Ryan S.'s blog

Honor Black Women's History All Year Long

Black Women's History Month may be winding down, but honoring the voices and achievements of black women in our community and our world doesn't end when April's over. As always, the Library is your go-to place for great books and movies on important topics like black women's history. For your fiction and nonfiction reading pleasure, we've compiled a list of recent titles by or about strong black women who have changed the world.

It's Official: We're Dementia Friendly

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Ask anybody: between our vision of an inclusive, engaged community and the value we place on respect and service, the Library's the friendliest place in town. Just recently, in fact, we got the attention of Dementia Friendly Indiana, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with dementia, for the work we do to welcome and support this audience.

Music Review: First Aid Kit

The first time I heard First Aid Kit, composed of doe-eyed Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, I had stumbled across their melancholic ballad "Ghost Town" on an episode of NPR’s Echoes. From the very first, when I heard them croon, “Maybe I should just turn around and walk away / For no matter how much I want to stay / You know I can’t / It’s just too late”, I was hooked. How could two people so young tap so ably into the defeated resignation that comes with the death of dreams? I explored more of their music, and with the 2014 breakout album Stay Gold, I was hooked on the Söderbergs' angelic harmonies, piercing lyrics, and ability to render even cover songs into something distinctly theirs.
 

First-Ever Virtual Reality Camp an Adventure for Tech Fans

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When the Library introduced a virtual reality console to its Digital Creativity Center last year, Jeannette Lehr wanted to do more than just demonstrate its entertainment value.

“We didn’t want people to think of VR as something to passively consume, or just some tech novelty,” said Jeannette, who coordinates programming for Level Up at the Main Library. “We wanted them to think creatively and practically about the possibilities of virtual reality, and incorporate it into their own projects and ideas.”

Review: Universal Harvester

This is the second novel from Bloomington-born author John Darnielle, known also for the past twenty-five years as the songwriter in his band the Mountain Goats. While Universal Harvester’s trailer video [YouTube] suggests a horror story, the only slight chills come from the unexpected shifts between third and first person narration. And the eeriness is almost comforting, providing a profound depth and hopefulness to lives that may outwardly appear unremarkable.

Dropkick Murphys: Kiss Them, They’re Irish

Well, maybe not quite.

Listening to the Dropkick Murphys, I’m swept into their Irish-Catholic South Boston neighborhood. The sense of place in their rough-and-tumble songs is simply that strong—and not just on account of the accent coming through in the vocals.

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The Murphys are a curious blend of genres: they’re described as both hardcore punk and Celtic folk, and you can definitely hear both in their music. I’d add unapologetically, jubilantly brash. And raucous. Irreverent. Throbbing with life, vitality, emotion, even a little death. Not above making fun of themselves.

And prolific. This year’s 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, peaking at number eight on the U.S. Billboard charts, follows a dozen releases by the Murphys since 1998. You may

Don't Miss These "Best of 2016" Book Lists

The wave of best-of-2016 lists on the internet has subsided, leaving recommendations for book lovers of all reading interests to wade through and enjoy. You’ve probably seen a number of this year’s must-read lists in the usual places (Recommended Reads for 2016 by Library Staff, anyone?); here’s a “list of lists” from sources you may not have considered.

Would You Kill the Fat Man?

Here’s the scenario. Walking across a bridge over a railroad one day, you notice that five people are tied to the tracks below. Worse, you also spot a speeding train approaching, with no sign of slowing down—it’s sure to plow through the five people, killing them. Suddenly you see the only possible way to save them: an exceptionally large man—large enough to derail an oncoming train, it just so happens—is leaning on the bridge’s railing above the tracks, resting. Now’s your chance: do you push the man over the railing, killing him, but saving the five people tied to the tracks? Or do you refrain from pushing him, thereby sparing his life but effectively allowing the five below to die?

Mud

There are times when everything in life seems just as clear as... mud. That’s doubly true if you happen to spend lots of time scrounging the Mississippi River, which is exactly what the characters in the latest from Jeff Nichols (director of 2011’s shamefully overlooked Take Shelter) do to get by. Centering on Ellis and Neckbone, two early-teens swamp rats who befriend a fugitive hiding out near their fishing spot,

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