Reader Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2022 by patron reviewer

The Empress of Salt and Fortune book coverThe Empress of Salt and Fortune” is a novella that focuses on a team collecting information about the former empress who is now deceased. Through a collection of artifacts, the subtle plotting of the northern princess is revealed as to how she was able to send communications, raise an army, establish an heir and take over the kingdom. What I liked about this story was how cleverly the characters were portrayed and how subtle the evidence was of what the princess was doing. Side characters, small details, and the artifact lists are really important in this when usually you expect them to be such throwaway accents; here it is central to the plot.

Three words that describe this book: Short, clever, sneaky

You might want to pick this book up if: If you like fantasy books, you’d enjoy this plotting to take over a kingdom; if you enjoy shorter books, this doesn’t take long to read but still has many rich details and a full story inside; if you like figuring out puzzles and noticing small details and not having everything spelled out for you, you’d like this novella.


Q&A With Gladys Swan, Author of “Ceremony of Innocence”

Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Gladys Swan is a Columbia, MO author whose latest book is “Ceremony of Innocence.” The fictional book follows an American woman named Florrie as she faces many tribulations while living abroad in Copenhagen, Venice and Prague during the late 1980s. Swan is both a writer and a visual artist who has a background teaching literature and creative writing at many colleges, including Mizzou. She has published several novels and short story collections over the years including the Carnival Quintet series and a New Mexico trilogy. She currently has an art exhibit up at the Missouri River Regional Library until June 30, 2022. Gladys was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed via email. Continue reading “Q&A With Gladys Swan, Author of “Ceremony of Innocence””

Crafternoon-To-Go: Pompom Garland Kits

Posted on Monday, June 13, 2022 by cs

Flowers are blooming and fresh vegetables are here. Ah, the many beautiful colors of summer! Pompom garlands are colorful, quick and inexpensive. Use them as party decorations, hang them in a window or frame a doorway. All you need are pompoms, yarn and a needle with a large enough opening to string the yarn. We have provided all of these items in our next Crafternoon-To-Go kits which will be available on June 17.

These kits will be available while they last in all of our branches. You may pick them up at the Reference Desk at the Columbia library and near the service desks at our other branches. Be careful when handling the kits, as they do have needles inside. For other decorating with craft ideas, try this list.

Literary Links: One Read 2022 Finalists

Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2022 by Lauren

The Big Door Prize book coverIf you could trade two dollars and a little DNA to know your life’s true potential, would you do it? This year’s community-wide reading selection, “The Big Door Prize” by M.O. Walsh, explores this question and more. This offbeat and charming novel about small-town life, relationships and the power of dreams narrowly beat out the exuberant work of historical fiction “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride.

Before the public vote on the 2022 One Read title, a panel of community members considered a varied list of finalist books, from works of historical fiction to books exploring a range of marginalized identities. Continue reading “Literary Links: One Read 2022 Finalists”

New DVD List: Licorice Pizza, Kurt Vonnegut, & More

Posted on Friday, June 10, 2022 by Dewey Decimal Diver

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

Licorice Pizza dvd cover
Website / Reviews 
This Oscar-nominated drama is the story of Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. Written and Directed by heralded filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, this potent coming-of-age drama tracks the treacherous navigation of first love. Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper, Tom Waits and Benny Safdie also star. Continue reading “New DVD List: Licorice Pizza, Kurt Vonnegut, & More”

Debut Author Spotlight: June 2022

Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 by Katherine

Here are a few of the most notable adult fiction debuts for June. These titles have all received positive reviews in library journals. For a longer list, please visit our catalog.

A Proposal They Can't Refuse book coverA Proposal They Can’t Refuse” by Natalie Caña

Kamilah Vega is desperate to convince her family to update their Puerto Rican restaurant and enter it into the Fall Foodie Tour. With the gentrification of their Chicago neighborhood, it’s the only way to save the place. The fly in her mofongo: her blackmailing abuelo says if she wants to change anything in his restaurant, she’ll have to marry the one man she can’t stand: his best friend’s grandson.

Liam Kane spent a decade working to turn his family’s distillery into a contender. But just as he and his grandfather are on the verge of winning a national competition, Granda hits him with a one-two punch: he has cancer and has his heart set on seeing Liam married before it’s too late. And Granda knows just the girl… Kamilah Vega.

If they refuse, their grandfathers will sell the building that houses both their businesses. With their futures on the line, Kamilah and Liam plan to outfox the devious duo, faking an engagement until they both get what they want. But soon, they find themselves tangled up in more than either of them bargained for.

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: June 2022”

Nonfiction Roundup: June 2022

Posted on Monday, June 6, 2022 by Liz

Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in June. 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. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: June 2022”

Reader Review: Instructions for Dancing

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 by patron reviewer

Instructions for Dancing book coverEvie has given up on love, in the real world and in her once-beloved contemporary romance novels. How can she when her parents have just gotten a divorce? When she suddenly acquires the ability to see the end of a couple’s relationship (and as Evie will tell you, they always end) it only confirms her belief that love isn’t worth the time because no one gets out unscathed. And yet, when Evie gets partnered with X at the La Brea Dance Studio, she can’t help herself from noticing all his positive qualities, and she can’t walk away. So now Evie must navigate a world where she is confronted by love and visions of its subsequent heartbreak everywhere she goes, while trying to keep herself out of its snare.

I loved so much about “Instructions for Dancing.” The premise is a little goofy (suddenly she can see the whole “lifespan” of a relationship when she watches a couple kiss?), but it lends itself well to the challenges Evie is facing as she grapples with love and the risk that it is. Yoon is a great writer; she breaks from a standard storytelling mode to seamlessly integrate Evie’s visions and texts with friends in a way that moves the story along without it feeling awkward.

Three words that describe this book: Delightful, unique, heartwarming

You might want to pick this book up if: You might pick this book if you enjoy Nicola Yoon’s other works, YA romance, romantic comedies or dancing.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2021. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

First Thursday Book Discussion: Black History-Themed Picture Books

Posted on Monday, May 30, 2022 by cs

In this month’s virtual book discussion, we’ll depart from our usual format to discuss some picture books with Black history themes in honor of Juneteenth. Adults can find value in reading picture books, which provide an introduction to a subject and are often illustrated with beautiful artwork. This discussion will be held June 2 at 12 p.m. and is geared toward adults. Register for a Zoom link.

Here are the books to read for our discussion:

The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” by Carole Boston Weatherford

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks” by Suzanne Slade

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott” by Dee Romito

Swish! The Slam-dunking, Alley-ooping, High-flying Harlem Globetrotters” by Suzanne Slade

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song” by Debbie Levy

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams” by Lesa Cline-Ransome