This year’s One Read selection, “Nomadland” by Jessica Bruder, explores the lives of people left out of, or let down by, our financial system. Though their stories are often rooted in misfortune, they also display resilience, ingenuity and a sense of community. Bruder’s book, which started as a cover story for Harper’s Magazine called “The End of Retirement,” shows us a new 21st century iteration of migrant workers who are often older and retired. With their options limited by circumstance, they choose to live in RVs and retrofitted vans as they follow work opportunities across the country. Bruder buys her own van and ventures out with them, chasing temporary jobs in national parks, Amazon fulfillment centers and beet fields. The plight of these Americans might remind you of the Okies in “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, and there are other excellent books that explore similar territory. If “Nomadland” whets your appetite, here are some suggestions for further reading. Continue reading “Literary Links: Nomadland”
Cast 75 sts onto size 2 needle; row 1: p1, *k2, p1: repeat from * to end of row; row 2: p1, *p2, k1: repeat from * to end of row; repeat rows 1 and 2 until work measures 10”, bind off, weave in ends.
Are these words, letters, numbers and symbols cryptic to you? Well, if you take up knitting, you’ll be able to decode this set of instructions and turn them into a tangible thing, in this case a pretty dishcloth—a simple and gratifyingly quick project for a new knitter.
Interested in knitting? My quick search in DBRL’s catalog for books on knitting, produced a list of hundreds of titles, so there are rows and rows of choices—from beginning level how-to guides to instructions for challenging, complicated, patterns for advanced knitters. There is also a tidy little collection of titles with writings on the psychological aspects of knitting and “purls” of wisdom that can be gained from engaging in this ancient craft. Continue reading “World Wide Knit in Public Day”
If you enjoy some of the wonderful trails that Columbia has to offer, the letters “MKT” might sound a bit familiar. Long before it was a recreational trail, the MKT was actually a railroad line that spanned the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Texas – hence the name MKT. On Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00 pm, the Columbia Public Library will host John Wilke from the Mid-Missouri Rail Fans organization for a program about the Columbia branch of the MKT Railroad and how it connected Mid-Missouri to the rest of the country.
The MKT railroad, also known as the “Katy”, started in 1865 in Kansas and was a valuable link between the Midwest and Texas. It is known for being the first railroad to pass through Indian Territory, what is now the state of Oklahoma. The line actually began as the southern branch of the Union Pacific Railway and was intended to run from Junction City, Kansas to New Orleans, Louisiana. However, those ambitions were never quite realized and the MKT line ran from St. Louis, Missouri to San Antonio, Texas at it’s peak with stops in Kansas City, Topeka, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Galveston, among other
towns. Continue reading “The History of the MKT Railroad”
In honor of Earth Month,* please allow me to pay tribute to the humble bicycle. There are many reasons to love bikes. Here is a far-from-exhaustive list of reasons to love bikes.
- They are super fun to ride.
- Biking can improve cognitive function and your mood.
- They are a low impact way (easy on the ligaments and whatnot) of burning calories and building muscle.
- They are great for the environment. (CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline: 8,887 grams CO2/ gallon. The average passenger vehicle emits about 404 grams of CO2 per mile.)
- While providing much of the same fun as a horse or mule (wind in your hair, the sensation of speed) you need never share your oats with a bike.
- When the weather is beautiful, you get to enjoy it. When the weather is bad, you get to be smug about how tough you are for biking anyway.
- When you go on a long ride, you have to eat a lot in order to maintain the energy required to power your bike. It’s a glorious thing to be REQUIRED to eat a few thousand extra calories in a day, and still be fitter than you were when the day started.
- When people wish you a “Happy Earth Day,” you can respond, graciously, with “Each and every single day is Earth Day to me,” and then gesture emphatically at your bike, or, should your bike not be in your line of sight, pantomime riding a bike.
- You’ll enjoy the friendly nods you’ll exchange with people who appreciate your biking even if they are unable or unwilling to do the same.
The air inside a vehicle is worse for you than the air outside of it.
- They are great for our roads. (Despite the frustrations felt by many motorists when they are forced to slow down for upwards of a few seconds while in proximity to a cyclist, bikes ease traffic and cause nearly no wear on our roads when compared to a motor vehicle.) While I understand it is natural to be frustrated when you must decrease your speed and delay your arrival by several seconds, please only pass bikers when you can give them at least a three-foot buffer. This may mean waiting until the other lane has cleared and you can cross into it. The biker will be grateful, and you will have made the world a better place even while contributing to the decline of the atmosphere :).
- You can learn about bikes at your local library.
They are just so dang fun.
- As I said, as a devoted biker and someone who always makes sure to get every last drop of food or beverage out of its container, every day is Earth Day to me.
- In a few decades, when the descendants of the absurdly wealthy are living in an artificial atmosphere on Mars or the moon or deep inside the earth’s crust, they are likely to dedicate a whole month to remembering their home planet. They will celebrate with, respectively, Mars bars and Moonpies and pie crusts. They will bemoan their forebearers’ greed and shortsightedness. They will long for the developed ecosystems and prevalent housepets their ancestors had access to. “Oh, sweet Earth,” they’ll wail, cuddling their robot for comfort, “if only dear grandpappy had cared more about sustaining livable conditions on your surface rather than hoarding wealth, perhaps now we’d be enjoying diverse fauna and domesticated animals.”
- I didn’t write this post in time for Earth Day. However, I did write it in time for the Columbia Area Earth Day Festival where you can see our Book Bike in person.
This is the fourth year for the Unbound Book Festival and it just gets bigger and better every year! I’m so grateful to be living in such a bookish town!
The keynote speaker this year is George Saunders, who will grace us at The Missouri Theater on April 19 at 7:30. Tickets were free (as is everything with the festival), but the space is limited so I hope you were able get yours back in January for this sold out event! If not, you can still try to get in last minute. Just show up a little early for the “no ticket” line. There are bound to be a few seats open. Saunder’s first novel length book, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” won the 2017 Man Booker Prize along with a fist full of other accolades. Our very own gentleman wrote about it in “The Gentleman Reccomends” blog series. He describes the book as “a fancy genius writer’s take on historical fiction, and it’s about, among other things, a brilliant president’s grief and a bunch of ghosts too scared and stubborn to move on from this realm, so they’re stuck in this one, in the same cemetery as Abraham Lincoln’s recently deceased son.” Saunder’s new book, “Fox 8,” is an environmental fable and has also received high praise.
Earlier in the day on Friday, from 4pm-6pm, there will be poetry readings at Cafe Berlin. According to the Unbound website, “The event will be MC’d by T’Keyah Thomas, who is on the Unbound programming committee. TK is a poet and community organizer living in Columbia, MO. She’s an on-air announcer and producer for KBIA and is the host and co-founder of the spoken word collective, OneMic.” Among the many poets performing will be Jennifer Maritza McCauley and Marc McKee. Continue reading “It’s Time for the Fourth Annual Unbound Book Festival!”
With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is under way. The city of Columbia has a number of events that are being held around town. Why not kick off the holidays with a tour of Columbia homes beautifully decorated for the season. Starting November 30, the Holiday Home Tour will feature four homes in Southwest Columbia with a guided walk through so you can learn about the features and decor of each home. Dates, ticket locations, and event details can be found on the Columbia Tribune website.
Want to add some extra holiday flair to your own house? Flowers and greenery make wonderful decorations. Check out “Silk Florals for the Holidays” to learn how to create and arrange your own silk floral arrangements. Floral arrangements are perfect for the holidays since they don’t require any watering and won’t wilt, letting you enjoy your festive decor all season long! Also, if winter puts you in the crafting mood, check out “Origami Decorations for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa“! Using step-by-step instructions and color diagrams, this book shows you how to create ornaments and 3-D models that will delight the whole family! Never tried origami before? Don’t worry! This book will guide you with paper-folding techniques and tips on adapting to different papers and sizes. Continue reading “Holiday Events in Mid-Missouri”
The Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery will be hosting their second annual History Comes Alive event on Memorial Day, May 28 from 1-4 p.m. Seven different “well-knowns” who are buried in the cemetery will come alive in monologues given by local actors. Chris Campbell, executive director of the Boone County History and Culture Center, wrote the scripts for these actors. In charge of costuming for the event is Monica McMurry of the Stephens College Theatre Department.
We have discussed Victor Barth and John B. Lange, Sr. and Odon Guitar and James L. Stephens in previous posts. In this installment we will be touching on the lives of R. B. Price and Richard Henry Jesse. Continue reading “History Comes Alive: R. B. Price and Richard Henry Jesse”
On Monday, May 28 from 1-4 p.m. the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery will be hosting their second annual History Comes Alive event to teach attendees about notable citizens buried in this historic cemetery. Seven different “famous” former residents of Columbia will be represented by various talented actors in period dress who will explain why they were important to local history. The actors are being directed by Chris Campbell, executive Director of the Boone County History and Culture Center. Monica McMurry of Stephens College Theatre Department is in charge of costumes. You will be guided to each of their graves to experience these brief monologues.
In a previous post we talked about Victor Barth and John Lange, Sr., and in this installment we will discuss Brigadier General Odon Guitar and James L. Stephens. Continue reading “History Comes Alive: Odon Guitar & James L. Stephens”
Have Memorial Day plans? Mark your calendar to spend time with us as some old faces of Columbia come to life at the Columbia Cemetery. On Monday, May 28, the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery will be hosting their second annual History Comes Alive tour of notable people buried in the cemetery. This free event will have local actors portraying the lives of seven of the citizens who helped make Columbia the community it is.
Last year’s event was very successful — many enjoyed the sunshine while re-enactors explained their lives and what they did to become a “notable” in their lifetimes. This year should be just as great! Below are highlights of just a couple of the citizens being featured. Continue reading “History Comes Alive: Victor Barth & John Lange, Sr.”