KC Public Library Blog

Library Life

August Staff Reading Picks

The Sisters Brothers

We may have been busy with our Summer Reading Program the past few months, but your Library staff still found time to do their own reading! Here are just a few selections from our staff.

Program Notes: Quantrill’s Raiders (1958)

Quantrill’s Raiders movie poster

Quantrill’s Raiders is filled with howling historical inaccuracies. It's basically an outlaw movie, a standard-issue studio Western. We’re talking a B movie with B movie writing, B movie acting, and B movie action.

Coming Up

Quantrill in the Movies

Walter Pidgeon in Dark Command

Relatively few Kansans have gone on to be immortalized in the movies, but William Clarke Quantrill, the Confederate guerrilla leader infamous for the August, 1863, sack of Lawrence, Kansas, has been depicted on screen numerous times.

Book Reviews

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was, during the last 40 years of his life, perhaps the best known man of letters in England. And in James Boswell (1740-1795), a lawyer from Scotland with a lot of free time, it seems, he found perhaps the most diligent chronicler in the field of biography.

Program Notes: Stairway to Heaven (1946)

Stairway to Heaven movie poster

Stairway to Heaven is a romantic fable of such visual, verbal and emotional resourcefulness that one is hard pressed to think of another title that even comes close to its sublime satisfactions.

The Way to Santa Fe

Apache chief Dor-con-each-la in traditional dress

August 10, 1825: Representatives of the Osage tribes meet with American commissioners near present-day Council Grove, Kansas to negotiate a treaty giving the U.S. government rights to land for the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail, which will become a major trade route linking the greater Kansas City area to the Southwest.

Book Reviews

Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

Just released in May, Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck examines the turbulent, fascinating and ultimately tragic life of Zelda Fitzgerald through the eyes of a fictional psychiatric nurse.

Program Notes: Kansas Raiders (1950)

Kansas Raiders movie poster

Though it’s inspired by the Kansas-Missouri Border War and is filled with characters drawn from history, Kansas Raiders says a lot more about assemblyline Hollywood moviemaking than it does about the era which it purports to depict.

Program Notes: Brief Encounter (1946)

Brief Encounter movie poster

You can try to resist the swooning romance of Brief Encounter. And yet David Lean’s film still hooks us, just as surely as it’s been hooking audiences for nearly 70 years.

Q & A: Brainfuse

Brainfuse

1. Brainfuse? What is that? It is a free resource for people with active Kansas City Public Library cards. It offers skill-building, one-on-one chats with tutors, and feedback for papers that you write. You pick the topics, and someone will work with you in English or Spanish.

2. Who will be chat with me? Brainfuse tutors all hold bachelors degrees, have taught or tutored before, and have passed background checks. These folks have jumped through some major hoops, so they want to help.

Water Rights

Swope Park swimming pool

August 2, 1951: Kansas City receives formal notification that the NAACP will bring suit against the municipal segregation policy at the swimming pool in Swope Park.

Mama at Work

I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusacks/ illustrated by Pricilla Burris

My daughter complained the other day, "You're working all of the time.
I never get to spend time with you!" Ouch. Seriously, is this what all kids with working parents think? I'm a single mom. There have to be others out there in the same situation as me.

Book Reviews

The Greater Journey by David McCullough

 The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough

A new century brimmed with possibility. In the nineteenth century, many citizens of the United States sought education and culture in the Old World to enhance their knowledge of the New.

Program Notes: Fly Away Home (1996)

Fly Away Home movie poster

Fly Away Home is one of those “children’s films” too good to be left to just the kids. Inspired by a true story, it's a ravishingly beautiful, often very funny, sensitive study about family and human/animal interaction.

Program Notes: Amelia (2009)

Amelia movie poster

Amelia is respectable and respectful, with a solid performance from two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank in the title role. But it rarely soars and the big questions that dog the legend are glossed over here.