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Author: Brian Vander Veen

Not afraid of subtitles? 4 frightening foreign-language films to watch this Halloween

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on October 27, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen I blame 80s hair metal band Dokken. When I first realized that my favorite song from their album Back for the Attack was originally from the Nightmare on Elm Street 3 soundtrack, I promptly ran to the nearest video store, one that apparently had few qualms about letting a twelve-year-old kid […]

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Mixtape: Punk retrospective

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on October 15, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Not long ago, a young college student realized exactly how old I was and started grilling me about 1990s punk music, of which he was a particular fan. And it quickly occurred to me that he, thanks to the web, knew much more about the music of my teenage years than […]

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Where to find free science fiction & fantasy short stories online

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on August 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen I rarely had the attention span as a teen to tackle full-length novels. I read quite a few role-playing game manuals, comics, and various permutations of Choose Your Own Adventure books, but not a lot of actual novels. The Hobbit, Neuromancer, and several books from the Dragonlance franchise were among the few […]

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Easy small-batch homebrewing, part 2: Basic ingredients and a recipe

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on August 11, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Last week, I talked about the basic equipment one needs to start brewing small-scale, one-gallon batches at home, but obviously, you need more than just equipment—you need ingredients. Beer, at its most basic, comprises only three ingredients: malted grain, hops, and yeast. However, over the millennia since beer was first b […]

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Easy small-batch homebrewing, part 1: Basic equipment

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on August 4, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen I studied just enough chemistry as an undergraduate to earn a minor in the subject, at least before I made the eleventh-hour change to major in English and thus embarked on the long, circuitous route toward librarianship. But I’ve always loved chemistry—still do. And I certainly appreciate a well-crafted beer. So […]

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Free Books: Accessing the World’s Public Domain Literature

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on July 9, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Whoever coined the Internet phrase “never read the comments” was a wise person indeed. It’s especially true if you’re a librarian (or library fan) reading pretty much any news article related to public libraries; inevitably, there’s the one commenter who questions why public libraries even exist, the guy w […]

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The End is Nigh: Four Post-Apocalyptic Novels to Read Now

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on June 18, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen As a kid, I spent quite a bit of time worrying about global nuclear annihilation. I was seven when the made-for-TV movie The Day After aired, too young to process much of the plot but old enough to remember the images of people being reduced to skeletal outlines by the flash […]

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Mixtape: Four metal bands for fantasy fans

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on June 2, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Not long ago, I was lamenting to my long-suffering partner the unfortunate decline of references in popular music to fantasy literature. Although I’m too young to remember much of it firsthand, I had imagined this glorious, idealized decade or so—let’s call it “the long 1970s”—when every van was airbrushed with a […]

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The Casual Nerd’s Guide to Book Awards

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on April 16, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen The Hugo Awards, arguably the most prestigious awards in science fiction and fantasy, are awarded every year at the World Science Fiction Convention, which this year is being hosted in our very own Spokane. And, as our luck would have it, this year the award nominations have also turned out to […]

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Documentaries You May Have Missed

Posted in Explore and Discover, For You on April 1, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Brian Vander Veen Judging from the number of people I see here at the library jostling to browse our DVD collection, I don’t doubt that movies are one of the more popular items we lend. I have also noticed, though, that the non-fiction end of our DVDs doesn’t seem to get as much love. […]

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