KC Unbound

John Mark Eberhart

Anyone listening to the radio in the 1970s certainly heard a song or two by the Red-Headed Stranger. Anyone reading the local Kansas City daily newspaper anytime from 1880 to the present is familiar with the name of its founder, William Rockhill Nelson.

Are there any aspiring writers out there? In October and November 2008, acclaimed writer Ann Hagedorn presented four talks for hopeful authors. On October 15, she provided an introduction to this four-part writing course. On October 22, she focused on the technical aspects of writing. On November 5, Hagedorn discussed storytelling and structure. Her final session on November 12 featured tips on pitching your book and finding a publisher. Get ready with these books on writing for publication and how to get published.

Celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books Week this year (September 27 – October 4, 2008). These books were the top ten books challenged last year, a “challenge” being a request to remove the book from a school or library. To find out why these books were challenged, visit the American Library Association’s page on the Most Frequently Challenged Books & Authors in 2007 or read additional details in the Illinois Library Association’s brochure, Books Challenged or Banned in 2007-2008 (pdf).

Top ten books challenged in 2007

And Tango Makes Three book jacket

Based on a true story, And Tango Makes Three: The True Story of the Very First Chinstrap Penguin to Have Two Daddies by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell tells how two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo raise a baby after a zookeeper gives them an egg. Illustrated in watercolor, this picture book tells a heartwarming story.

On October 8 at the Central Library, Richard Moe explained how the preservation of historic and older buildings should be an important component of sustainable development efforts. Explore a few books about historic preservation, green remodeling, and architectural styles before his talk.

Climate change, or global warming, is a hot topic today. On October 3 at the Plaza Branch, the Library will host a conversation about climate change and global justice. The following week on October 8, the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss how the preservation of older buildings should be an important component of sustainable development efforts, including efforts to combat climate change. This list of resources features some books about climate change for adults and kids, a few novels with climate change themes, and several documentary films about the topic.

At last night’s second meeting of the Jewish American Literature book discussion series, Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of Jewish Imagination, over 30 eager readers gathered a the Waldo Branch to discuss S. Ansky’s seminal play, The Dybbuk.

What books did you love as a child? On October 1, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, children’s book historian Leonard S. Marcus discussed his most recent book, Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature. Explore some of his work about children’s books, learn more about children’s literature, or check out a few classic Little Golden Books.

Books by Leonard S. Marcus | Children’s Literature & Publishing |
Classic Little Golden Books for Kids

Books by Leonard S. Marcus

Minders of Make-Believe book jacket

Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature
By Leonard S. Marcus
Marcus offers this animated history of the visionaries--editors, illustrators, and others--whose books have transformed American childhood and American culture.

There are infinitely worse ways to spend a Saturday night in Kansas City, and not many better ones, than to spend it with Robert Day and the Kansas City Symphony at The Writers Place.

On September 25, 2008 at the Central Library, Jennet Conant discussed her new book, titled The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington. Explore Conant’s earlier books surrounding American involvement in World War II, learn more about author and spy Roald Dahl through his own memoirs, or pick up a title about British intelligence during wartime.

It was a hard weekend in the book world. Two of its most respected and revered authors turned the last page.

A couple of Sundays ago the New York Times Book Review devoted their front page to Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt. This scholarly and intriguing work of nonfiction explores the history of traffic patterns and driver culture, particularly in America. It was a glowing review of a book that deserves to be read by anyone holding a drivers’ license.

September marks the 100th birthday of influential African-American author Richard Wright. Born on September 4, 1908, Wright revolutionized the literary landscape with his depictions of African American culture, paving the way for future writers.

Saddle up for Kansas City’s American Royal, running from September through November. On September 16, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, Dr. Jim Hoy gave a presentation inspired in part by Western novelist Louis L’Amour’s legacy entitled American Icon: The Enduring Appeal of the Cowboy. Check out a few books by Jim Hoy, enjoy a few classic cowboy novels, or discover a recent award-winning Western.

Books by Jim Hoy | Cowboys | Award-winning Westerns

Books by Dr. Jim Hoy

Flint Hills Cowboys book jacket

Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales From the Tallgrass Prairie

By Jim Hoy
This 2007 Kansas Notable Book tells the story of exemplary cowboys from the rugged hills. These stories run from the late 19th through the mid-20th century and they are told by a scholar who is one of them.

Dr. Dale Herspring discussed his book Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power at the Central Library on September 11, 2008. Learn more about the man who served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2001-06 under President George W. Bush or read a book about recent or current U.S. foreign relations.

Books by Dale Herspring | Donald Rumsfeld | Recent U.S. Foreign Relations

Books by Dale Herspring

book jacket

Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power
By Dale Herspring
Dale Herspring, a political conservative and lifelong Republican, offers a nonpartisan assessment of Rumsfeld's impact on the U.S. military establishment from 2001 to 2006, focusing especially on the Iraq War – from the decision to invade through the development and execution of operational strategy and the enormous failures associated with the postwar reconstruction of Iraq.

On September 9, 2008 at the Central Library, Steven Pinker discussed his book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. Check out other books by this two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize or a few books that explore the philosophy of language.

Books by Steven Pinker | Philosophy of Language

Books by Steven Pinker

book jacket

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
Bestselling author Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how words explain human nature.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on language and the workings of the mind, Pulitzer Prize finalist Pinker has undertaken an ambitious and controversial work – a reexamination of the concept of human nature.

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