What’s Next?

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!

Super Summer Program Preview

This year’s Summer Reading program is all about heroes, both those that wear capes and those that are heroic everyday, from parents to paramedics, soldiers to scientists. Here’s a preview of just some of the programs coming in June. Mark your calendars!

Book cover for The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt KidFirst Wednesday Book Discussion – Fulton
Wednesday, June 3 › Noon-1 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library
In keeping with Summer Reading’s hero theme, bring your lunch and join us for a discussion of “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” by Bill Bryson. The author shares his memories of growing up in the 1950s, including his rich fantasy life as a superhero.

Finding Helen: Diary of a WWI Battlefield Nurse
Thursday, June 11 › 7-8:15 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Finding Helen: The Letters, Photographs and Diary of a WWI Battlefield Nurse” brings to life the story of a diminutive American Red Cross nurse named Helen Bulovsky who served along the Flanders front during World War I. Helen sent home letters, photos, poems and a diary, “Behind the Trenches,” describing the 18 months she spent in France and Belgium. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Book cover for Life During Wartime by Rudi KellerMid-Missouri’s Unsung Civil War Heroes & Villains
Tuesday, June 16 › 7-8:15 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
During the five years he has spent researching and writing his newspaper column “Life During Wartime,” journalist Rudi Keller has discovered many individuals whose stories have been forgotten or are remembered only as part of family lore. Hear about the unsung heroes and obscure villains he uncovered during his research into the daily lives of soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. Volumes one and two of “Life During Wartime” will be available for purchase and signing.
Continue reading »

Humble Beginnings: Docs About Elementary Schools

to be and to have

The education of kids is an important part of our society as well as others. Check out these documentaries aimed towards an adult audience that highlight various elementary schools here in our own backyard as well as halfway around the world.

to be and to haveTo Be and To Have“ (2002)

In a small rural school in France, Georges Lopez is a remarkably devoted teacher responsible for nurturing a dozen children ages 3-11 in all their school subjects and life’s lessons. Mr. Lopez shows patience and respect for the children as we follow their story through a single school year.

eco schoolhouseEco School House“ (2010)

This documentary shows how Grant Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri worked hand-in-hand with the community and a renowned architect to build a more environmentally friendly satellite classroom. The administration also created a new curriculum around environmentalism.
Continue reading »

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The June 2015 List

Let the summer reading begin! Some readers turn to lighter fare in June, wanting books with breezy plots they can finish in a long afternoon, fast-paced thrillers that make miles of travel fly by or fantasy novels into which they can escape. Others use hard-earned vacation time (I’m waving at you, teachers!) to dive into hefty works of literary fiction or narrative nonfiction. Whatever reading mood summer inspires, we’ve got a hot-off-the-presses recommendation for you from LibraryReads. Here are the top 10 titles publishing in June that librarians across the country love and recommend.

Book cover for Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura DaveEight Hundred Grapes” by Laura Dave

“Take your time and savor the family dynamics. Enjoy the romantic twists in this tale of a career-minded young woman circling back to her roots at a California winery. The appeal is broader than that of a romance since it delves into the complexities of various relationships — parent to parent, parents and children, even winery and owner. This is an excellent summer read!”
– Joan Hipp, Florham Park Public Library, Florham Park, NJ

Book cover for The Truth According to Us by Annie BarrowsThe Truth According to Us” by Annie Barrows

“It is 1938 in a rural West Virginia town and a young woman arrives to write the town’s history. Layla doesn’t really know what to expect from the town, and the town doesn’t know what to make of her. This is the heart of the South, the soul of small towns, where everyone looks out for you and knows your history. A sweet story tailor-made for fans of Billie Letts, Fannie Flagg, Pat Conroy and Harper Lee.”
– Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Book cover for The Book of Speculation by Erika SwylerThe Book of Speculation” by Erica Swyler

“A roller coaster of a read! This is the story of a librarian from a splintered family with a tragic past who is gifted a mysterious book that leads him to dive deep into his family’s history, all while his present life seems to be falling to pieces around him. If you loved Morgenstern’s ‘The Night Circus’ or Kostova’s ‘The Historian,’ this is a book for you.”
– Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA
Continue reading »

Suspense in a Small Town: Karin Slaughter’s Grant County Series

Book cover for Triptych by Karin SlaughterAs a regular reader of the thriller genre, I was excited to finally give Karin Slaughter a try. I was familiar with her name — her novels are often bestsellers that fly off the shelves. I was immediately drawn to her strong writing. Slaughter’s style is dark and gritty. She’s not afraid to expose the dark side of her characters (even those that you’re rooting for)! Although many crime novels are set in more urban areas, Slaughter takes readers into small, Southern towns, where horrific crimes are bubbling just under the surface. And when they explode into visibility, it becomes clear that even idyllic small towns are not safe from the darker side of human nature.

Her most recent series (starting with the twist-filled thriller, “Triptych“) features Will Trent, a special agent for the Georgia Bureau of investigation. I learned that some of the characters who show up in the Will Trent stories were first featured in her “Grant County” series. I’m a bit of a stickler for reading things in order (gotta avoid spoilers!), so I set out to read the earlier series first.

The “Grant County” series features Dr. Sara Linton, town pediatrician and coroner, as well as her ex-husband (and chief-of-police) Jeffrey Tolliver. Sara and Jeffrey’s troubled relationship plays out over six books as they work together to solve several horrific crimes.
Continue reading »

The Gentleman Recommends: Tania James

Book cover for The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania JamesIt can be great fun to read about villains, whether it’s because they command an army of monkeys (Wicked Witch), or they’re a great cook (Hannibal Lector) or they make you feel better about your own ethical shortcomings (Martha Stewart). But when you often read about such indisputably inhuman monsters, it’s good to be reminded that not everybody that does bad things is evil, and sometimes they are elephants. “The Tusk That Did The Damage” reminds us of this. In this sad and lovely and sometimes scary little novel, the elephant known as “The Gravedigger” witnessed the murder of his mother and the removal of her tail, and, after an often horrific existence marked by cruelty, isolation and a stint in the entertainment industry, begins murdering people and covering their corpses with leaves. Hence his catchy nickname.

The Tusk That Did The Damage” rotates among three perspectives: the aforementioned homicidal elephant, a young woman working on a documentary about a veterinarian running a rescue center for elephants and the younger brother of a young elephant poacher. While each narrative is worthy of my esteemed recommendation, getting inside the head of a mad elephant is the highlight for me, and I’d gladly read any excised material should the publisher wish to reward me for the sales boost I’m currently providing.
Continue reading »

What to Read While You Wait for At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Book cover for At the Water's Edge by Sara GruenSara Gruen’s latest bestseller is “At the Water’s Edge.” After humiliating themselves and their families in the states, three spoiled, rich Americans — Maddie, her husband Hank and his best friend Ellis — arrive in Loch Ness during the middle of World War II in search of the famed monster. While Hank and Ellis spend their days drinking and hunting Nessy, Maddie is left alone to get a job, do chores and bond with the town folk who teach her the culture of the area. As the days turn into weeks, Maddie is transformed from “brat” into an independent young woman able to look at the truth about herself, her marriage and her family. If you find yourself waiting to read about Maddie, you might enjoy one of these other stories about personal change.

Book cover for I Still Dream About You by Fannie FlaggI Still Dream About You” by Fannie Flagg

From the outside, it looks like Maggie has it all. As a 60-something former Miss Alabama, beautiful, charming and a real estate agent at a local firm, Maggie thinks her life is a failure. This sure wasn’t the life she dreamed about as a child. Struggling with disappointment and ready to commit suicide, Maggie postpones her “date with doom” when she lets a friend talk her into going out for a one-night-only entertainment event. As she tries to reschedule her “date,” business and life further interrupt her plans. Maggie lands the listing of a historical mansion (beating out Babs, a rival realtor), finds a kilted skeleton in the attic, campaigns for the first black mayor and is involved in an auto accident, leading her to surprising discoveries and lessons in friendship.
Continue reading »