How compelling can a whole book about one song be? As it turns out: Quite a lot, and very compelling. The secret to this book is that it isn't just about a song. It's a meditation on pop culture over the past few decades.

Banned Books Week allows libraries across the country to celebrate the freedom to read and discuss the books that have been subjected to bans or had their presence in schools, bookstores, and library collections challenged.



The Guns of August book cover

After a special tour of the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, FYI Book Club readers gathered recently to discuss The Guns of August, the classic nonfiction work by Barbara W. Tuchman.

Just as Hilary Waugh and Ed McBain aimed at writing police procedurals that reflected police work in the United States as it really was (as opposed to the police/classic amalgam that had been in effect prior to their work), John Creasey in England was trying to do the same thing.

His first foray into police procedurals involved Inspector Roger West of Scotland Yard (beginning with Inspector West Takes Charge [1942]), a series that ran through the 1970s in over two dozen titles. Creasey wrote several other series, involving detectives both professional and amateur.

Already well-known as a webcomic creator, Canadian author Emily Carroll makes her print debut with Through the Woods - a collection of five short illustrated stories of horror.

Join Mozilla Hive KC for the official launch of the Kansas City Hive Learning Network.

The youth have a hold on some of the most lively and energetic imaginations, so it's only right that children's books should reflect that same enthusiasm. No matter the subject at hand, children's books not only seek to teach, but value change, wonder, and dreams. Below are a few hand picked selections of titles that just might insight, explore, and inspire imagination.

Rules of Summer
By Shaun Tan

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, is a simple, yet amazingly grand and eloquent story about two brothers and a summer they’ll never forget. First, to enjoy summer you have to follow the rules. Fortunately big brother knows all of the rules: Don’t leave a red sock on the clothes line, don’t eat the last black olive, never forget the password. But if your older brother is making all of the rules, no matter how absurd,when will you finally get to enjoy summer? A relationship will be tested and the story is told beautifully through its layout and approach. The clean, repetitive phrasing mixes with fantastical, darkly themed illustrations more breath taking than the last. This story makes for some truly inspiring imagination.

I was astounded by this book. Madeline Miller's achievement with The Song of Achilles cannot be overstated. Here's a novel that's absorbingly readable for a modern audience, but that still has the poetry of Homeric sagas. What's most impressive to me is the balance she finds between exploring the universality of human nature throughout the ages and maintaining the innate alien-ness that I experience every time I read The Iliad - the culture of archaic Greece was so very different from this world we live in today. She lets the truth of that age live and breathe without trying to tame or update it.

Looking for an interesting new book to add to your fall reading list? Then consider The Drop by Dennis Lehane.

Set to be released on September 2, 2014, The Drop is part love story, part crime novel, part mystery, and part faith-based fiction. Add in a lonely bartender, the Chechen mafia, an abused puppy, a vengeful ex-con, a rogue cop, a sketchy bar owner, and a mentally unbalanced woman and your picture of The Drop begins to form.

The 1951 Flood

The beginning of the end came for the Kansas City Stockyards in July 1951 when the West Bottoms suffered the worst flood in the city’s history, one from which the industrial district never fully recovered.

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Some say that The Long Goodbye is too loosely constructed, and too sentimental, and they may be right. But Chandler was never much for tight plotting, but could scarcely be beat in setting up a scene and for the crispness of his language.

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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh book cover

A masterful first novel challenges readers. Regional author Laura McHugh's debut, The Weight of Blood, has received much acclaim since publication last March, and FYI Book Club readers praised it as a "brilliant first novel."

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell made me long for the old-fashioned landline phone – for the days when a phone fit your hand perfectly and your ear with the warmth of the voice at the other end, for the excitement a phone ringing and not knowing who was calling.

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