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!
The death throes of summer will soon be marked by Labor Day weekend. Many of us will spend that time barbecuing or taking advantage of Great Labor Day Savings! This was not the original purpose of Labor Day. The intended meaning of the day was to honor “the social and economic achievements of American workers.” This purpose has mostly been lost, except most American workers do get a free day off. Unless they are one of the over 4,500,000 employed in retail. Then they are probably helping people take advantage of those Labor Day sales.
We spend so much time working that it’s surprising there aren’t more more books on the subject. There’s a constant stream books about job interviews, changing careers or finding fulfilling work, but books that evocatively capture this experience that composes so much of our lives are rare. There are some good ones, and even some classics, but the number days we spend laboring isn’t really matched by the books out there.
“The Jungle” is a classic many of us probably had to read in high school. The book tells the story of a poor immigrant family that tries to make a living working in the Chicago stockyards. The descriptions of the unsafe and unsanitary conditions became a catalyst for the passing of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food Act.
I’m not sure if Studs Terkel’s “Working” is technically considered a classic (who makes these decisions?), but it should be. Terkel conducted interviews with people from all walks of life about their jobs. You don’t just get insight into what the routine tasks of their jobs are, but you also learn how their time spent at work makes them feel.
Returning to school can be murder. Alarm clocks buzzing before dawn, heavy traffic on the roads, homework and assigned books (so rough after a few months of summer leisure reading). But at least we aren’t Raymond Donne, New York City cop turned high school teacher in Tim O’Mara‘s latest mystery, “Dead Red.”
After his friend and fellow former cop is murdered in a shower of bullets, Donne vows to not rest until he discovers who wanted Ricky dead, and why. This fast-paced, character-driven thriller is a great antidote to any dry textbooks or student handbook you are supposed to be reading, and you can win one of two signed copies from your library!
(Contest limited to residents of Boone and Callaway counties. One entry per person, please. Winners will be notified after September 25.)
Who are we? Where did we come from? How should we live? Check out these docs that might get you thinking about these big questions.
“Nostalgia for the Light” (2011)
Director Patricio Guzman travels to the driest place on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, where astronomers examine distant galaxies, archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilizations, and women dig for the remains of disappeared relatives.
“Examined Life” (2009)
Examined Life takes philosophy into the hustle and bustle of the everyday. The “rock star” philosophers of our time take “walks” through places that hold special resonance for them and their ideas. These places include crowed city streets, deserted alleyways, Central Park and a garbage dump.
When I was in school, history was not my favorite subject, but Sarah Vowell has convinced me I didn’t give it a fair chance. Vowell’s chatty books about American history relate the stories of our country in a way that brings alive the figures involved and paints a vivid picture of the times in which they lived, with the bonus of showing how past events still affect our lives today.
“Unfamiliar Fishes,” a volume about Hawaii, opens with these words: “Why is there a glop of macaroni salad next to the Japanese chicken in my plate lunch? Because the ship Thaddeus left Boston Harbor with the first boatload of New England missionaries bound for Hawaii in 1819.” Vowell makes a pretty good case for giving Hawaii the ‘Most Multicultural State’ award. As she explains how this came to be, she examines the effects of 19th century missionaries plus vacationing sailors on the island culture. It wasn’t all roses and butter, we discover. The story of Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, makes for compelling – if heartbreaking – reading.
In “The Wordy Shipmates” Vowell shows us the Puritans as interesting, complex human beings with more layers than the earth’s core. Much of the narrative centers on John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, along with his best frenemy, Roger Williams. The ins and outs of their friendship proves junior high drama predates the existence of junior high and can present itself in the cloak of religious disputes. After Winthrop banished him from Massachusetts, Williams founded Rhode Island. He was soon joined there by the remarkable and also exiled upstart, Anne Hutchinson, who had convinced her husband to pack up their 15 children and follow the clergyman John Cotton across the ocean to the colonies.
September is coming, and here at DBRL, that means One READ month! One READ is a community-wide reading program coordinated by the library and supported (and planned and promoted) by an incredible group of area organizations, media and educational institutions. Each year area readers help select a single book for exploration and discussion with the goal of creating community around this common reading experience.
This year’s selection, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, provides ample opportunity to investigate topics as diverse as Shakespeare, comic books, the nature of fame and how to survive an apocalypse. Here are just a few of the programs happening in Columbia and Fulton at the beginning of the month. See the full line-up at oneread.org.
“Station Eleven” Audiobook Broadcast
August 31 – September 30, 1-1:30 p.m.
Listen to the audiobook version of this year’s One Read selection and hear announcements on additional One Read programming every weekday August 31-September 30 (except Sept. 7, Labor Day).
Rambler’s Club Unplugged
Tuesday, September 1 › 7 p.m.
Columbia, Rose Music Hall (formerly Mojo’s), 1013 Park Ave
89.5 KOPN and DBRL present an evening of free music to kick off this year’s One Read program. The world of “Station Eleven” is postapocalyptic, unplugged and off the grid. Join local musicians as they play short sets with no amplification for this One Read edition of the Ramblers’ Club. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)
The kids are back in school, and the September LibraryReads list is here! Time to brew a cup of tea and enjoy a freshly published book. Here are the books hitting shelves next month that librarians across the country recommend, including the latest from the hilarious, refreshingly honest, irreverent, library-loving Jenny Lawson, also known as The Bloggess. “Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things” has gone immediately on to my personal holds list. Add a few of these forthcoming titles to your list, and enjoy!
“The Art of Crash Landing” by Melissa DeCarlo
“At once tragic and hilarious, this book is a roller coaster of a read. You’ll find yourself rooting for the snarky and impulsive but ultimately lovable Mattie. At the heart of this tale is a beautifully unraveled mystery that has led Mattie to her current circumstances, ultimately bringing her to her first real home.” – Patricia Kline-Millard, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH
“Make Me” by Lee Child
“Jack Reacher is back. Jack gets off a train at an isolated town. Soon, he is learning much more about the town, and its residents are learning not to mess around with Jack Reacher. Readers new to this series will find this book a good starting point, and fans will be pleased to see Jack again.” – Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA
“House of Thieves” by Charles Belfoure
“Belfoure’s intriguing novel is set in Gilded Age New York City. John Cross, head of the family, finds an unexpected talent for planning robberies, while his wife and children also discover their inner criminals. The historical details and setting evoke old New York. I enjoyed every minute of their escapades.” – Barbara Clark-Greene, Groton Public Library, Groton, CT