“Slow down!” I screamed at my husband when a gust of wind threw another clump of snow at our front window, obscuring the world outside our car. We were driving through a blizzard, and my rhetorical question “Are we there, yet?” no longer reflected boredom but acquired a true urgency. Yet – finally! – our Subaru, loaded with ski clothes, equipment and electronic gadgets (just the number of chargers is unbelievable!) reached Rabbit Ears Pass and began descending to Yampa Valley – the town of Steamboat Springs within it.
Those who’ve never seen the Rocky Mountains in the winter should definitely rethink that (if you live outside the U.S., substitute a mountain region in your country ), for, as far as I’m concerned, the austere beauty of snow-covered peaks and valleys is incomparable with any other natural setting. As for Steamboat Springs, its charm is in preserving the aura of a 19th century miners’ and ranchers’ town, where herds of cattle still run along its wide main drag to the rodeo grounds every 4th of July.
Ranching, of course, is no longer the main occupation there. The thing that puts Steamboat Springs on the map now is outdoor activities: skiing in the winter (mostly downhill but Nordic skiing and snowshoeing as well); biking, whitewater rafting and hiking in the summer; and bathing in hot springs year around. Yet despite new fads and diets, there are establishments in this town that are over 100 years old, where you can order an old-fashioned burger and unabashedly brush peanut shells on to the floor (don’t worry, there are fancy restaurants there, too ). Also, as it was in the past, the town is full of people with faces burnt by the sun, wind and snow, although they are more likely to work in the ski village several miles away than on a ranch.
I recently stumbled across a BuzzFeed article that offers advice which is even more useful than tips on creative ways to use mason jars! “Twenty-Nine Books To Get You Through Your Quarter-Life Crisis” is a compilation of books about people in their 20s and issues that people face during this stage of their life. The list includes both fiction and nonfiction books, most of which we have in our collection (and the ones we don’t have you can get through our ILL service). As a 20-something, I enjoy learning about the various directions in which people choose to steer their lives and about the different ways people carve out their identities. Here are a few books I’ve found interesting:
- “Hyperbole and A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened” by Allie Brosh. This collection of webcomics is funny, sometimes sad, and had me yelling, “I totally do that, too!” The book combines crudely drawn pictures with short writings to tell stories of the now 28-year-old’s wild childhood, life-long obsession with dogs, bouts of depression and attempts at becoming a “responsible adult”. If you’re still not sold on this book, check out the Hyperbole and a Half blog to get a taste of Brosh’s style.
Books and movies provide the fuel for allowing a gentleman to reminisce of simpler times, even when he’s born long after whatever simpler time about which he wishes to reminisce. So it’s good for some of that fuel to remind the unscrupulous reminiscer that simpler times were terrible. One such time occasionally pined for is the gold-rush era, a time when a forward thinking person might be willing to spare a penny for a toothbrush, but a time when forward thinking people were often hunted for sport. Indeed, for every attractive aspect of the era (horse emissions pale when compared to an automobile, disagreements could be solved by a simple duel), there are significant drawbacks (horses age and poop and get attacked by bears and travel at a fraction of the speed of even the slowest autos, a duel ends in murder). Patrick deWitt’s hilarious, violent and gripping novel, “The Sisters Brothers,” is a potent reminder that even though cowboy hats are awesome and spurs make you sound really cool while you walk, now is a much better time to be alive, what with medicine and civil rights and whatnot. Remember, for every glass of whiskey only costing a penny there’s a gypsy keen to curse you or a little girl poisoning dogs, and both folks have terrible breath. (Because they don’t own a toothbrush.)
The novel is narrated by Eli Sisters, a sensitive and relatively kind-hearted killer with a penchant for giving his excess cash to friendly prostitutes and becoming attached to horses even when they’re unable to meet his robust travel needs. Eli’s voice is hilariously mannered and often poetic, and the book brims with brilliant movie-ready dialogue. One can easily imagine it as the next Coen Brothers masterpiece. The book joins, among others, ”Deadwood“ (fans of which should love this novel) as evidence that the western isn’t dead.
BiblioCommons, the library’s online catalog, has some updates and features that make book discovery and sharing content even better.
Everyone’s a critic
On a book’s title page, you will now see a feature called From the Critics, which integrates professional reviews from a wide variety of publications into the catalog. If a title has been reviewed in any of over 2,000 source publications, this page will feature an excerpt from and a link to that review, so that you can learn more about a title right within the catalog. And as always, you can write your own reviews by clicking the “add a comment” button when you are viewing a title. Love something? Hate something? Did a book leave you lukewarm? Help others with similar tastes decide on their next read.
We’ve added the sharing widget on all pages that can be permalinked. This means you can share an individual comment, summary or video to Twitter or Facebook, or via email. Let your online friends know what you are reading, listening to or watching.
“With the Union my best and dearest earthly hopes are entwined.”
- President Franklin Pierce, 1847
February is a month when we often reflect upon our presidents, celebrating the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Washington’s birthday is now a federal holiday and in some areas of the country is referred to as “President’s Day.” The library has many books about the 44 presidents who have occupied the White House since George Washington took office.
First, let’s first turn back the clock thirty years to 1984. The United States legislative and executive branches looked very different than they do today. Democrats had an entrenched hold on both the House and Senate, while a very popular Republican president was running for his second term in office. However, while political ideology was trumpeted throughout Capitol Hill, gridlock was often averted because of the basic pragmatism of two figures: President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked,” written by Chris Matthews of MSNBC fame, investigates their relationship in detail. Matthew’s point is the following: that ultimately the good of the country seemed to be the overwhelming concern for both of them. “Their way of life comprised an ongoing series of alliances and antagonisms, but did not include personal analysis of themselves or others,” Matthews writes. And he continues: “In his own way, each was a true gentleman in a way we don’t ask our leaders to be anymore.” Civility has since vanished from much of our political discourse.
“Can we listen to ‘Yellow Submarine’?” I asked for approximately the 500th time.
I was around 7, and my brother, older by 10 years, wanted to make sure I was properly enlightened regarding the Beatles. He tried to explain their deep songs to me – “The Fool on the Hill,” “Eleanor Rigby.” But I only wanted to hear “Yellow Submarine” over and over. And over. I think he wore out his copy of it on my behalf.
As I got older, I came to appreciate more Beatles’ songs. In my teen years, I liked the danceable numbers. “Twist and Shout” was a favorite. I was thrilled to discover the group recorded a number about my hometown: “Kansas City/ Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey.” These days I gravitate more to their mellower tunes, such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Yes, I do still listen to the Beatles, all this time later.
And I’m not the only one. The group made their American Debut on the Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago, on February 9, 1964. Since then, eight-track tapes have come and gone, as have cassettes. Through the rise and decline of MTV, and the advent of the Internet, downloadable music and YouTube, the Beatles have remained a popular listening choice. In DBRL’s music collection, their CDs are among the most widely circulated. One copy of “Abbey Road“ has been checked out 222 times.