KC Unbound

Jane Wood, chair of the English Department at Park University, served as armchair travel guide for many Mark Twain fans on Monday, February 9, when she presented her program "A Not So Innocent Abroad: The Travels of Mark Twain."

Travel writing has many proponents, according to Jane. Merchants, explorers, captives, castaways, even pirates and scientists, all recorded their exploits for future generations to enjoy.

Buffalo Soldiers was a nickname given to the first black cavalry regiments of the United States Army by the Native American tribes of the West. Learn more about this often-forgotten chapter of American History in these nonfiction books for adults and kids.

Related event:
"The Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers" – Feb. 22

Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Soldier Regiment: History of the Twenty-Fifth United States Infantry, 1869-1926
By John H. Nankivell
Buffalo Soldier Regiment offers a detailed record of the service, exploits, travels, and traditions of one of the black infantry regiments, the "grand old Twenty-fifth." Drawing on a wealth of official records, reports, and personal recollections, this book reconstructs the experiences of the Twenty-fifth Regiment from its formation in 1869 through its service in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, in 1926.

New York magazine once dubbed author Sam Lipsyte “one of the ten funniest New Yorkers you’ve never heard of.” Lipsyte presents a talk in the Library’s Writers at Work series on February 19. Here’s a list of satirical and darkly comic novels you might enjoy if you like Sam Lipsyte.

By Sam Lipsyte

Home Land book jacket

Home Land
By Sam Lipsyte
The Eastern Valley High School Alumni newsletter, Catamount Notes, is bursting with tales of success: former students include a bankable politician and a famous baseball star, not to mention a major-label recording artist. Then there is the appalling, yet utterly lovable, Lewis Miner, class of '89---a.k.a Teabag---who did not pan out. This is his confession in all its bitter, lovelorn glory.

Readers gather in the President's Office to discuss Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

A book group co-sponsored by The Kansas City Public Library and the Kansas City Star brought eleven readers to the Central Library on Sunday, February 8 to discuss Mark Twain’s classic travelogue, Life on the Mississippi, and their comments and perceptions were as varied as their reading experiences.

This year marks a very important date in literary history. It’s the anniversary of one of the oldest works in literature, The Tale of Genji.

Do you read books on your computer? How about an iPhone or a dedicated e-book reader like the Kindle? According to The New York Times, e-book use is on the rise.

Where does our food come from? How does the global food system impact us? These books examine the food industry, as well as how and what we eat.

Books by Marion Nestle | The food industry | The food we eat | Documentaries

Related event:
Marion Nestle presents Red Scare: China and the New Global Food System, Feb. 11

Books by Marion Nestle

Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine
By Marion Nestle
The acclaimed author of Food Politics tells the gripping story of how, in early 2007, a few telephone calls about sick cats set off the largest recall of consumer products in U.S. history and an international crisis over the safety of imported goods ranging from food to toothpaste, tires, and toys.

Celebrate the life and work of Mark Twain by reading some of his novels, stories, travel writing, or autobiographical works.

Novels | Short stories | Travel books | Autobiography

Novels

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
This is Mark Twain's first novel about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, and it has become one of the world's best-loved books. It is a fond reminiscence of life in Hannibal, Missouri, an evocation of Mark Twain's own boyhood along the banks of the Mississippi during the 1840s.

This recommended reading list includes memoirs by Iranian women that depict the turbulent history and rich culture of their country and the people who live there.

Books by Azar Nafisi | Iranian memoirs

Books by Azar Nafisi

Things I've Been Silent About: Memories
By Azar Nafisi
The author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran offers a stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, with moving memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and difficult mother, against the background of Iran during a time of revolution and change.

John Updike

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, John Updike, died January 27, 2009, at age 76. Read about his life and work in The New York Times or the Washington Post.

Celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, with these books examining his life and legacy, from his leadership skills to his rhetoric to his personal relationships.

General biographies | Leadership | Civil War | Race | Politics | Assassination | Writings | Photos & documents |
Personal life | In popular culture

This reading list includes books that discuss our global economy from different perspectives.

By Amar Bhidé | Global economy

By Amar Bhidé

The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses
By Amar V. Bhidé
In a field dominated by anecdote and folklore, this study integrates more than ten years of intensive research and modern theories of business and economics. The result is a comprehensive framework for understanding entrepreneurship that provides new and penetrating insights. Examining hundreds of successful ventures, the author finds that the typical business has humble, improvised origins. Well-planned start-ups, backed by substantial venture capital, are exceptional. This book is essential for anyone who wants to start a business, for the entrepreneur or executive who wants to grow a company, and for the scholar who wants to understand this crucial economic activity.

Read up on women in art and comics in these books about prominent African American women artists and women cartoonists or check out one of their memoirs written in graphic novel form.

African American women artists | Women cartoonists
Graphic memoirs by women

African American women artists

Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist
By Nancy Goldstein
Jackie Ormes chronicles the life of this multiply talented, fascinating woman who became a successful commercial artist and cartoonist. Ormes's cartoon characters (including Torchy Brown, Candy, and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger) delighted readers of newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender, and spawned other products, including fashionable paper dolls in the Sunday papers and a black doll with her own extensive and stylish wardrobe.

“Once upon a midnight dreary…” So begins “The Raven,” one of the spookiest poems by a master of the macabre and mysteries – Edgar Allan Poe. Born on January 19, 1809, this influential 19th century author of works such as the “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” celebrates his 200th birthday this week.

The U.S. Postal Service honored Poe on this occasion with a commemorative stamp. Not quite so grandly, I’ve decided to read a book for my celebration of his birthday.

The library has hundreds of books written by or about Edgar Allan Poe, but I’m going to pick up a novel inspired by his short, dramatic life. Poe left a long legacy and dozens of books depict Poe as a fictionalized character. These recent mysteries look particularly entertaining.

Explore the art of the Show-Me State in these books that showcase Missouri’s art and its artists.

Art in Missouri | Thomas Hart Benton | Other Missouri Artists

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