to engage viewers. Directors can turn to animation when a subject recollects scenes from their memories or fantasies, to bring life to a dense interview or to simply visualize content in a new way. Check out the following documentaries that get creative with animation. Continue reading “Drawn to It: Docs Involving Animation”

Literary Links: Words, Words, Words

Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2021 by Reading Addict

“So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.”
~John Locke (1632-1704)

Why Fish Don't Exist book coverHumans love naming things and experiences. Without language we wouldn’t have stories and without words we wouldn’t have books. But sometimes words can become a cage. Lulu Miller, in her beautifully written memoir, “Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life,” explores some of the restrictions of language, explaining that there is really no such thing as a “fish.” It’s not a scientific term. What might look like a fish could actually be a mammal. She explains it with a metaphor — “It was the dandelion principle! To some people a dandelion might look like a weed, but to others that same plant can be so much more. To an herbalist, it’s a medicine — a way of detoxifying the liver, clearing the skin, and strengthening the eyes. To a painter, it’s a pigment; to a hippie, a crown; a child, a wish. To a butterfly, it’s sustenance; to a bee, a mating bed; to an ant, one point in a vast olfactory atlas.” She says, “I have come to believe that it is our life’s work to tear down this order, to keep tugging at it, trying to unravel it, to set free the organisms trapped underneath. That it is our life’s work to mistrust our measures. Especially those about moral and mental standing. To remember that behind every ruler there is a Ruler. To remember that a category is at best a proxy; at worst, a shackle.” Continue reading “Literary Links: Words, Words, Words”

Debut Author Spotlight: July 2021

Posted on Friday, July 9, 2021 by Katherine

Here are a few of the most exciting debut novels coming out in July. These have all received starred reviews in library journals. For a longer list, please visit our catalog.

She Who Became the Sun book coverShe Who Became the Sun” by Shelley Parker-Chan

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: July 2021”

Reader Review: That Sounds Fun

Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2021 by patron reviewer

The Sounds Fun book coverIn “That Sounds Like Fun,” Annie Downs turns her podcast into a book. It’s about why it is important to be an amateur and find a hobby to bring more fun into your life. She talks about ways to find fun in the everyday and to savor the moments you’ve created. The book is a bit of a remembrance of simpler times in her life, but also shows readers/listeners how to craft a life of adventures, big and small.

Three words that describe this book: Uplifting, encouraging, hopeful

You might want to pick this book up if: You feel like there’s not any excitement or adventure in your life and you’re looking for a change.



This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. Submit your own book review here for a chance to have it featured on the Adults Blog. 

Q&A With Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer, Authors of “From Freezer to Cooker”

Posted on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer are Columbia, MO authors whose latest book is “From Freezer to Cooker.” It’s a cookbook full of recipes for the Instant Pot or slow cooker, as well as simple freezer meal instructions at the bottom of every recipe so readers will never be more than a few minutes away from a tasty and healthy homemade meal. Conner & Tiemeyer are the founders of Thriving Home, a down-to-earth lifestyle blog that has become a leader in the freezer cooking space these time-strapped moms of three (each!) jokingly refer to themselves as “freezer meal evangelists.” They have previously written “From Freezer to Table,” a cookbook that contains more than 75 simple recipes for freezer cooked meals. I emailed some interview questions to them, and they were kind enough to take time to write back some answers. Continue reading “Q&A With Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer, Authors of “From Freezer to Cooker””

Reader Review: Bitter Greens

Posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 by patron reviewer

Bitter Greens book coverAlthough “Bitter Greens” is a historical fiction novel with a fairy tale added in the mix, the author artfully weaves the plot so that the magical story line fits right in with actual events. Intriguing to the end, I found myself thinking about the characters several days after finishing the book. A great summer read!

Three words that describe this book: Magical; Heart-breaking; Hopeful

You might want to pick this book up if: you read or watched “Rapunzel” and have an interest in French/Italian history.



This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. Submit your own book review here for a chance to have it featured on the Adults Blog. 

Nonfiction Roundup: July 2021

Posted on Monday, July 5, 2021 by Liz

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

Top Picks

This is your mind on plants book coverThis Is Your Mind on Plants” by Michael Pollan (Jul 6)
Of all the things humans rely on plants for — sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber — surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime? In “This Is Your Mind on Plants,” Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs — opium, caffeine, and mescaline — and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings? In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively — as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost 25 years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: July 2021”