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!
I’ve had family dogs, where the responsibility of training, walking and caring for the animal was shared among four people, but Zarra, my red heeler, is the first dog I can completely call my own. She’s spastic, energetic and, as her name implies, bizarre. When I first adopted her, I thought my previous experience raising dogs would be enough to reign in her crazy, but after a few months her behavior immediately alerted me that I was very, horrifyingly, wrong.
I constantly struggle to stop her from violently shaking her leash in an excited fit, and although I love the sound of her beautiful voice, her infatuation with barking is infuriating.
On the bright side, she is wicked smart, has more personality than three dogs combined and is the perfect snuggle companion when she’s not attempting to thrust me from the bed with tiny outstretched legs.
All this hassle led me to a moment of brilliance where I thought, why, I work at a library, don’t I? We have a dog training collection, don’t we? Then why don’t I check myself out some much-needed books that will enlighten me on how to reign in my fiendish friend?
The most important thing I can tell you about Flann O’Brien is: you should not read the introduction to “The Complete Novels” until after you’ve read the complete novels. Perhaps the introducer believed he was writing an afterword, or perhaps he believes he lives in a surreal utopia where everyone has read Flann O’Brien. Regardless, he drops spoilers like race cars during a bolt shortage, including a huge one that will change the way you read “The Third Policeman.” Fortunately, I long ago developed a suspicion of introductions and always save them for last, so it was with a self-satisfied smirk, wagged finger of admonishment and chest-puffed entreaty of “don’t be a monster that spoils stuff” that I greeted the introducer’s ghastly act of revealing the end of the “The Third Policeman,” where the reader should discover for themselves that [spoiler removed by editor].
Flann O’Brien, much like Batman or a rapper, has more than one name. His realest name is Brian O’Nolan, and, in addition to Flann, he also wrote as Myles na gCopaleen, which I presume is the result of several typos and an urge to be the most inscrutable superhero ever. Unlike my previous recommendations whose recommending came at least partially in the service of bribing them to be my friends, any relationship with O’Brien would be awkward and one-sided as the man died on April Fools’ Day in 1966. (Which, if one has to die, must be the best day to do so. Think of the incredulous responses when his friends and loved ones were notified!)
Are you ready to celebrate your momma? Don’t worry, Mother’s Day isn’t for another month, but you can celebrate your earth mother on April 22! Jefferson City celebrates Earth Day 2014 on Friday, April 25, and Columbia will hold its downtown Earth Day celebration the following Sunday (April 27th). Until then, here are some books to get you in the Earth Day spirit.
Read a novel about our planet (fictional books):
- “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver. A story of a woman and her family living in modern-day Appalachia, which discusses the intersection of rural poverty and the environment. Kingsolver has written many other books regarding the environment, including an account of her family living solely off food they and their neighbors grew for an entire year!
- “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn. The novel begins with this newspaper advertisement: “TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.” This philosophical work employs a monkey teacher and his human student to examine mythology’s effect on ethics and how it relates to sustainability.
- “Arctic Rising” by Tobias S. Buckell. In this futuristic tale, the arctic ice cap has almost completely melted, and militaries and corporations are racing to claim the newly exposed ocean oil.
This week we’re commemorating National Library Week. Many of us have a story about the role of libraries in our lives. Here is mine.
“Two books per visit per week,” said the unsmiling librarian as she handed me a library card. Neither the limits nor her demeanor surprised me, a 9-year-old Jewish girl growing up in Moscow in the 1950s — a city where everything was strictly regulated and rationed. I read the two books in two days and impatiently waited for the next visit.
I needed those visits. The books were filled with stories in which, no matter how grim things seemed, everything came out well in the end, rewarding honesty, bravery and wisdom — a striking contrast to my everyday experiences. I needed the security of the bookish world, with no worries about the future and no anti-Semitism, which followed me even to my library where, recorded below my age and address, appeared the label: Jewish.”
Thirty years later, a recent immigrant to the U.S. with a 13-year-old daughter, I stood in front of another librarian. This librarian was smiling.
“What did she say?” I asked my daughter, who already knew a little English and often served as my interpreter.
“She said, ‘Can I help you?’ ”
April elections aren’t just about school boards and city councils. Each year the Daniel Boone Regional Library asks area readers to help choose that year’s One Read book. One Read is a community-wide reading program that invites adults in Mid-Missouri to read the same book over the summer and then attend programs based on that book during the month of September.
Between now and May 2, cast your vote for either “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain or “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel Brown.
Learn more about these titles and cast your vote at oneread.org!
It happens every year. The daytime temperatures start to creep above 50 or 60 degrees, and I’m suddenly overspending at the local garden center, filling my cart with a ridiculous number of pansies, their cheerful, bright faces turned towards the sun. I don’t have a green thumb. Half of what I plant each year dies from neglect, mismanagement or simple bad luck, but I still can’t keep myself from digging hopefully in the dirt each spring.
For gardeners and gardener wannabes, the library has plenty of books, programs and online resources for inspiration and education.
For ideas in your inbox, sign up for our monthly home and garden newsletter. Each month you’ll receive a list of 10 recently published titles, and the list always includes some new gardening books like “The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden” by Roy Diblik and “Plantiful” by Kristin Green.