Like Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, this book is a story about teenage abuse, and while reading 350 pages on this topic may seem daunting (it's graphic and disturbing), debut author Kate Elizabeth Russell’s language is so engrossing and approachable that you may think that My Dark Vanessa is just another coming of age story. Clearly it is not.
Vanessa’s character is determined to defend her abuse. The ways and the reasons she bears her violation are compelling even if they are upsetting. Vanessa is not a character you want to spend a whole lot of time with, and yet, like a bad car wreck, you can’t look away. In the age of #MeToo, and because you feel compassion, you want to stay with her until she finally acknowledges that she was wronged. You want to feel her vindication, experience her healing.
Unlike Trust Exercise, where the topic of teen violation is examined in retrospect and there is resolution albeit it's sad and disconcerting, in My Dark Vanessa, the story of abuse stubbornly holds on until the end—showing us that all victimhood is unique. It is not ours to judge or interpret in its recovery.
My Dark Vanessa and Trust Exercise can both be checked out as an e-book or audiobook on OverDrive.
Social distancing is tough and we miss seeing our wonderful library patrons, but we have a suspicion that these guys are pretty happy to have us working from home...
We can't wait until we are able to reopen to the public. In the meantime, we hope that you're staying healthy, reading great books, and enjoying time with your loved ones and furry friends.
Selected for multiple “best of” book lists, The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century is a true-life crime story that is at once riveting and revolting. Anyone with a pair of binoculars who spends even five minutes a week checking out their neighborhood birds might find it difficult to read about the decimation of storied, feathered specimens, some of which were collected by Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin.
Author Kirk Wallace Johnson presents as a righter of wrongs. The story begins as he finds his humanitarian work expediting Iraqi refugees to the United States stymied by bureaucratic paperwork and diplomacy. Finding release knee-deep in western mountain streams, he becomes obsessed with the fly-tying ‘underground’ and the 2009 burglary of the ornithological collection at the British Natural History Museum at Tring. Obsessed to the point of spending the next six years delving into all things feathers.
At times travelogue, history lesson, fly fishing guide, and biography, the mystery surrounding the Tring feather caper is captivating in its straightforwardness. The crime is already solved when Johnson embarks on his effort to recover the missing collection, yet he persists in following leads and creating hypotheses as to the why of the whole thing. With many threads running throughout the book, his conclusions are much more esoteric than expected. Not surprising, given the obscure and bizarre world into which he has plunged.
- Cathy Click
Announcing our new online book discussion group: Basalt Book Banter!
The Feather Thief is the March selection for Basalt Book Banter, an online book discussion offered in collaboration with Bookbinders Basalt. To join the discussion, visit the Basalt Regional Library Facebook page and join our Basalt Book Banter group. The Feather Thief is available to check out on Overdrive as an ebook or audiobook. We also recommend listening to this interview podcast with Kirk Wallace Johnson on This American Life. We hope you read The Feather Thief and join the discussion!
NB: Kirk Wallace Johnson’s visit to the Roaring Fork Valley, coordinated by the Roaring Fork Conservancy, is postponed. We look forward to hosting him at the Basalt Regional Library in the future.
Movies with Matt
Hello and Good Health to you wherever you are in this time of great confusion. Once long ago on an episode of The Simpsons I learned that the Chinese have the same word for crisis as they do opportunity. We have a great "crisitunity" ahead of us and it's always excellent to use times like this to catch up on some media we might have missed over the years. Whether you are all alone, spending the next few weeks with family, or stuck in a strange place full of strangers the Library website might just be the place to park it.
One of the best things about the Library is browsing- finding stuff you might never have thought about before and falling in love with it. While scientists and their highly detailed computer simulations are saying that you better not be goin nowhere, you can still browse through some awesome collections on the Innernette.
While the Library is currently closed and you can't browse our physical DVD collection, you can still access movies through Kanopy, an awesome free streaming service that is available to Basalt Regional Library patrons with just your library card and an email address.
Kanopy has a ridiculous amount of content—film both old and new as well as hundreds of college courses, called The Great Courses, available immediately. While there is a limit of 12 films a month, The Great Courses are all available in an unlimited quantity. So don’t binge watch—take some time to really enjoy some true classics both old and new.
Recommended Great Courses:
If you have ever missed being in a college classroom, The Great Courses are for you. A guided presentation through some dense topics as well as some really fun stuff too is all available in unlimited quantities from Kanopy. Here are two that I am really enjoying right now:
Are you ready to get started with Kanopy? Visit basaltlibrary.org/digital-media-library for more information about how to use your library card number to create an account and start watching films.
As the weeks go on I’ll be blogging and putting out recommendations and new online collections for you to check out in our new 12 Monkeys style world. If you have any questions or comments or just want to talk feel free to send me an email here at email@example.com any time and I'll do whatever I can.
Adult News & reviews
Library news, info about upcoming events, reviews of books and films, and a look at the topics that affect us as a library.