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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out." --Voltaire
Welcome to the inaugural post of Off the Page, the Kansas City Public Library’s blog for readers. Like most bloggy ideas, this one has many mothers. It started first with, "Hey, we should have a blog! Other libraries have blogs. Can we have one, too?" No one’s really sure who said this first. The folks who make up the Readers’ Advisory Team were enthusiastic about the notion and looked at lots of other library’s blogs. We made a list of what we liked, what we didn’t and what we wanted to see in a blog of our very own and then we met the person who could make it happen for us.
The KCPL Webgoddess. She waved her magic mouse-shaped wand, translated all her web spells into this mysterious code, and presented us with a forum in which to wax prolific on all things bookish.
And get this. She has expectations. She actually insists upon timely, interesting, entertaining, edifying posts. Bwahahahahahah! No. Seriously. We’re going to do this.
At least once a week, our faithful readers can expect to see reading suggestions, musings on the book news of the day, interesting facts and tidbits about authors, books, biblio-history, beloved characters and all things literary that strike our contributors’ fancy.
Enjoy a few novels set in the Renaissance before the Kansas City Renaissance Festival starts on August 30, 2008. From mysteries to romances to art-inspired works of fiction, authors depict this influential era to great effect in these books.
Renaissance era Venice provides the backdrop for the novel Dirge for a Doge by Elizabeth Eyre. Signor Sigismondo, with the help of his faithful servant Benno, investigates the aristocrat Niccolo Ermolin’s murder. The list of suspects is long, more corpses appear, and a secret diary seems to hold some of the answers.
For a literary mystery that delves into the architecture and landscape of the Renaissance, try The Savage Garden by Mark Mills. Cambridge student Adam Banting travels to Tuscany in 1958 to study a famous Renaissance garden at the Villa Docci estate. He discovers a connection between the garden and two deaths: one in 1548, the other during World War II.