Welcome to DBRL Next, the library’s blog for adults! Here you’ll discover authors, programs, area events and learning resources. Visit often and find your next good book. Unravel the mysteries of new technologies. Read about upcoming films, lectures and computer classes. Participate in Adult Summer Reading. Find a volunteering opportunity, a new hobby and more. What’s next? Scroll down to find out!
Some artists shrug off fame and notoriety for various reasons, oftentimes attracting attention through their attempts at obscurity. Check out these docs featuring various reclusive artists.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” (2010)
Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation. This film tells the incredible true story of how an eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results.
Ah, June is coming! We can smell summer from here. Time to stuff our beach bags with a little romantic comedy, fantasy (featuring librarians, naturally), suspense, memoir and microhistory. Here are the books hitting shelves next month that librarians across the country recommend. Place your holds now to have them in hand for your upcoming vacations or staycations.
“Vinegar Girl” by Anne Tyler
“The newest entry in the Hogarth Shakespeare series brings The Taming of the Shrew into the modern world. Kate is stuck in a life taking care of her absent minded professor father and her sister, Bunny. When her father suggests a marriage of convenience in order to secure a green card for his lab assistant Pyotr, Kate is shocked. This is a sweet and humorous story about two people, who don’t quite fit in, finding each other. Tyler’s wonderful writing updates and improves on the original.” – Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
“The Invisible Library” by Genevieve Cogman
“Directed by powerful librarians, agents roam alternate realities searching out special volumes for their mysterious library’s collections. Irene is a spy for the library but something is a little off about her current mission; there’s something strange about her new assistant that she can’t quite put her finger on and worse, the requested volume has already been stolen. Cogman’s engaging characters and a most intriguing imagined world are sure to delight readers, especially bibliophiles.” – Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
“Under the Harrow” by Flynn Berry
“Nora leaves London to visit her sister, Rachel, in the countryside often. But this trip is different – a silent house, a dead dog hanging from the railing and so much blood. Nora stays, trying to help the police solve the case. She thinks it might have something to do with the unsolved attack on Rachel when she was just a teen but it could be someone new. This story is thrilling and quietly gripping. We become as obsessed as Nora in finding her sister’s killer — what if he strikes again?” – Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX
On May 28, thousands of cyclists will descend upon Flat Branch Park in downtown Columbia to embark on a soiree on wheels along the MKT and Katy Trails. Cyclists participating in the annual Pedaler’s Jamboree will make the 35 mile trek to Boonville’s Kemper Park on Saturday morning. Riders will be greeted with a celebration at the terminus of the journey complete with food, beverages and a plethora of live music, including (among many others) Flint Eastwood, The Royal Furs, Hounds, The Kay Brothers and Violet and The Undercurrents, fronted by Columbia’s own Violet Vonder Haar.
Bike decor, good times and costumes are enthusiastically encouraged. The Pedaler’s Jamboree Rider Pass is $50 and includes the transport of all bags to Boonville so that participants are free to ride at their own pace, unburdened by heavy gear. Non-Riders are also welcome and can purchase a pass for the celebration at Kemper Park for $15. For $6, cyclists can enjoy a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning, during which riders can refuel before the return ride to Columbia. Shuttles are available to whisk cyclists and their bikes back to town, should they need a lift.
Is the anticipation too much to bear? In the meantime, get acquainted with your trusty steed and all its two thousand parts with Chris Sidwell’s “Complete Bike Book.” Jam-packed with beautiful color photographs of bikes of all stripes, basic maintenance techniques and bicycle shopping advice, this book is invaluable to those at any level of the velo obsession spectrum. Sidwell also details methods to improve riding skills, including riding on rough and uneven terrain (for example, the ever-tricky cobblestone), as well as what tools and implements to pack for a long ride.
Happy Birthday, National Park Service!
The weather is warming up, school is coming to a close, and we are making plans for the summer! What a great time to visit one of the National Park Service’s 411 sites, including 59 national parks. The National Park Service, under the Department of the Interior, manages memorials, seashores, historic sites and battlefields. They even manage the White House and four former prisons!
When I was a kid, I remember loading up in the back of our station wagon for vacation. No seat belts, y’all! We would go for a week or two and visit places like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes or Estes Park in Colorado. We also visited Scott’s Bluff in Nebraska, as well as Mount Rushmore and the Badlands in South Dakota. The drives always seemed arduous, but they were made worth it by the thrill of whatever scene we came upon. I don’t think we were ever disappointed.
To celebrate this wonderful anniversary, I have been checking out a few books from the library collection. “The Wonder of it All: 100 Stories from the National Park Service” is a collection of stories from various parks employees and rangers about their experiences. I had no idea that the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was managed by the National Park Service. I also didn’t know that it had anything to do with the Scotts of the Dred Scott case.
“The Story of My Teeth” came into existence the way most novels do: at the behest of a Mexican juice company. But rather than merely extol the virtues of juice while spinning a tale about juice bandits who turned to a life of juice thievery due to being criminally deprived nature’s finest nectar during their formative years, Valeria Luiselli chose to tell a better, stranger tale.
The novel, in addition to being a “collaborative translation” with Christina MacSweeney, was also workshopped with workers at a juice factory. She would send a chapter, factor in their feedback, then write the next chapter. The novel’s quality makes it clear that more writers should seek the feedback of factory workers. Indeed, I’m so inspired by her tactics that I’ve taken the liberty of mailing this post to a number of factories. As you can tell, I’ve yet to hear back, but I imagine their feedback will transform this post into something nearly as magical as her novel, at which point I will use their suggested changes for the 10th anniversary edition of this blog post (“Now in 3-D and edited by factory workers!’).
“The Story of My Teeth” is mostly narrated by a man known as “Highway.” Highway opens the novel by declaring himself the world’s greatest auctioneer. He’s also capable, if given sufficient quantities of rum, of imitating Janis Joplin. Regardless of his rum levels, he’s able to balance an egg. Highway is also a fiend for collecting things. As a child, he collected over 10,000 of his father’s nail clippings, stored smartly in envelopes. If this wasn’t enough to have you hooked (I speed-read the novel hoping to find a scene featuring an upright egg), there’s also a scene in which four portraits of clowns menace poor Highway.
From May 16 to May 22, the city of Columbia will host activities aimed at promoting non-automotive transportation. The 15th annual Bike, Walk and Wheel Week will feature festivals, group bike rides, free city bus rides and more. As always, your library can provide resources for inspiration and information.
In the first category, I suggest Ben Montgomery’s book, “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.” In 1955, 67-year-old Emma “Grandma” Gatewood left her Ohio home, telling her children and grandchildren she was going on a walk. Several months later, she’d earned the distinction of becoming the first woman to hike the entire 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail.
For those of us who want to get outside and move, but whose ambitions are slightly more modest than Ms. Gatewood’s, central Missouri offers many trails well-suited to lunch hour strolls, day trips to nearby communities, or commuting to work or school. Columbia Parks and Recreation provides a handy guide to local trails. One of most well-known is the MKT, and the book “Seasons of the MKT Trail” contains gorgeous photos that remind us there’s never a bad time of the year to get out of our cars and enjoy the scenery.