So Long and Thanks For All the Fish

Posted on Monday, May 27, 2024 by Michael M

“In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” So begins not Douglas Adams’ seminal work, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, but its sequel, “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.” Hard to find a better opening line for this blog post though, you have to admit. This year marks 45 years of “Hitchhiker’s,” if you believe in things such as time being a straight line constantly moving forward. In honor of the anniversary, as well as Towel Day on May 25 (a day dedicated to honoring Adams’ life), I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the legacy of “Hitchhiker’s” all these years later. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks For All the Fish”

Q&A With Sean R. Frazier, Author of “The Last Available”

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 by Decimal Diver

Sean R. Frazier is a Columbia, MO author whose latest book is “The Last Available.” This stand alone comedic fantasy novel follows the bumbling adventures of six unlikely heroes as they attempt to quest their way into defeating an ancient creature that has awakened. Frazier is a father, a husband, a gamer, a runner and a total dork. His other work includes two fantasy book series, the completed Forgotten Years Saga and the newly started Mage Breaker Saga. He was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed via email. Continue reading “Q&A With Sean R. Frazier, Author of “The Last Available””

June First Thursday Book Discussion: Hollywood Con Queen

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 by MaggieM

book cover for Hollywood con queenJune’s First Thursday Book Discussion title, “Hollywood Con Queen” by Scott C. Johnson couldn’t get a more apt tag line its tag line “The Hunt for an Evil Genius.” The story starts when a private security consultant first comes across a corner of the “Con Queen’s” web of deception and follows a years long hunt to understand and uncover the con. Johnson’s writing stands out in answering all the questions, peering into all the crannies, including the criminal’s childhood and medical history in an effort to answer, “why?”

Maybe some of us are noble enough not to ‘rubberneck’ at the roadside accident, but I’m not, and traffic studies repeatedly show that most people can’t resist this particular type of temptation. I like to think our fascination with misfortune comes from a some basic human drive to understand danger with the hope of avoiding it yourself.

While there is no shame in reading Johnson’s book as a well-written and compelling curiosity on its own, it can also be viewed a vital cautionary tale and a study in vulnerabilities unique to our time — mostly the false sense of intimacy that can be fostered through technology without proximity.

I’m sure there will be no shortage of topics to discuss at the program in the Columbia Public Library at noon on June 6! Please join us!

Literary Links: Summer Reading 2024

Posted on Sunday, May 12, 2024 by Whitley Abell

Adventure is just a page away this summer at the Daniel Boone Regional Library as we invite you to participate in our Summer Reading program: “Adventure Begins at Your Library.”

Summer Reading starts June 1, and is free and open to all ages. Countless adventures await on our library shelves! Here are just a few to kick-start your journey as we step outside and into the great unknown! Continue reading “Literary Links: Summer Reading 2024”

Nonfiction Roundup: May 2024

Posted on Monday, May 6, 2024 by Liz

Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in May. 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

The LIght Eaters book cover
The Light Eaters: How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers New Understanding of Life on Earth” by Zoë Schlanger (May 7)
It takes tremendous biological creativity to be a plant. To survive and thrive while rooted in a single spot, plants have adapted ingenious methods of survival. In recent years, scientists have learned about their ability to communicate, recognize their kin and behave socially, hear sounds, morph their bodies to blend into their surroundings, store useful memories that inform their life cycle, and trick animals into behaving to their benefit, to name just a few remarkable talents. “The Light Eaters” is a deep immersion into the drama of green life and the complexity of this wild and awe-inspiring world that challenges our very understanding of agency, consciousness, and intelligence. In looking closely, we see that plants, rather than imitate human intelligence, have perhaps formed a parallel system. What is intelligent life if not a vine that grows leaves to blend into the shrub on which it climbs, a flower that shapes its bloom to fit exactly the beak of its pollinator, a pea seedling that can hear water flowing and make its way toward it? Zoë Schlanger takes us across the globe, digging into her own memories and into the soil with the scientists who have spent their waking days studying these amazing entities up close. What can we learn about life on Earth from the living things that thrive, adapt, consume, and accommodate simultaneously? More important, what do we owe these life forms once we come to understand their rich and varied abilities? Examining the latest epiphanies in botanical research, Schlanger spotlights the intellectual struggles among the researchers conceiving a wholly new view of their subject, offering a glimpse of a field in turmoil as plant scientists debate the tenets of ongoing discoveries and how they influence our understanding of what a plant is. We need plants to survive. But what do they need us for — if at all? An eye-opening and informative look at the ecosystem we live in, this book challenges us to rethink the role of plants — and our own place — in the natural world. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: May 2024”

In What Distant Deeps or Skies: Poetry In Science Fiction

Posted on Friday, May 3, 2024 by David Litherland

photo of a book with "Keats" inscribed on the front

“Rocketry may not be my True Will,

 but it’s one hell of a powerful drive. 

With Thelema as my goal 

And the stars my destination and my home,

I have set my eyes on high.”

Jack Parsons, Genius, Eccentric, Occultist, & Rocketeer

I am not a poetic man; both in the sense that I don’t write poetically (despite some of my readers’ assertions. I posit that, as a prose writer, I write prosaically in the most literal sense), and also that I do not often indulge myself in poetry. Not through any disdain for the medium, mind you, but simply a lack of motivation or interest. But sometimes, a book can trick you into reading extraneous literature (and poetry, as it turns out) in order to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the original text. Many great literary novels either require an intimate knowledge of other books within the author’s purview, or require a rather large desk on which to lay out several tomes at once to cross-reference the many inferences to other works. This is not necessarily a bad way to read, but it is a tad more academic than curling up in an armchair or bed to engross oneself in a story. Continue reading “In What Distant Deeps or Skies: Poetry In Science Fiction”

May 2024 LibraryReads

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 by Kat

LibraryReads logoI’m excited to share some of the new fiction books coming out in May. We have a wide variety to choose from, including cozy fantasy, historical fiction, some sci-fi and even a book about a ladies motorcycle and flying club. Check out these LibraryReads favorites from library staff across the country:


The Last Murder at the End of the World: A NovelThe Last Murder at the End of the World” by Stuart Turton

After a deadly fog decimates most of humanity, the small population that’s left lives on an island. As one villager begins investigating a murder, what once seemed like utopia begins to reveal dark secrets that no one could have predicted. Turton raises tantalizing social questions, presents an inventive world structure, and keeps readers intrigued and surprised throughout the novel.
~Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, NY Continue reading “May 2024 LibraryReads”

Three Buddhist Books for the Clouded Mind

Posted on Friday, April 26, 2024 by Karena

Recently, CPL’s new books section by the lobby has been graced with a few Buddhist titles. I’ve read three, in this order: “One Long Listening: A Memoir of Grief, Friendship, and Spiritual Care” by Chenxing Han, “Home Is Here: Practicing Antiracism With the Engaged Eightfold Path” by Liên Shutt, and finally, “It’s Okay Not to Look for the Meaning of Life: A Zen Monk’s Guide to Living Stress-Free One Day at a Time” by Jikisai Minami. Each book has soothed and challenged me in different ways. If the lake of your mind is feeling cloudy or clogged, one or more of these titles may be of benefit to you.

One Long Listening book cover Chenxing Han’s “One Long Listening” is a glossy black volume patterned with fluid golden lines that recall the rings of a tree or waves of sound. I was drawn to the title, which uses “listening” not as a verb but as a noun instead; something we commit to and create together. The title’s words appear exactly once, on a page that is mostly blank space (“I realized today that our friendship has been one long listening. / I’m still listening. / It feels like you are too. / I love you. / I miss you.”) Continue reading “Three Buddhist Books for the Clouded Mind”

Reading Harder in 2024! – Part 2

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2024 by Michael M

Welcome to the second installment of my Read Harder challenge! In case you missed the beginning of this series, check out my previous blog post where I explain what the Read Harder challenge is, and what this series is all about!

Cover of "Beast at Every Threshold" by Natalie WeeTask 7: Read an indie published collection of poetry by a BIPOC or queer author

Book Read: “Beast at Every Threshold” by Natalie Wee

April is National Poetry Month, so naturally I had to put the poetry collection in this update. On top of which, the poet I read from, Natalie Wee is both queer and BIPOC (born in Singapore to Malaysian parents), so double points, maybe even triple points? Just kidding, welcome to the Read Harder Challenge, where the rules are made up, and the points don’t matter!

Reviewing poetry is difficult for me — as my poet stepmother can tell you (hi Meg, I know you’re reading this), poetry is an important art form separate from prose writing, but my range goes from Shel Silverstein to high-school level Emily Dickinson; it often goes over my head. I even tend to skip over narratives told in verse, which seems to be a style growing in popularity. Part of the difficulty I have when looking for poetry is that the kind of works I’m most interested in are the ones with the highest potential to be a swing and a miss. Let me explain: Autobiographical poetry, people who speak from their life experiences, especially about race, gender and sexuality, can be so arresting when it connects. At the same time, what can be so personal and cathartic to the poet can come across to the reader as missing important context. The poem is clearly important, but without knowing the shape of how or why it was written, it lacks a certain amount of oomph. Which is not to say we as readers are owed anything, certainly not when the poet has already laid themself bare for us.

As I was reading through this collection, I found some poems and some lines that made me pause and reflect, made me want to write them down for later study. Many more however felt as if I was listening to a one-sided conversation (isn’t all writing a one-sided conversation, from writer to reader?) Poems were formatted more than a dozen ways throughout the collection, some stronger than others, and it occasionally felt as if the poet was consulting a thesaurus when writing. Obviously take this review with a grain of salt, and please judge for yourself. Continue reading “Reading Harder in 2024! – Part 2”

Reader Review: Stories from Latin America

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2024 by patron reviewer

Stories from Latin America” is an interesting collection of traditional stories/fables/history from Latin America. Some were much more interesting than others, of course, but overall it was an interesting read. I used it as part of my self-designed Spanish language learning — the left side is in English, the right page is in Spanish. It could, of course, be used by native Spanish speakers learning English. For anyone not interested in learning Spanish, it would be easy to simply read the stories in English.

There is also a glossary in the back, however, it is easier to just look at the accompanying translation on the facing page. I found it works best to read it first in the language you are learning and only looking at the facing page in your native language when you need to confirm your understanding.

Three words that describe this book: traditional, storytelling, Latinamérica

You might want to pick this book up if: This book is great for English/Spanish language learners and or those interested in traditional storytelling.


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